Story of one girl who fails to see her for what she really is
I wake up in intense pain. My physical body was aching with unbelievable sensation that it had almost rotten away during the few hours of the night. My eyes stuck together momentarily as I awaken, the dry tears from the previous night stung. I lifted my heavy head and body out of bed and dragged myself towards the dresser. I couldn’t think of anything worse than going to school that day, but I had to push myself. The extra steps are exactly what will get me back on track.
I rummage through my clothing trying to find something, anything, that will suit my horrible figure. I picked up a bra to match the singlet in my other hand – size 8B. Disgusting, I thought as I threw it back. A crop top was the next piece I picked up, I held it in front of myself as I look in the mirror. I thought about it for a second, it doesn’t look too bad. I adjusted it around my breasts but screamed as I threw it at the wall and turned back to the mirror. Why are you so ugly? I asked myself, if you were thin there wouldn’t be as big of a problem here.
Ripping my attention away from the mirror I headed to my dresser and grabbed my diary. Pulling out the bed from within it I started to write down my daily dosage.
Tuesday, 3rd March.
1 piece of rye biscuit
I had lost her lunch time privilege after last night’s binge from the takeaway shop downtown that I managed to sneak into the house. With shaky hands I threw the diary back into the draw and slammed it shut sending the bed side land wobbling. I stare back at the mirror. To hell with you, I thought. I threw on yesterdays tracksuit pants from the floor and dug into the bottom dresser only to find an old size 14 Nirvana shirt. Perfect. I slide it over my head and let it hang past my thighs, I use the hair tie from around my wrist to ball up the shirt to sit around my waist. I put my hair up, slipped on a hat and took off down the hallway – my mother was already up and seemed to be waiting in the kitchen. She looked at me with red, worried eyes. She lifted her mug and drank from her bitter coffee.
“Morning, Felix.” She said.
“Morning Mum.” I replied. I stand at the end of the hallway frozen while I stare at my mother, pondering my next move as if playing a crucial game of chess with the devil.
“Having something to eat?” She asked with a mild timid tone to her voice, “I’m making toast.”
I had to resist the smell of cooking bread and honey that I used to love, “No thanks,”
“Darling – “She started but was quickly interrupted.
“I’m all good, Mum, better head off.” I grabbed my back that was sitting on the kitchen seat from the day before and headed for the door. I hadn’t barely moved before she spoke up.
“Wait,” Mum called. “What’s in your bag?”
I acted dumb. “What do you mean?”
“You know what I mean.” She said, I paused so she continued. “Give me the journal.”
“I don’t have it.”
“Where is it?” She demanded.
“It’s in my room. I don’t need it anymore.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“Mum!” I gasped.
“Well! What do you expect from me! Look at yourself, Felix. It’s a wonder how the wind doesn’t blow you away each day.”
She turned away to sip her coffee but really, she was just avoiding eye contact. I held my powerful glare. After a moment of silence, I turned to the door.
“What?” I snapped.
Mum didn’t respond instantly as she was trying to find the right words. It was hard for her, but she managed.
“Just eat something more that air for God’s sake.”
I looked at her, gripped my lips together and left.
School was hard, it always was. Everyone was staring but no one payed attention. Crazy to think how may kids I pass through these hallways and none of them have reactions to the other students. Amusing in a way. First class was Physical Education, the perfect opportunity to burn off those extra calories I didn’t need. The bell rang and I headed for the gym. I was soon joined by Aaron and Jane who join me in almost all my classes. We are friends, I guess, of some sort.
“Did you hear?” Jane was always good at updating the two of them on the last gossip. “Chad got pulled over Friday night!”
“What? Really?” Aaron seemed mildly interested, but the constant talk of who did what and what happened when had eventually worn off the spark of more gossip. But we seemed to listen anyway.
“Yeah! At first it was a random breath test, but the cop saw his dad’s beer can in the centre console that had a bit left in it from the day before and he gone done!”
“Jesus! Poor fella.”
