I am supposed to go to watch ballet with my girlfriend tonight. I have looked forward to it all week. I even bought a new outfit to wriggle myself into for the occasion. Two hours before the ballet, I am hit by a migraine. I have eaten once in the last 36 hours. Too much, too little. It doesn’t matter. I feel terrible. I spent all of last night alternating between drinking, bingeing and purging. I am paying for it today. ‘Just 24 hours of madness and then I will stop,’ I tell myself. I like lying to myself.
I have already called my girlfriend to cancel plans. I blame it on the migraine, but really I just want to sit at home so I can binge, drink and purge again. I don’t know why. The only thing I know for sure is that I am insane.
I stop in the grocery store after I bail on my friend. I know I am a horrible a person. My heart is pounding and I cannot see because of the aura I am experiencing. I feel dizzy, weak. I use a shelf to prop myself up as inconspicuously as possible. I grab binge foods hurriedly. I feel like a maniac. I have gone from having a fun Saturday night planned to having the need to eat overtake everything else.
A man stops and looks at me. He smiles, but seems concerned. I realize I am standing in the middle of an aisle wincing in pain. I avoid eye contact and move away, embarrassed. I do not want to be looked at. I have seen my reflection and the only thing I could think was ‘I might as well just die if that is really me’. He somehow seems to follow me and stands behind me at the checkout. My phone rings. Its my jilted girlfriend.
I answer it and see my hands are shaking uncontrollably.
“Are you sure you’re alright?”
“Yes, it’s just a migraine. I feel awful, but I’m fine.” I grimace pointedly at the man who is standing behind me.
I am not fine. I feel as though I am going to black out. It has happened so many times before that I know the feeling that precedes it.
I leave the grocery store as fast as I can. I stumble outside and curse the spring snow storm even though I know it is my legs that are failing me.
“Hey, are you ok?” the same man is there again. I get the feeling it is deliberate.
“Yes, thank you,” I brush him off. “Must have slipped in the snow.”
“Well Merry Christmas,” he replies jokingly referencing the weather. I can tell that he knows I am lying. He knows I didn’t slip. I am too weak to care. I get in the care and start eating. I eat. I eat and eat and eat. After a few minutes I start to calm down.
I sit at the traffic lights and catch myself rocking. I am anxious to get home and purge. It is taking too long. If I ever want to know what happened to my youth, I can look at the toilet bowl and know that I flushed it away with the rest of my life.