Starving for love and craving affection
The monster's grip is tightHe was almost to his destination. He could see it, it was in reach, so he pushed harder. His legs started moving faster and his strides were longer and more graceful. The adrenaline was flowing through his body. He felt amazing. He felt like he could keep going forever and nothing could stop him. He was invincible.
He was starting to remember what he liked so much about running. It made him feel like he could do anything or be anyone. When he was running he was on top of the world, at least for those couple minutes. But when the race ended it was all over. Suddenly he was Brian again. Fat, ugly, stupid, loser Brian.
So why did he ever quit doing track? Why did he stop running?
Honestly, he didn't know. One day he just stopped. That day he was on one of his daily 30 minute morning runs and he had already done 25 minutes. He started to pick up speed, preparing to sprint the last 5 minutes as he always did. He started to all-out sprint but then he stopped dead in his tracks. He just stood there just contemplating whether to just pick up from there and finish his run or to just give up and walk home. He decided on the latter.
It really didn't matter though because he was eventually going to be thrown off the team anyway. His coach had her suspicions about his eating disorder and she wasn't about risk his health just so that she could have another win. It didn't matter that he was one of the few distance runners the team had. She still cared more about him a person than him as runner. So Brian decided to just cut his losses and quit. At that point he had lost most of his drive for track, so why keep on doing it? He had lost most of his drive for life, in fact. The only thing he cared about then was his eating disorder.
That was 3 years ago but not much had changed since. He was still consumed by the ever-present eating disorder. Just now, he had slightly more to live for. And he was determined to live. He wouldn't die at the hands of anorexia. He wasn’t ready to die, he still had a little more life left inside of him. So, he was going to keep on going.
But that was more because it would be embarrassing. A boy, dying of anorexia, that couldn't happen, he wouldn't let it happen. He was stronger than that.
So, he kept on running. He ran 3 miles. He ran another. Then he ran yet another. The more he ran the more wind blew and the more he had to work through it. As the wind picked up more he pushed harder. He continued to run until he couldn’t run anymore. Then he stopped and looked around. He was about 3 miles away from home and he had no energy to even walk another step. 2 hours ago he had a huge surplus of energy that he had since the morning at Chelsea’s house when he decided to eat, and he was aching to use it. But all of that was gone now so Brian was about to do something he swore he would never do. He was going to ask for help. And he was about to ask for help from the one person who needed help even more than him
He took out his phone and texted the words 'I NEED your help!' Now all he had to do was wait and hope she answered.
Chelsea felt her phone vibrate. She checked the caller ID. It was a text from Brian. She opened the text and saw the words 'I NEED you' written bright as day. She didn't even notice the other words in the text because those 3 words were all she cared about.
She dialed his number. The phone rang once. Then twice. The incessant phone even dared to ring a third time. But finally Brian answered.
"Hello,' he said gasping for air. She could tell he was just doing intense exercise and that really bothered her, actually it frightened her a lot.
"I got your text," she stated simply. She tried her hardest not to comment on her disappointment with him with because she had no right to considering the way she'd been behaving lately.
"Okay,” He said nonchalantly.
"So what’s up? What do you need my help with?" she asked, hoping, no praying, that he wasn't in any trouble but knowing he was.
"It's not what you think. I’m stranded and I need a ride home." He sounded casual as if nothing was wrong but for some reason Chelsea didn’t believe him. She knew him too well to take him at his word in a situation like this.
"Really, that's all you need. Then why such an urgent message? Are you stranded in the middle of the desert or something? Scared of getting robbed, maybe?"
"No, I just kind of ran a little far from home," he under-exaggerated. But Chelsea could tell he was more than a little far way from home.
"How far?" She asked, not really wanting to know the answer.
"Just two miles outside of town," he stated
"So, why don't you just walk home or catch a train? Call a taxi if you really have to. Come on, you know how to travel." Brian confused her.
"I have no energy and no money. I just ran like 10 miles," he joked, refusing to acknowledge the seriousness of the statement. He refused to acknowledge how much he was really hurting himself.
"Are you trying to kill yourself?" She wasn't joking.
"I used to be a distance runner, I can run that in my sleep. Did you forget I ran track and cross country?" But that was years ago, he wasn’t the same person he was back then and they both knew that.
