Starving for love and craving affection
And yet we carry onHe felt like crap and he looked like shit. Brian was experiencing the aftermath of his alcoholic binge fueled only by his lack of understanding and his constant failure, The alcohol had not done anything help to those two things, actually it might have made them worse. He hadn’t forgotten any of his problems, in reality, he now had more. The alcohol had not made his life any easier or any better. He wasn’t any closer to being dead and he certainly wasn’t alive. All in all, Brian was exactly the same as he was before he decided to down 7 straight beers in one night. He was still sad, hopeless Brian and for now nothing would change that. He was doomed to be himself and that’s what hurt the most.
He didn’t want to get out of bed and truth be told he really didn’t have to. He only felt like he had to because he wasn’t in his own bed or his own house. He was at Chelsea house, in her bedroom, invading her space. It wasn’t fair. He decided to drink himself sick, screw with his life more than he already had and his friends would reap the consequences. That’s the way it always worked. Brian would screw up and his friends would always come to his rescue, taking full responsibility for his actions. It was down to a science. Brian had been reduced to nothing more than a mere child.
But he didn’t exactly have a problem with that. He didn’t want to grow up all that fast. He was scared of what the real world had to offer. He wasn’t nearly as fragile as people believed him to be, he was strong, stable even, but he still didn’t think he was capable of handling what life had in store after childhood was done and the fun was over. He didn’t want to face adulthood just yet but like any young adult who nears matriculation age he would have to. He didn’t have a choice. The real world was coming whether he liked it or not. However, it was up to him if he would live in denial or accept it. He honestly didn’t want to do either. He wanted to just disappear; he wanted to cease to be. That way he wouldn’t have to choose between the two and everyone else would be happy.
Often, he thought that maybe the lives of the people around him, the few who choose to love him, the small amount who chose to stay, the ones who never let go even when he hit rock bottom and had trouble getting back to the top, would be better off if he was dead. They wouldn’t have a constant burden on them. They wouldn’t have to worry about him anymore. Maybe they would finally be happy.
It didn’t really matter though because by the way he was acting he would probably be dead pretty soon. His body, for at least the last 6 months, had showed signs of giving up. His blood pressure was almost dangerously low, his heart rate was much lower than desirable, his kidney’s were beginning to fail, and he probably had more symptoms that he didn’t know about. His doctor literally predicted the he wouldn’t live to be 20 years old. In fact, most doctors he had gone to see predicted that. He predicted it. No one seemed to believe he would live past 20. But, though he would never admit it, he wanted to prove them all wrong. He wanted to live past 20, live to 50, hell even live to be 100. He knew it was possible but it would be hard. However the question became: Was he strong enough to do it? Was he strong enough to keep fighting? To never give up? Was he strong enough to live? He didn’t know. All Brian knew was that he wanted to be strong enough so badly that it hurt. He wished, hoped, dreamed, that he could eat like a normal person. He wished he could eat without feeling guilty. He wanted to at the very least to be able to work out without going to the extreme. He wanted to love himself, no matter what he looked like or who he was.
It made him annoyed that 3 years of group and individual therapy had not helped him accomplish that. He still felt the same way about himself as he did 4 years ago when his eating disorder first started. Brian still hated his body. He still thought he was fat. He still craved to be more toned, muscular, more manly and he was still convinced that anorexia nervosa was the only way of achieving that. It didn’t matter how many times his therapist would tell him it wasn’t, or how much he knew it wasn’t, he couldn’t help but believe anorexia was the only way to perfection. Anorexia was the only way to control and he certainly needed something to control. That’s what enticed him so much about anorexia. Anorexia provided him with something he could truly control and something that was all his own.
“Oh look who woke up,” Chelsea said sarcastically as she strolled into the room still in her pajamas.
For the first time Brian could see how truly thin Chelsea was. She was literally skin and bones. Yeah, she had not reach the point where she was unhealthily thin but she was quickly getting there. Anyone could tell. Her ribs were distinct even through her shirt, her once toned legs looked like nothing but sticks covered in skin and her wrist were nonexistent. Come to think about, she didn't even have her signature chubby cheeks anymore. Her cheeks were now instead sulkin in. Her rapid weight loss was more than apparent to anyone willing to stop and pay attention. So, how did he not notice it before? How did he let this happen? How did it go on for so long? And most importantly, how was he going to stop it? He had no idea but he knew for sure he was going to help her, If not for her then for himself.
