For Your Eyes Only

Contains: themes of male weight gain.

This story came after a period where I found myself burnt out on writing. I thought for a moment that maybe I was burnt out on writing gaining stories, but a short-lived foray into other styles quickly proved I was just burnt out in general. That was a bad period for my mental health. I found myself asking a lot of questions about the world and my place in it. To the extent that I started asking my friends what role I serve in their life, and why they keep me around.

Probably the most consistent answer that I got was that they appreciate my honesty. They know I’ll tell them what they need to hear, while still doing it with compassion. I don’t say this to brag. I say it because it’s related to how this story came to be.

Those of you who follow me on Grommr know I’m not fond of the wave of Patreon/OnlyFans accounts that have flooded the gaining scene. For a while now, I’ve tossed around the idea of writing a story where a guy with a gainer Patreon falls under a curse where only his patrons can see how much weight he’s put on. To everyone else, he looks skinny.

But I put off writing it for a long time. I don’t like writing mean-spirited stories, and I couldn’t find a way to tell this story that didn’t seem needlessly mean to the gainer.

But then that bad mental health spell happened, and I found out how much the people who know me appreciate my honesty. And I felt like this was one skeleton in my ideas closest that I had to lay to rest. I workshopped the story with a good friend (thank you, Joe!), to try to make sure it didn’t come off too heavy handed, or too cheesy. And now, the story I thought I’d never write is written.

This will probably come off as preachy to some. One person accused me of “virtue signaling” in A Certain Kind of Problem Customer; that person is probably going to hate this story. And some won’t like it simply because we don’t see eye-to-eye on gainer Patreons/OnlyFans. Still others probably won’t like it because it’s less of a gainer story and more of a morality fable. If that’s the case for you, you’ll probably like the story I’m going to post after this a lot more. But hopefully at least some of you do like it.

Julian’s hand rested on top of his impressively round and rotund gut as he scrolled the mouse with his other hand. It was a lazy Friday night, and he was taking it easy before Saturday, when he planned to film and edit a new gainer video for his Patreon. He’d been craving pizza, so he decided to order two larges and try to get them both down for the camera. Either way, he was sure it would be a hit. It seemed all he had to do was take his shirt off and touch his belly, and his fans went crazy. Him eating would drive them wild.

Which was why his previous video was of him eating eight cheeseburgers while standing in his kitchen. It had been a particularly popular one, probably because of all the talking and moaning. But as he went to his profile on Growr to check how many followers he had, he realized he’d never advertised it. First he checked his last few posts to make sure he didn’t exceed the site’s acceptable ratio of ad-posts to non-ad-posts. Once he knew he was in the clear, he pulled up the video file and took a screenshot of an early moment, one where he was rubbing his gut with one hand as he shoving a burger in his mouth with the other. He smiled at the display of gluttony, before he rubbed his crotch and let out a grunt. Back on Growr, he uploaded the photo and typed out a caption: “Even I’m surprised by how many burgers I was able to eat. New video you-know-where.”

Julian didn’t feel he should have to be coy about advertising his videos. He followed all the site’s rules about only advertising pre-existing content, and making enough non-ad posts to stay in their good graces. But this apparently wasn’t enough for some people, who would complain about him having a Patreon at all. He would have agreed to disagree with them, if they didn’t keep bringing it up.

That night would be no different. Plenty of comments rolled in about how hot he was, as well as one saying, “I wish I could afford to subscribe!” He rolled his eyes and thought, You and everyone else. Wishes won’t make me fatter. But one stuck out like a potato wedge in a basket of fries: “I bought Growr Premium because I didn’t want to see ads,” written by one WideWitch.

Though some comments did get under Julian’s skin, that one just amused him. “Don’t follow, then?” he typed. “Problem solved.” Out of curiosity, he went to the guy’s profile, only to roll his eyes when he saw the guy didn’t follow him. His profile pic was a selfie taken from an upward angle, like they were still on MySpace. He looked more emo than witchy. Julian quickly deduced that this guy wasn’t worth his time.