"Yeah but that was when you weren't on the bridge of dying. It's different now." Everything was different now.
"Will you pick me up or not?" he was getting anxious.
"I'll try. Where are you?" She asked.
"Somewhere in central park.”
“That’s vague. Central park is kind of huge, can you be a little more specific?”
“Near the Reservoir,” he said somewhat unsure.
“How far are you from Madision Ave and 94st?”
“Less than 5 minutes, why?”
“Because there’s a Pizza shop near there but I don’t remember the name of it. Do you remember that pizza place we went to after Ronnie’s little league game a few years ago? It was like right before you got sick.” And as soon as the words were out of her mouth, she regretted saying it.
“That game where he threw up all over second base,” Brian joked.
“Yep, that’s the one ” she laughed.
“Yeah, I remember where it is.”
“Do you have enough energy to walk over there because there’ more like to be parking near there than by the reservoir?”
“Yes, of course.”
"Ok, I'll be there soon." She hung up the phone and began to dial another number.
"Hello," answered Nalin, lethargically. She could tell, she had woken him.
“Did I wake you up?”
“yeah but it’s fine. So what’s up?”
"I need to ask you for a favor?" She tried to sound innocent.
"What do you need, Chels?" He sounded tired and annoyed. He was tired and annoyed.
Dealing with Brian and Chelsea's many issues was getting tedious and not to mention time consuming. He had been doing it for way too long
"I need you to go down to Central and pick up Brian?" She sounded unsure.
"Why do you want me to pick him up? And why on earth would I ever drive to central park?"
"Cause I don't have a car or a drivers license plus I’d prefer not to lose my permit because I decided to drive illegally," she gave him an attitude.
"We live in the city, no one has a car,” the attractive, redheaded boy who had been dragged a little too thin, retorted.
"Except you." She stated
"Yeah. You have a point,” he conceded, “Where in central park is he and why does he need a ride? Can't he just catch bus home? It’s not that far. Come on, he’s live in the city his whole, I think he can find his own way home," he said in a patronizing tone.
"Yeah," she paused, "He told me he just ran 10 miles and doesn't have the energy to walk home. It confused the hell out me also considering as you stated he's lived his whole life in the city. I feel like he has some hidden agenda or he's in trouble or something. Hell, with Brian you never know." How could Brian possible have any energy to do so much as move let alone run several miles? Brian looked like the walking dead, acted like he was dead but somehow he kept on going. If Nalin weren't completely aware that Brian was on the path to slowing killing himself, he would actually idolize the boy.
"You both always do," he said spitefully.
"Whatever. Are you gonna pick him or not?"
"Fine, but your coming." It was settled.
He sounded the horn. He waited. He sounded it again and again he waited. He sounded the horn once more. It was getting annoying. Why was it that Chelsea was only late when he was waiting for her? He swore she did it just to spite him.
He decided to take out his phone and dial Chelsea’s number. He only managed to get through the first 5 numbers before she came out.
“Can I drive?” She asked as she jumped in the car. She expected Nalin to say no considering she wasn’t the best driver.
“Sure,” he said nonchalantly.
Nalin felt he owed it to her. He had been a complete jerk to her the last couple weeks. He had been yelling at her because she working on killing herself and enabling Brian in his self-destruction. And worst she wasn’t acting like herself and he didn’t like that. But all of that aside, she was going through a lot and deserved some happiness so he’d give her that and would let her drive but just that once.
She stared at him in awe.
“Do you want to drive or not because you kind of have to be in the driver’s seat to drive.”
“Yeah that would make sense.” They switched seats.
“Okay, put your feet on the break and put the car in reverse,” he instructed.
“I know what to do,” she declared. She had driven many times before and she knew the basics.
“With the way you usually drive I don’t know if you do,” he said.
“I don’t drive that badly,” she whined as she took her right arm off the wheel to playfully hit Nalin.
“Sure you don’t,” he said sarcastically.
“Okay, I do but I still know how to drive.”
‘No, you really don’t.”
“Then why are you letting me drive?” she asked.
“Because you’re one of my best friends and for some strange reason I love you and I like seeing you happy even if that means risking my life letting you drive,” She smiled at him. She liked hearing those words come out of his mouth. She liked the feeling of being loved.
