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We'd all like to be perfect. Especially me. I'm the happy, helpful kind friend people adore. Everyone says I'm beautiful. They tell me I'm gorgeous, amazing, skinny, astounding, and just a generally great person, so why cant I see that. I'm looking into the bathroom mirror right now, my face appears a little more circular then other girls, my shoulders more broad, my boobs much smaller. “I'm a freak of nature.” Tears being welling up in my eyes and fall, over and over again. My make up from school earlier that day runs down my face. My tears fall onto my chest and dries. It hurts, being alive, it hurts. “Look at you! You are worthless!” I punch the glass in front of me, my body too weak to even really make a mark. I curse at the mirror, my hand hurting from hitting it. New tears form in my eyes, the pain in my hand was great. “Bandages, bandages...” I look around and end up at the eight scale. Force of habit.
I begin to wonder if I should do it, if I should curse myself more for being an ugly fat horrid person. Maybe I need this beating from myself, even though it hurts, what doesn't kill me makes me stronger right? But I haven't eaten in two days. “that grape looked really good too...” I sucked in my breath and shook away my fears. A week, thats how long it takes, without food or water, a week. “But I've been drinking water... I think.” I keep staring at the weight scale, its mocking me. Its laughing at me, I could never conquer this. 'I have to try though right?' I take one foot and place it out onto the scale, Numbers begin flying. I take another foot and wait till the needle stops on my indicated weight. My heart flutters like a humming bird. I see the number: 126.
I begin to weep.
“Still not good enough!” I back off the scale and cry, I can't eat again for another night in a row. I'm so hungry though, walking is such a chore, I hate being me.
I pick my naked body up from the floor and walk out. I go into my room and lay down on my bed. Foot steps come from the stairs bringing a smell of delicious mouthwatering food with it. My stomach growls ferociously.
“Sissy! It's dinner time!”
I don't respond, keeping my eyes shut and body covered with the bed sheets. I wait for her to go away 'Please just go away.'
“Sissy! Come on its time to eat.” Nothing. She then goes further up the stairs and checks on me. “Oh, you're asleep.” She walks out and downstairs, I hear whispers of voices coming from the living room, my moms is the loudest.
“Oh, well if she's sleep thats okay. Let her sleep, being in such a vigorous program can wear a person out. She can eat when she get up.” I hear footsteps again up to my room. The lights click off and my door is shut. All is silent in my small room. Tears fall down my face for at least the fourth time today. My throat burns from throwing up just a half an hour earlier.
I saw nothing in it, nothing. Soon, Ill be throwing up my guts. I roll over to my my back and spread out my arms and legs. Reaching downward I pick up my underwear and bra and put it back on, sleeping in the nude doesn't really work with me. I lay back down and sigh. My tears stopped and my stomach has subsided. Time for bed before it starts up again. I shut my eyes and think.
Sometimes, as I lay in bed, I like to think of myself as dead, dying away, riding the world of this weight . Maybe then, I'll be happy.
Beep Beep Beep Beep
I roll around in bed, the sounds of the clock go off over and over again. I prop myself up from my comfy position, a wave of cold air from the window and fan attack me all at once. Shivering from the cold I race to the alarm clock to shut it off. The beeping ceases as the cold does. There's silence in my lonely dank room; I don't like silence, it give mes time to think. I quickly huddle back under the warmth of my stitched up blanket and force myself into another restless sleep.
“Shelly!” A voice calls from a short distance.
“Come on its 5:30 you need to get ready for school.” I open my eyes and look at the clock. Sure enough it says 5:30. I sigh and rise once again out of my cocoon of comfort. “Hurry and take your shower, I'm gonna get ready and head out.” my head shakes sleepily in an odd direction, but its enough to get my brother out of my face for the time. I lay back down. Thoughts race through my head about the previous night's events, the destruction of myself.
'Wait, no, don't think that way! I'm doing this so, I can... be... beautiful. Its justifiable! And besides I can stop whenever I want.' I roll to my side, the door out of my view now, more thoughts race through my scrambled brain. 'AGH!' I inwardly scream. It's time to push the thoughts out of my head, so I force myself straight up, kind of hurting my back in the process, and get out of my ever so tempting bed. I leave to take my shower, ignoring everything that laughs at me as I walk by. It's just like I do in school, as all the beautiful people laugh... and laugh … and laugh.
