“That’s a lovely shade of hangover you’ve got going on there,” Andrew says, walking through the door of the run-down pizza shop, clearly amused that I am a pathetic mess at four in the afternoon. I don’t even bother trying to tell him that I’m not hungover. Instead, I push away the empty water bottles, trying to ignore how sick to my stomach I feel after drinking more than seven bottles. Andrew saunters over to my booth, making sure to straighten his Boy Scout uniform like a pretentious ass.
“Aren’t you just the sweetest Boy Scout? Are you here to make me feel worse about myself?” I ask, sweetly.
“I’m an Eagle Scout now, thank you very much.”
“Does that mean you start to do useful things now? Like selling cookies?” I ask, sweetly. He shoots me a very annoyed look and leans forward to flick my forehead. “Why don’t you sell cookies?” I whine.
Andrew answers rather pompously, “Because the Girl Scouts have a monopoly on cookies, and since they’re kind of a joke to us, we let them have their little famous thing.”
“Excuse you, I was in the Girl Scouts for several years.”
“I rest my case.”
“Why am I here?” I ask, impatiently, leaning back in my seat after catching a glimpse of my reflection in the giant mirror on the wall. Gross.
“Not to die due to overhydration, that’s for sure,” he tells me, staring pointedly at my collection of water bottles.
“Are you going to lecture me for being healthy?” I defend.
“You haven’t eaten in a week, dumbass,” he states, bluntly.
I snap back at him, “Yeah, and I lost, like, ten pounds, so bite me.”
“I’m sorry about what I said last night.”
“I’m leaving,” I say, getting up to pay the new kid at the counter for my outrageous water bottle bill.
Andrew reaches over, grabs my wrist, and pulls me back into my seat. I’m pretty sure he didn’t use any force at all, but it was enough for me to fall back into my seat with no resistance. I’m actually surprised I had the strength to walk to the restaurant today.
“Wow, look how healthy you are,” Andrew deadpans.
“Wow, look how judgmental you are,” I mock, ripping my wrist away from his grasp. Can you tell I’m just a little cranky?
“You’re being ridiculous,” he tells me. “You are not fat.”
“Well, that’s such a revelation. That changes everything. You’re so right. Why didn’t I see this before?”
He exasperatedly sighs and leans back in his booth. “Jen, you have to know that this has gone too far.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I lie, trying to avoid his worried gaze.
“Only a little bit,” I say.
“I am going to get really sappy if you don’t listen to me,” he threatens. I know it doesn’t sound like a real threat, but if he gets all mushy and emotional, I’ll kill him.
“Why are you trying to force me to stay fat?” I ask him. “You’re thin and cute: why do I have to suffer?”
“There are healthier and less stupid ways to lose weight, you know.”
I scoff and point out, “When people see some fat person running, they judge them.”
He dismisses this immediately, saying, “That does not happen.” I give him a knowing look before he admits, “Okay, so maybe they do. But it probably won’t happen if you’re running with someone wearing a corset and fishnet stockings.”
“You scared the shit outta me last night. I would,” he insists.
He kept asking me what I was on and I was too embarrassed to say it was a combination of weight loss pills and Zoloft, so I let him think I was drunk. What was he even doing at my house? What idiot invited him? Did I invite him? I probably invited him.
“What’s wrong?” he asked, probably ten times. I’m fat, that’s what’s wrong. Did he ever shut up?
“You’re such an idiot!” he berated. “Why am I even friends with you?”
I don’t blame him for anything. I knew he was just frustrated and worried about me, but I’m stubborn and annoying, and I will refuse to admit when I’m wrong. I mean, I literally passed out from dizziness and fatigue, and I still insisted that I was fine. I yelled at him that I was going to carve the fat off my body, and I still maintained that I was fine.
That night is a little hazy, partly because I try to forget about it and partly because the world spun so much. I’m still dizzy almost three years later. I know I threw some pretty nasty insults at Andrew. And I know this because I’m an asshole. I was amazed he didn’t ditch me after my embarrassing breakdown, especially since I have never been able to hold onto a friend for longer than a school year. The fact that he stuck around made me more inclined to quit being such a brat.
“Would you wear the lacy corset?” I ask, still not convinced that he would do it.
“Duh. Have you seen how sexy I look in that one?”