But apparently WideWitch didn’t feel the same about Julian. “So you admit this is an ad?” his next comment read. “Do you even like gaining, or do you just do it for the money?”

A smirk spread across Julian’s plump face, before he typed out his reply. “Both, in fact. Shocking, I know.”

Julian knew he had better things to do than await this guy’s reply. But he couldn’t help himself, as he sat back and waited for a new comment to appear. To his surprise, he instead got a new message notification. With a chuckle, he opened his inbox, to find none other than WideWitch. “You’re kinda an ass, you know.”

Julian told himself he shouldn’t take the bait, before he opened the message and typed out a reply: “Why, because I share my content the way I want to?”

“Why do you want to put your content behind a paywall?”

“So the folks who are passionate about seeing me grow bigger get front row seats to the grow show,” Julian replied, smirking at his rhyme.

WideWitch typed for a bit longer than before. “Paying a monthly fee doesn’t make them more passionate. It just means they have more disposable income.”

Julian rolled his eyes as he realized he was right about not clicking in the first place. “Believe what you want to. That’s not my problem.”

“No, it’s not,” WideWitch replied. “But what you believe IS your problem. At least, it will be.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Why does it matter? What I believe isn’t your problem.”

Weirdo, Julian thought, before closing the tab and getting up to go about his evening.

“Oof,” Julian grunted as he tried to get up off the couch, only to fall back against it. The two large pizzas inside his stomach disagreed strongly with his intentions, and he remained in place, breathing heavily as his arms lay limp at his sides. “I don’t know if I’m going to be able to turn that camera off,” he groaned, looking at his phone on the tripod in front of him. Slowly he brought his arms up and caressed his stuffed gut, careful to not disturb the contents too roughly. “I wish you all were here to rub it,” he continued, looking at the camera with lowered eyelids. “And to turn off that camera,” he chuckled, rubbing his distended belly in an only moderately successful attempt to make it feel better.

But for the moment, he was pinned in place. His already heavy belly felt even heavier with all the pizza inside. He felt like he had several sandbags holding him down. As his hands traveled around the globe of flab in front of him, he wondered how those pizzas could feel so weighty inside of him. It’s not like he wouldn’t be able to sit up if he rested them in their boxes on top of his belly. He supposed it was the stretching of his stomach as much as what was inside it that made it difficult to move. He felt like a balloon that would pop if handled too roughly.

But he knew he’d have to get up and turn off the camera at some point. After a long inhalation, as if he were trying to postpone getting up, he leaned to the side to push himself into a sitting position. Grunting all the way, he shook from the effort as he pushed himself forward. Once his butt was on the edge of the couch, he was able to push himself into sitting up. Several loud burps reverberated around the room as the gas remaining in his stomach finally had a means to escape. “Ohh,” he groaned, his hands patting either side of his gut as it filled his lap. “That’s better.”

After leaning to the other side to push himself up on the couch’s arm rest, Julian was able to stand up. He leaned back to account for his shifted center of gravity, with the food in his stomach pulling him forward. With a noise somewhere between a gasp and a chuckle, he gently patted his belly some more, before waddling over to his phone. Once he reached it, he stopped the recording.

“Whew,” he sighed. After taking his phone off the tripod, he ambled to his bedroom, resolving to move the tripod and pick up the pizza boxes later, when it wouldn’t be so laborious. As he sat down in the chair in front of his computer, it creaked audibly. “You and me both, bud,” he grunted, forced to lean back to give his swollen belly enough room to stick out. Once he’d gotten comfortable, he plugged his phone into the computer to import the video.

It took a while for all the footage to make it onto the computer, and Julian knew it would take even longer to edit it. He didn’t mind the editing process itself; in fact, he enjoyed taking the best moments of the video and splicing them together to make something really worth paying money for. Anyone could go to a food court and watch a fat guy eat for free. He intended to give his patrons a polished piece of gaining art.

