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Down the rabbit hole

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Dinner time. I sit down at the table, Mum and Dad’s suspicious glances burning a hole in my back. In contrast to my parents, my sister Sarah didn’t even realize I had arrived at the dinner table, every scrap of her concentration was directed towards becoming one with the participant in Who Wants to be a Millionaire and shouting out answers alongside the TV. Glowering at the plate of hate in front of me, I attempt to nibble on a piece of bread, all the while replaying Dr Johnson’s voice in my head, ‘baby steps, take baby steps and you will reach the light at the end of the tunnel eventually’. In a matter of seconds these positive thoughts are overwhelmed by the monster in my head. ‘Baby steps!? The only baby in this room is your face resembling that of a BABY elephant’. Eddy had convinced me that the light at the end of the tunnel had never existed.
Eddy had appeared to me as that forbidden, glamorous bad boy, the one you know you can’t trust but just can’t help falling for. He lured me in with his mysterious and enigmatic vibe which only seduced me further, the harder I tried to escape its grasp. Everyone told me he’s no good but his sweet promises of perfection had rendered me helpless.
Realizing I had been subconsciously swirling my dinner around my plate for the last 15 minutes, I put my fork down and making sure my mother, father and sister had every ounce of their concentration focused on the TV, I shoveled the remaining food into my pockets, threw the plate in the sink and rushed upstairs. The only second helpings I could ever have are second helpings of insanity. As I shuffled my way to the top of the staircase, I remembered back to the day that changed my life forever.
Sitting in Dr Johnson’s room, I watched as she furiously scribbled away in her notebook. Dr Johnson’s room gave off a sense of nervous tension. The thick books cried, wanting to be removed from the book shelves. The tiny mice in the sofas squeaked at the smallest movement. The numbers on the scales mocked me, showing me the number I could never reach. Zero. It seemed like an eternity before Dr Johnson finally looked up, staring directly into my eyes. Heart beating away in my chest, a crazy animal trying to break free, I listened as she spoke those dreaded words which were about to change the life I knew forever, “I’m afraid the symptoms seem to suggest you are suffering from severe anorexia nervosa.”

Ever since that day, I have been spiraling deeper and deeper down the dark rabbit hole I had fashioned. Unfortunately, the one thing I seemed to have forgotten was a way out. Throwing my dinner out the window, I hopped onto the scales. Anticipation froze me as I waited to see whether the digits would flash green or red. Tears flooded my eyes as I willed the numbers to move backwards. But no, they stayed static. Eddy laughed in my face, his words blinding me. UGLY, FAT, USELESS, REVOLTING. Running to the mirror, I willed it to show a different face, a different person.









***
Sarah watched her sister through the open crack of the bathroom door, wondering what had happened to the optimistic, cheerful and loving Christina she had once known. Their perfect little family has been shattering to pieces every since they found out about Christina forbidden love, ever since they saw what was really underneath the baggy jumpers and sweat pants. Sarah took in her sister’s bony body, pulling at her flesh, trying to break free. Christina thought she was chiseling away at herself to the point of perfection, longing to see a glamorous queen in size 6 jeans in her reflection, all Sarah sees is the fact that Christina doesn’t even have enough to fill her shirt. A wire coat hanger. The eating disorder, or as Christina affectionately called it, Eddy, had eaten away at her best friend, leaving nothing but bones. Eddy convinced Christina that her family was lying to her when they said she was too thin and that she needed to eat, or would, God forbid end up in hospital. Or worse. Dead. But Eddy had convinced her that food was her enemy. In a way Sarah understood what Christina was going through. She was with her mum when Dr Johnson has described the anorexia epidemic as waking up in the middle of the night, turning on the lamp and being blinded by the brightness of the light bulb. In the same way, anorexia blinded Christina, refusing to let her see herself for what she truly is.

Giving in to the urge to hold her little sister in her arms, Sarah opened the bathroom door just enough to squeeze herself in. Smothering Christina with her love, they both sat there together -ignoring the chill of the tiles on their bottoms, the tree branches knocking against the windows, the drips of water falling from the taps. Sat there until the night ended and the Eddy momentarily retreated back into the darkness. Christina finally looked up into Sarah’s eyes, the pain and suffering visible deep in her eyes. Sarah had spent many nights wishing for the return of the upbeat and affectionate Christina she used to know, because of course, nothing could compare to the bond of twins. Ever since Eddy had appeared in Christina’s life, they have been drifting further and further apart. Because of this reason, Sarah knew what she had to do. She loved Christina for everything, and it was time for her to fight for something alongside her twin, to become one with her again. She wanted her best friend back. And with those thoughts she looked at her perfect sister, smiled, and stated simply,
“I want to be thin too.”





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