WARNING: Be prepared to be disturbed...especially near the end of this chapter.
|They weighed me. I’m now at one hundred and thirty-three pounds, which really upset them. I even tried to get myself to eat, but my mind is so over-encumbered that it won’t allow it. I began to envision my thought process as a black hole. Any negativity what so ever got sucked in and elongated and made it implode. Except more and more kept getting warped inside and within it became a whole new dimension of darkness and hatred.
As I drifted down the hall along-side the nurse, my eyes wandered to the patients. They were so drugged up that their eyes were almost all the way closed, puddles of drool on their shirts. A trio of women reminded me of Alyssa, tubes in their nostrils and elbows larger in comparison to their biceps and fore-arms, their tooth-pick fingers poking and prodding at their deteriorating muscle on their hips. I peered into a room, finding a woman who appeared to be at least sixty years old, hugging a porcelain doll tightly against her chest while rocking herself back and forth on her bed, giggling and gurgling spit.
One of the anorexics slid her pole of sacs over to me, grinning to show gray teeth. She pinched the skin of my belly and cupped her hands on my hips. “Such lovely bones you have,” she moaned, her voice abnormally deep. “Ana or Mia?”
The nurse grabbed my wrist and tugged me into my room. Thank God. “Once you have eaten ALL of your breakfast you can do what you want. BUT you must have a nurse escort you. We have only one room where patients can communicate amongst themselves. There’s a TV, a book shelf, and game boards. You will be supervised at all times.”
Another nurse came in with food, sitting it on the hospital bed table.
“I will be assisting you during your meal and afterwards take you to the medication unit so you can take your prescription,” he continued. “As you most likely know, if you need to use the restroom, you’ll have to ask a nurse to escort you there. The restrooms are locked either way unless you ask them to unlock it. Also, they will be assisting you in the restroom—“
“Wait a second here, are you telling me I can’t even take a SHIT alone?!” I shouted, chest throbbing.
“Yes,” he spat back. “Even patients WITHOUT an eating disorder have to be assisted when using the restroom.”
I laughed. “This is OUTRAGEOUS. And I do not have an eating disorder! How many times do I have to tell you guys this? I don’t starve myself to lose weight. Food is just DISGUSTING to be, okay?! FUCK!”
“I am not going to argue with you,” the nurse sounded, face gone blank. He dropped into the seat. “But, I’d have to say this…do you hear yourself? Anorexia isn’t about numbers or choice of eating patterns. It’s an illness.” He nodded to my tray. “Now eat. You have fifty minutes to finish your meal.”
Oatmeal, half a grapefruit (with sugar packets on the side), a boiled egg, and a cup of what I’m guessing is orange juice. Besides the drink, the rest was revolting. I sipped on the liquid. The coolness of it dripping into my stomach gave me this strange sensation and I suddenly became anxious. I studied the food before me, trying to decide which one to eat first. I felt eyes on me, making me look back at the Pencil Dick nurse. He smirked at me, eyes motioning to the grotesque food and back at me.
I took another sip on my juice and slowly slid the spoon into my hand, digging into the grapefruit to get a little taste. My lips puckered. Forgot the sugar. I tore open sugar packets and sprinkled it all over. I took a hearty bite. It wasn’t terrible so I shoveled it in as quickly as I could. Eyes slid back to notice Pencil Dick was surprised by how fast I ate. I felt myself grin as I shoved the boiled egg down my throat, taking a couple of swigs of juice. My hands slid to my stomach, the unfamiliar and uncomfortable feeling of something in me. It gurgled loudly. My body was devouring the nutrients, the vitamins.
The oatmeal mimicked baby shit. The light-brown smoothness…but curdled. I lifted the bowl to my mouth and spooned it in, refusing to chew. I chugged the rest of the orange juice and slammed it on the table, forcing a sarcastic smile at Pencil Dick. “Told you I don’t have an eating problem!”
He rolled his eyes, standing up and gesturing me to follow him.
“Are you Ana or Mia?” Creepy gray-tooth anorexic girl asked. She spotted me when I sat on the couch in front of the television. What’s with this? Am I a psychotic girl magnet? First Liz, now this skeletor. Talk about de ja vu.
I shrugged. “I don’t even know what the heck those are,” I snapped. “I know I’m a Jake for sure.”
She giggled, flaring those teeth again. “My name’s Autumn. And ‘Ana’ is for anorexic, ‘Mia’ for bulimic.” Her bone-finger drew my lips apart and large, gray eyes peered in at my mouth. Weird much? She dropped it, allowing me to relax again. “From the looks of your teeth, you are definitely an Ana. I’m a Mia, if you couldn’t tell before.” She bore her teeth at me. Hey, her eyes match…neat?
“Actually I’m neither one of those,” I growled, crossing my arms tight around my tummy. The bottoms of my ribs rested on top of them. “I don’t eat, yes, but it’s not for the sake of numbers. I’m not like you.”
Autumn snorted, rolling her eyes. “Obviously you have no clue what having an ED entails… ‘ED’ as in eating disorder. The whole base of the issue is that we want physical pain so we can mask the pain inside of us.”
I wetted my lips, eyes on her chest. I could count every single clavicle that stuck out. Her gray-yellow hand groped my shoulder, grabbing and feeling more of my bones. “Why do you do that?!” I shot, moving away.
She slowly got up from the couch, grabbing the edge of itas she swayed back and forth, eyes rolling to the back of her head. I noticed the bald spot on the side of her scalp and how dull her blond, ratty, thin hair was…she reminded me of the famished Jewish women caged in those concentration camps. “The more bones you feel,” she began, still trying to breathe, “…the closer you are to heaven.” Her hand glided along the bumps of my spine. “You have thirty more to go, maybe even forty…” She collapsed back on the couch, eyes on me. Her eyes were yellow, large red spots from busted veins in the corners of them. “The more you push to ignore the torment, the closer you are to death… I’m only thirty years old. They said if I keep it up, I’ll be in the grave in a year…” She passed out, arms wrapped around my waist.
My heart stopped. And though this thirty-year-old girl was hopeless and fucked up, I felt for her. Just like I did for Alyssa. Because what they were / are doing is what I was doing on the streets. The only difference was that mine was needles and knives, not fingers and hunger.