Have you ever had one of those days where you wake up and nothing is right? Maybe it’s the weather, it’s raining when you’d prefer it be sunny. Or maybe it’s your sibling, being loud when all you want is quiet. Or perhaps it’s your weight. You weigh more than you’d prefer. That happens a lot to me. I wake up and I feel alright at the start, then I get up and instantly feel the hunger in the pit of my stomach. I have trained myself to not give into this hunger first thing in the morning. My body doesn’t process it how it should, I eat, and I’m still hungry. Instead, I force myself out of the warmth of my bed, and B-line it for the bathroom. Instantly, I step on the scale and wait for it to tick to life. Finally, the light flashes across the screen and I watch anxiously as the needle climbs higher and higher, rounding past 100, past 120, slowing to a stop at 145. Instantly, my throat closes and I struggle to swallow. I take in a deep breath and slowly back off the scale. One hundred and forty-five pounds. Too much. Forty-five pounds too much. I look down at myself, still in my crumpled pajamas. I frown at myself, a tank top and sweats, my usual for cold nights, but last night was different. I ate. I ate my dinner. All of it. I regretted it instantly but did nothing to fix it. Stupid.
“Let’s go kiddo, get ready for school.” I hear from the kitchen.
I sigh and turn, grabbing a hair tie and braid my hair. Simple. I walk out of the bathroom, flicking the light off on the way through the door. I can hear my older brother roaming around upstairs, making enough noise to raise the dead. I jump up and slap the ceiling, “Could you be any louder!” I scream at him.
I hear a loud thump. “Sure can!”
Suddenly music fills the house. Dubstep. Brady’s specialty. “Really Sarah? You just had to taunt him didn’t you.” Mom says as she rushes past me, her hair and makeup done already. She’s got her work shirt in one hand and a pair of heels in the other.
I give her a half smile and continue to the kitchen. “Be sure to eat,” Dad says as he walks past me, carrying Mom’s purse. “There’s apple slices on the counter for you.”
I nod and give him a smile. I look at the apple slices and then look down at the dog, wagging his tail expectantly. I smile at him and drop and apple slice down to him. I’m the only one that feeds the dog people food, and he loves me for it. “Good boy, Sam.” I say, patting his head and giving him another apple slice.
I munch on one and drop the other two down to him before exiting the kitchen and turning to face Brady at the foot of the stairs. He glares at me. “How was breakfast, Sarah.”
I smile up at him, his blonde hair a disaster. “Fabulous, Brady. Thanks for asking.”
He looks down at me knowing damn well I didn’t eat it. I wave the rest of my apple slice at him before slipping past him and up the stairs. I slept in the spare room last night, a weekly deal with Brady. As I climb the stairs, I begin to feel lightheaded. Don’t panic, I think to myself. I try to think back to everything I’ve eaten lately. An apple slice this morning, last night’s dinner, and a tuna sandwhich three days ago. I make it to the top of the stairs before my vision goes dark. I can feel myself starting to fall. “Brady!” I shout out.
I hear the pounding downstairs as he runs through the kitchen, racing to help me. “Sarah!”
I fall. I feel the back of my skull connect with the stair and then hands around my shoulders. I go numb, my legs and my arms, my hands. My vision is very slowly coming back, I can see Brady above me, crying, Mom and Dad at the foot of the stairs, in shock after having witnessed everything, and the sudden realization in their eyes. “Take her to the hospital. Sarah, you promised.” Mom says, unable to move.
I don’t move, I don’t think I can. Brady picks me and up and carries me out the door, placing me in the back seat of the family car. It was already running, Mom’s purse in the passenger seat. It’s a short and quiet drive to the hospital, and from there, I am taken a placed in the trauma room. I can hear the doctor’s talking outside, words like “rehab” and “facility for eating disorders” are thrown out in the air as if they mean nothing. Finally, everyone walks back inside, Brady leading the way. He instantly scoops up my hand and gives me an apologetic smile. “I’m going back,” I whisper to him, a tear gliding down my cheek.
He nods his head solemnly, “You’re going back to the hospital you were at when you were 12. Maybe they can actually help you this time, Sarah.”
I look to Mom for pity in hopes she will see that I don’t want to go. “There’s no choice anymore, Sarah. You’re killing yourself.”
I look back at Brady. A gurney is wheeled in and I am lifted on it immediately, the last view I have of my family is from the back of an ambulance. And in the blink of an eye, that was taken from me.