“Are you okay?” Chelsea asked seeing the look of worry that crossed Brian’s face.
“No,” he stated truthfully.
“You,” he said simply and as usual without apology.
“You’re getting really thin. And I’m not saying you’re skeletal thin or anything but you’re definitely getting there and no matter how much you convinced yourself of it, that's not a good thing.” Who was he to be criticizing her weight when he weighed less than her, when he weighed almost nothing? He was almost dead, so he had no right to talk. Plus he was wrong, very wrong. She wasn’t any thinner than she was before, actually she might have been getting fatter.
"Brian, I'm fine. I'm not that thin, yet," she put emphasis on the yet and that worried brian, "Stop worrying."
"Key word yet but you want to be and Chelsea you actually are incredibly thin and not in the good way."
“And you weigh damn near nothing,”she said defensively and angrily.
“I’m just pointing it out, no need to get defensive,” he refuted.
“Well it’s not for you to worry about. I’m perfectly alright.”
“In what world?” he asked. He honestly didn’t think she was anything near alright. Yeah, she was much better off than him, but that wasn’t saying much. If she didn’t watch it she would get just as sick him and that was the last thing he wanted, "You are not alright. You are getting sicker by the second. I’m surprised no one else has notice yet. It’s just matter of time.” That both scared Chelsea and gave her a sense of relief. To be truthful, deep down inside, she wanted to be caught. She wanted the freedom that Brian had. He didn’t have to hide anything or keep any secrets. He didn’t have to worry about being caught. But these were constant threats for Chelsea. She lived her life in fear of being reveal for who she had become.
“Brian, honestly you might very well be right, although right now I doubt it, but you need to take care of you. I swear you are literally on the edge of death, I should be the least of your concerns,” she said entirely rationally. This might have been the most rational thing that she had uttered from her mouth in months. Brian looked at her, knowing full and well that she was right. His body had already all but failed him. It was a miracle he was still living. And no matter how much he wanted to die, and that was a whole lot, he couldn’t. He made it too far to give up. He was too close to the finish line to lose the race. The only thing was that he wasn’t close to the finish line at all. He still had at least another 60 years to go. He wasn’t done and the race surely wasn’t over. It had just begun.
“I’ve been told,” he said sarcastically failing to admit that he was starting to believe that Chelsea might be right.
“Brian, I’m actually serious. If you think I look sick, imagine what you look like. It’s obvious that you aren’t getting any better. You are worse than every,” her emotions began to rise “And you seem to be making making even more dangerous and stupid choices like the one you made last night. What the hell is wrong with you?” She asked.
“Last night, you decided it was a good idea to drink crapload of alcohol. You passed out. I had to call Nalin, of all people, to pick you up. Why would you even think that was a good idea? You know very well you can’t hold your liquor especially when you don’t weight more than a 12 year old girl. I swear you have a death wish.”
“I don’t,” he said simply. He was trying to convince himself it was true but he knew very well it wasn’t. He was basically suicidal.
“Then why did you get drunk last night? I thought you didn’t like drinking.”
“I don’t know. I just needed to get my mind off my problems. You should know that. You should expect crap like that from me. I obviously keep on doing these things and Nalin, Maya and you always coming to my rescue. That’s the only thing in life I am sure about.”
“But what happens when we’re not there?” She asked truly wanting to know the answer.
“Then I’m screwed,” and he was fine with that because he knew the 3 teens would always be there.
“Chelsea, I’m leaving now. Remind Ronnie that he has a dentist appointment at 3 and your dad is picking you both at 7. Also, I made breakfast, if you want it,” he mother yelled. The last part was a necessary addition.
Chelsea’s mother had her suspicions about Chelsea and her eating habits, mainly the fact that Chelsea ate almost nothing, but ‘the last part was directed towards Brian. After all, she was more than fully aware about Brian’s condition. She spent the last couple years trying not to bring it up. It was hard though. All the times that Brian was over their house for dinner or came to one of their parties, all she wanted to do was force feed him piles of food. She was convinced he was way too thin and sick to continue starving himself but for the sake of being courteous she didn’t even bat an eyelash whenever he would pick at his food or refuse it all together.
“Okay, mom. Bye,” she said as though she actually heard what her mother just said. Well actually she did hear, she just didn’t comprehend. It went in one ear and out the other. She turned to Brian obviously ready to say something smart.
