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The girl’s face is ablaze with lights as she sits unmoving on the sofa; her eyes focused on the screen’s flashing images. The words constantly repeat themselves in her head like a mantra, twisting their way into her thoughts, “Do you want to be perfect?”
The boy stares at the bill board; his feet rooted to the ground. With unblinking eyes he mouths the words silently to himself, “Do you want to be perfect?”
The girl stands pressed flat against the lockers. She ducks into the shadows not wanting to be seen and watches as “they” strut down the hallway. She stares at the group of cheerleaders standing in skin tight clothes showing off their slimness and bony limbs. The girl watches as the disappearing figures prance away.
The boy sits alone at the end of the bleachers watching the basketball players run around passing and shooting. He glances down at his own scrawny frame and then at the muscular structure of the jocks. He lets out a sigh and leaves.
The girl’s face is lined with concentration. Her mouth is agape as she stares at the endless amounts of perfection lying before her eyes. The movie credits roll in and the movie theatre is once again empty. Silence fills the air. She stands up and shuffles out murmuring, “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.”
The boy’s eyebrows are knit together; his mouth is turned down into a frown. He tries to ignore the advertisement that is being played yet he cannot stop his hope that one day he would be muscular instead of a short frail boy. He shuts of the television and as he places down the remote he whispers, “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.”
The girl pushes the plate away that her parents place in front of her explaining that she already ate. She feels her saliva build up in her mouth and she quickly excuses herself from the table. She locks herself in her bedroom and shoves a diet pill down her throat although the ache in her stomach does not seize.
The boy struggles to maintain his grip on the handle of the weight. He carefully sets it down and re-lifts them over again. His muscles scream in pain as they strain to hold the weight in the air.
The girl pushes open the doors with newfound confidence. No longer is her legs fat, cheeks chubby, and arms flabby, but she finally feels beautiful. She walks arm in arm with her friends. For the first time she smiles, a real smile.
The boy slaps his fellow team member on the back as they join each other on the basketball court. His team wins with his last shot. His team mates crowd around him, lifting him up in the air. For the first time he smiles, a real smile.
The girl squeezes her eyes shut as she steps in front of the mirror in the bathroom. She slowly opens them and tears immediately well up as she stares at her obese reflection. She runs to the toilet and immediately sticks her finger down her throat.
The boy fumbles for the needle ignoring the pricks in his arm; he searches for a new place to inject the bottle of steroids. His fingers shake as they push the needle down and he feels the source of strength spread through his veins.
I say she is a pile of bones, she says she is a bag of fat.
I say he is a drug addict, he says he can stop whenever he wants to.
This does NOT have to happen.