It was Halloween time. I was in college and doing crunches in my friends dorm room as we got ready to go out. If I ate anything I’d run a mile for every calorie.
I was 16. I was couched and earned a demerit (couldn’t go ride my horse, Sundance) for tapping my foot, a nervous habit. It was considered exercise and calorie burning. When the aids and nurses weren’t watching, us girls would run and jump, doing back flips and cartwheels.
Nothing felt so sinister. We were rule-breakers. We had to feel.
I painted my roommate’s canvas shoes with trees, wrote an entire book of poetry and songs, was sent packages of cigarettes by my parents, knitted ten infinity scarves, and did push ups and intervals in my room while no one was looking. My roommate knew, but the shoes were enough to buy her silence.
Sometimes even today I think trees have hidden meanings.
Now 17, I woke up every morning with a needle in my arm, a nurse drawing blood. “You could have at least waited until I was fully awake, lady,” I sleepily slurred.
In a monotone voice she replied, “Sorry, dear, you’re on close monitoring. It’s time to get weighed, first go pee.”
I flipped the bird internally, while remaining entirely silent and carrying a face of ambiguity.
I was slowly dying. I wondered if maybe it was cowardice that I didn’t just do it, kill myself. No, instead I made it worse for me and everyone else, dragging it on this way, in a way the torment of self hate.
I daydreamed about heaven and what it was like. Surely there would be no eating disorders there. God hated them. Yes, I was sure they would be forbidden, gone and done with.
I stayed up reading Psalms past curfew with a flashlight. I didn’t know what or who I was searching for. I just knew I was hungry, in more than one way, for more.
Feeding tubes beeped and kept me from sleep.
I kept having this reoccurring dream:
I stood in this beautiful kitchen, a house, that I knew was mine. I heard children laughing as my husband came and kissed my cheek. I stood around food and I was free.
They had told me it was more and more unlikely I’d have kids biologically. This was infertility.
I’d said, although it was true, but in an order to self protect too, that I knew I wanted to adopt since I was 10. I used to say there were too many kids who didn’t have parents that needed them.
I haven’t met a kid since that I haven’t been in mom-mode to. I think I’m well on route.
These are my short stories.
To be continued.