Chapter One | Past
I am twelve years old.
The bathroom tiles are cool against my knees as I lean over the toilet bowl. I wriggle my fingers around in the back of my throat, just like I’ve seen in the movies. Apparently that’s supposed to make you throw up.
I hate throwing up. But I hate those other girls making fun of me more. I shove my index and middle finger farther down my throat, poking around, trying to find that gag reflex. I don’t think I’ve ever gagged on anything in my life.
If I were a little older, I’d be thinking about how the boys would love that.
Still nothing. Shit.
I only know that word because it’s one of mommy’s favourites. Shit, fuck, and cunt, she loves that one, too. I’m not supposed to say them. But she doesn’t really care. If she did, she wouldn’t say them in front of my ‘young ears’. Just like if she really wanted to shelter me, she wouldn’t scream so loud when she brings strange men home.
Mommy’s pretty famous. I’m not supposed to tell people who she is, because she’s so famous it could get both of us in trouble. So I won’t say her name. Not even her real name, before she was an actress. That’s super secret. She hates it.
Of course, Mommy wants me to be just like her. She dresses me up in pretty things and takes me to parties to meet pretty people. She puts me in magazines and commercials and small time movies to get me used to the industry.
Little do I know, at this age, that the industry is no place for a kid. Especially the kid of a woman like Mommy. I don’t know who my Daddy is. I don’t think Mommy knows either.
So this morning, Mommy had me signed up for a fashion photo shoot. It was for this big box store, and I got to wear all kinds of nice clothes. There were other girls there, around my age, and they weren’t very nice.
For the whole five hours, they made fun of me. My baby fat. My cheeks. My belly. My thighs.
And stupid little me, I listened to them.
This is why I’m kneeling in front of my toilet, trying to make myself throw up. I saw it in a movie. A girl wanted to be skinny so she just kept throwing up until she was. It’s the easiest solution. Or at least my dumb little twelve year old brain thinks so.
Except it’s not working. I’ve got my whole hand practically down my throat and all that’s happening is that I’m struggling to breathe.
Then Mommy walks in.
“Oh, sugarplum!” She squeals, and I tear my hand from my mouth in fear. Even in my terrified state I still mentally roll my eyes at the annoying nickname. Mommy can be so lame sometimes with her nicknames. “What are you doing?” She crouches next to me.
“I’m sorry.” I cough. Was that a gag? No, false alarm. Fuck.
I do like that word. Fuck, I mean. I know I’m not supposed to use it, but it’s so good for relieving tension. When you’re really mad, and you yell out FUCK you just feel so much better. How come adults are only allowed to say it? It’s a conspiracy if you ask me. To make us kids miserable by having to stay silent through our anger.
“Pumpkin, you really shouldn’t throw up your food, it’s terrible for you.” Mommy rubs my back. “It makes your teeth rot, and your skin green, you’d just look awful on camera.”
Of course, on camera. If I wasn’t ever on camera then it wouldn’t matter, right Mommy?
“I’m sorry.” I say again, and she smiles.
“It’s okay, honeypie.” She kisses my cheek very quickly and then stands up to leave. “If you really want to be skinny, you should just not eat at all. Just make sure to drink lots of water so that your skin stays pretty.” She blows me another kiss, just like she does at movie premieres. “Good night, babydoll.”
And she’s gone.
I sit there for a time, contemplating what she just said.
This is a focal point in my life. I can be a good little girl and do what Mommy says, and not eat anymore. I can drink lots of water and use all kinds of skin care products to keep myself looking healthy even though I’m not.
Or I can not care what she or the other girls think and just live with my baby fat. I still get modeling jobs and stuff, it’s not like I’m being turned away.
Then I realize I have a third option.
And I smile. A real smile, not the fake kind that I do for the cameras. A real, genuine happy smile.
This is the moment I realize that Mommy doesn’t really love me.
This is the moment I realize that I don’t really give a fuck.
This is the moment I vow to never be in front of the camera again.
This is the moment I vow to make Mommy as miserable as she makes me.
This is the moment. This is my moment.
That bitch is going to wish she had an abortion.