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All of this for a PB&J
84 pounds. Crap! I went up three pounds from two days ago. I am thirteen years old and should be 80 pounds like my mother, and she’s thirty six years old! I’ll just tell her the truth. I did eat a little too much yesterday. I had a whole peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch instead of one third. She’s going to be so disappointed in me.
She’s coming up the stairs. What am I going to say?
“Oh, there you are Courtney. Ready to take your weight again?” That’s what my mom and I do when we have the day together, weigh ourselves.
“You first, mom.” I’ll delay it as long as I can. She stepped on the scale and my heart fluttered as it played with the numbers. Then they came to a stop. A smile spread over my mom’s face as I hesitantly looked down at the scale. 78 pounds. She went down!
“Your turn Courtney. Let’s see who won!” To her, winning is losing more weight. I stepped on the scale and closed my eyes. Time felt as if it stopped just to torture me more. My mom drew in a quick breath.
“84,” she mumbled. I slowly opened my eyes afraid of what would come next.
“Mom, let me explain…”
“Courtney Reed, what have you done?” She was leaning on the counter and staring at me as if I had just told her I had eaten five sandwiches. It was a look of pure hatred and betrayal. “I taught you how to be beautiful and this is how you repay me?” She raised her eyebrows.
“Dad has always called me beautiful, even before you started teaching me!” I took a step off the scale because I was tired of seeing the numbers 8 and 4 sitting next to each other, taunting me.
“You are not beautiful, not anymore. In fact, you never were Courtney but you were getting there, and you ruined it. You ruined it for yourself.” I bent my head down. I didn’t want my mom to see tears running down my face. That was not allowed in my house. She walked out the door shaking her head.
It’s been two and a half weeks since that little incident. My mother and I haven’t talked at all yet, my dad is on a business trip, and my brother is at some boarding school in New York. My mom, Lila, has been giving me smaller portions of food since that day and it’s worked!
I’m now 76 pounds and I can’t wait to tell her. Lila walked into the kitchen on a Saturday morning and I spit out the news. She looked at me first like I wasn’t even there and then a shining smile came out from behind her frown.
“Courtney that is great! I knew you could do it!” Her arms were wrapped around me, holding me tight, but her eyes were somewhere else. They seemed distant and distracted. She finally let go and grabbed me by the hand. Lila led me up the stairs and onto the scale to see for herself. When my weight was proven acceptable she wrapped herself around me again, but was still far away. It soon became a game for my mom and me to see who could lose more weight in the least amount of time. Finally, someone at school noticed.
I was just sitting in class zoning out, as usual, when a voice came over the loudspeaker.
“Courtney Reed, please come down to the main office. Courtney Reed.” My whole class turned to look at me. Some of their faces showed sympathy but others looked as if they were trying to contain their laughter. Everyone knows that nobody goes to the main office unless they are in BIG trouble. I pushed my chair back from the table and stood up. My legs were shaking so it was hard to walk straight. I held my breath until I was in the hallway and my class wasn’t giving me curious stares. The handle to the office was warm… or maybe that was just me.
“Courtney Reed?” The office secretary stared down at me from her desk. I nodded my head afraid to talk. “Mr. Pok is waiting for you in his office.” Mr. Pok was our principal and he was not very good with kids. Once when I was in the office to get a band-aid for a cut, I saw a student walk out of his office with tears in his eyes and a look on his face like he saw a ghost. I guess it’s my turn to be that kid.
His door was open so I just walked in and sat down like you were supposed to. Mr. Pok stood up from his chair, giving me a look, and then closed the door. Oh no, this must be important.
“Courtney.” His voice startled me. “I know this is going to be hard, but you must tell me the truth. We can get help for you.” I had no idea what he was going on about. “Courtney… do your parents… feed you?” Before I could control it, a little giggle escaped from my mouth. “Is this funny?” He had a serious tone.
“Mr. Pok. My parents DO feed me. I promise.”
“How much do you weigh Courtney?” Now it’s getting personal.
“And you are thirteen?”
“Yep.” I smiled proudly as Mr. Pok took a deep breath.
“Being anorexic is a very serious problem.” Like he cared.
“Mr. Pok, I do not wish to talk about this. If you are very concerned, please talk to my mother.”
“Courtney…” He seemed worried but I just wanted to leave. Without being dismissed, I walked toward the door holding my head high. Back in class, all of the other students had their gaze targeted on me, but I didn’t say one word. There was still an hour and a half left of class so I just stared straight ahead making sure not to meet anyone’s eyes. Right as the last bell of the day rung, so did the loudspeaker.
“Courtney Reed, please come down to the main office immediately.” Great. He just won’t drop it. While everyone else in the school was getting ready to go home, I was on my way to Mr. Pok… again.
His office seemed different this time, like it had a different mood to it. This time I shut the door on the way in.
“Mr. Pok, why don’t you understand that I don’t want to talk about this? It is my decision.” All I was trying to do was get the point across. “Can I please go back to...?”
“Courtney, something has happened. Your mom is dead.” His words came out fast. Did I hear right? “I got a call soon after you left. Your dad and brother are on their way here as we speak. I’m sorry.” I didn’t understand how this could have happened. I ran out of his office and down the hall blindly because tears were blocking my vision. My mom… dead? Impossible.
Three months have passed. My dad, brother, and I are all doing better with the situation. I continue to weigh myself everyday, because that is what I would have done with my mom. Today I reached 86 pounds and I am the proudest I have been in a long time.