What he hated was watching the video back, making note of the timestamps of the best moments, so he could later cut it down to just those. It was a necessary evil, but one he considered especially evil. Not only did he have to listen to his own voice recorded, but also observe his own mannerisms and way of talking, which were just as unpleasant to watch. But he powered through, knowing it would be worth it in the end.

About midway through the video, Julian paused on a particularly appealing frame. He was shoving a slice of pizza in his mouth with one hand while the other held his belly with an enthusiastic grip. With a smile, he full-screened the video and took a screenshot, before posting it on Patreon. In the caption, he added, “Preview of what’s to come. Going to take a while for me to edit this video, but I think the end result will be worth it. Remember, this is for your eyes only, so please don’t share this publically.” Once he’d clicked “Post”, he went back to editing.

It was a slow afternoon as Julian put together his next video, snacking as he did to keep the gains coming. At the rate he was going, he knew he’d be lucky to get halfway through editing before the end of the day. But when he felt like calling it quits, he’d go back and look at the comments on the pic he’d posted on Patreon…

“So hot and fat.”
“Unbelievable! Keep that pizza coming.”
“Soon two pizzas are going to be just a snack for you.”
“This is super hot! I don’t know if I can handle a whole video like this”

Of course, some comments weren’t quite as well-written as those. But they all made Julian smile, and rub his belly proudly. He couldn’t wait to show off his newest video to his patrons.

But he would have to wait. Because as the clock passed 4:00, he had to head out to meet some buddies for an early dinner. After throwing on some clothes, he left to head over.

Julian was lucky enough to find a parking space right next to The Old Spot as he pulled up. Once he paid for his parking, he ambled toward the door. The pizza had digested enough that he was eager to eat again.

Once he walked in, Julian saw his friends standing around one of the tall tables. He breathed a sigh of relief, for it was much easier for him to stand by those tables than sit by a shorter one, or worse, try to fit in a booth. As he walked up, his buddies waved, and he returned the gesture.

“Julian, hey!” Carlos called out. “We were starting to wonder if you’d make it.”

“Oh I wouldn’t miss dinner for the world,” Julian assured them, patting his ample belly. Among other reasons, he loved his friends because they made him feel comfortable being unashamedly fat. They never teased him for it, unless he teased himself first.

“Oh yeah? You hungry?” Rod asked.

Julian would have expected such a question to come with an obviously sarcastic tone, but Rod seemed to be asking in a very deadpan way. “A little,” Julian answered, matching Rod’s dry delivery with a bit of understatement of his own.

But his joke didn’t seem to land. Rod and the other guys just nodded or went “Mm” and resumed their conversation. Tough crowd, Julian thought as he walked up to the table, parking the top of his belly right against it.

The five guys chatted and caught up until the waitress approached to take their order. Once she’d come back with drinks–two waters, two beers, and a soda for Julian–she asked, “You boys ordering food tonight?”

“Yes,” a few of them said, prompting her to take out her notepad.

“I’ll have the loaded nachos,” Rod said.

“Just the pretzel sticks for me,” Carlos asked.

“Fish and chips, please,” Andrew said.

“BLT for me,” Rod asked.

With a grin, Julian said, “I’ll start with the onion rings, then I’ll have the pork belly sliders, then a bacon cheeseburger.”

Looking at Julian a single eyebrow raised, the waitress asked, “So, when would you like those sliders? With the onion rings or with the burger?”

“Onion rings, please,” Julian answered with a grin.

“Alright,” she said, her tone indicating she didn’t quite believe Julian could eat all that. He looked forward to proving her wrong.

Julian’s first two items came out along with Rod’s nachos and Carlos’s soft pretzels. While Rod and Carlos nibbled on their food, Julian ate the onion rings in one bite each, shoving one in until the greasy snack collapsed in his mouth. Once he’d finished all of them, he moved onto the sliders, themselves requiring only a few bites each to devour. In spite of all the pizza he’s eaten earlier, Julian was still eating voraciously.

