“She Has a Problem, And You Know It”
(story submitted anonymously, by an 18 yo Chestist)
The bedroom lock clicks as she blasts on some music. Once satisfied with its volume, she mindlessly walks into the bathroom and locks the door behind her. She heads over to the sink and washes her hands. As she directs the soap on her index and middle finger, the conversation she heard after dinner plays back in her head…
The knot in her stomach tightened as she peered through the cracked door. Her brother grabbed their father by the shirt, making himself heard.
“She has a problem, and you know it.”
Working quickly, she pulls back her hair into a tight knot, and finds a large headband to cover up the rest of the mess.
Her father switched to Tamil; everybody was in for it now. “She has as much of a problem as my son does taking his eyes off a damn computer screen. No one’s stopping you! It’s just something she does to cope.”
Her brother persisted in English. “But it hurts.”
She looks at the toilet, and washes her hands again.
“Is she hurting you?” her father spoke louder, with harsher, alienating words.
“No.” Her brother’s English got quieter as he bit his lip.
It was getting harder for her to translate from a distance. Her
father’s language got more foreign. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t people with the stomach flu throw up over twelve times in one day?”
“Aren’t they alive?” her father began to smile.
“…I mean, yeah, but—“
“Then forgive me if I see no problem” He picked up his iPad and continued to read.
She lowers to her knees as she raises the toilet seat. She pauses to wash her hands once more.
“That’s not the point,” her brother sucked in one long breath and continued. “It’s not natural. She shouldn’t force her body to do something like that. There must be something psychologically wrong with her. It’s not normal.”
The lump in her throat rises as the water brims her eyes; she remembers her father’s words.
“ ‘Psychological’? Bullshit. My daughter isn’t looking to diagnose her boredom.”
It all happens like lightning; in war there are no thoughts, just action. She retreats to her knees. She places one hand on the naked, foul rim, using it to brace herself. She balls the other hand into a fist, sticking out her index and middle finger, and pushes them as far back into her throat as she can. Her entire body convulses, but nothing comes out. She pushes harder, until she can feel the pain in the back of her throat.
She knocked over the apple pie as she pushed the door open and stumbled into the dining room. “It really isn’t that big of a deal. It’s not like I have to, or anything… Just stop-”
“Stop what?” Her brother butted in. “Stop trying to help you?”
“Last time I checked, I never asked, did I?”
Her brother didn’t like that too much. “Stop playing the damn hero all the time. What the fuck is wrong with you? Do you like doing this to yourself? You sick bitch.”
It works this time, her body convulses again as the euphoria spread through her being, it all comes out in the toilet. She doesn’t stop.
“If anybody cared to hear what I was saying, I told you I don’t do it anymore.”
He got really quiet. “…Really?”
She felt a punch in her stomach. She wanted nothing more than for him not to believe her. She wanted someone to stop her. “Dumbass. I stopped a long time ago. It’s been months. You just love drama, don’t you? Can’t you just be normal?”
He just looked at her; she was on a roll now.
She pushes her hand back again, again, and again. It feels so much better, she can’t feel the cutting pain on her hands, nor the searing pain in her heart.
“Why do you think you have the right to butt into my life? Who said I even wanted you there? Just. Stop.”
That did it. He turned around, slammed the door, and he was gone.
She flushes the toilet, rises from her knees, washes her hands, and wipes her face clean. She delicately wipes off her fist, her index and middle finger. She's got enough strength now.