“Yeah.” I only agreed out of social politeness, I didn’t really care all that much. I wasn’t entirely sure who Chad was. Thankfully though, they had reached the gym.
“Felix,” It was Aaron talking this time, he doesn’t usually talk that much, “Are you alright? You’re looking pretty pale.”
“I feel fine.” I replied. Physically I was okay, overweight but okay, mentally not so much.
“You let us know if you aren’t.” Jane assured. I replied with a simple nod.
The usual gym class warm up was two laps around the court to get us started, then we get to the fun part like weights and sprints. I could never run as fast as everyone else, even though I trained almost every day. I figure it wasn’t good enough to reach the standards of the others. Even Aaron was half a lap ahead of me. You’re a disappointment to exercise, Felix.
After the warm-up, the teacher started on the instructions. “So, we’re going to try something else out boys and girls. I was thinking we could find out each other BMI’s, then you can incorporate that into you oncoming assignment, yeah?”
Several of the students agreed with mumbles and nods of the head.
“Right that settles it, you got your books? Each take turns weighting yourselves, make sure to write that down, and we will go onto the rest when you are done. I’ll be right back.” He emerged himself into the sports equipment room to, what Felix assumed, to find the scales. The other students had managed to find a netball and were passing it around in a big circle to pass the time. Shortly the teacher came out with the scales and tested them out on himself. I couldn’t see what his said, but he waved to one of the students in front of us to start and they did. One by one the students weighed themselves, taking a minute or two to get the outdated scales to work properly. Soon enough there were several groups of students who had already weighed themselves passing balls to each other as they wait, and the remaining students were only Felix, Aaron and Jane.
Jane went first, the scales must have glitched out because she stepped off and tapped her foot on it a couple times before stepping back on. I stepped an inch closer to see her weight out of curiosity. 110 pounds, it read.
“Huh, I was like 113 the other day. Lost a couple.” She said casually a she stepped off and welcomed Aaron onto the scales whom it worked perfectly fine for. Both Jane and I watched the numbers gallop up and down before deciding.
“119.5. Nice.” He jumped off making from for me. I was nervous. I hadn’t weighed myself in at least a week which was incredibly odd given my current condition, but I was convinced Mum had hidden or even thrown away the bathroom scales. They had an argument about a few nights beforehand. Carefully I stepped onto the scales. I didn’t look down at first but eventually I knew I had to.
“295!” A ball of fury built up in my chest when I saw those digits flashing at me from below. The sudden urge to pick up the pathetic piece of metal and throw it against the wall over and over again grew before Jane spoke up.
“It’s just glitched. Get off I’ll fix it.” I did what she said and stepped off. Jane tapped it a couple of times with her foot, then turned it over and pushed the batteries in properly. “Try now.”
I gulped and stepped back on the scales. The numbers stopped and flashed at me almost immediately. I didn’t know what to think about the number that showed up. Fat, skinny, it was impossible to tell anymore.
“Has that thing glitched again?” Aaron asked. Him and Jane both analysed the scales carefully, Aaron even kicked it a little while Felix still stand on it. The number flickered for a second but went straight back to the first digit.
“Felix, surely not?” Jane questioned her.
“What? That not that bad.” I stepped off and watched as the scales fall back to 0. “Actually, I’m quite happy. I was 2 pounds heavier last week before Mum threw the scales away.”
“Are you nuts?” Jane was furious.
“I don’t understand.” I said bluntly.
The teacher had now stepped in. “What’s wrong over here?”
“Felix’s weight!” Jane spat out.
“What?” He obviously needed more information. Jane couldn’t resist herself any longer, she lunged towards me and ripped up my shirt. I screamed pulled it down and swung at her. I missed. Just.
“Aye! That’s enough!” The teacher yelled, drawing the attention of the entire class their way. “Both of you, and you,” he pointed at Aaron. “Office, now!”
It had been 20 minutes sitting in the office waiting in silence before the principal had finally arrived. Turns out he was in the middle of an important grant meeting and was not happy about having to come deal with teenagers at this time. He walked in with the gym teacher and leant against the desk.
