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Darkness surrounded the room, engulfing all of the once innocent substances with its shadowy grip, the objects enclosed did not even dare to even move a mere centimeter. The curtains were drawn closed, tightly sealed off from the rest of the world with a tight knotted rope. The sunlight from the outside world did not pierce the shadows, its warm, comforting glow stayed outdoors, brightening up the creatures of the world of the living.
A figure stirred in the bed of the room, tossing and turning in a fit of restlessness. Snow white, elegant hands gripped the comforters in sheer terror, choking the microscopic fibers that made up the shield. Hair poked out from underneath the fabric barrier, its color a dull, unflattering shade of brown. The owner tossed her head back down on her pillow, turning to her side.
A rumble could be heard from underneath her blankets. Her eyes opened wide in a frantic panic, her tired, weak body sitting straight up within her constraints. Why this sensation was anything new to her, she didn’t understand. She had been feeling this same exact urge every single day since she started destroying herself about ten years ago.
She was hungry.
Groaning, she swung her heavy legs over the side of the bed, and planted her feet firmly on the floor. The woman walked over to the full length mirror that was adjacent to her own prison; she let her lifeless eyes wander about her body, taking in every single little flaw that she could possible think of this early in the morning.
My thighs are too big. Ugh, I really hate my arms. She lifted up her shirt, revealing a too thin frame. Was my stomach really that big yesterday? Her hipbones poked out; her lean, bony fingers made their way to her sides, running over the protruding fragments. Her hands smoothed down on her flattened stomach, the sensation making her wince. Are you kidding me? I thought that my stomach was flatter than this...
Spinning on her heel, she abruptly turned away from the ugly truth. The brunette walked down the stairs, into the cold, barely visited kitchen. Her heavy feet dragged her over to her coffee pot, to which she flipped on. Her eyes scanned the table; books ranging from varying topics sprawled out, covers torn off, brochures from various ‘rehab centers’ faced every which way, telling her what she already knew.
The strong, bitter aroma reached her nostrils, making her smile. Black coffee had become her safe haven; coffee doesn’t have a nagging mouth, so coffee can’t force you to eat. Coffee can’t force you to count your calories. Coffee doesn’t ask you the same annoying question, “How does that make you feel?” over and over again, making you want to blow your brains out.
“How do you think that makes me feel?” She spat, opening the cabinet that was right above her reach. Her fingers traced multiple mugs, but after lazily fumbling one, she carefully placed it onto the counter, making sure that it didn’t shatter. The coffee burner steamed, begging to be used. She complied, graciously grabbing the pot, and pouring her jet black, liquid beverage into its waiting chamber.
Warmth flashed over her hands; the muscles in her mouth stretching into a satisfied smile. How long this feeling would last, she didn’t know. But, as she was told many times in that wretched prison, it was ‘better to live in the moment than to not live at all’. The brunette scoffed, bringing the mug to her lips.
One eight ounce cup of coffee has about two and a half calories.
The black liquid burned her throat, but her mind didn’t care. She wanted to feel pain; that was the only thing that her body could actually process. Pain, sorrow, agony. All of these sick, twisted emotions spun around in her mind like a rollercoaster, the operator trying to fix a broken switch. The woman kept chugging the fiery drink, her throat begging for relief.
You don’t get relief. You want relief, go run for five miles, burn more than a thousand calories in a day. You’ve been slacking lately. You make me sick.
She slammed the mug on the counter; the noise echoed throughout the entire surrounding vicinity. She walked away from the counter, her palms and entire frame shaking. Pull yourself together! She mentally scolded herself, her white knuckles gripping the stainless steel. You have to calm down. Stop second guessing yourself. You can do this.
Cameron walked down the stone cobbled path, his heart beating in anticipation and anxiety. How would she react to him today? Roxanne’s therapist had met with him the previous day, giving him specific instructions.
“So, how is she doing?”
Cameron glanced up at Dr. Edwards, his icy eyes piercing his own panicking spheres. The blond shifted his weight on the cricketing old chair; the younger man crossed his legs in front of him. He rubbed the back of his neck, nervously. “Well, what do you want me to say?”
Dr. Edwards wrinkled his brow. “You don’t know how she’s doing?” The older man tapped his green pen on the clipboard that he balanced on his knee. “Or you just don’t know what to say? Because not knowing about a patient and not wanting to talk about her are two totally different matters entirely, Mr. Phillips.”
Cameron could feel his skin breaking out in a bead of nervous sweat. “I know what’s going on with her,” He finally started, barely whispering. “I guess I just don’t want to admit what’s actually happening.”
“That’s fairly common.” Dr. Edwards confirmed, scribbling down notes as they continued their discussion. “It’s alright if you don’t want to tell me now. But just now this: You will have to tell me eventually about her progress if we are to ever to ‘cure’ her.”
“You say ‘cure’ as if it’s not obtainable.” Cameron commented. Dr. Edward’s arched a thin brow. Cameron threw his hands up defense. “Look, I just want to know what to do. You wanna know what’s going on? She’s not eating, for one. She’s an exercise and laxative junkie, and I’m so sick and tired of her counting calories!”
“She’s still counting calories?” The doctor ran his fingers through his jet black hair. “What’s the most recent thing that she’s kept record of?”
“I do believe it was this morning.” The brown eyed blond tapped his index finger on his chin, pondering for a moment. “Yeah, now I remember. I stayed the night, so I offered to make her breakfast. Something small and proportional, like you had suggested to me. So I made her a bowl of cinnamon oatmeal, an apple, and a small cup of black coffee. When she came down the stairs, she just stared at the meal like it was a Thanksgiving buffet. She didn’t know what to do with herself!”
