I have a lot of friends. A lot. Not just online friends, either. I’d estimate that there are 60 people who come by my house at least every week and say hi. I’m popular, but I’m not totally happy. That’s because, even though I know I ought to be flattered and validated by the attention, I can’t shake the nagging suspicion that people are only visiting me for the 2,000-pound pumpkin growing in my backyard.
It’s a totally paranoid thought, I know. But I can never totally put it out of my mind. When people I haven’t seen since college show up asking to hang out, I always wonder if it’s at least partly motivated by the massive pumpkin I own. When they write nice things on my Facebook wall or leave nice messages on my phone, again I sometimes think: Would they be so nice if I didn’t have that giant pumpkin?
Five or six distant cousins visited me yesterday. We had practically nothing to say to each other, so it wasn’t long before the conversation turned to the pumpkin. How big was it now? Could they go look at it again? Could they touch it again? They didn’t even wait for me to answer before they made for the back door.
…I sometimes think: Would they be so nice if I didn’t have that giant pumpkin?
The pumpkin, in fairness, is exceptional. A deep, vital orange, it swells gloriously with each passing day. From time to time, though, I worry that it’s the only thing anyone remembers about me.
Little things bother me too. It’s the people talking on the phone who I can overhear saying they’re with “the pumpkin girl.” It’s my guests taking selfies with the pumpkin instead of ever with me. It’s the way, every time I ask if I can come to someone else’s house for a change, they say, “Sure, and make sure you bring that 2,000-pound pumpkin.”
But I can’t bring the 2,000-pound pumpkin. It’s too heavy.
I realize how insecure this all sounds. I should cherish my friends. I should be happy that my pumpkin stands a real chance of setting the world pumpkin weight record. Some nights, though, the anxiety keeps me up. Some nights, I wish that the pumpkin never existed. Some nights, unable to sleep, I’ll wish that I was the pumpkin, and the pumpkin was me, and I’ll just lie there in bed for hours, working out the logistics of such a world.