Flavored Cigarettes

I sit up in the creaky bed and stare at the bathroom door, mold on the sides, rusty handle, disgusting. I hop off and walk towards that rotting plank of wood. I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the shattered mirror. Horrendous. My hip bones jutting out like blades, my lanky arms, and protruding ribcage. Fat. I brush my wonky, yellowing teeth, my breath smells of alcohol. Calories. Mistakes .Vodka. 326. 126 over my limit. I slick back my greasy hair and a clump falls out onto my hand, like a once perfect spider web destroyed by a broomstick. I step on the bathroom scale, numbers, they don’t mean anything anymore, Ana is staring over my shoulder shaking her head, she doesn’t like the number she sees, neither do I. I’m sitting at the kitchen table, I don’t remember walking here. The video on my phone plays loudly, blaring out, piercing through the silence. Kim and Kylie doing their makeup, the smell of black coffee wafting towards me. 6 mistakes. I log it in my notebook and chug the rest of the liquid. A glare from Ana, I lay on the floor and do 20 sit-ups, she smirks, 20 more. I stare out the window, empty streets. It’s been so long since I’ve been outside.

             I grab my laptop and open Netflix, Ana stares at the screen disapprovingly, I switch to youtube and watch the Victoria’s Secret runway. Skinny, pretty, skinny, pretty, they all look the same. I lower myself onto the cold ceramic toilet, but almost nothing comes out, as if my body is trying to hold on to the coffee I drank, refusing to let go, wanting to feel full for just a little bit longer. When I’m done I weigh myself again, same number, what did I expect. Stupid. My stomach is empty but it doesn’t grumble, I think my stomach forgot how to grumble, always screaming but being ignored, its vocal chords have grown tired. It upsets me. I enjoy the screams, the pain, the feeling of my stomach having a wrestling match with itself, unable to focus on anything else but the hunger, like an empty pit begging to be filled with anything. No. I walk over to the cabinet and pull out the bottle of vodka. Half empty, half full. I uncap the bottle and fill a shot glass to the brim, one fluid ounce. 64 mistakes. As the liquid travels down into the empty well that is my stomach it feels like I have swallowed a fireball, as if the lining of my stomach is being cremated, as if I am a tree blazing only on the inside, small licks of the flame peeking through my body as a cold shiver runs down my spine. It’s cold, always cold. I wonder how many more productive ways I could’ve spent my time today besides googling the calories in a peppermint, watching runways like the gospel, hunching naked over a bathroom scale, crying into an empty shot glass, my tears putting out the flavored cigarettes that replace my meals, strawberry for when I’m bored, mango for when I’m sad, pineapple for when I’m happy and menthol for when I’m hungry. These flavors don’t make a difference though, they all taste the same, bitter, slowly rotting my lungs. I wonder how much a lung weighs.

              Most people practice self care during quarantine, some workout, others make face-masks, some sew, but all I know how to do is pick at my body like a scab, squeeze my face in the mirror until no more me could come out of me, purging my body of all the things that it needs, punishing myself for being hungry and I know it’s ridiculous but every time I want to change my mind, Ana screams obscenities at me, tells me I am disgusting and when I look at myself I can’t help but agree. I stare at my reflection in the black screen of the boxy T.V. Ana is next to me, beautiful as ever, her bones standing proud, like a flag, a flag that I pledge my allegiance to. I want to feel her ribcage, wrap my hands around her wrist, feel the bones so fragile I could snap them without trying. I drop to my knees and cry. Crying is my anthem. Ana likes it that way.

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