Water drips from the sink one drop at a time. Drip, drip, drop, plop. One, two, three, four. I’ve been described as observant by my teachers at school, but I’m taking a mental vacation at the moment. Watching without seeing. I step on the scale and count until the number of drops equals my weight. Three digits. When applied to my body, it quantifies my self worth.
My eyes glance over to the gum wrapper, the only substance I’ve allowed myself within the past twenty-four hours. I read the words I had scribbled on it earlier in an angry script. Fat, ugly, stupid, useless, unloved, nothing. Exactly in the middle I had drawn a stick figure girl with a gigantic, round circle for a stomach. My pen had moved uncontrollably while creating her, as if it wasn’t actually me moving my hand. It was my best friend Ana. As we read the words she had written, as I reach down to feel the fat hovering over my stomach, I know she’s telling me pure truth. Skip dinner and wake up thinner, she whispers in my ear. She’s my best friend and she would never lie to me.
Ana and I were inseparable. It was easy enough to hide her. We were both quiet girls and every evening I brought my dinner up to my room and gave it to her without taking a single bite. I watched her with lust in my eyes, yet never vocalized my thoughts or feelings. It was so easy to keep her a secret, so why was becoming thin so hard for me?
In the middle of my freshman year, Ana introduced me to her best friend Mia. We were a dominating, entwined trio. I thought she was doing me an enormous favor. The numbers on the scale dropped to two digits, but that was still two too many. Although I acted and danced my way through school and parties with elegance and grace, when I got home I prefered to be left alone. Ana never listened and now with Mia tucked away in my room also, swept up in the lies of my silky bed sheets and hidden behind a bolted door, my only option was to lock myself in the bathroom.
I spent every sleepless night hovering over the toilet, puking up everything I hadn’t eaten that day. My tears filled the blue lagoon of despair and loathing below me. Without realizing it, I had developed an eating disorder, but I also had no intentions of stopping it.
I constantly toss and turn on my bed, not having the energy to rise from my death-like state once I crash and burn after school each day. I'm always wearing layers upon layers; my body can't afford to waste the scarce amount of fuel I begrudgingly allow myself to put in its tank to warm itself. The puffy, fluffiness of the extra layers also doubles to cover my wilting, withering frame. No one notices how frail I'm becoming, not Ana or Mia, my family, nor even myself.
I struggle in the never ending monotony of daily life as I know it. Starve, binge, purge, starve, binge, puke. Who would I be without my best friends, pushing me along in my odyssey to become thin? My genuine identity has been disguised by Mia and Ana’s personalities combined, exaggerating the most unfavorable and disastrous traits of each. Yet I'm still never satisfactory or suitable for them, and they drag me to the mirror only to dissect my reflection which stares back at them with wide, cavernous holes where her eyes should be. My reflection is no longer me. Your chest is too small and your stomach is too big. I guess you'll just have to reduce your calories yet again, they giggle and point at me, splintering and shattering my last miniscule thread of self-confidence with each and every word out of their thin, stretched lips. Yet their words are sugar coated with the promise of one day achieving my goal of being as thin as them. Being weightless. A figment of everyone’s imagination. Reaching the magic number, zero.
If I ever told anyone about my best friends, and their pulsating voices in my head, making my ears throb, I’d be called crazy. Kooky. A psycho. Insane in the membrane. They’d label me sick and a problem child. I’d be locked up with no key existing.
Suddenly, the thumping in my head becomes too excessive to withstand any moment longer. I glimpse across the room, squinting at my best friends while they’re mocking me. Without a moment’s hesitation, I grasp the knife concealed underneath my bed with which to slit their throats. Their screams wail in unison then cut off as if they had been frozen like an icicle hanging off their lips. I feel a quick, sharp pang of remorse, but quickly discount it.
I realize how despicable Mia and Ana had been as friends towards me. In that instant I felt accomplished, as if I finally reached weight zero, because I was untethered from the toxicity of the strained relationships with those girls. Guilt and regret swirl around my brain creating conflict with the jumbled soup of thoughts and emotions. Mia and Ana had been with me seemingly forever; they were my best and only companions when I thought truthfully to myself. Who am I when they’ve been the ones controlling my thoughts, actions, and personality?
I wake up shrieking and thrashing in my bed. As I calm my racing heartbeat and flailing limbs I begin to notice the eerie silence blanketing my room like the winter’s first snowfall each year. I can’t help but to wonder, Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream? I skittered out of bed and made my way down the hall to the bathroom. I turn on the water and splash my face, enjoying the cold feeling on my skin for once. My eyes dart to the the mirror. The reflection staring back at me has tiny twigs for arms, her rib cage is pronounced, and her eyes are sunken and emotionless. This is all that I see or seem.