Looking like the walking dead, Gaunt Ann Bleek ambled into the classroom. “There she is.” She heard whispered throughout the classroom. “The scary looking one.” Gaunt looks around the room with huge eyes in a hollow face. “Why are they staring?” she wonders. “They are just jealous because I am perfect.” She reassures herself as she slips into her seat. She raises an emaciated arm to stroke her thinning hair. The teacher clears her throat and asks not unkindly, “Gaunt dear, what did you have for breakfast this morning?” She smiles timidly as Gaunt raises her eyebrows. “Eat?” she scoffs. “Eat? Eating would prevent me from looking the way I do.” She smiles back at the teacher, expecting praise. “But eating is what helps us be healthy and have energy.” A girl pipes up from the back of the room but falters as Gaunt turns to stare. “A-And makes us grow bi-bigger.” She stammers to a halt when Gaunt’s face contorts into a sneer. “Bigger? As in fatter? Like all of you?” She laughs. “The only reason I am in this boring, old classroom with rest of you “healthy” people is because an agent hasn’t noticed my potential yet.” She fluffs her hair again with spindly fingers. The students cower at her ridicule. Gaunt crosses her scraggy legs and shifts in her desk as if getting ready for a photo shoot. “As soon as I sign a contract I am going to leave you “healthy” people to your “healthy” ways.” The teacher recovers from her shock and is immediately angry. “Gaunt Bleek go to the office right now!” She points at the door with a threatening finger but the look on her face is betraying how much the words hurt her. Gaunt rises up steadily but looks like her legs are going to collapse from under her haggard body. “Fine.” She says haughtily as she saunters out of the room. The teacher watches Gaunt walk down the hallway and shakes her head. It was not a healthy looking girl walking down the hallway away from her, but a bunch of bones held together by tendons, ligaments, and frail skin looking ready to crumble any second. The teacher goes back into her classroom and closes the door with a sigh knowing Gaunt would come back tomorrow wearing her fragility proudly as any athlete would be of a letter.
January 8, 2009