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Two girls struggle with eating disorders Chapter 1: Ana I dump my heavy backpack to the floor as I drop myself onto the large leather sofa in my den letting out a groan. The couch groans in unison after years of wear-and-tear from parties to movie nights. My stomach grumbles; yelling at me for lack of nutrition throughout the day and I silence it with a tick-tack. I haven’t eaten anything all day except for tic-tacs and I wasn’t about to screw that up now.
“Mom?” I call out into the clearly empty house. Silence surrounds me and I know for sure she’s not home. Of course, why would she be home? She's never home when I return from school, why should today be any different? I light a cigarette and take a drag from it; this has been a nasty habit of mine since freshman year. After about half a year of Mom nagging me to drop the disgusting addiction, she gave up and decided to start smoking herself.
She blames me. She says that the secondhand smoke made her crave smoking as well. Despite how I know this is a huge load of bullshit, I let her think what she wants. Her mind won’t change because of anything I say anyway.
I click on the tv and get lost in the drone of useless infomercials. This has become a daily routine for me since school has started up again. I’d get home from school, light a cig, watch some tv until Mom comes home, fake eating dinner, then go to my room and do homework. When I’m done I just sleep. On the days I don’t have any homework at all I’ll end up going to sleep around 7. Mom always yells at me saying I’m so antisocial and so lazy, but its only because I have no one to be social with.
I’m kind of a loser, I guess. I’ve been a loser since the sixth grade when girls began bullying me relentlessly. One of the girls who was involved in the bullying was my old best friend Grace. I knew she always wanted to be popular, and when she was given the opportunity she dropped me and began harassing me.
“You stupid b****.”
“You would be better off dead.”
“You’re such a f*ing loser,”
“STOP!” I call into the empty house pressing my palms over my ears trying to get the memories to leave me alone. A tear slides down my cheek and I furiously wipe it away, suddenly so angry that I let my emotions get the best of me.
I sprint to the bathroom gasping for air. I start searching for my razor blade, the one i’ve hidden, while knocking over nearly everything that blocked it. I quickly drag the blade across my skin and exhale. I hadn’t realized I was holding my breath. The pain soothes me. Relaxation settles in.
For what seems like hours, I stare back at my fragile and broken reflection in the mirror. The girl in the mirror was not who I ever wished I would become. I’m skinny; bones jut out nearly everywhere. Most of me I can cover in an sweatshirt, but you can still see my collar bones protruding out from me. My hair is stringy, dingy almost, after years of malnourishment. What was once voluminous, shiny blonde waves now turned to flat, dirty blonde. Empty eyes, pained and depressed peer back at me. It a way they almost seemed as if they were mocking me. They knew my secrets. They knew the real me. I exhale again.
Every. Damn. Day.
“Charlotte, I’m home!” Mom calls breaking me from my trance, “Come help me make dinner!” I hear her high heels clicking on the hardwood floor headed for the kitchen.
“Coming,” I sigh pulling my sweatshirt sleeve back over my now bandaged wrist.
I hate myself for being this way. Chapter 2: Mia A sigh escapes my pursed lips as I hand over my school card to the lunch lady who happens to have grim scowl on her face. I smile sweetly as I flip my hair over my shoulder before grabbing my tray and heading back to my usual lunch table where my best friend, Lindsay, and a few others were sitting already.
“What's for lunch today Grace,” she grins eyeing my plate while popping a cheeto in her mouth.
“Just the usual,” I sigh once again setting my tray down next to her packed lunch. Lindsay eyes my greasy slice of pizza as I eye her bag of half-eaten cheetos and I contemplate offering a trade.
“Yum,” she licks her lips leaning over to grab a fry and I slap her hand away grinning.
“Go buy your own lunch!” I laugh as she pouts, “Buying lunch is very expensive now and I can’t have you mooching food off of me,”
“Fine, but I was going to offer you this amazing tuna salad,” she says sarcastically before getting up to throw her tuna salad away with a disgusted look plastered on her face.