6:15, I'm still waiting at the bus stop for my driver, who is late as always. I begin singing little tunes to keep my fears of being out alone in the darkness of a winter morning away. “I told another lie today.. and I got through the day, no one saw through my games...” I continue to sing the heartbreaking song, the song that tears me down and builds me back up all at once, in more ways than it intended. Why does she name it 'Courage'? I only get the courage to throw up more when I hear it. I curse the song but sing it again, its like my anthem. No one knows that though because I'm good at hiding.
On the outside I just look like a girl, tone deaf, singing a ridiculously depressing song early in the morning. On the inside, I'm weeping, because this song holds so many truths for me, truths none of my friends can know about even though they many silently speculate. On the outside my static face and smile blocks out the sadness thats so noticeable in all the other teens around me. But then again what do I know. Maybe they are dying, just like me.
In neck breaking speed I stop the song and look over to the other street corner. My bus has finally come.
Acting the part of the friend who is just fine is very tiring on my body. But to save face and keep my friends from worrying it's worth it.
“Hannah!” Dean calls to my friend walking by me. She smiles a big beautiful ray of sunlight onto all those around her. She is one of the beautiful people I envy, but unlike them I know she not mocking me. She will always be there for me and has already seen me through thick and thin. I promised I'd never hurt myself again, I can't let her know of this destructive force brewing inside me now. It's not fair.
Dean smiles back and so do the others, I say nothing and kind of just watch. They didn't forget me, thats not it, they'd never do that. They just haven't gotten to me. Dean takes his eyes from the beauty next to me and places his orbs on me. “Shell!” I smile a very forced one and respond in my very goofy way.
“Dean-a-bean!” ugh, that talk disgusts me, what am I? Four? I still keep face and continue with my childish antics. This is how I'm known, playful and lively, anything below or a little bit more is not acceptable. They like me this way, even though I don't like myself this way. This person I'm playing is a lie, well for the most part. At least when I'm this way I feel slightly more normal, but I digress.
After my little act for a couple of minutes I let my friends know of where to find me and take off to my first class of the day. 'It's so suffocating down there.' What I didn't get was that its even worse alone, without friends, looking at the beauties that surround me. Those who created the beast that kills me each morning and each night. I groan and try not to look, the ground would be a lot more comforting in this situation. Yet I can't bring myself the rip my eyes away from the fantastic bodies around me. I want to be them, they are so beautiful, its just not fair. All of them around me: size threes, twos, zeros. I feel like I'm going to puke, but what would come up? I ate nothing this morning, it'd just be my insides.
I try to hurry to my class, thinking of any song that could possibly clear my mind. 'The lights go out all around me, one last candle to keep out the night..' I continue on with the song till my body reaches the government room. From the outside, I look fine, I'm not breaking a sweat and my stride to the room was as smooth as fresh Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream. My clothes are still all intact, and they clingy to me in a very fitting way. I look just fine. On the inside though, I'm dying, I truly am dying, even as I take long steps into the government room and reach my seat my mind is out there. I still see all the pretty people, not to mention there are so many persons who are amazing that are in my class. On the inside, I feel trapped. I move back to the door and torture myself more, watching beautiful people as they pass by.
“Hey Shell, can you move please?” I look behind me and see Nate Washington. His spiky little blond hairs and short composure always gives me the feeling over being around a younger brother of sorts, I can deal with younger brothers. I move and apologize as he enters the hallway. I stay there for a while and just watch as people pass through. Some stop to speak with me, some ignore me all together or shove me accidentally. Dean eventually comes by with Walter a little farther behind. Walter is carrying Rita's gym bag, I inwardly sigh. This is where I stop him and give the bag back to Rita.
“Walter! Why do you always do this to her.” I walk over to him and begin to reach out for the bag. Walter treats Rita like shes his older sister and steals her things, thats jut how things work.
“Hey, no! I'll give it back to her at lunch.” He begins to walk away from me, I continue on, feeling slightly weaker then normal.
“Why don't you just give it back to her now?” I bark back in a playful way. It's always like this between us. He does something dumb so I scold him. He'll listen for a bit but not for long, usually three minutes later hes doing another really dumb thing again.
I chase after him and then suddenly theres a rush of wind in my face. I feel like my body is floating on air. I'm weightless, I'm flying. I'm down. THUMP! 'Oh God' I've fallen in the middle of school. Flat on my face. My life is officially over. I try to push myself back up but I can't. In fact I begin to hear people around me, I'm rolled over to my back. I can still see everyone and everything around me. The blinding neon lights above that I hate, the plain cream colored ceiling above us, people crowding me like I'm some museum exhibit. It's all very nauseating.
