I'm just not hungry

At my school, lunch is more than just a free period. It's a social event with a strict set of unspoken rules that controls everything from how you dress, to where you sit, to the food you eat. Everyone has their own unique list of rules, but as far as I can tell, these three apply to everyone from the head quarterback to the geeks he shoves into lockers.
1.Never bring lunch from home. The food is gross and the lines are long, but bringing a lunchbox into the cafeteria results in cracks about being a “Mama's boy.” If you bring lunch for the rest of the week, it is assumed that you are too poor to buy lunch.
2.Don't bring books to lunch. Maybe your next class is next to the caf but your locker is on the other side of the school—doesn't matter. Unless you want to be labeled as a dork, keep that binder far away from the lunchroom.
3.The pack leaders get first dibs. The hot lunch is always disgusting, so everyone goes for the salad (even the football team). However, if the queen of the pride is standing behind you and there's one salad left, sorry but you're having the chili de la nasty, my friend. The lioness does not appreciate being cheated out of her meal.

Additional rules vary depending on your social class. For instance, all the popular girls must carry a designer purse at all times. I don't know why it's a rule, but yesterday I heard the other girls rip on Maria Delano because her bag was apparently a “knock-off.” This may not sound like a big deal to you or me, but the cheerleaders are vicious and while Maria still sat at their table, they gave her a wide berth, like she had a rare disease, and whispered about her after lunch.

This school makes me sick. I hate the fact that the head cheerleader has more control over us than the principal. I hate how this social anarchy affects everything from our friends to out lunchtime seating arrangements.

I used to go to an all-girls school, and you know what? I actually liked it. There were no guys to fight over, no social image to keep up. We sat where we wanted at lunch, talked to whoever we wanted to, and the food didn't taste like chili-flavored slime. The cheerleader squad and drill team didn't act like they were God's gift to the school. A bad reputation didn't come from forgetting your prized Prada bag in your locker.

Here, lunch-hour looks like a poster for Middle Age social structure.

I really can't complain though; I have it easy. Evidently, no one pays attention to transfer students unless they have a European accent, stunning good looks, or an edgy fashion sense, all of which I lack. So, at this school, I fly under the radar. No one glances at my lonely table; it's almost as if I don't exist.

My lunch sits untouched in front of me. I get up and throw it out. There's about fifteen minutes left before lunch ends—too early to gather my books and head to my next class. I don't want to return to the lunchroom, so I sit in the hallway near my locker, my iPod filling the empty halls with music only I can hear.

From that day on, that was my routine. When the lunch bell rang, instead of following everyone to the caf, I would grab my iPod from my locker and hang out in the back parking lot, where all the crackheads get high—too stoned to notice me.

I like my new routine. I don't have to poke at the mystery meet or overhear the popular girls rip on anyone who isn't one of them.

The hunger pangs aren't that painful either. In fact, it hurts more when I eat than when I don't. My stomach feels as if it's shrunk to the size of a grape. Sometimes, I can't bring myself to eat more than a slice of bread during the day. Sometimes, I don't even have the energy to chew it.

I'm not anorexic. It's more than just losing a lot of weight—it's a mental thing too. Anorexic people count the number of calories in cookie crumbs and the smell of hamburgers makes them sick. They refuse to eat and throw it up when they do. They look in the mirror and see fat rolls while others see a skeleton. Every night, they wrap measuring tape around their stomachs and think to themselves, “Just one more inch. One more week. Then I'll have the perfect body.”

I'm not like that. I don't do that. I am not anorexic.

That's what I told myself. That's what I told my parents.

That's what I told the doctor.





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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Aderes18 said...
May 30, 2011 at 5:27 am
I also really like this one too! :) 
 
lilmartz This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 19, 2011 at 2:17 pm
I like this! I still feel like the story abrupty ended though and there should is more to come. I love your word "chili de la nasty." Also, I feel this is a little cliche and stereotypical by having the football players and cheerleaders rule the school. Also in the sentence, "I don't have to poke at the mystery meet..." Meet should be meat. Other than that, it's a good start. I would like to see where it goes with what her parents and doctor had to say and what happens there. I would also like t... (more »)
 
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