I got talking to Vicky. I began to make her see how important she was to me (she had been my best friend for, like, 6 years.) And she began to tell me what I knew she had been hiding from me all along.
Her parents were the main cause of this awful condition. They had been abusing her, and calling her horrible names - almost encouraging her to cut herself. They force-fed her - holding her nose and shoving food in her mouth - if she didn't eat (they were "worried" she was anorexic, but I know she always bought a sandwich to eat for her breakfast on the way to school.)
Her dad hit her. On her side. So hard there was a massive purple bruise on her ribcage. She showed me it inn the girl's toilets. I had to sit down - I couldn't talk. Eventually, I blurted out:
"You've got to call ChildLine or something. Seriously, here's my phone - do it now," I said, pulling my Nokia out of my blazer pocket.
"I already have Kate. God, I'm not that stupid. But --" She stopped.
"Dad heard me talking to them and made me hang up straight away. I hadn't told them my number or anything, so they can't even check up on me or anything. And he threatened that if he ever found out I called them again, he'd --" Again, she stopped.
"I don't want to talk about it. Come to the small quad with me?"
I agreed, linked my arm in hers, and walked off with her.
The next day, in morning tutor, I could tell straight away that something was wrong. There were tears in Vicky's eyes, and she wasn't wearing any of her usual makeup - dun dun duunnnn!! Seriously though, this was always a bad sign.
"What's up?" I quietly whispered in her ear.
"I can't cope anymore Kate. I'm going to the toilets - don't even try to follow me."
She left the room, leaving me with a sinking feeling in my chest. I couldn't NOT do anything, but she said specifically forme not to follow. Letting my instinct win, when the bell went, I dashed out of the tutor room and straight into the toilets.
There was one cubicle locked, but apart from the occupant of it, I was alone. I waited to be sure it was her, but as soon as I heard muffled sobs and the slash of metal against skin, I knew it was her.
"Vicky..." I began, but was cut off mid-sentence.
"I said don't follow," she replied through gritted teeth.
"I couldn't not follow you. I'm your friend. I care about you." Then, getting frustrated: "Are you coming out any time soon or should I go to Biology?"
There was a metallic scrape as she slid the lock back, and a pale face peered out. She joined me by the sinks where I was gazing aimlessly at my reflection, pretending to do my hair.
"I can't even look at myself," she sobbed and ran back into the cubicle before beginning to bang her head against the wall. I knew she wasn't doing it our of pure frustration - she was trying to hurt herself.
I picked up my bag and left the toilets, planning to find her mentor, but was stopped outside my tutor room by Mrs Fitz-Patrick, my tutor. She immediately knew I wasn't exactly happy (perhaps from the tears in my eyes,) and so asked me what was wrong.
She's so kind, but I couldn't face her just then, so I told her that Vicky was upset in the toilets and walked off to my Biology lesson.