The water was crisp, with a tinge of lemon. She set it back down on the table and picked up her fork, staring down at the food on her plate. Suddenly filled with dread, she glanced up at her boyfriend across the table from her, he nodded his encouragement, and she took her first bite. Nervously, she began to chew, fighting back the nausea threatening to make her put the fork back down and forget the whole thing. “You have to try” Jonas said to her as tears filled his eyes. He felt so sorry for her, watching as she struggled to get a bite of salad to stay down. Sherry sat there, scrunching the white napkin in her hands, nervously observing all of the food on her plate. She had been fighting her disorder for a year now, she knew she was on the verge of a breakthrough but didn’t know yet how to get past this. She recalled the memory that brought her to this particular time and place, sitting in this little Italian restaurant and her, determined to make it through their first real dinner since leaving the treatment center.
It all started one morning as she was picking clothes out for school. Her mom passed by her room just as she was struggling to pull on a slightly tight fitting pair of blue jeans, she’d gained a few pounds over the winter break. Her mom had made the innocent comment that she might need to go shopping for some new clothes for school and suddenly Sherry was looking at herself in a whole new way. Was her mom saying she was fat? Maybe she was, maybe that’s why her jeans were getting tight and her shirts were riding just a bit higher than they had been. Her mother’s words had stung, but still Sherry knew she was right, and decided right there and then she would do something about it. Maybe she would go on a diet. She’d been hearing other girls at school talking about how you could make it all day, just eating a few pieces of celery and some crackers. They also claimed that doing sit ups and walking would flatten out your stomach. She chose some better fitting clothes and finished readying herself for school. She’d make her mom regret saying those things…even if it killed her.
Now, as she sat across the table from Jonas, it all came rushing back, everything she had been through that year. The hospital visits, the therapy, the doctors force feeding her through a tube. She’d gone too far, exercising like a maniac and eating less and less until finally, she weighed about eighty seven pounds- at five foot three, she was perilously close to death at one point. The doctors said she had anorexia, but she didn’t believe them. She only knew she was petrified of gaining weight now, staring at her reflection in the mirror, all she saw was fat. Even though her ribs were visible and her face had sunken in, she still thought she saw love handles on her hips, but they said it was all in her head. She had finally gained around five pounds, with Jonas helping her every step of the way. She loved him, didn’t want to hurt him and saw how much he loved her as he now stared into her eyes. “Please, you can do it Sherry. Just eat the salad if you want.” Tears threatened to fall from his eyes as he pleaded with her. “Okay” she nodded and pierced a juicy red cherry tomato, slowly bringing it to her mouth. Everyone wanted her to get well, she knew it, but the knowledge didn’t make it any easier. Still, she knew she had to try, and with that, she swallowed her second bite.
I crafted this story with a first line prompt I found online, I hope you enjoyed it.