I hadn't ever really woken up in a hospital before. Granted, I'd been in once for a broken wrist and once because my blood sugar had been so low that I'd needed a blood test...But I'd never, ever been this sick.
Being attached to a bunch of tubes and monitors wasn't exactly what I'd had in mind for the day's events, but I was too tired to complain. On the inside, though, lots of different thoughts were whirling around in my mind.
Stupid, stupid, stupid! You stupid lout! Now you're in the hospital! You've got everyone worried about you, and it's all your fault! Look what you've done! If you'd only been better at hiding your pain, then you wouldn't be here! Brilliant, Tamar, just brilliant!
And who do you think you are to be in a hospital? Don't you know you're too unworthy to get treatment? You deserve to die alone, Tamar. You are unworthy of any help at all. Your so-called "pain" is all a farce. You don't really deserve to be taken care of! All your hurt is made up! You don't deserve to be here!
But I'm in the hospital. Surely that means I'm somewhat successful at being anorexic...This was the only positive thought in my mind.
Ari strode into the room, a concerned look on her face.
Good job, Tamar. Now Ari's all concerned. What did she ever do to deserve a rotten puke of a friend like you?
"Tam," Ari said softly, eyebrows drawn worriedly. "What's up?"
I turned my face away and rubbed the corner of the sheet between my thumb and forefinger. What was I supposed to say? Were there any words to describe how sorry I felt? "I'm sorry, Arianna."
"Arianna? What's up with that?"
I didn't say anything. I couldn't say anything.
"So, you suffer from anorexia nervosa. That's what the doctor said. He says your body weight is really unhealthy and that you have other symptoms, like heart problems and sallow skin and amenorrhea. Why, Tam? Why?"
He says your body weight is really unhealthy...Those words alone gave me the strength to roll over and run a hand through my brittling hair. I'm at an unhealthy body weight - even the doctor acknowledged that! But I'm still fat. I still need to lose weight. What am I doing, lying here? I need to exercise!
Ari was still waiting for me to speak, but I didn't say anything. I was still both rejoicing that the doctor had classified me as "anorexic" and stressing over how I wasn't burning any calories at that moment. I began to subtly flex my stomach muscles.
"Well, Tamar, I really don't know what to say," Ari whispered, and I noticed there were tears in her eyes. I felt guilty all over again. Look at what you're doing to Ari! You need to convince her that you're fine. That you don't have a problem. Because you don't.
"I don't have a problem, Ari. I swear, I don't have a problem. Nothing's wrong with me!"
"Yeah, and you only weigh - " and here, Ari stated my body weight.
Humiliated that Ari knew the amount of fat that jiggled around on my body, I sat up hastily, which caused my heart to beat in pain. "How do you know my weight?" I demanded. How do you know my value?
Ari didn't say anything.
She just laid her head on the edge of my hospital bed and wept.