As he started his last slider, Julian saw a guy sitting at the bar who immediately caught his eye. He was pudgy, though nowhere near as big as Julian, a cub to Julian’s bear physique. His closely-trimmed beard framed a handsome face. And his shirt was just tight enough to frame a respectably chubby body that Julian wanted to put his hands all over. And best of all, the sleeve of his shirt had the bear pride flag on it.

“You eying that guy at the bar?” Dave asked.


“Go for it, dude,” Carlos said. “Might as well, before our food comes. Who knows if he’ll still be there when we’re done.”

“True,” Julian chuckled. After finishing what remained of the last slider in one big bite, he sauntered over to the bar, walking slowly enough to give himself time to swallow his food before he opened his mouth. Once he got close, he leaned on the bar and said, “How’s it going?”

The man looked back at Julian with some tiredness in his eyes. Of course, Julian understood; a guy that cute probably got approached by tons of tactless assholes when he went out. So Julian leaned back, putting a more comfortable, but still intimate, distance between the two. “I couldn’t help but notice the flag on your sleeve and, well…” he stalled, feigning a bashful chuckle in the hopes of not coming off as overbearing. “Wanted to know if I could buy you a drink. Or maybe an appetizer, if you prefer.”

The man looked down and smiled a bit. “That’s quite kind of you to offer, but… you’re really not my type.”

“Oh, gotcha. Well, I hope you meet a nice chaser soon.”

Julian didn’t expect the man to react with such a hearty chuckle. He was even more surprised when he said, “I like guys bigger than you, you dingus.”

“Oh…” Julian replied, before he turned to walk back to the table. I guess some guys are only into superchubs, he thought.

“Any luck?” Rod asked.

“Nah. Said I wasn’t his type.”

“Aw, man,” Carlos sympathized, parting Julian’s shoulder. “Ah, just in time,” he exclaimed, as the waitress came with the remaining food items. “Forget about him. Let’s enjoy our food.”

The waitress smiled as she put the food down, while raising her eyebrows as she cleared away Julian’s plates. “Well I’ll be, you really finished all that before the burger came out.”

“Are you that surprised?” Julian chuckled.

“I mean, yeah,” she said. “But I guess you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.”

Her comment left Julian perplexed, until he saw the burger and all other thoughts left his brain. Only one thought occupied his mind: eat.

Julian picked up the thick burger and opened his mouth wide for a bite. It was hard to fit it from top to bottom, but he managed to squeeze it in enough to chomp through it. After letting out an audible “Mmm,” he chewed and enjoyed all the flavors mixing together. After swallowing, he took another bite, eagerly enjoying his entrée.

“That good, huh, Julian?” Rod asked.

“Mmhm,” he mumbled through a full mouth. It didn’t take much longer for Julian to finish the burger, for it was so delicious that he could barely stop to savor it. As the others nibbled on their plates, keeping the conversation going among themselves, Julian wolfed down his meal, until he announced that he’d finished it with a modest burp. “Excuse me,” he said, giving his blubbery belly a few pats before he started nibbling on the fries.

“Damn, you really must have been hungry,” Andrew said.

“I mean, I didn’t get to this size because of a small appetite,” Julian chuckled.

“Yeah, in spite of it,” Carlos said with a smirk.

Before Julian could ask what he meant, Dave chimed in, “It’s just not fair. It feels like if I have one slice of cake or something, I gain five pounds. Julian here eats like a starving whale, and he doesn’t seem to gain an ounce.”

“Hey, go easy on him,” Rod implored. “It’s not his fault he has such a fast metabolism.”

“Wait… are you guys being serious?” Jualian asked.

“Ah, don’t take it personally,” Rod said as he patted Julian on the shoulder. “Their jealousy is their problem, not yours.”

