by Kira Hesser
Matthias and Geert walk up the darkened canal, bellies full. An always odd- looking pair, Matthias was tall whilst somehow managing to retain a stout aspect-ratio about him thanks to a waistline widening a half inch every birthday, his wife mournfully poking new holes in his belt until last year she ran out of room and gave him a new belt as a gift. The gift of cinched gut mass. Matthias didn’t used to play with his belly-button, but as he approached middle age he noticed it moving irrevocably closer to his hands when he sat down, a follicular new toy that began an innie but in recent years had become an outtie. When he hit 47, he began absentmindedly fingering his belly button over his wrinkled shirts, pushing the closest plastic button into the soft flesh hole and back out again. It was kind of a gross ritual, but his wife either didn’t mind or didn’t notice, which is precisely how marriages continue.
Matthias’s son his corporeal opposite, Geert had instead taken after his mother’s slight litheness. It gave him an air of sissiness that Matthias resented, but what can one do with a body? One can regret it and deplore it and scorn it but Matthias couldn’t very well stretch his son into hulking manhood, now could he?