November 30th – Voided Victories
“Go on, eat it all up.”
“You’ll like it.”
“I made this specially for you.”
She knew they were watching her. They always watched her eat, now. So she tried, with a smile, to move forkful after forkful of the calories into her mouth. One sausage. 301 calories. A slice of cake. 257 calories. A banana. 89 calories. A glass of water. Nothing.
She sipped at the water. Smiled at her parents across the table.
She knew they cared. Cared. She also knew that they didn’t know that they were suffocating her with their care. Their encouragement. Their triumph at the smallest of victories. Their victories were the white spaces on her plate where the calories had been.
They didn’t understand. She was a good girl. Good at school, good grades, friends. Good at sports, too, once, before all this started. All this.
She knew what was going on. She had read the literature, gone to the sessions, talked to the overweight nurse and the overweight doctor and the perfect counsellor with her shiny hair and tiny waist and perfect small curves. She knew what she was doing.
She also knew that they didn’t see what she saw in the mirror. They didn’t see the swell of her stomach in the spotlight she angled up, every morning, every evening, just to see.
They’d started going through her computer. They didn’t know enough, though, to find the private browsing history, the chats, the perfect girls with their perfect hair and perfect teeth and perfect bikini bodies, on catwalks and covers and full-page spreads. They didn’t know about the chatrooms, late at night, where she could talk about calories and figures and BMI and perfect shapes.
They wouldn’t understand.
So she smiled at the dinner table, as she smiled at the breakfast table, as she smiled when she went out the door, her mother’s hug a hug goodbye and a pair of caliper arms, measuring, judging.
At school she was safe, if she was careful.
Straight into the bathroom, empty her stomach.
Inspired by a prompt from here