“Alright, Mr Stuntly, please explain again to me what happened.” He said in a tone that made it obvious he had better things to do. Mr Stuntly explained the situation and the principal looked at the three embarrassed students in utter irritation.
“Jane, why the hell would you lift up another person’s shirt like that?”
“I was concerned. The scales showed that Felix only weighed 81 pounds.”
“What?” Mr Stuntly said in shock, “You didn’t tell me that!”
“You didn’t give me a chance!” Jane defended. I sat with my head handing low staring at my feet with my hands folded neatly. I was screaming on the inside. Why do people care now? It has only been like this for the last 6 months. People only care when there is a problem.
“Felix,” the principal stepped in. “You understand that is incredibly thin, I – I can’t even believe you can still do gym without passing out.”
“Oh, well I have a few times.” I replied guiltily. “Once just last week.”
The principal was shocked, he stared at me in pure disbelief. Then he turned to Mr Stuntly, “Get the nurse.”
It took the nurse another 30 minutes to arrive, and I knew why as soon as she walked in the door as she was accompanied by my mother. She gave me a depressing, incredibly worrying look. Jane and Aaron were asked to leave, Jane tried to debate but failed. They left and closed the door behind them. I was now left with a room with no friends, my mother, the school nurse whose name I was unsure, Mr Stuntly and the principal.
“Mrs Keiton, thank you.” The principal stuck out his hand for her and she took it.
“Thank you,” She replied with a struggle. She had been crying, I could tell by her swelled face and reddened eyes.
“Felix,” The nurse spoke this time. “Do you understand you are not in healthy weight?”
“Those scales are off anyway, I doubt it anywhere near my actual weight.” I tried to defend myself.
“Felix, for God’s sake! You’ve been like this for months! Just eat like a normal kid and we wouldn’t have any problems!” My mother just about exploded when she talked. She had so much to say just not enough words to say it. I rolled my eyes.
“How much do you eat a day?” The nurse asked.
“Stuff all,” Mum interrupted, “She has a calorie journal, I’ve read it. Max of 200 calories in the last 3 months!”
“I binge and purge almost every night!”
The whole room went silent when I spoke. I didn’t realise what I had said until I had said it.
“Darling, you have Bulimia.” The nurse tried to come closer, but I didn’t want her to.
“Don’t come near me! I can eat what I want, I can weigh what I want, none of you, none of you can tell me otherwise!” I yelled all of this. I could feel my heart rate increasing as the pulse in my hands throbbed. They hurt. Everything hurt. It always hurt. I pointed to the door, referring to the classmates outside who were probably listening, “They call me fat. I don’t want to be fat. I want to be like them.”
That was the last thing I said before my body throbbed and ached in pain so much that I collapsed to the ground, I barely felt anything when I made contact with the hard cement floor but the rest of my body was on fire. I blacked in and out, I saw nothing and then everything at once then back to nothing. When the seizures started was when I blacked out for good.
I woke up in a hospital. I was wearing a light blue hospital gown, I had a tube running from my wrist to a machine with a bag, the sound of constant beeping caused migraines in my head. And the nurse standing beside me looked to be too happy for the occasion.
“What is going on?” I asked her. “Where is my mum?”
“Felix, your mum can visit any time she or you want but now that you are awake its lunch time.”
“Lunch time?” I was confused.
“I’m sorry, I should explain.” I agreed, she should, “You were sent in here after having a seizure at school, remember that?” I nodded; it was coming back to me slowly. “You have been diagnosed with Bulimia, so while you recover you will be spending some time in here.”
“How long?” I asked desperately. I didn’t want to stay in this place, I already hated it. It was so enclosed and there was no where for me to exercise or even any privacy.
“A minimum of 6 months.”
“I’m just following orders.” She said. “You need to gain at least 25 pounds before you can be let out.
25 pounds. Insane. Impossible. Never. I hate this. What have I gotten myself into?