Skin and Bones
Author's note: I wrote this mostly as a coping method, and to get it out of my soul. Most people don't know... Show full author's note »
The struggleOur first break came around 10. Since I had been starving myself for so long, I couldn't even feel hunger anymore. I was always craving food, my life revolved around it...yet, I never allowed myself to eat more than say, 200 calories at a time. And this was only 3 times per day. Yet, I knew that there was a sandwich in our cooler...and so was my water bottle...I went to get a drink of water, and broke down. I would have half of my sandwich now, and eat the rest at lunch. In four bites, my little piece of sin was gone. The other half sat miniscule and forlorn in it's sandwich baggy. My lunch.
It turned out, one of the local banks was doing some kind of a promotion, and they brought sack lunches to us that day. When we stopped for a lunch break, we were each given a brown sack that had a hoagie inside, with mayo, turkey, lettuce and other fixings on it, a bottled water, a baggie of chips, and a prepackaged Hostess treat. My heart started to beat a little faster. What would I do? I had brought my own sandwich. I HAD to eat that other leftover half...my brain nervously thought over how I could get away with not eating this pile of food I had been offered. Coming to a conclusion, I went with it. Shyly I wandered over to the farmers. "I brought my own lunch, would you like my sandwich and chips?" Eagerly and unquestioningly, they snatched my offering right up. And as for the Hostess treat, well, I knew my brother had his eye on that already. I was left with only the 0 calorie bottle of purified water and my 1/2 sandwich. I settled down with my siblings and our friends, the farmer's children. I resolved to make my sandwich bit last. As long as a half sandwich can.
We picked rocks for about a week that summer. One night in particular, I remember, because the farmer's wife asked us if we wanted to get pizza. I knew...many things about pizza. Several of these things were: one slice had more calories than I ate in a day, I was deathly afraid of pizza, eating one piece wouldn't fill me up, but it would still be "too much"...but I had been working all day, as had everyone else. Everyone else would eat several pieces of the pie, I'd only allow myself one of the smallest slices I could find. We ordered the pizza, and went into town pick up the pizza from a gas station, and eat it at my family's house. Everyone had that excitement that pizza brings about. You know what I'm talking about, if you like pizza. So, no one really seemed to notice what I ate, to my relief. They were too absorbed in chowing their own pizza. When it came time for our friends to leave, I basically took over and insisted that they take the pizza, not leave it with us. I knew that if they left it with us, it would only be there to tempt me. plus, I rationalized, they had paid for it after all. Another close call, survived...or...not.
The day before I was "discovered" our friends had brought snacks with them on the truck we were throwing the rocks into. Things like granola bars, cookies, and chips. Things I would never allow myself to eat. Throughout the day, my friends mom (the farmer's wife) would shouting things to me. "Think of how strong this is making us!" "You're going to have big muscles from this, huh, Lyd?" "We're taking a snack break soon, make sure you fuel up!" While I know these things were meant to encourage me, I still thought of a comeback in my head each time. Okay, it annoyed me a bit. I think she suspected something was up. anyway, during the snack breaks she would urge me to eat something. I would always get away with just finding my water bottle and chugging on that. But the last break we took, she caught me. "Lydia, we're doing hard work out here, water is good to keep hydrated, but you really need something to eat to keep you going. how about some corn chips?" My mouth watered at the thought..."no," I thought. "I will NOT give in. I don't need to eat, I'm fine." "I'm fine". I said quietly. "A banana then?" She queried. I could feel myself weakening...after all, a banana was an "allowed" food. It was healthy, a fruit...right? Shaking nervously I picked through the snacks until I found the banana's. I ripped one off of the bunch and peeled the bruised skin back. I took the first bite. And another. And another, until it was gone. Oh. My. Gosh. What had I done? I had listened to a person I looked up to, and respected. I had drowned out the voice of my twisted brain. I. Had. Won. That time.