The Cavendish Chronicle

Termly print magazine from Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. Student-run, read, & written.

Runner-Up: Short Story Competition

Runner-Up: Short Story Competition


the force exerted

on body by gravity

by Kristina Harris

One day, in 1770, Richard Salters decided to fuck with the minds of women for centuries to come. Our dear friend Mr. Salters invented the scale and, although he did not mean it, he unleashed a whole new hellish Circle of Dante’s Inferno for women’s self-esteem. 

One day, I woke up and weighed 160 lbs. The only time I ever got on the scale was at the doctor’s office. But given that my pediatrician abandoned me at 18, when I needed him most, I hadn’t gotten on a scale in years. I hadn’t even thought about how much I weighed until my 21st birthday when I needed to get a new driving license. My old one, from when I was sixteen, was telling a heathen lie, that I weighed 120 lbs. IN WHAT FUCKING WORLD? I know you can’t see me but, trust me, my ass alone probably weighs a solid 45 lbs. I went to the DMV over winter break, very excited to get my new 21+ ID. I filled out the form, and updated any information that may have changed in the last 5 years. 

Well, same address. Same hair and eye colour. Weight? HELL NO. I am not sure that I have weighed 120 lbs since the 6th grade. Even then, that was a fleeting moment. Organ donor? Sure, why the hell not. So, I filled out the rest of the sheet, and sat waiting for the next available teller. 

“Next!” A small unassuming guy called. “Hi. New or Renewing?” 

“Um, I…” I stuttered as I watched myself forget the English language. 

The man looked me up and down and reviewed the papers in my hand. “Renewing, I see that right here. Anything changed? Address?” 

“No, address is the same. Weight is different. To be honest, sir, I don’t think I have ever weighed that in my life. Not that I’m admitting to perjury or creating a false identity. I just, um… yeah so just that change. Please” I said, resisting the urge to go off on a longer rant. “You know, I’m 5’4 and I weigh 160 pounds, and my Wii had the nerve to say I was overweight. But I just turned 21, and I can dance on tables, legally, and so you know what… fuck that Wii. I also think I pulled something in my shoulder doing Wii Tennis. Do you want a Wii sir?” The man looked up at me and handed me my ticket number. 

And that was that. After my unsolicited spew on that unsuspecting man, I looked down at my freshly printed ID and realised just how petty the whole matter was. So I resolved to spend the rest of my winter break parading around town, telling anyone with ears that I was 160 lbs. I said it in bars, at the gym, sometimes just sitting around with my friends. I was dubbed “insane” for going around proudly declaring my 160 lb weight. Most of my friends’ responses were along the lines of: “you do not look it at all” or “yeah, but it all goes to your butt”. They were saying this as if my body weight needed to be justified. Or as if I had said Voldemort’s name aloud. Forgive me but I don’t think that the dark lord gives a flying fuck what I weigh. Personally, I think he would be much angrier about my muggle lineage, than how many standard units of force I exert on planet Earth. 

I’m not sure when or where it happened, but my friends were all going through that phase where girls pretend that kale is like, literally the best, and like, don’t even get me started on the wonders of quinoa. Now, I do know some people who will drop their panties for green juice and whole grains. But I know a whole hell of a lot more girls who have joined the gluten free movement or became a vegetarian simply to wipe out a whole food group. So, when we go to dinner, and someone says, “Holy shit, this pasta is amazing” they can retort, “Oh my god, it looks so good, but I can’t have gluten. But you should Insta it!” When did it become so radical to eat the food you want?

I don’t know when gravity became such a taboo topic. I am not sure when saying how much force was being exerted on you became a matter that could weigh (pun kind of intended) so heavily upon you. But let’s shake it off. It’s just a random number; it’s going to do its thing while you do yours. I suggest we be healthy and skip the quinoa every once and a while. 

Also, on a totally unrelated topic, I’m giving away a Wii if anyone is interested…

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