A few weekends ago, I sat around a campfire talking to a boy.
Get enough to eat? He asked, peering down at the paper plate of leftovers in my lap.
So full, I moaned – tossing it to the side in that disgusted way eating disorder brains have when they want to show everyone that they “know” how full and gross they are for, ya know, eating.
((I’M SORRY I ATE SO MUCH AND AM SUBJECTING YOU TO IT, we want to scream.))
Oh, ED brain.
You sure? he asked – scoping my plate.
I nodded, catching his eye. Why you askin’?
He shook his head, but I already knew.
Ah – my blog, I guessed. Took a gander?
I’m sorry, he said. I know I promised I wouldn’t, but I wanted to make sure you’d be okay.
I shrugged. You’re not the first, but I hope it didn’t overwhelm you.
He shook his head; his mouth opening slightly, then closing.
What? I asked.
I just, he trailed off. It was hard to read.
I’m sorry, I said. But hey, 80% truths. I write 80% truths about 80% truths.
He shook his head. It wasn’t your writing.
He fingered the lid of a beer with his forefinger.
I just- I went through this before Linds, he paused – catching my eye again. Brought back that time I guess.
I mentally slapped my forehead. Of course, I thought.
Close, he repeated – breaking eye contact. Yes.
He mumbled his relation to her, and then he looked at the ground. She’s not really, he paused again. She never got better. Nothing I did ever helped, he said. I worry about that with you. If one day you’ll just fade.
You can’t fix her, I said, realizing how stupid it was as it came out.
((I HATE WHEN PEOPLE SAY THAT. Like DUH, we KNOW we can’t fix people.))
I didn’t want that, he said. I just, I wanted her to be better I guess. I thought she’d grow out of it or something. I didn’t know it could get so bad.
No one does, I suggested. Everyone thinks eating disorders are a cry for attention.
He tightened his mouth.
I opened mine; nothing came out.
Sometimes saying nothing at all, I realized, relates more.
He leaned over; grabbed my hand. We changed the subject.