I try again to move, but nothing in my body is listening. Oddly though I don't feel panic. I can still blink a little and I can generally hear everything, sort of. I inwardly sigh, I'm getting sleepy.
“Michelle! Michelle are you alright? Can you hear me?” People all around me are speaking I feel like responding but my lips won't move. 'Barely' I think sarcastically.
“Stop screaming at her! You're making it worse.”
'You're not much help either scream yourself.' Another sarcastic comment from the one who cannot speak.
“Shut up, no I'm not! Shes my best friend!” Walter barks back angrily. I kind of ignore the scream. I begin to feel blood trickling from my mouth, rolling off my cheek. Ouch. Inside my mouth is where the blood is coming from, my tooth probably got knock out. Great. 'I'm so tired.' my eyes begin to shut and I see darkness. The sounds around me slowly fade until they all disappear. I'm swept into unconscious.
I've been sitting in darkness for a while, well from what I remember. Up from a distance though is a light and a tunnel. I go towards it, gliding like a ghost. It becomes brighter and brighter. I'm blinded. Suddenly, voices.
“She's in a coma, her body was shutting down from her lack of food intake. She's dying as we speak.” I replay his words over and over in my head. They can't be true! I know they jut can't be!
'How could it be? Its only been three days!' I hear my mother crying but I don't see her. I begin thinking about what the man said.
'Mom? Mom!' My mouth isn't moving, the words aren't coming out, I try to open my eyes. No such luck.
“How could this happen, she was always so lively and looked well! How Jean? How could this have happened?” She continues to cry, but it gets muffled, shes probably crying into my father's shirt. I have no idea if he's crying. He's probably angry.
“How long?” He asks in a shaky voice.
“She will never recover. She'll have a couple of hours if she stays on life support. If not she will die in a matter of minutes.” My breathing becomes harsh, but they don't seem to notice. I'm going to die, I'm doing to die, I'm going to die. I can't get the thought out of my brain. I don't want to die, I mean I did but now I don't!
I begin to cry inwardly, screaming. 'No! I'm alive, Mommy! Daddy, Please I'm not going to die!' I hear my dad crying, not as loudly as my mother but loud enough to hear. There is no speaking, only tears for just a moment.
“Take her off.”
'NO! Daddy please! No! I still have so much to do! So much to live for! I still want to be beautiful!'
I hear footsteps out of the room and ones towards me. My mothers weeping grows softer as it fades. Suddenly its gone. Everything is gone.
Am I dead?
I shoot up, gasping for air that I fear was taken from me. I glance at my arms and see wires hooked up to me all over, next to me is a tube that seem to of fallen from my mouth. I stare at it. They've been feeding me. I look around me. I see all of my friends occupying a lot of the chairs, most of them sleeping. Hannah and Walter are awake though whispering to each other. I look right in front of me, I can see my reflection. I look unhealthy, sunken cheeks with a very thin and snap-able neck. Tears fall from my face, I begin crying softly and then a bit louder. Walter and Hannah rush to my side astounded that I'm awake.
“Shelly! You're awake! I was so worried, we all were so worried.” Hannah lamented. I look into her eyes, I was afraid that I'd find the look of one who's been betrayed but I don't. There is only worry, concern and love. I'm relieved. Walter forced me into a hug, my shoulder begins to get wet. He's crying.
“Shelly, I'm so sorry I pushed you that far, please will you ever forgive me?” I wa confused, then my memories of what happened before all this flooded my mind. I rubbed his back and hugged him.
“Its alright, it's not your fault at all.” He lets go, tears brimmed his eyes. I started looking around for my mom and dad, surprised they aren't here.
“Where are my parents?” I asked.
“They went to buy you a Brisk, for when you woke up.” Just then we hear a click on the door knob. It opens, I see my family walk in. Mom looks over to me in completely shock.
“Oh, my god Jean shes awake!” My mother drops the drink and rushes over to my side. She says nothing, and just stares into my face. My tears start up again, which shocks me. One would think I'd be completely dry from all my previous crying. Mom starts crying too.
“Mom, I'm sorry, I-” she cuts me off and hugs me like a if I was going to go somewhere. I hugged her back just the same.
“It's okay honey, its alright. I'm sorry. We'll get you into counseling and you'll get through this. We'll get through this. I promise.” I didn't respond, but just nodded into her chest. She let me go, by this time everyone was awake and crowding me.
I looked around at everyone and smiled. “I am beautiful, because you all make me beautiful.” Hannah shook her head. I looked confused.
“No. You are beautiful because you are you.”
I smiled again. At that moment I knew, it was time.
I truly am, beautiful.