“So, you want breakfast? Not that we anorexics eat.” She was trying to make him laugh. Maybe she could cheer him up, make him forget his hangover. Hell, maybe she could make him forget his problems. Or maybe, although there were very slim odds, he would actually answer yes.
"Sure, “ he said cautiously. It was unexpected. Chelsea gave him a quizzical look. Was she hearing correctly? Did he just say he wanted to eat? Brian never ate and when he did he obviously didn’t want to. He was deep-set in his habits fueled by his disoriented view of himself and because of that he didn’t need to eat. But today he was determined to eat. He would eat that day and no one and nothing would stop him.
“Did I hear you correct? Did you voluntarily agree to eat? I swear right now hell is freezing over.” She said cleverly.
"No, hell is not freezing over and Yes, I am going to eat, willingly. I figure I’m already almost dead, as everyone like to claim, I have a hangover worse than death, might as well make this day worse than it actually is.” Chelsea just stared at him not knowing exactly how to respond. So, instead of spending useless time trying to conjure up a response, she decided to go downstairs and fix the breakfast Brian claimed he wanted to eat.
“You know what, I’ll go see what my mom made for breakfast and you can come down whenever you’re ready,” she said. She made her way down the hallway. Passing the bathroom, her parents bedroom and then Ronnie’s room. She stopped to watch her little brother sleep. He looked so adorable, if not for the fact he snored incredibly loud. She walked into the kitchen and immediately she smelled her mom’s fresh, homemade vegan banana pancakes. The aroma filled her nose. She wanted to down pancake after pancake until she could hardly move but she wouldn’t.
She had acquired enough self-control in the last few months that she could be near the amazing smelling pancake without eating any. She did, however decide, only a few minutes ago, that she was going to eat today. She couldn’t let Brian show her up. He wasn’t allowed to be stronger than she was. In all frankness, though she would always deny it, a part of her dreaded the idea of Brian getting better while she remained sick. She didn’t like the feeling of being alone.
“I missed that smell,” Brian said. It reminded him of a time before all this started, when he didn’t spend most of his time preoccupied with finding ways not to eat. He had always loved Chelsea’s mother’s pancakes. It didn’t matter that they didn’t contain milk or eggs, he was allergic to eggs when he was younger anyway. Chelsea’s mother, actually purposely left out eggs for that precise reason. Yeah, she also had a strong belief in animal rights and eat any meat of any kind but she wasn’t completely opposed to eggs, not that it really matter to Brian anyway. He had respect for her beliefs but he didn’t care about them all that much.
“Yeah, it’s been forever since you stayed over,” Chelsea said. Her eyes began to brighten as she became nostalgic. She was thinking about all the times that although Brian was a guy, her mother let him sleep over. Actually Brian used to sleep over her house at least once month, if not more. He always liked her house more than his own.
“Yeah, it’s been like 4 years. I don’t think your mother would let me sleep over anymore.”
“Well, obviously. You’re a horny, attractive teenage boy and I’m, what I’d like of as, at least a decent look teenage girl, a lot can happen even if we sleep in different rooms.”
“Nothing happened last night and I’m pretty sure you were just as ridiculously hot last night as you are right now,” he said. He slipped in a compliment purposely because 1, it was true, 2, he thought she needed a little cheering up and 3, he had a slight hope that maybe he could get into her pants, not that he really wanted to take advantage of her in that way, the thought just crossed his mind.
“Umm, thank you, I think,” she said hesitantly, “But, anyway, last night you were knocked out. You couldn’t do anything even if you wanted to.”
“Was I really that drunk?” He asked skeptically.
“Oh yeah. You drank like 7 cans of beer. I honestly don’t understand how you didn’t die of alcohol poisoning.”
“I guess it’s a mystery.” Brian sat down to the table with his plate that contained four rather large pancakes covered in sugar-free syrup. He took a bite. At first he could only taste the syrup, which didn’t taste all that good but he tolerated it because it had much fewer calories than regular syrup. Once he got passed the taste of the syrup he began to taste the pancakes. He loved how fluffy and sweet they were. He knew he would be paying for them later but for now he was trying not feel guilty. He was trying to be normal.
Chelsea also took a bite of her own pancakes. She was slightly less hesitant. She felt slightly less guilt about eating than Brian because she had learned to convince herself whenever she ate that she had nothing to feel guilty about. Of course the feeling never lasted but it did work, most of the time, even if it only lasted until the end of the meal.
For the first time in longer than they could remembered they were eating like normal people and because of that there was now a small possibility of the two teens one day being able to truly live.