It was a dark and lamby night. All visible fat removed. I knew I couldn't go on any longer. I reached for the Tootsie Roll. It felt good in my hand. I knew I was cheating on him. With a fiendish laugh I aimed for my mouth.
We started the Scarsdale Medical Diet four days ago. The woman behind the counter at the book store said, "Why don't you wait until the verdict's in?"
I told her the verdict was already in -- on my husband's waist line.
At the Safeway, they didn't recognize my cart. Gone were the Doritos, creamed corn and refrigerator slice'n' bake chocolate chip cookie dough. In its place was grapefruit. A lot of grapefruit.Hollywood protein bread. Celery. Endive. Radishes. Brussels sprouts.
Sunday was steak night, all you could eat.Monday was fish night. Tuesday was lean hamburger night. Wednesday: lamb night. Thursday: chicken. Friday: fish or shellfish again (deja vu for the Roman Catholic tubbies) and Saturday was chicken or roast turkey.
It was just like Camp Tegawitha, only there was no Sloppy Joe night.
The bill came to $61. It costs a lot to starve.
Sunday night I stood in the kitchen, trimming all visible fat from the filet mignons. Okay, this isn't so bad, we said, chew chew chewing as the late lamented Dr. Tarnower instructed.
My husband picked up the book, which has grossed about $4.5 million since Dr. Tarnower's untimely death last March. Total sales have climbed to 5 million books, including 2.75 million paperbacks and 750,000 hardcovers sold prior to the shooting.
He looked at the dedication, reading the names out loud: Thanks to Sherry, Muffy, Buffy, Diane, Brunhilda, Dominique. We looked at the recipes. There was Spinach "a la Lynne."
"No wonder she shot him," my husband said.
The next day I was too weak to go to work. I called in thin.
Half a grapefruit and a slice of protein bread later, I rummaged through the refrigerator. There it was, a forgotten roll of slice'n' bake cookies.
I sliced. I baked. I ate every one of them, chew chew chewing the crispy nut-filled temptations, all invisible fat unremoved.
The phone rang. It was my husband, fresh from his lunch of fruit salad. He could hear my mouth moving. "What are you eating?" he demanded.
"Celery," I lied.
"It doesn't sound like celery," he said.
"It's CELERY for godsake, what's it supposed to sound like?"
People got so grouchy on diets.
Monday night was fish night. I drove to Captain White's seafood stand on Maine Avenue for a pound of shrimp.
The diet strictly forbids any alcohol. My husband said he'd commit suicide if he couldn't have at least one glass of wine. So we modified the Scarsdale Medical Diet to include not only chocolate chip cookies, but a few glasses of wine. And Wesson Oil for the salads. Oh, and non-dairy creamer for the coffee.
We steamed the shrimp and ate them, savoring each bite.
"I feel thinner," my husband kept saying.
By breakfast the next morning, I was sick of grapefruit. I was sick of protein bread. I yearned for an English muffin, butter oozing in all the little nooks and crannies. Protein bread has no nooks or crannies.
Tuesday lunch was tuna salad (or salmon) dressed with vinegar. The cafeteria -- mindless cretins that there are -- had deliberately gone ahead and dressed all their tuna fish with mayonnaise. We ate it hungrily.
By midafternoon, my stomach sounded like a Metro bus trying to back up. I headed for the candy machine with a fistful of quarters. First course was a Fifth Avenue bar, the entree a bag of cheese Tostados, and for dessert? A box of Jujyfruits.
At 6 p.m., the phone rang.
"Have you heard?" he said, excitedly.
"Jean Harris is guilty."
It was my husband, calling with the news that Harris had been convicted of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Tarnower.
That night was lean hamburger night. We decided instead on lasagna at our favorite Italian restaurant. We toasted the verdic with an Amaretto. a
Dr. Tarnower would have wanted it that way.