Binge. Purge. Repeat.
“When was the last time you purged?” Tom was staring down at his clipboard, not even acknowledging me. Me. The human being sitting right in front of him, but no. He would rather focus on the inanimate object in his hands, rather than the person with the actual ‘problem’.
“Umm, well, uh,” my hands begin to rub my thighs out of habit, “I relapsed about three days ago, I think.”
“How do you think your problem started?” He only took a quick glance before clicking his pen open. Why should I define my biggest secret to someone I don’t know very well? Yes, Tom is a nice man, but how well do I trust him?
Dad said that Tom was a good person and that I could trust him with everything, and he seemed okay. Dad put me into counseling about six months ago, when I was finally approved to go home by the hospital. It was hard leaving my home of two years, four months, and twenty-two days.
Anyways. Tom has never asked me this question and I find it weird that it is coming up now. Usually, we have a routine of questions: How are you doing? Are you talking to your Dad more yet? Are you eating? What have you been eating? Same same every time, which is nice so I don’t feel like I’m being poked and prodded at like a studied animal.
“I think, well, my freshman year of high school.” The rubbing becomes more vigorous. “But the problem, I guess started in elementary school when the girls started calling me names.”
“And what were they calling you?”
Why is Tom trying to get to the point so quickly? I feel like he should be asking different questions that are about my feelings. Isn’t that what counseling is for?
“It was basically along the lines of,” I hesitate, “um, like, ‘You’re fat. Are you the cousin of a cow? Wow, did you just eat all of that? Fatty.’ and the worst of all, I think, ‘Guys, look at her. What a f***ing dirty, fatso.’” I think I’m going to rub a hole in my jeans.
“Do you want to explain to me how this all started?” The pen keeps clicking and it’s starting to irritate me. Click, click, click.
“Not really.” No, Tom. I really do not want to tell you about it, but thanks for asking.
“You’re not going to get any better if you don’t tell me about your problems.”
“Fine.” I’m starting to think that Tom is not a nice person.
“Mhm,” I mumbled, “Anyways, the name calling and attacking verbiage, got worse and worse throughout my elementary and middle school years. Boys weren’t so bad, but the girls, the girls were awful.” Take a deep breath.
“Care to explain further?” He’s now put his clipboard down and is actually looking at me with crisp, focused eyes.
“You know, for someone who is trying to help me, Tom, you’re kind of an asshole and like to dig up old s***.” I’m no longer rubbing my thighs, but pointing my bony, witch finger at Tom.
“That’s my job, to dig up old things and see why these memories are affecting you the way they are.” He looks away from me and back at the clipboard, scribbling his notes like I’m a lab experiment. I really do want to hate him for doing his job, but I can’t. He’s doing his job, but kind of in a s***ty, condescending way.
“When I was about eleven years old, I became friends with a popular girl. She was beautiful, smart, and nice.” Or so she appeared. My hands begin to start rubbing my thighs, like they have a mind of their own.
“Why do you think she wanted to be your friend?” The pen clicking stopped and was resting on the clipboard in his lap.
“I always wondered that myself. ‘Why would she want to be friends with me?’ Did she like me out of pity, or did she really like me, ya know? We were friends for four years and she was always protecting me from the mean slashes coming from other ‘maturing’ girls. When I turned fourteen, though, that’s when the real problem started.”
“What do you mean, ‘that’s when the real problem started’?” The clipboard was now on the table next to the dark grey sofa.
“One day I came to school, and my friend was snickering and looking at me with a gang of other girls, huddled in the corner. I walked over to her, curious about what was going on, and she turned around and called me a fatass and asked how I could even walk to them without my legs giving out. The next day I came to school and the girls were snickering again, but this time, they were chanting something else: ‘Go kill yourself, you cow.’” Take a deep breath. You’re going to make yourself throw-up. I take a quick glance towards the open bathroom door.
“The next day I came to school, I didn’t walk up to my friend or the other girls, I walked straight to my seat and sat down.” Breath. I can feel the bile climbing up my throat as if my throat was a rock wall and the bile, well, the bile was the rock climber.
“I was pulling out my pencil pouch, and a note fell out of my desk. Out of my desk. They didn’t even have the audacity to put the note on my desk.”
“It seems that the note had a big impact on your life.” Tom was now hunched over like he was trying to lean over and soak up every word I’m saying. Nice to see that he’s participating.
“Yes, it did. You wanna know what it was, Tom?”
“It was a petition with all my classmates signature, saying that I needed to kill myself because I was a worthless pig.”
“But you’re still here.”
“Yea, I am still here, but that’s because nothing else worked.”
“What do you mean?” Now he seems very interested.
“I went home and downed a bottle of pain relievers, trying to kill myself, because the pain hurt so bad.” Tom just stared at me. It’s hard to believe that an eleven-year-old knew what would kill her and what wouldn’t.
“I tried two more times until I was fourteen. When that didn’t work, throwing up every meal was the next best option.” The bile was knocking at the back of my throat. I can feel my upper back muscles start convulsing, resorting back to their natural way of operating.
“What do you think of that?”
My hands stop rubbing my thighs and begin shaking.
“I wasn’t even that big.”