s m i l e s ⚫w o u l d ⚫h u r t

"You know what? I wonder what it's like to drown. Just the feeling of your body slowly and painfully shutting down, bit by bit, drop by drop...I want to know what it feels like. I want to experience it so badly. When I die, I want to drown. The suffering, the struggle, the agony. I just need to know what she went through.. I need to know how she felt. It's-that's how I want to go, whether it be tomorrow or in a year. I wouldn't mind the pain because it would all be over soon anyway. I just want to die how she did. I want to be close to her."

Or the story of two broken people trying to make themselves whole again.

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3. d o-y o u-e v e n-k n o w-m e ?

I'd never really hated my body. Sure, I disliked it, I knew I was fat and my stomach didn't do anything to raise my self esteem, but at least I had some shape and wasn't a complete ball of obesity, right?

Maybe I was thinking too hard, analysing myself too much, comparing #3 ugly me to Jenna Coleman when I shouldn't have been, but when I looked at Alex's perfect, slim body, I broke.

I'm not proud of myself.

I just couldn't handle it, me, my weight, my thighs my armsmystomachmyfuckingfat it was all too much. I had to get rid of it. I saw Alex's tiny waist and thigh gap next to my own wide frame and big legs and was determined to get there, to her size. So I started skipping meals, and it carried on from there.

I have to say it again, I'm not proud of myself. I regret what I did so, so much, you have to understand. I'm still suffering. I'm weak. I look so much worse than before, too. The skin has stretched out on my face and I look so gaunt, so dead, eyes too big for their sockets, lips cracked, I try to put weight back on but I have to force the food down.

Ana's a mean bitch. Never, ever try her. I became obsessed with food, obsessed with calorie-counting, weighing myself, fasting, purging, and all the while looking at Alex and her thin, thin body. Soon I could wrap my pinky and thumb around my wrist and it would still be loose. I wasn't satisfied. I wanted more. But Alex had noticed that I wasn't eating. She noticed, thank god. Although she, in a way, caused my anorexia, she got it under control too, before it got so much worse.

It must have been half a year or so after we first became friends. I think that I had been anorexic for around five months-I had lost about 60lbs, and you could see the differences in my appearance. Alex had come over to my house, and we were just lounging around really, blasting Blink-182 and trying to do homework. I was already thinner than her.

She turned off the music. 'Lola, we need to talk.'

I was on my guard-she sounded serious. 'What's up?'

'Babe, you've lost so much weight.'

I blushed. Of course, I took that as a compliment. 'Thank you!'

'It's not a good thing. I'm worried about you.'

'Why?' I laughed. 'I'm fine!'

'Have you eaten today?'

'Yes, what do you think I'm on?'

'What have you had then?'

'A banana.'

Alex stood up. 'That's it?! That's not enough! You need to eat something!'

'No, I don't. I told you, it's fine.'

'It's really not fucking fine. People die of this shit. Stop fucking starving yourself!'

'I'm just not hungry. God, what is up with you?'

I didn't understand what her problem was. She wasn't affected by me not eating, and I was losing weight, which, in my mind, was a good thing.

We fought. She thought I should get help, I insisted, however, that there was nothing to worry about and she should just keep her nose out of my business. But Alex told my parents. At the time, it felt like she completely betrayed me. Now, I know it was the right thing to do, but I was so angry at her then. We fell out, big-time. I thought I'd never forgive her.

Then everything got worse. I got put in counselling, which felt like the most humiliating experience of my life, all the seemingly disapproving glances and condescending therapists and sessions that seemed like interrogations. It felt awful and I blamed Alex--I wish I'd known then that I was the one in the wrong.

~~~

'Hi! This is Alex. I'm not available at the moment but please leave a message after the beep!'

BEEP

'Uh, hey, Alex, it's Lola. I, um, I'm sorry and I miss you...please call me back.'

'Alex? It's Lola again. I guess you didn't get my last message, huh. Well...um. I miss you. Call me.'

'Lola here. Again. Call me.'

'How many times do I have to fucking call? Please. I want us to talk again.'

~~~

[sent wed 14:48] i miss you x

[sent wed 21:19] hello?

[sent wed 22:34] i'm sorry

---[sent thurs 00:47] i fucked up

---[sent thurs 10:15] i miss you

---[sent thurs 10:21] i was a cunt

------[sent fri 15:32] you were doing the right thing

------[sent fri 18:09] i miss you

---------[sent sat 20:26] i miss you

[seen sat 20:39]

---------[sent sat 21:46] i'm so sorry

[seen sat 21:47]

------------------[sent tues 14:56] starbucks in town, tomorrow, straight after school. we need to talk.

[received tues 15:02] okay.

~~~

It was with a feeling of utmost dread that I pushed the door of Starbucks open. I knew that I was going to have to swallow my pride if I wanted to reconcile with Alex. I was ready to do that, though, I valued our friendship more than my stupid feelings. Suitably ready to apologise, I ordered a classic (basic bitch) pumpkin spice latte and bought a muffin, not just because I was hungry but to show that the help Alex had got me-at a personal cost of our friendship-had really done good.

I collected the latte and looked around for Alex, catching a glimpse of the back of her head, hunched in a booth. I made my way over and sat down opposite.

'Hey...' I said cautiously.

She raised her head, eyes shining with tears. 'Hey.'

I couldn't stand it. Here was my best fucking friend and crush and I'd killed her. This was my fault. I put my arms around her as best I could (with a table obstructing my hug path) and whispered 'I'm sorry. I'm really sorry. I love you.'

'Apology accepted. Now give me some of that muffin,' Alex said, wiping her eyes and smiling ruefully.

Dutifully, I broke it in half, taking a bite (it was delicious) and sipping some latte. It felt good, knowing we were (if somewhat hesitant) friends again.

'So what's been happening in the Amazing Life of Alex?' I asked teasingly.

'Well, I got a boyfriend...' she said, smirking.

My heart broke. I felt cold and numb and even though I knew it would happen at some point I still wasn't ready.

Of course, I responded with widened eyes and a matching smirk. 'Girl, tell me all.'

But really, I didn't want to hear any of it.

~~~

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