Chapter 3: The Confrontation
I wake up to my phone vibrating on the nightstand. Jack texted me.
‘Today is the day. Get ready to dance’
It can’t be today. I just saw him a couple days ago. How could a week have gone by already? I guess it must have been a good week then. Time is passing and the numbness I feel has served its purpose. I rarely thought of anything besides food and the control I have over it.
My stomach growls long and low. Yes, that’s right. I have done a good job. Think today, I will allow only 3 bites for breakfast. I will continue shuffling food and drinking water while staying silent at the table.
I continue thinking of the plan for today until I have it memorized and ready to perform.
I get up and walk to the bathroom. Gods, when did my cheeks get so puffed. And my stomach, is it bigger? I analyze myself in the mirror for a few minutes. That’s it. I get no breakfast today. I don’t need anything from the food anyways. I don’t need anything at all. I am independent. I will get what I want. I will be perfect and no one will hurt me ever again.
Who else can control their hunger and not give into the temptation. Not many, they don’t know how it feels. I, Ileana know what’s best. If I eat, I will get fat. If I don’t eat, I will feel the hunger and bliss to follow. Oh, I need that to make it through today.
I stand on the scale; it reads 106 pounds. I’m on my way to perfection. Why am I being perfect. I don’t need that. I don’t need anything. I have everything I need. I even feel again. I feel hunger and that leads to my mind drifting away. I feel my empty stomach and know I have done good today.
I walk downstairs and execute my breakfast plan perfectly until my mom asks me a question directly.
“Ileana. Ileana, you barely ever eat breakfast. You need to eat more. You are looking too thin.”
You’re just jealous because you don’t have the control that I do. “I’m fine mom. I do eat plenty throughout the day. Yes, I may have lost weight, but I also work hard.” I work hard on maintaining my goals.
“I suppose you’re right dear. Maybe we should be feeding you more carbs then. We can give your body some more fuel.”
“Sounds good.” I agree knowing I won’t be eating many carbs anytime soon.
“I need you to run to the bank today, we need some more change.” Dad tells me.
“I have some upstairs. I’m going out tonight, so I need the day off.” I respond.
“Oh, I’m so glad you’re going out again. Where are you going?”
“To the dance with Jack.”
“Oh that’s excellent!” She cheers, “maybe you can find a nice man to date.”
I don’t need anyone. I am good. I have control and everything I need.
“I doubt it, I’ll keep my eyes open though.” I stopped trying to correct mom. I don’t even know if she’s right or wrong anymore. I don’t care. Agreeing with her makes the conversation end sooner. The sooner the conversation ends, the less energy I waste on thinking.
I go back upstairs to grab the money. On my way my stomach growls again. You never fail to compliment me, my friend.
I take the money down and return to zone out in my bed.
Knock. Knock. Mom knocks on the door and enters my room.
“I’m sorry to wake you dear, I brought you this dress. I thought you could wear it tonight. I know you will look so good in it, no boy will be able to resist you.”
“No. I’m not wearing it.” I say coldly.
“I’m sorry dear. I shouldn’t have pushed you.” She retreats without another word.
Half an hour later she calls up and says lunch is ready. Its chicken noodle soup. I can have one carrot and half of the broth in the bowl. I decide with myself.
Lunch was uneventful, mom didn’t say one word to me and dad was still out working.
I left the table when I finished without a word to my mother. It was so nice to have the silence between us.
I rummage through my closet and don’t find a single thing I want to wear. Gods, who picked out all of these clothes?
I finally decided on a flannel and Jeans. I will be comfortable tonight. No drinking, those are empty carbs. I will not sacrifice my image tonight.
I change into my clothes and wait.
The hours passed quicker than expected. Everything seems to be happening quicker these days.
“Time to go, Ileana.” I hear Jack holler for me up the stairs.
I don’t want to go. I’m fine where I’m at. I like being alone. I now find peace in it. My hunger has taken my emotional pain away. I am cured from my heartbreak. I don’t need anything else.
“Hurry.” He calls up, breaking my chain of thought.
I regretfully get up and head downstairs.
Jack introduces me to Dave and they talk the whole way there. I did what I do best these days, and stuck to myself.
“Ileana, you really need a burger. I thought you were getting better? You seemed to have a game plan, but you have lost so much weight. I can see your deep collar bones. Even your cheek bones have nothing but skin.” He says concerningly.
“I’m getting better. I did have a rough spot, but I’m getting better. I’m hurting less and less each day. I barely even think of Samantha anymore.” I tell Jack the truth. I am relieved I didn’t have to lie to him again. I am not eating that burger though! “I ate before coming here.” Technically that’s true, I ate lunch.
“Alright, but be careful, I’m sure you’re going to be a super lightweight tonight.” He teases. “You might even fall over after one drink!”
I grin and choose to ignore his jests.
I remember the last time I was here. Samantha intimidated me and I drank way too much. That led to the first heart to heart talk I had with her. I didn’t know she would mean so much to me. My brain starts to clear a little as I reminisce about my former girlfriend. As my head clears, the pain in my heart starts growing. Not now, I just want to buzz through the night. Why do I have to start thinking clearly now?
“Stand back, Ileana.” Jack shouts at me. Why is he yelling at me? Why am I standing back? I try to focus my gaze in front of him. No fucking way.
There, in front of Jack, stands the goddess who broke my heart. What is Samantha doing here?
You’re okay. You have everything you need. You don’t need her anymore. You have moved on. Remember the work you have put in. Remember the hunger taking away the pain. You don’t need her anymore. No one will hurt you again.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing here?!?” Jack yells in Samantha’s face. The music stops and the whole dance floor is staring at Jack and Samantha.
They couldn’t look any more different from each other. I stand closer to get a better look.
Samantha is in a slim fit, grey pantsuit. She looks like she just got out of a business meeting. She clearly looks out of place compared to the flannels and Jeans that Jack and the majority of people around her are wearing.
She says something quietly that I can’t hear. “Dave, keep Ileana back.” He orders his partner to keep me away from the one person my heart longs for. Why, why do I long for her? My brain interjects, no, you don’t long for her. Your heart doesn’t know anything. Listen to me. You don’t need her. You don’t need anything but yourself.
“The hell I’m going to let you anywhere near her!” Jack screams in my defense.
“Please, can I just talk to you then?”
“I’ll give you two sentences. You broke her heart. You’re a piece of shit who cheats and uses people.”
Samantha takes a couple minutes to respond, “I’m here for Ileana’s well being. And I have never cheated.”
“Bull shit! She saw you hug and kiss that guy the day she broke up with you! You waited your sentences, get the fuck out.”
The crowd clearly stands with Jack, they whoop and holler in his favor.
“Jack, for Ileana’s sake, please speak with me.”
“No. Ileana, Dave, let’s get out of here.”
Samantha’s dark grey eyes find mine in the crowd. She looks as though she was going to burst into tears. She seems to hold her composure well because no one else notices. I see the pain deep within her being reflected into my retina.
She must regret being with him. I smile. And she said she didn’t cheat. Maybe it was just the kiss then. I know she was telling the truth. Is kissing someone cheating? Either way, it worked! I’ve become perfect enough for her to see me.
No that isn’t your goal anymore. You don’t need her anymore. You don’t need anyone.
I let Jack and Dave practically carry me to the truck.
With all of the stimulating events of the evening, I sleep through the drive home.