“Oh Grace,” I twist around in my chair to see my boyfriend, Bryce, walking towards me with a fluffy pink teddy bear in tow, “Would you do me the great honor of going to Homecoming with me?” He asks with a crooked grin. To be honest, he already asked me the other night, but I wanted to make a big show out of him asking me in front of everyone. I mock surprise and wrap my arms around his neck, trying to attract as much attention as possible. An array of ‘awws’ escape from the girls around us.
“Thanks baby,” I whisper against his ear. We kiss quickly before I excuse myself to the bathroom. No one follows me because this is just routine; a horrible routine that no one can know what happens during.
I lock the door behind me and rest my hands on the sink counter taking a deep breath. I check under all the stalls making sure I was completely alone. I stare at myself in the mirror. I wasn’t that bad looking to be completely honest. I guess thats what made me so popular. I had long straight auburn hair that reached the small of my back and deep blue almond shaped eyes. My full, rosebud lips had a naturally bright pink hue to them. I’m pretty tall; at 5’9” I towered over most of the students at school, but even though it did have its perks it was also one of my biggest insecurities limiting me to shoes that had a completely flat bottom. My weight, however, is by far the worst insecurity I have. I’m constantly afraid I’m overweight and no matter how many times I try to diet, I always end up binging the next day.
Making my way to the first stall I feel nervous, even though this is a daily routine for me. I quickly empty my stomach of all the food I just ate trying to ignore the wave of depression clouding over me. When I’m done I wash my hands and wipe the tears from my eyes before heading back out to the table.
“We have to go dress shopping this weekend!” Lindsay greats me back at the table as I subconsciously wipe at my chin and pop a mint in my mouth.
“Definitely,” I smile half-heartedly and I wonder if she can tell. I know I’ll need to lose a lot more weight by Homecoming. Chapter 3: Ana I make my way to 6th period struggling under the weight of my heavy backpack. I pause in the hallway to set my bag down before walking again to get to class on time.
This is always one of the struggles I have to deal with being so weak all the time. I can’t always handle the weight of the things I have to carry. I lose my breath faster than the average person and I always feel like I might pass out. I start to feel shaky so I pop another tick-tack in my mouth.
“Excuse me?” A voice calls from behind me. I turn around but don’t stop walking; determined to make it to my class on time for once. I give a half-hearted ‘hmm?’ to the boy rushing to catch up to me, “I’m looking for Mrs. Smith’s classroom, can you help me find it?” his face is flushed and I can’t help but stare, “I’m kinda new here,” he laughs nervously rubbing the back of his head with his free hand.
“I’m headed that way, you can walk with me,” I murmur. I glance over him once more before determining that he’s ‘popular boy’ material and will probably be sucked in by the popular crowd by the end of the day, “But if you want to make it in this school, its better you’re not found talking to me. Okay?” The boy nods with a confused look in his eyes before extending his hand.
“I’m Tristan,” I take his outstretched hand and shake it weakly. I really have to put this backpack down.
“Charlotte,” I turn to make my way up the stars before deciding against it and turning back around. Tristan follows me all the way to the bench set outside of the library.
“Are you okay? You look sick,” he drapes his palm over my forehead and waits for a second before removing it.
“I’m fine,” I lie. In all actuality though, i was feeling worse than normal. I try standing up but end up falling with a thud back on the bench.
“No, I really think you should go to the nurse. I’ll walk you there,” He pulls me up and wraps his arm around my waist to prevent me from falling again. As we stagger down to the nurses office, I can’t help but wonder why this guy is helping me. I basically had told him he shouldn’t talk to me and then resorted to one or two word answers but he still wanted to make sure I was okay. The thought gave me butterflies but I brushed away the feeling.
I sleep for a few periods in the nurses office on one of the disgusting cots that normally I would never touch, but today they just looked so welcoming. Occasionally the nurse would pop in asking how I was doing and if I wanted to call to go home, but I really just didn’t want to get up. Eventually, the final bell rings and the school day is over. As I try leaving, the gentle faced nurse offers me a granola bar. Her worried eyes scanning over me and I hunch over pretending to look for something in my bag to avoid her suspicious gaze. Thanking her, I grab the granola bar and leave having no desire or intentions of eating it. I toss the granola bar into the trash before exiting the school in a hurry to get to my car and go home.