Rod’s comment coaxed a laugh out of all the other men at the table, all except Julian. “Wait, what are you guys talking about? I… I am fat. You’ve never danced around it like this.”

“Aw, come on, man,” Andrew said. “I know it can be hard to be confident with all the bodybuilders and underwear models out there, but that’s not a realistic standard anyway. You might not be jacked, but you’re nowhere near fat.”

“Ye–yes I am. I’m over 360 pounds.”

All at once, the other guys at the table laughed loudly enough to draw some stares from the other diners around them. “Come on, man,” Carlos snickered. “You don’t look even half that.”

“You need to fix your scale, dude,” Dave concurred.

Julian didn’t bother to try any more to correct his friends. Maybe they were playing some kind of joke on him. But between the waitress’s comment, and the guy at the bar, he felt like he was starting to lose it. With his head spinning, he took out his phone and went into his photos, looking for a belly pic he hadn’t posted before. He quickly found a recent one and posted it to Growr, captioning it, “Do I look fat?” He felt too light-headed to come up with a subtler way to ask the question.

Julian stayed quiet as his friends kept talking, refreshing the page as the comments came in. They only left him more confused:

“Everyone has to start somewhere. Keep eating.”
“Is that a trick question?”
“Of course! That’s why I’m a patron!”
“You’ve got potential.”
“Do you want an honest answer?”
“Not sure what everyone’s talking about. You look huge! Looking forward to your next video!”
“You’d barely qualify as gay fat.”
“You’ve got a dad bod if that dad was a fitness freak.”
“Eat some burgers and one day you will be.”
‘Dream big and get even bigger.”
“Did you used to be fat? Or maybe I followed you by accident.”
“Is this some kind of cruel joke because y’all don’t like him having a Patreon? Take your jealousy somewhere else, or sign up like I did.”
“Hate to repeat what everyone else has said, but not yet.”

Julian felt like the mixed-to-negative answers were worse than a string of “No”s. At least that would have been consistent with everything that happened before. He couldn’t stop reading the comments over and over, the words echoing in his head. He could barely hear one of his friends say, “Hey Julian, you okay?” over the cacophony, growing louder as the world around him grew darker.

Julian’s eyes opened to dim light all around him. He stared above at a featureless ceiling, the kind with tiles suspended in a framework that he was used to seeing in offices. As he squirmed around, he could feel a cloth sheet on top of him. Was he in bed? No, he slept with a comforter, not a sheet. As he moved, he could feel some kind of resistance, something pulling against the mattress.

“Oh good, you’re awake.”

Jerking his head up at the voice, Julian could see that he was in a hospital bed. The resistance was coming from wires attached to him at various points, and the voice came from a nurse sitting by the foot of his bed.

“Am I in the hospital?”

“That you are, dude,” Julian heard a familiar voice answer. Looking to the left, he saw Rod and Carlos sitting next to him, their faces bearing expressions of relief. “Here, you dropped this,” Rod said, leaning over to pass Julian his phone. “Good thing you have it in a case.”

“Thanks,” Julian replied in a tone halfway between a sigh and a chuckle. After freezing for a moment, he asked, “Did you see what was on the screen?”

“Nah, man,” Rod assured him. “I’m not going to invade your privacy like that.”

Julian quietly exhaled in relief, before putting his phone down on the table next to him. “So, why am I here?”

“You fainted,” the nurse said. “Your friends were worried about whether you’d hurt yourself in the fall, or had any conditions they didn’t know about that caused it. We’ve run some tests, and everything looks good. You should be able to leave by morning, but you should get some rest while you’re here.”

“Well, I’ll need a CPAP machine to do that,” Julian groaned as he rubbed his eyes.

“Oh, you have sleep apnea?” the nurse asked.

“I figured you could just look at me and tell.”

“I don’t know about that… although with how you were snoring… I’ll go get a machine,” she said, before walking out into the hallway. With a sigh, Julian let his head fall back against the pillow.

