This had to be a dream. A nightmare.
That was the only logical explanation my mind could come up with. I was trapped in this horrible nightmare where my best friend -- my sister -- was ensnared with anorexia nervosa. Where she was caged on a hospital bed with all sorts of tubes and wires that held her life in their cruel hands. When machines beeped out the rate of her heart. How many beats would it beat? How much longer until I lost Tam forever?
Tam would survive. As I lay crying at Tam's side, I was filled with a burning passion. I would make her survive. She wouldn't have a choice in the matter. Maybe it was selfish. I really couldn't care. The only thing I cared about right now, was my best friend.
I lifted my head. I was barely aware of the tears that flowed from my eyes. "You have to get better."
Tam's head snapped to me. "What?"
I then realized that my voice had become hoarse from crying. I swallowed, clearing any obstruction that would mask my words. "You're going to get better. You have to. You can't go on like this any longer. I forbid it. If I have to stick you in a rehab center... so be it. If I have to stay by your side constantly and watch everything you put in your mouth... so be it." I noticed that Tam had averted her gaze. She was staring down and her hands.
"Look at me!" Tam's eyes widened at the magnitude of my voice but I didn't care. She needed to know, to understand, what I was telling her.
"You are going to get better. I will not let you purposely starve yourself to fit some twisted and distorted image! I will not lose you!"
Tam had begun to shrink as my words pierced her. I didn't quite know why I was shouting; maybe it was anger, or passion, or determination that Tam would get better. Maybe it was because I was scared that Tam wouldn't get better.
Whatever the reason, my voice had begun to echo off the plain, white walls.
"How could you do this to yourself, Tam? What could possibly motivate you to destroy yourself? Were you even thinking? Why, Tam? Why?"
My voice cracked from strain and tears. Whatever dam that I'd built up trying to be the strong one for Tam, broke. My knees went weak and I fell into the nearest chair. Sobs racked my body and tears blinded me.
"Ari," Tam said, her voice soft. "Ari, I --"
"No more lies," I said, not looking up. "No more lies."