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The Last Time

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As a child, Mary always had an acute love for the salty taste of her finger, sucking on the pointer one well into her teenage years as a nervous habit. But Mary kept putting those salty fingers deeper and deeper into her mouth until she eventually discovered that if she went deep enough, she could force the dormant fountain of lava sitting in her stomach to bubble up and out of her mouth. It was painful but oddly satisfying the first time; shameful but also addictive. Now she associated that once-comforting taste of salty earth, and the smooth ridges of her finger bed against her tongue, with the sickening taste of bile.
Kneeling by the only toilet in the dingey, single stall bathroom located on set, she pushed her forefinger even deeper inside of herself, extending her jaw to compensate, and winced from the pain of her throat muscles spasming against her fingernail. The lava began to bubble up, ready to boil over and liberate itself from her body. Yet Mary was so accustomed to the sensation of vomiting at this point that it no longer particularly bothered her. The sting of acid against her throat was almost as painful as the sting of regret she felt from having eaten in the first place. Shame filled the entire bathroom, thick like the humid air of a Summer in the Midwest. But gently pushing against that wall of shame was a kick of resilience, and a feeling so subtle it could hardly be constituted as a thought. She wondered if perhaps there were forces outside of her own presumed worthlessness that helped turn a happy young girl into a scraggly woman kneeling in front of a toilet purging her body of the nutrient’s that had been just barely out of its reach for years.
She smirked as her mind sidetracked into a fantasy of all the satisfying things that could be done with the pungent contents of that toilet. How would her manager feel if he discovered his binder of contacts, important dates, and old photoshoots had been drenched in vomit, irreparably damaged? Maybe after that he’d reconsider telling his models to “do whatever it takes” to maintain their waistlines.
The thought made her smile, and she stood up with a deep breath and painful head rush, her arms shooting out in a reflexive attempt to gain her balance. She gargled and spat over the sink, small chunks of vomit still visible in the mostly-clear contents. This is the last time, she promised herself after cleansing most of the sickening taste from her mouth.
She then turned to stare numbly at the display of acid and half-digested food that remained in the toilet, the smell of bile now overpowering the small space she occupied. That’s what you always tell yourself.

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