“You gonna be okay?” Carlos asked.

“If everything came back fine, then probably,” Julian said, shrugging his shoulders as much as he could while lying down.

“Maybe you just had too much to eat. Food coma or something,” Rod guessed.

“That was nothing,” Julian said, a bit louder this time. “I eat like that all the time.”

“Alright, alright, I believe you,” Rod replied.

The three sat in silence until the nurse returned, carrying a CPAP machine that she started setting up behind Julian. “Do you, by any chance, know your calibration numbers offhand?”

“Well… are we at St. Anne’s General?”

“Yes sir, we are.”

“My titration was done here, so maybe the numbers are on file somewhere.”

“Let me contact the sleep department,” the nurse said, writing a quick message on her phone before she resumed setting up the machine. It didn’t take much longer to set up, nor did it take long for the sleep department to get back to her. Upon looking at her phone, her eyebrows rose.

“What’s up?” Julian asked.

“Oh, nothing,” the nurse chuckled nervously.

“What is it? Something wrong with me?” Julian asked, his voice taking on a nervous tone.

“No! Well…”


“I just didn’t expect your titration numbers to be so high.”

After untensing his shoulders, Julian said, “Yeah, my apnea’s pretty bad. Kinda comes with the territory.”

“What territory?”

Julian opened his mouth to answer, before remembering what happened at the pub earlier that night. “Never mind.”

As the nurse had predicted, Julian was able to leave Sunday morning. Luckily for him, street parking was free on Sundays, so he didn’t have to worry about his car getting towed. Rod came by to give him a ride back in the morning. Once he got back to his car, he headed right back home. After the night he’d had, he wasn’t looking for excitement that morning.

Julian headed to his bathroom first, where he stepped on his scale. 365.8 pounds. In spite of what Dave has said about his scale, he didn’t doubt that number. Yet he still couldn’t explain why everyone around him seemed to doubt he was really that heavy.

Julian remembered the movie he had to edit. It seemed like a fruitless venture if no one would see him as the fatty he was. At least, until he remembered that his patrons seemed to be the only ones who could still see how fat he was.

Wanting to test if that was still the case, Julian walked up to his full-length bedroom mirror and lifted up his shirt. Taking out his phone, he arched his back to round out his belly even more, and took a selfie. He posted it to Patreon, captioning it, “Something quick before I start the day. Good morning.”

The replied soon came in, exactly as he expected them:

“So fat!”
“What a wonderful belly.”
“I hope I’m this big one day.”
“Hope you spend it filling that giant gut!”

Julian slid his phone in his pocket. Normally, such comments would have put a smile on his face. But that morning, they only added to his confusion. With a sigh, he lumbered into his bedroom and sat down to edit his new video.

Editing had always been Julian’s least favorite part of making gainer videos, but that day, he felt especially unmotivated to do it. He’d already gotten through watching the footage back, and all he had to do now was splice the best parts together. But something had him feeling like doing anything but that. He couldn’t help but blame whatever was going on with people not noticing his weight. And yet, even though this video was for the one group of people who could see that he was still fat, he had no desire to work on it.

With a sigh Julian opened up Growr, not sure what kind of relief he’d find there. Notifications were still coming in, but he didn’t dare check them. They were probably just more people saying how skinny he was.

Instead, he went to his profile, and opened up his third most recent photo. From before his argument with WideWitch, before people saw him as skinny, before any of this headache started. He scrolled down to read the comments, to remind himself of a time when everyone saw him as huge.

Reading the comments put a wistful smile on Julian’s face. Some had more effort put into them than others, but the clever or well-written ones stood out all the more because of it. As he read through the comments, his free hand hovered to the bottom of his belly, where he absentmindedly squeezed it. After scrolling through the comments on one photo, he switched to the next, and was given even more to read. All of the attention his belly had gotten had him stroking it with his fingers, enjoying the admiration. He was fixated on his weight, and it made him feel great.

