I spin the knob in the shower. This house is always so cold, even in the summer. Taking a nice, long, steamy shower is the only way I can seem to keep warm. Stupid drafty house. I step into the shower. The hot water stings my skin as it cascades down my back. I run a hand through my sandy blonde hair, and pick the loose strands out from between my fingers. No big deal; this happens just about every time I shower.
I scrape my pointer finger against my uvula. My body convulses involuntarily, but nothing comes out of my mouth. I curse in my head. Lately, it's been taking more scraping and deeper pushing to get the same results. I used to be able to just hover my fingers in front of my tongue and boom, instant weight loss, but now it's getting more and more difficult. I push my finger further down my throat, past my dangling uvula, and start wiggling it. Tickling the back of my throat is always the best course of action. Soon, I feel the familiar spasms start to overtake my body. My stomach heaves, the acid rises up through my esophagus and into my throat, and finally, it passes my fingers and lips. My hands drop to my sides as I feel my shoulder blades snap backwards, propelling the vomit from my mouth. My throat burns as the stomach acid and pizza pass through it, and my eyes sting. I feel tears streaming down my face, though whether they’re from the induced vomiting or the pain of getting fat I can’t tell. I hope it’s because of the vomiting. That would be preferable to Crying Sarah. Crying Sarah is a sad sack that no one wants around. I keep telling myself, in my head, that I'm okay. This is perfectly normal. This is how people get skinny. All I need to do is lose five more pounds, and I'll be skinny enough for now.
I go through the events of the day: wake up, drink a mug full of coffee, run two miles, go to work, skip lunch, go home, do fifty sit-ups, then go out to dinner with the girls. We ate out at Pizza Hut. I like Pizza Hut. They give me nice, dark red glasses with open tops, so no one asks why there are chunks of pepperoni pizza floating in my water. I’m sure I spit out all the chunks I'd bitten off the three slices I'd taken, but I must have missed one or two, because earlier, my scale showed that I had gained five whole pounds. Stupid. Stupid Sarah. Bad Sarah forgot to spit out her pizza instead of swallowing it, and now she's turning back into Fat Sarah.
I go through the entire Pizza Hut meal in my head. None of the girls saw me spit out my food, and they all saw me eat three slices of pizza. That's a little over eight hundred calories right there. I googled after dinner it to make sure. No way am I going to let that garbage in my body, but I can't be rude and refuse a night out to dinner with the girls. I already pushed them away as a fat little girl, and I have to make up for it now that I have the chance to be skinny again.
I retch again, filling the bathtub with brown and red vomit. Red? Why was it red? What had I eaten that was red? Was it the pizza? As I watch it washed down the drain, I am vaguely aware of a coppery taste in my mouth. Blood tastes coppery. Oh god, now I'm vomiting blood. Bad Sarah. Stupid Sarah. You've never vomited blood before, Squishy Sarah. You've got to figure out a way to vomit without losing all that blood, you moron. What if your friends could see you now, you loser? What would the girls think if they could see you blowing chunks of pizza into your shower drain?
Carly is the prettiest of our group. I eyeball her at around one-hundred-ten pounds. She's still skinnier than I am. It just isn't fair. She had two pieces of pizza, and she actually ate them without gaining a pound. My eyeball is never wrong. Rachel eats very little, but she keeps her figure, and Claire is a health nut and got a salad. I thought about ordering a salad, but there are too many calories in the dressing, and all the extra stuff they put on it only adds more pounds. I only eat foods like celery and lettuce; you know, stuff that costs more energy to eat than it gives you. That way, I can make it look like I'm eating while still losing weight. That's what the internet said to do. I found a bunch of helpful sites, and they all say that gaining weight is bad, and they give me tips on how to avoid it. You have to be heavy on the purge, and light on the binge.
And just like that, I remember: I woke up in the middle of the night last night, floated down the stairs, and binged on my roommate's leftover spaghetti. I remember reaching into the fridge and yanking it out, tearing off the top, and devouring the cold spaghetti whole. I'm such a fat, stupid girl that I couldn't even wait the ninety seconds it would have taken to microwave it and make it edible. Great, so not only am I a bad person for eating at night without a thought to how many calories it would cost me, but now I've managed to take advantage of my roommate too, who took me in out of the goodness of her heart when my mother's skinny body became too painful to look at. Bad Sarah. Doubly Bad Sarah. Stupid Sarah.
I feel yet another spasm rack my body as I vomit again. My vision swims, and my head starts to feel fuzzy. I can feel myself convulsing, my shoulders swinging back and forth as I cough and spit up the last of my dinner into the porcelain bathtub, and the next thing I know, I'm lying on my side in the middle of the tub, my head throbbing in pain. I place my hand where the throbbing was most painful, and it comes back bloody. Great, now I'll have to explain that too. With one last, wet cough, I hack up what was left in my now-empty stomach, lying there in the water, which by now is now freezing cold.
I pull myself up, using the edge of the bathtub as support, and step gingerly onto the mat. Using the vanity to hold myself up, I gaze at myself in the mirror. I'm foggy and unclear, so I bring my hand up to the mirror and wipe away the steam from the cold, uncaring glass. I stare at myself. The girl who stares back at me has skin pulled over the bones on her fat face, and she's shivering like mad. A little stream of blood winds its way from her forehead. I wipe it away, silently admonishing the human blob in the mirror for being such a fat loser. She's so fat and unhappy. She looks like a fat version of a Dickensian latchkey kid.
My arms are heavy as I lift them to the mirror to wipe away the last of the steam to get a good look at myself. I wipe my cheeks clean, pretend I wasn't just crying, and blow my nose. I do still have to finish my evening exercises after all. Maybe I just can't help being ugly. Maybe I can't help being fat. Maybe it's just time to accept that I can’t do anything to fix myself, and live life like the hippo I am. Maybe. But maybe, just maybe, if I lost a little more weight, that wouldn't happen. I could go out with my girls, even eat a little, without feeling like a human blimp. Maybe it wasn't that hard. All I have to do is lose four more pounds. That’s not that many, is it?
Written by Illyrias Acolyte