“Then what did she do?” Dr. Edward’s prodded, urging him to continue on. “Did she freak out?”
“That’s the weird part,” Cameron continued, leaning forward. “She just looked at it. It was as if she was taking it all in, like she’d never get to look at it again. After about ten minutes over staring at me, she grabbed the apple and her coffee, and went into the living room, and she just sat there, lifeless. I heard her mumbling something about 85 calories.”
“So she’s wrecked her food journal?”
“I haven’t seen it around.”
“Well, that’s one bit of good news. I think this is what we’re going to do,” Dr. Edward’s leaned back in his chair. “Broach the subject of going to a treatment facility to her. If she refuses, don’t panic. And remember, do not get angry. People that are suffering from eating disorders seem to think that they know what’s best for their bodies. All you simply need to do if she gets agitated is calmly walk away, call my personal cell phone, and I will arrange for someone to pick her up within the hour.”
“And...this facility....is it--”
“Roosemore is completely safe. The doctors there have modern day approaches as to dealing with this sensitive topic. If you ever need to contact them, they are open twenty four hours a day, and they have an emergency hotline in case you get extremely worried.” The black haired doctor noticed his worried demineer. He extended his arm out, placing a supportive hand on his knee. “I understand what you’re going through. I know this is a tough time in her life, but we will get her through it. I just need you to be there for her when she finally hits rock bottom.”
“You mean she hasn’t yet?” Cameron asked.
“Not quite,” Dr. Edward’s told him. “Just promise me that you’ll be there for her.”
“I always will be. No matter what.”
‘Well, it’s now or never...’ Cameron’s shaky legs made their way to the front steps. His quivering hands reached for the doorbell. “Please, God. Let her be cooperative. Let her see that she’s destroying herself.”
Roxanne groaned, picking her heavy head up from the toilet. She reached her too slender arm up to the handle, the contaminated water splashing her face. Who was visiting her now? Not only that, but how was she going to hide this from her new visitor? How would they react to her sitting on her bathroom floor, puking up all of her suppressed feelings and memories that she just wanted to forget.
A voice floated in from the hallway, making its way into her eardrum. The noise vibrated in her brain, and it took her a little while to register who was calling to her. Cameron’s husky voice called out to her again, acting like a life vest in the sea of her unwanted demise. She just desperately wanted for him to hold her in his strong arms, to stroke her hair, just to tell her that she was going to be okay. That everything that she was doing was completely normal. That one day, one day, she will look in the mirror and say, ‘Hey, Roxanne. You look beautiful today.’
One freaking day.
Anorexia is sort of like that one friend that you really don’t want to be around you. They keep telling you little things, whispering nonsense in your ear, until you finally snap. But, on the other hand, anorexia can be that best friend that is always their for you. They comfort you, they tell you that you look good. It makes you feel like you can actually go and face the world with how you’re currently feeling.
Oh, but there are cons.
On the other hand, Roxanne figured out, anorexia is like that one coach or parent that keeps telling you that you’ll ever be good enough. Bout after bout, blow after blow, picking and poking at you until what? You become completely hollow. There’s nothing for them to scrape at anymore. What are they picking at? Endless abyss. So what do you do? You sit there, thinking of what else could be wrong with you. Every single day of your life, you sit there, alone, analyzing every little thing you put into your mouth. Will this set them off? Am I skinny enough?
Will I just give up now?
“Roxanne!” The voice burst through the door, making the girl jump back. “I’ve been shouting for you for ten minutes!”
Roxanne lazily craned her neck so that she could see her boyfriend at an angle. “And?”
“And?” Cameron’s face flushed red with anger. “What have you been doing in here? God, it smells like something died!”
“What do you think I’ve been doing in here?” She snapped back, sitting up completely straight. “What do you think I do with my life? I wake up, completely depressed, I drink coffee and pop pills until I can feel nothing at all. I think I down more laxatives than I ever have food. I sit in the bathroom and wait and pray for the courage to stick my finger in my mouth, to make it all come back up.” She stared at him, and she sarcastically smiled. “How does that make you feel?”
Cameron took a step back. “How does that make me feel? How does that make me feel? It doesn’t matter how I feel!” He leaned back against the wall. “How does that make you feel?”
Roxanne stood slowly, not wanting to upset her body even more. “Me? I put my body through hell every single day for the last ten years. I’ve been doing this since I was thirteen, Cameron.” Roxanne inhaled deeply. “How am I supposed to feel?”
“I don’t think I have the ability to answer that,” Cameron said, propping himself up on the counter. “Do you even want any help?”
“You don’t think that I’ve been trying for years? I’ve been trying to go to therapy, and--”
“But you haven’t,” Cameron interrupted, clearly annoyed. “You stopped going to therapy sessions last week,”
“Can I finish?” Cameron shrugged. “I want to get help,”
“What if I told you that I could get you the help that you wanted?”
Roxanne arched her eyebrow. “You’re not talking about Roosemore.”
“It’s the only place, Rox.”
“Did Dr. Edward’s shove this down your throat?”
“I didn’t say that.”
“But you implied it,” Roxanne said. She paused for a moment.
“Please, Roxanne? For me? For us?”
Roxanne bit her lip, hard. She could taste the metallic taste of red blood spurting into her mouth. “I...I’ll go. I’m not doing it for me, I’ll do it for...us.”
Cameron jumped down from the counter. He wrapped his arms around her. “That’s my girl. I’ll always be here for you. You’re not alone.” He leaned down, pressing his lips firmly against hers. “I love you.”
“I love you too, you big idiot.”