Smiling still, Julian felt motivated enough to work on his video again. And so he did, pulling up his editing software and adding another five minutes to the finished product before he took a break. He felt good to finally be getting something done. Almost as good as he felt about being fat, and the admiration of those who followed him on Growr. Yet it wasn’t quite enough to stop his smile from fading as he wondered if he’d ever get that kind of attention from them again.

With a sigh, he pulled up Growr again and wrote a post, this one having no photo or link attached, a rarity for him.

“I know that to a lot of you, I don’t look as big as I used to. It’s weird, because I don’t feel any smaller. But if I look smaller, then I look smaller. That’s not the point. Point is, I appreciate all the comments you’ve left me, the messages you’ve sent me, appreciating my growth and encouraging me to get bigger. I don’t alway respond, though I probably should respond more, but they don’t go unnoticed. Knowing you enjoy my size and my growth is a great motivator. So, thank you. I really appreciate this community.”

After he hit “Post”, Julian sat back and reflected for a moment. When he leaned forward again, he opened the “Latest Photos” page and opened a bunch of pics of good-looking guys in new tabs. He then went through and left a compliment on each one. Some were more simple, like, “Great belly you’ve got there!” Others were longer, praising the composition of the photo or the guy’s pose, whatever Julian found praiseworthy. He stopped after about two dozen, hoping that he’d given those guys some of the same thrill he’d taken for granted when he posted a photo.

By the time Julian had left that many photo comments, he’d built up a good number of notifications himself, likely comments on his latest post. At first, he didn’t want to check them, fearing he’d be accused of fishing for pity or compliments. But he knew the notifications weren’t going anywhere, so he bit the bullet, and opened them. What he saw, he was not expecting:

“What are you talking about? You’re huge!”
“You look planetary, dude.”
“Glad it helps, and it’s definitely made you big!”
“Happy to help, tubbs.”
“Our pleasure, fat boy!”
“There’s a lot to enjoy.”
“The community appreciates you too, big guy.”

Julian has to read and re-read the comments over and over, his mind blank, unable to process what he was reading. How had his situation been reversed so abruptly? How had something so inexplicable resolved itself so suddenly?

He wasn’t ready to believe it that quickly. Wondering what else he could post, he remembered the screengrab of his upcoming video that he’d posted on Patreon. After dragging it out of the recycle bin, he uploaded it to Growr. He felt too flabbergasted by his most recent comments to think of a witty caption, so he merely typed, “Fat?” and hit Post.

His fellow Growr members did not disappoint:

“Boy howdy!”
“And getting fatter.”
“Considering you eat like that, of course you are.”
“You need someone shoving that pizza in you so you can just eat.”
“I bet that couch was creaking.”
“As if you need to ask, tubbs.”

With every comment that came in, Julian felt a hope that he hadn’t let himself feel since he woke up in the hospital. But it still felt as unbelievable as them calling him skinny had felt the night before. Not willing to let his guard down yet, he put on his shirt and bolted out the door.

Once he was outside, Julian looked up and down the sidewalk for someone else whose opinion he could get. He saw a man walking his dog and moving toward Julian. “Excuse me!” he said as he ambled toward the man.

“What’s up?” the man asked.

“Do I look fat to you?”

The man’s face froze as his eyes stayed locked on Julian’s. He was still and silent for several seconds, his dog looking up at him happily and panting. After a pause, he was able to blurt out, “I’m sorry?”

“I know, it’s probably a weird question, but… do I look fat to you?”

“Why would you just… ask a stranger that?”

“Look, man, I had a weird night last night, and I just need a reality check. Let’s just put it that way.”

“Alright, well…” After looking at the ground for a moment, the man looked back to Julian, eyes shifting between his face and his belly. “Since you asked… yes, you do look… fat.”

“Oh thank goodness,” Julian sighed, turning back to his house and leaving the stranger with eyes wide open and mouth hanging agape. The stranger stood in place a few more moments before he kept walking.

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