The television screen flickers from the film we are watching. We have no idea of what is showing; we have been talking all night. He puts his arm around me, and I feel comfortable. A bit nervous, too: am I fun enough, pretty enough, skinny enough? We are talking like we always do. About personal things — experiences, family. Things said to know each other deeper.
And suddenly, you are about to ruin it. But I won’t let you.
I won’t, because then you will become even fatter. I mean, aren’t you podgy enough already? Remember what you saw in the mirror this morning. You could grab your love handles, and you know that’s no good. Fatty. The scales will show an even higher number, and let’s face it: it’s already extremely high!
You’re not perfect yet. Far from it, actually, with all your chubbiness. Yet you’ll be even further from it when you give up, when you stop listening to me. I’m taking good care of you, and I’ve been guiding you all along. You look way better now than you’ve ever done before; think about all those people telling you that you’re so skinny, and asking how do you do that, and you just tell them that it comes naturally to you.
Have you even considered the consequences of ruining all of this? I don’t call it ruining for no reason. He could just dump you, even before you have gotten the chance to build something with him. He’ll say: “You? Fat? You’ve got to be kidding me.” That has happened before. You’d look insane.
You switch the topic to school. Something safe. Thank God.
“What did you do, then?” You ask, looking into his green eyes. He tells you about New York, where he lived for over a year whilst attending the Film Academy.
“Wow!” You are astonished. “I’d love to study abroad.” An awkward silence follows. No. You are not going to fucking tell him why you cannot go there. Don’t you dare reveal a word about me. I am your secret. Going abroad is no option for you. Especially not the United States. You know what people eat there, and what happens to them.* It would make you look like an elephant with your massive arse, big hips, and flabby tummy.
“I got us some dessert,” he says. Resist it. Desserts are not part of your diet! Refuse with a kind oh you’re so sweet! But no thank you, not tonight.
“I’d love to have some,” you say hesitantly. You weakling, you spineless idiot! Can’t even resist some fucking dessert. Eat it, then go to the bathroom to see what damage you have done, dumb fool.
My hand goes over my tummy. See. Chubby. I squeeze it, and all the flab disgusts me. All that, only because of you, and your stupid fear of being rude. Just one cracker for breakfast tomorrow morning, and a piece of bread for lunch. As little dinner as possible, and no – absolutely no – dessert. There is no option but to exercise for another hour tomorrow. Okay, ready. Put on your poker face. You can do this. Don’t tell him about me; no matter how comforting, and sweet, and kind, and caring he is. No matter how much you trust him.
Instead you start to talk about phobias. Are you trying to drown yourself?
“Heights, roller coasters, lightning, fire,” you sum up. Good girl. That’s the way to go about it. Do not mention your anxiety about getting fat. About eating more than anyone else in the room. About eating unhealthy things, or not exercising. About clothes bigger than XXS.
After that, I can finally sit back, and relax. Just some light chit-chat can’t be that dangerous. You are not usually a danger to me. Right now, you are just you again. I am your secret, and you pretend to be normal. Naturally thin. I’m not hungry, thanks – you. That’s the good you.
“I have anorexia.” Oh cock, what the fuck are you doing? He embraces me to comfort me, but I don’t want that. I don’t want to be comforted or helped because it’ll make me fat. He will probably suggest that I find myself some help, that I go to some fucking institution where they feed you chocolate cake all day. But you just sit there, sobbing in his arms, listening to his comforting – you’ll be fine – words. Well, fuck you. Cry now, because tomorrow will be diet-time.
I wrote this piece for a Creative Writing course I took during my BA. The theme of the week was non-fiction. “You and Me” is situated in September 2009, and only an account of my experiences before my recovery, which, surprisingly, started right after this moment I describe. It was written in April 2012, when I was doing much better already.
* This is by no means meant to offend or hurt anyone. This only is an honest account of what happened in my mind, and back then I took every excuse I could to not eat, even if these ideas could have been offensive if I had ever expressed them aloud. At that point, I was not fully aware of such implications as I was brainwashed by my anorexia.