Talia Lewis 12F

Distorted Reality

Hollow eyes stared back from the depths of the looking glass; eyes that had been hollow for years, and would remain so for however many years remained. Gaunt cheeks framed by sharp, angular cheek bones, and a sallow, morose complexion. Skin clung tightly to bone, the appearance given of nothing being between.

"Morbidly obese", she murmured, her voice solemn and monotonal.

Skeletal fingers pinched imaginary fat.

"Disgusting".

A narrow, elegant nose crinkled.

"This will not do".

The final, whispered statement. Depression in those dark, bleak eyes; eyes that lost any sign of happiness long ago.

Those eyes cast themselves across the glass, meeting with their mirror twins. Black met black, dark, desolate, downcast. Leaving the company of their reflected orbs, they trailed downwards, delineating her frame, darting decisively in various places to trace imagined fat.

A sudden flashback penetrated her mind, flickering against the screen of closed lids, like a faulty film reel, faulty as her memory, faulty as herself.

An image of her mother. Standing before a mirror of her own. Hands clasped in distress. Knuckles beginning to fade to whitened flesh. Her silhouette sickly thin – although, this was observed in retrospect. A smaller silhouette stood beside it. Herself.

Her mother's murmured words collected in her mind, broken sentences of self deprecation, contempt dripping from every syllable. "Just look ... how fat you are ... No one will want you ... No one ... wanted you ... That was why he left ... He left ... So ... long ago..."

Her child self gazed upon her mother with utter devotion, absorbing every word. So, this was 'fat'. 'Fat' was unattractive, she had observed, in her childish eyes, and therefore undesirable. And so the cycle had begun.

Her eyes snapped open, bringing her back into the present, pulling her out of the damage of the past.

She gazed upon her reflection once more, seeing fat surrounding her body, piling on to her waist, bulking out her thighs.

She saw awkward, dimpled knees, visible as wrinkled indents midway down pasty, rotund legs.

She saw sagging folds of excess skin adorning swollen arms.

Fat. Ugly. Fat. Ugly.

The words penetrated her mind, infiltrating her senses, swarming around and around and around.

Fat. Ugly. Fat. Ugly

Tears pricked the backs of her eyes. She shook her head, in a vain attempt to force the words out of her mind, where they ticked repetitiously.

Fat. Ugly. Fat. Ugly

She shook her head again, this time more violently.

Fat. Ugly.

The words refused to leave.

She slumped to the floor, her back against the wall, her knees curling protectively to her chest. Her emaciated chest. Ribs poked out through colourless flesh, virtually transparent, pulled taut across the bone.

She didn't see this. She couldn't. Then again, perhaps it wasn't that she couldn't, per se; rather, she refused to.

The looking glass deceived her.

She didn't see that waist, so starved, it caved it below several ridges that stuck out beneath pallid skin.

She couldn't see those legs, narrow, angular, and so thin that disc-like knee caps stuck out like wide, flat pebbles beneath tightly bound cling wrap.

She refused to see those arms and hands, so skeletally thin, they were merely bones, animated death masquerading as life.

Tiny. Delicate. Broken.

Yet, still, the words penetrated her head.

Fat. Ugly. Fat. Ugly.

Two eyes crinkled in pain, two eyes that shone in the dim, yellow glow of the overhead light, coated with the gloss of a thousand tears, a thousand stabbing pains in her fragile heart.

Her closed as she attempted to ignore the pain.

Once more, the memories flooded her mind's eye, leaking into the crevices of shut lids, seeping in until she could see only these reminders of her past.

Her mother stood before her once again, though, this time, she faced away. Her hands clutched her head instead of one another. Fingers delved into the mess of hair. Shoulders hunched miserably. Accompanying this visual recollection was an auditory memory, sharp and piercing. The wailing cry of her mother as she screamed at an unseen object. "This is your fault! You left me with this! This, this thing! How am I supposed to know what to do with it? It's not like you. It's not perfect. It's fat and ugly, like me."

The sound faded out as she remembered the realisation striking her, shattering her childish naivete. She must mean me. It stung quietly. As quiet as the lone tear that escaped the corner of one eye.

The tear that still fell now, past tightly clamped lids.

Sunken cheeks tilted upwards as that pointed nose raised, those hurt filled eyes staring upwards into nothingness, into oblivion, connecting with an unseen other.

"Why?"

A whispered question. A pained, strangled tone. A voice that emanated with the unbearable, weighted pain of one who has experienced everything, but will never understand.

The image of her mother reappeared, this time accompanied by her mother. Mother and daughter, two peas in the proverbial pod. Grandmother and mother, two daggers as lethal as each other. Vicious words were flung in a tangled mess, poison seeping into poison. "You stand here, looking at me with that smug smirk, and you wonder why he left you?!" "How dare you, you- you hypocrite! I have dealt with this. You can just leave me alone!" "Look at you! He never wanted you! No one would want you!"

She shut the words out, but more crept in.

Fat. Ugly. Fat. Ugly.

The women disappeared, but the memories did not cease. An olfactory memory entered her senses, the scent of burning filling her nostrils, causing her to dry retch. If it had been burned baked goods, she would not have minded, but this was not, in any way, a pleasant aroma. Still, the burning plagued her. Burning. Burning. Burning flesh. She recalled her mother standing before the stove, hands on the hot plates. Burning her hands. The shriek emanating from her mother she put down to an expression of exhilaration, the widened, glassy eyes to thrill, and the tensed muscles to determination. Incinerating her palms. Erasing her fingerprints. Attempting to erase her identity, so that a newer, better one could take its place. At the very least, erasing herself, so that she would never bother anyone else. She was sure. She would never have considered the moment, her mother's reaction, in any other way.

Fat. Ugly. Fat. Ugly.

This was a battle she would always lose.

This was a war she would never win.