Nalin couldn’t help but stare at her beautiful smile. It was nice to see her smile. She hadn’t smiled in a while and he didn’t know when she would smile again.
“Well, I’m not sure if I love you right now especially after that crack about my driving,” she joked. Her grin grew wider. She loved to mess with Nalin. It reminded her of old times, back before everything became so crazy and screwed up.
“Keep telling yourself that but we both know that you love me,” he said as began to tickle her, in an attempt to annoy her. Nalin knew where Chelsea was the most ticklish: her stomach, her legs and her feet. So he started poking at her stomach and she started to squirm.
It was then that he noticed just how thin she was. He could distinctly feel her ribs and that was disconcerting. Sure, she definitely wasn’t ‘anorexic’ thin, not yet, and she had a ways to go before she got there but she still wasn’t suppose to be that thin.
Chelsea had always been on the larger side of average. She was never fat but she wasn’t thin either. If anything Chelsea had an athletic build from years of doing swimming. Every since 7th grade, when puberty decided to work it’s wonders on Chelsea’s body, she had been known for having, for lack of a better word, a very curvy figure. She had big boobs and an even better ass. But now didn’t have any of that, she was just thin, very thin; No she wasn’t just thin, she was skinny.
Nalin hated to admit it but he still found her attractive. He had always been into thin, petite girls. He never understood why he liked Chelsea so much because she never fit into that mold, until now. It made him feel so disgusting: Chelsea was starving herself to achieve an unachievable image of perfection, she was becoming thinner by the second and he still found her attractive. What the hell was wrong with him?
“When was the last time you ate?” He asked. A look of concern crossed his face.
“Last night,” she said cautiously. She was lying and Nalin knew it.
“No, when was the last time you actually ate?” he repeated himself
“Last night,” she said firmly, refusing to change her answer.
“Without puking afterwards?” he asked. He didn’t actually want to know the answer because he knew the answer would only make him angry. He was tired of being angry at Chelsea, disappointed with Chelsea and worried about Chelsea.
“Some time last week,” she said truthfully.
“Just drive,” he exclaimed disappointedly.
Brian waited inside the restaurant for Chelsea to come. He was getting impatient. She needed to hurry up. He wanted to get home. He was tired, sick, hungry and going insane. Why did life suck so much?
He spotted what looked-like Nalin's dark blue, worn-down toyota approaching. He was hoping it wasn’t so he moved closer to check and he saw Chelsea in the driver’s seat and Nalin in the passenger seat. Indeed it was Nalin’s car.
Why did she have to call him? He didn’t need Nalin to get involved. Nalin was too involved already. Plus today he wasn’t in the mood to be yelled at. He just wanted to get home and sleep for days.
He, however, came to the conclusion that it didn’t matter who came to pick him up he was going to get home anyway. So he sucked up his pride and got in the car. As Brian got in the car Nalin was preparing to read him the riot act. It showed all over his face.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" Nalin asked without any hesitation.
"What happened to hello? Maybe a good afternoon. How’s it going? Something," Brian said smartly.
"When you do stupid things like this, you don’t deserve a greeting. You haven’t made the best the decisions today or this week for that matter. This is actually the second time in the last 7 days that Chelsea’s called me to pick you up because you’re trying to kill yourself, “ he took a deep breath,” What is wrong with you? Why would you decide to go on a run? Does not seem like the best idea considering that you're a walking skeleton and you probably haven't eaten anything in at least a day. But you don't just go for a simple run; you decide to run 10 miles and out of town, no less. Then you call Chelsea, who does not have a car nor can she drive, to pick you up. Are you becoming dumber?"
“You both need to calm down,” Chelsea said weighing in with her unnecessary two cents.
"Yeah it's not that serious. Why are you making such a big deal?" Of course it was that serious. Everything that happened with Brian lately was that serious.
"When you are trying to kill yourself yes it is that serious," He glared disconcertingly at Brian, "Just tell me one thing. Why?"
"Why, what?" Brian asked innocently.
"Why choose to go running today? Why run so far? Why do all that when you can barely stand?"
"Because I like running. It's one of the few things that make me feel happy. Running makes me feel like I’m worthy of living." The car became silent.