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Disappearing Act

eating-disorder

This story was written sometime around 2005-2006 for a creative writing class, where we did an exercise in class that could be dialogue only. I had written a conversation- an argument really, between this girl and her mother, and then expanded it into a shorty story after. I have since expanded it to novella length, though it remains unfinished and I haven’t written anything new on it in 5 or 6 years. Maybe one day I’ll finish it

**Warning** Contains self-harm, depression/suicide, and eating disorder triggering language. If you need information or help for an eating disorder please see the NEDA website for Helpline options.

The whitewashed walls of the chilling room shone brightly in the winter sunlight; cold iron bars blemishing the clear glass of the window. A simple oak bed held the frail frame of a girl bordering womanhood. She lay on her back, searching the blank walls for something. Anything. Her crisp, white hospital gown crinkled as she sat up. Translucent skin stretched tightly over her brittle bones. Bruises marred her porcelain skin. Her eyes sunk deeply into their sockets, ringed the colour of raspberries, left too long on the vine. Her once plush lips were pale and lacklustre; chapped so badly that dried blood lined the cracks covering them. Her once beautiful blue eyes had lost their shine, and held only pain now. Luxurious hair was now stringy, pale. Thin.

Placing her feet on the floor, her brow furrowed as she searched the small room for something missing. The rest of the room was cold, white-washed, and empty, except for a small leather-bound book, discarded in the furthest corner from the bed. She stood uncertainly for a few moments to test her balance, staring at the book. She hadn’t been out of bed in as long as she could remember. She moved slowly and crouched down, listening to the domino-effect crack of her weakened bones. She picked up the book, and stared at it for a moment, feeling familiarity wash over her. She sat stiffly on the floor with her back against the wall and her knees tucked up high under her chin. She opened the book to the first page.

April 12th 2002,

            Well, you’ve won Journal. I’ve boycotted you since you were forced into my hands. I’ve beaten you. I’ve broken you. I’ve hated you. But you’ve won now, cuz here I am writing. I’ve finally been worn down by your brutal, mocking stare. I’m yours now. Do what you wish. I’m supposed to write my feelings in you, right? I’m supposed to spill my proverbial guts, and feel better hmm? Well here’s what I think. I think this place is the equivalent of Hell. I think it’s sick what the people do here. I think it’s sick that they think I’m sick. Oh, and I hate her. I HATE HER. This is all her fault. You know she doesn’t even visit me? She has no problem locking me up, but visiting me, no, that would validate that there’s something wrong wouldn’t it? She should be in here, not me. NOT ME.

She smiled to herself and thought back to that day. She’d been in rehab only a week before she broke down and actually wrote in the journal that the doctors had provided for her. She traced her fingers over the faded pink ink. It had been so long. She turned the page and scanned it slowly: more of the same. She flipped through the pages until she saw the date in the top right hand corner, marking a few months of passed time.

July 1st 2002,

            It feels really good to be home, Journal. My bed, my computer, my life! It’s all back to normal. I have to go to summer school to make up for what I missed, but that’s okay. I’m free now, and normal, and healthy. I’m better. I’m recovered. I’m happy!

Her smile faded as she remembered that feeling, so remote to her life now.   It felt as though she was standing out, looking in on her past happiness, too devoid of emotion to even know how to feel like that again. She turned the pages again.

January 23rd 2003,

Here I am again, Journal. She sent me back again. Her and that stupid, fucking doctor. They don’t have a fucking clue what they’re talking about. It’s all because of that stupid conversation. All I did was ask for a Goddamn scale. That’s all I did. But no, she couldn’t even do that for me. She is such a heartless bitch. Last time I was here, do you know what she did? She told everyone that I was at boarding school in Switzerland. She let me believe that no one cared enough to visit. She doesn’t want me here, yet she keeps putting me here. What the hell is wrong with her? I’m fine. I’m completely fine.

She looked down at the page coldly, re-living the scenario in her head.   Rage coursed through her so suddenly that she let our a brittle shriek, throwing the book across the room. Balling up her fists she pound them on the cold tile floor of the room in anger. Moments passed and the feelings subsided. She crawled across the floor to where the book lay and sat down against the foot of the bed, finding the page right after where she had left off. The ink has changed from girlish pink to a dark, melancholic blue.

May 26th 2003,

            They took my pen away. Can you fucking believe that? I’m not aloud to have anything from home any more. Ever since Huggsy, it’s all “No foreign objects.” What a bunch of fucking lunatics. They should be in here, not running the place! I’ve been on feeding tubes for a few months now. They finally took me off. I wish I had a mirror. I need a mirror, and a scale. I need a fucking scale. I NEED A FUCKING SCALE YOU PIECES OF SHIT!

A small sound like a laugh escaped her pasty lips. She remembered that need so well. She didn’t feel it any more. Her mind drifted to Huggsy; she had never gotten her beloved stuffed penguin back. It was all because she had hidden a razor blade in his snow-suit. That’s when they had taken everything away. That’s when they stole everything that meant anything to her. Sadly, she turned the page.

November 18th 2003,

Well journal, this time I think it worked. I’m cured! Isn’t that exciting? I’m ready to take this world by storm. They haven’t even begun to feel the presence of Ashley Nordstrom! Here I come world, ready or not!

It had been almost a year since those words had been written. She looked up and stared at the nothingness of the walls around her. This had been life for nearly as long as she could remember.

The next few pages in the book were a mass of scribbles and blood. She couldn’t read what had once been written, but knew what had taken place. She hadn’t written since then for two reasons: she felt she had nothing to say, and she wasn’t aloud anything to write with. The doctors put her on and off feeding tubes regularly, since she refused to eat. She knew in about a month she’d be nineteen and could leave of her own free will.

She stood up, leaving the journal on the floor and paced slowly over to the window. The problem was that she wasn’t sure she even wanted to leave. Her eyes focused between the bars onto the snow-covered grass below. Whitewashed, just like inside. There was no desire to be thin any more, just to die.

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