Accepting the truth

December 1, 2008
Do you ever wish you’re that girl? The prettiest person in the room, the one that makes all the heads turn? I know that girl. She’s my best friend, and I’m the invisible specimen standing next to her. She holds the spotlight on herself, always.

“Tina, does this make me look fat?” I shook my head solemnly. Heather and I were at the mall, shopping around for some new clothes. Heather is stick thin, and she’s still dieting constantly. I honestly think that she’s got a problem, a serious one. She’s size double zero is jeans, and an extra-extra small in tops. It would be hard to look at her, if she wasn’t so beautiful.

“Are you sure? I think I should get something looser. It might hide all this fat.” She stabbed a finger at her perfectly flat, rock-hard stomach.

“Heather, you’re beautiful. Don’t hide it.” Heather grimaced at the word beautiful. She thought she was fat and ugly, all the time she would announce it.

“I have to um…go to the bathroom.” I tried to follow her, but she wouldn’t let me. I snuck in once she was in the stall. That’s when I heard her moans. She was throwing up, and with each sound, filled with agony, it was like a knife stabbing my gut. She walked out moments later, tears in her deep blue eyes.

“What are you doing in here? I asked you to wait outside!” I barely heard her. My eyes were zeroed in on the white toothbrush in her left hand. She followed my gaze, and shoved it into her purse.

“Why?” My voice was quiet and soft. I was almost crying, feeling sad for her. Heather was beautiful and perfect, or so I had thought for so many long years.

“I don’t know, Tina. I just want to be pretty, not some fat ugly duckling.” I couldn’t help it. My jaw dropped so wide you could perform a tonsillectomy right then.

“You are beautiful heather. You won homecoming queen every year since we were freshmen for a reason.” She shook her head vigorously. What was with her?

I stormed out of the bathroom, suddenly enraged. How could she do that to herself? Someone as beautiful as Heather shouldn’t go through this.

The moment I entered my house I called her mother. I told her everything I saw and heard. She hung up quickly, telling me that Heather was home. I got a call the next day.

“I hate you. How could you do that?!” It was Heather, and her screams were quickly muffled by what sounded like her father. The voices on the other end of the line were faint, but I could still catch them.

“You can’t make me go there! I won’t ever agree to it!” That was definitely Heather’s voice.

“Yes we can, sweetie. We are your parents, and we can do what we think is best. Now go to the car!” That was her father, trying to coax her into a facility I’ll bet. The line disconnected soon after that. I sat down on the old sofa, next to the phone. I called Heather’s cell, which was turned off. I waited until the message machine came.

“Hi Heather, it’s me. I know you probably never want to speak to me again, and I understand. I probably shouldn’t have gone behind your back like that. I should have waited until you could accept what is happening. You really do need help, Heather. I love you and you will always be my best friend. And best friends always help each other. I’m not trying to justify what I did, but I want you to know why.” I paused for a moment, wondering what else to say. “I hope that you’ll call me sometime, even though it may not be for awhile.” I hung up the phone and went up to my room.

Mom came in soon after. She sat down on my bed next to me, a cup of hot chocolate in her hand.

“That was very brave of you, Tina. You did the right thing. I’m proud of you, and I’m sure Heather will be grateful someday.” I nodded, but my tears kicked in. Mom wrapped her arms around me, cooing comforting words.

Things started to get better, I finished my sophomore year of high school, and had an awesome summer. But I hadn’t forgotten the last words Heather ever said to me. At first, people would always ask me about her. How she was doing, if she was coming home soon. The truth was, Heather truly still hated me, as far as I knew. Heather’s boyfriend seemed to hate me too, because just a month or so ago, she had dumped him. She said that she was letting go of the past and turning over a new leaf. I ran into him while I was walking to the grocery store one day last week.

“I hope you’re happy.” He had growled at me. My puzzled look didn’t help anything on the matter.

“What are you talking about?” I honestly didn’t until he told me.

“Heather dumped me, said that rehab helped her turn over a new leaf. It’s your fault she’s there, anyways.” I just walked away from him. He had tried to follow me, but I started running to the store.

A few weeks passed, and I got my first call from Heather in almost four months. She apologized within the second I answered.

“I’m so sorry Tina. You were right to tell my mom. I never should have yelled at you.” I apologized too, or tried to at least. She cut me off.

“Don’t say it. I was wrong. I had a serious problem, and you saw it when I didn’t. I’m doing much better now, in case you were wondering.” I asked what she was up to lately, and she had a lot to say.

She had been dating another patient there, a guy that was there for six months because of a drug addiction. She said that things between her and her ex-boyfriend, Mike, were all behind her.

“I’ve really missed you, Heather.” I heard her sniffle on the other line, and I could hear her crying. She said she really missed me too, and that she’d be home soon.
She did come home about a month later. She looked way healthier, her hair was glowing, almost as bright as her. We ran to each other, hugging and screaming. We spent weeks catching up on everything. We were both different people, but we still connected like before. Best friends forgive and forget, right?





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