As most people know, I tend to write erotica. Steamy, steamy, sexy erotica. It’s not all that I wrote. Every once in a while a story will pop into my mind that isn’t sexy in the slightest. This storyline cropped up after a conversation at work and I sat and wrote it out. So as a warning, again this is not erotica. This is a fictional piece that deals with body dysmorphia, anorexia, and suicide. It is very graphic and raw. Only read if these topics are not difficult ones for you.
She stepped into the gas station, the ding of the bell hurting her eardrums. The air con was buzzing overhead and she wished she’d brought her jacket with her from the clinic. Shivers racked her body, continuing unabated even as she moved further into the store.
Her bones ached. It was that deep ache that made walking over the tiled floor excruciating. She took a few mincing steps before some of the pain diminished. Too long sitting in the truck and what little muscle strength she had was slow in returning.
She grabbed a few twinkies, a big bag of chips, and a two-liter diet soda. Her belly had long since stopped gurgling, but the desire to eat still lingered. She’d open the bags and smell each thing, that’ll hold her.
Carrying the stuff to the counter was hard. The weight heavy in her thin arms. She debated sitting down the soda, but made it the short distance before her arms gave out.
The attendant barely looked up from his crossword. She reached into her back pocket for her wallet, hissing when the raw wound along her forearm rubbed on the fabric of her sleeve with the movement. The identical cut on her other arm seemed to throb in sympathy. It had been too soon to remove the bandages, but it didn’t matter that much.
Speaking was tough, her throat still raw from her last purge. She tried to swallow, but no saliva surfaced.
He looked up, a look of disgust flickering across his face. She felt that look down to her bones. Her skin seemed to stretch taut, all the fat and ugly places spilling out of her clothing, obscenely visible. That crawling sensation intensified and she just wanted to rip her skin off in strips so she could reach beneath and pull all the cellulite out.
She was fat. She was ugly. Everyone could see it and that constant wave of loathing crashed down on her.
“That’s ten dollars and fifty-five cents.”
Her hands shook so violently that she dropped two dimes on the grubby tile. Instead of picking her change up, she slapped a twenty on the counter.
“Keep the change.”
She left everything except the bag of chips on the counter in front of him and walked back to the bathroom. Her heart was pounding out of her chest, each step harder to make. It felt like she was suffocating and that usual wave of dizziness hit her just as she reached the door.
The latch of the lock behind her calmed a bit of pressure in her chest. A crunch sounded as the chips slipped from her numb fingers. She gripped the cold sink, her chipped fingernails pressing hard into off-white porcelain.
Her reflection looked back at her in the smudged mirror. Her face was skeletal, flaky skin stretching over hard cheekbones. If she looked, the bones all over her body would be visible. They were as brittle as her mind that showed her a different picture than the one in the mirror.
What she saw was a morbidly obese woman. She saw flesh and fat overflowing the confines of her clothing. She saw ugly, an overstuffed person who couldn’t control herself.
She tried to lick her chapped and bleeding lips, but they were beyond finding moisture from her dry tongue.
The wave of dizziness intensified until she had to move to the wall, placing her back against it so she could slide to the floor. Her head spun and her stomach chose that moment to gnaw nearly into her backbone. She doubled over and rested her forehead on her knees.
It was slow in passing. She reached blindly for the bag of chips, opening them almost frantically. She stuck one in her mouth and self-loathing hit her as hard as the dizziness. Tears pricked her eyes as she stuffed more chips into her mouth.
She’d only had a few chips when the cramping started in earnest. Her stomach heaved, sending the meager contents up to splash in the toilet. The tears started then.
Leaning her head on the toilet bowl, her mind played a litany of ugly thoughts on repeat. No self-control. She couldn’t even resist eating something so fucking bad for her.
Her hand rested limply on her thigh, the fresh wound visible. She thought about her last attempt, slicing down her forearm, deep and long. It had nearly worked, but her parents had found her. It has earned her another involuntary commitment and a trip to the clinic.
She was two thousand miles from home, her parents, and the clinic. Not a single person was close or cared what happened to her in that bathroom.
The lighter she’d lifted off the last trucker she’d bummed a ride from pressed into the arm resting on her thigh. An idea formed like a wisp of smoke that caught fire. Before she could stop herself, she pulled the lighter out and lit the edge of her sweatshirt on fire. It caught easily, the synthetic fabric igniting and spreading like the ugly thoughts in her head.
Her skin blistered on contact, her sweatshirt clinging to her as it bubbled up. Her natural instinct to save herself kicked in too late. She was too weak from hunger and her vomiting to do more than flop on the floor.
She had a thought that the burn was necessary. Maybe she’d turn to ash and come back as something pure. The smoke and fire singed her throat as she inhaled, making breathing hard. She lay flailing as it raced along her body. The fire consumed her decimated body with ease.
No one heard her silent screams.