eating disorder

Body Language

These are the first two chapters of a YA novel I’ve been working on. It’s a work in progress so I always appreciate feedback.

Chapter 1A

I slide in and out of consciousness. I see family and friends staring at me with tears and frowns and worry etched on their faces. I see nurses plugging me with holes and letting strange liquids into my body. I see doctors reading charts and shaking their head. I see a tray with food on it and a skeletal arm push it away.

I hear nothing. Smell nothing. Feel nothing.

Taste

Nothing.

Suddenly I am dragged into wake-ness. The room is white, blinding.

I hear beeps and buzzes and the murmur of voices.

Antiseptic burns my nose.

The sheets are rough beneath me.

Iron and cotton fill my mouth.

I am in a hospital.

Chapter 1B

Jamie stares at me. “Have you lost weight?”

“Uh yeah, maybe a little I guess.”

She’s silent. “I mean it’s not on purpose! I’ve just been exercising a lot you know and I’m actually happy since prom is coming up and I want to fit in a cute dress and I guess ive been eating less but that’s only because I’m not as hungry because of the exercise…”

“Yeah that makes sense. I’m going on a cleanse before homecoming for sure. I saw this really cute dress…”

I tune the rest of what she says out. I can’t believe she thought I lost weight. I look at my reflection in the windows across from our lunch table and see my fat face. I look at my hands and see sausages growing out of mashed potato palms. But maybe I have lost a little. I feel a spark of joy. Maybe it’s finally working.

Jamie and I take our trays to the trash. She glances at my tray.

“Cafeteria food makes me nauseous,” I say to the unspoken question in her eyes.

“I wish I had that type of self-control…” she looks down at her clean plate.

Then we head off to our separate classes. In history I stare at Mrs. Smith’s potato head and think she should go on a diet. In art, Mr. Jankins and his doughnut belly need to get off the couch for sure. In gym I get a bit woozy and have to sit out, but I don’t really like gym anyway. At the end of the day my mom is waiting outside to drive me to dance class.

“How was school?”

“Fine.”

We drive the rest of the way in silence.

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