I wrote this vignette several months ago, and I think only mi amiga over at Spilled Coffee (who is an editing god) and my mom have read this. A couple posts back, I know that many were gently reminding me that it's okay to not hide behind humor all the time, and trust me, this piece is completely void of anything that will make you chuckle. This is autobiographical, but it was about six years ago - thankfully this is nothing I've done recently. Mom, if you read this, I'm sorry to make you cry over this piece (again). Here it is:
I wake, but I do not open my eyes. Where am I? I wonder, but the desire to know is not strong enough to make me move. I breathe in the musty smell of carpet, millimeters from my nose. I feel the chilly middle-of-the-night air blanketing my frail body. I shiver.
I open an eye. A candle, the flame stuttering in the slow measure of my breath, inches from my face.
Oh yes. I remember now. I roll over, look at the clock. 4:27. My body yearns for my bed, rising goliath in the dark above me. But my mind knows that it is a luxury it cannot afford. My spindly, shaking fingers reach for the weak candle, and I inspect my body. Protruding hip bones, ribs. Wasted thighs, taut stomach. Fat. Everywhere. Unacceptable.
I lie on my back and begin. One, two, three, four… Sit up, touch my knees, and back down. Sit up, touch my knees, and back down. You are fat, you are fat, you are fat… I begin to chant my mantra, the whisper nearly as imperceptible as my withered body.
I grit my teeth. I will not fall asleep this time. You are weak, you pig. You deserve nothing. I will exercise all night. I will exercise off my fat, and my fears, and my inadequacy. You are fat, you are fat, you are fat…
You are unacceptable.