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Anorexic Alice in Hungerland This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By , Chandler, AZ
Curiouser and curiouser, you will wander along rainbow walkways, through grandiose gardens and Mad Hatter masquerade balls. Munch on the magic mushroom and miraculously materialize into a giant girl, bursting through broken doorways. Ingest the evil cake taunting “eat me,” and watch as your skin stretches, your dainty doll stitches screaming as they snap and you pour out in a ponderous puddle.

Eat anything in Hungerland and you're guaranteed to grow, your image imposing on the impressive idols of thinness: Whoever heard of a model walking down the runway wearing a house as a hat? Forget ever being called fat as you shift your gaze to the glass table center stage on checkerboard floors, collect the crystal bottle with the cream-colored ribbon that ties the tiny tag telling of the one truth among the haze of hysteria: “Drink me,” and take pleasure as the potion for perfection pours down your throat. Smile as you steadily shrink until you're petite enough to persuade disorderly doorknobs to turn and hurl you headfirst into Hungerland.

Once you've stepped into the spine of your spectacular storybook, painted with pictures of pretty poppies who never pig out on pastries and dancing dandelions who never dig into dinner, you can mute the moans of hungry tummies at maddening tea parties. Steer clear of the sugar bowl. Distract yourself as you find delight in the delirious doormouse who dictates sideways songs to the teapot and saucers. Crazed on caffeine in china cups, sip mania with the Mad Hatter and the March Hare as you skip around the table, tireless circles to burn calories as the Cheshire Cat cracks a crescent moon smile at your excellence as Anorexic Alice.

Frolic down the footpaths until you crash into the Caterpillar. Carefully count out calories as you fly high on hookah above hunger pangs. Blow beautiful O's, zeros floating by in fantastical emblems of allowed caloric intake. Swish through the smoke of insanity, nothing more than a wisp of a waif yourself. Recite the rhymes that remind you to resist terrifying ­temptation:

“How doth the little crocodile improve his shining tail. And pour the waters of the Nile, on every golden scale. How cheerfully he seems to grin, how neatly spreads his claws. And welcomes little fishes in, with gently smiling jaws.”

Eventually you'll encounter the heavy-set Queen of Hearts, but you're exempt from her execution, your collarbones too sharp for any card to seize you. Your head is already gone anyway. Turn cartwheels for the crowd as you crush the Queen in her croquet games, flouncing a flamingo about as you hit hedgehogs, hole-in-one, a goal gained on the grass for every goal weight you reach, a cadaverous champion. Paint the roses red to protect your pretty secret, skinny stomach concealed by curtsies and mild manners.

Whisk away from the world of rolling heads to seek out the White Rabbit, be sure to scratch down how many calories you burn by sprinting after him, and laugh as you lose the weight that ruined your life in the real world. Make merry and mess around with the nonsensical nuts of Hungerland, enjoying how everyone there is empty of sanity.

When the day is done, drop to knobby knees and pray that you're never pulled out of your wonderful world and dropped back into doomed reality. There is no waking up from this dream in a field of daisies for Anorexic Alice, only darkness as you decompose six-feet deep in the dirt.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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