A thirteen year old girl never really thinks she is beautiful.
She doesn’t wake up in the morning with a smile filled with confidence. She doesn’t always look at her photos and likes what she sees. She doesn’t feel comfortable in her own skin. Especially after dinner, after a whole day of meals. She feels heavier with each and every spoonful of food. She runs to the bathroom as soon as she’s swallowed the last bite. She locks the door shut and deliberately stares at herself in the mirror. She touches her face, her neck, her breasts, her stomach, her thighs and all she feels is the softness that she has grown to hate. She compares herself to the photo of the celebrity she’s been idolizing; she’s posted the photo on her mirror to remind her of the body she doesn’t have. She tells herself that she would do anything to look like her.
And so she decides to do the only thing she thinks will help her. She opens the faucet. She lets the room fill with the sound of the rush of flowing water. She faces the toilet and lifts up the toilet seat cover. She takes a deep breath as she kneels down on the floor. One of her hands gripping her hair away from her face and the other shoved inside her mouth. She pushes her fingers slowly. Her body resists at first, but she quickly coaxes herself to relax. It will be over soon, she tells herself.
When it was done she instantly felt better. Her heart was no longer burdened with guilt or anger towards her lack of control during dinner time. She felt a wave of relief wash over her as she recalled all the food that was out of her system now. She brushed away the acidic taste of vomit in her mouth and took a cold shower to rid herself of the smell. She put on the over sized shirt that always made her feel small. It was frayed at the edges but she didn’t care, her body was invisible in it. She lifted her shirt to expose stomach. She grazed her belly with the tips of her fingers, it wasn’t as big anymore. This was the moment, she decided, this would be part of her nightly rituals.
She slept soundly, save for the pangs of hunger that struck her in the middle of the night. Her stomach growled at her, it sounded feral and wild. She smiled as she ignored her body’s requests to be fed. The hunger was proof that she had done something right.
She was empty.
GAIL ULYSSE G. CAMPOS