Morning announcements went on as usual, same old notices; same old words. Nothing really changes in Riverton high school. NOTHING! Teachers wear the same clothes to work, students clothes seem to belong only in Runways; even the halls have the same bleach and citrus smell of everyday.
Samantha walked the halls to reach the auditorium where she will be gathering with the rest of the school to hear “special announcement”. The principle comes on stage everyday and drones on and on about, well, absolutely nothing. Anna, Sara and JJ were standing by the door waiting for Samantha to come. They met, and greeted each other with smiles and laughter. Samantha with her mask on and ready for action started talking animatedly about the movie she watched yesterday, leaving out the bits where she fought with her mom about not wanting to eat yet another meal.
As they entered the auditorium, the principle was calling for attention. Everyone sat in their seats and waited for him to start boring them with yet another talk on “The Do’s and Don’ts of…” this time about Drinking.
“I never knew there were Do’s of Drinking, only DON’T!!!” said Anna.
“And here we spent our whole lives listening to no drinking till you are 21” piped JJ
“There aren’t even Don’ts only one DON’T!!!” whispered Sara
The girls laughed a little but Samantha was apprehensive. She got a bad vibe from today’s topic; maybe it’s that wretched dream she thought, if only I could remember what happened.
Every Friday, geography in the morning followed by history and math, MATH!! Just when the day couldn’t get any worse, they lug in math with it. As they walked to class, Samantha’s friends chatted happily about the latest gossip in school; who is the “IT” couple, people caught doing God knows what with God knows who, the usual.
She couldn’t understand why she felt so restless. Maybe it’s the hunger talking she thought but dismissed it completely because she has to convince herself that she is NOT hungry and NEVER has to eat. She quickly changes the topic and started wondering what they are going to do today. More than anything Samantha would rather curl up in bed with a cup of hot cocoa and a good book, but its Friday, there is no way she could get out of going out. It was decided that they were going to the mall; a little shopping, a little lounging, what could be more perfect?
Classes went on as usual with little or no trouble, not a concept new to the students of this rather monotonous school. When the lunch hour finally arrived, Samantha and her friends made their way to the cafeteria. The girls went in line to get food, while Samantha said she would go and find them seats. She sat down watching everyone talking, laughing and eating and wishing should could be like them, not that it would happen until she is a size 4; which to Samantha, seems like a long way away.
Anna found Sam, before the other girls came, lost in thought but when she was going to ask her what’s on her mind, Samantha perks up and pretends nothing happened, Anna found herself wondering if her best friend was okay.
The other two joined the table and a serious talk began, or as serious as a conversation would get for 16 year olds who seemed not to have a care in the world. Somehow the girls found themselves talking about eating disorders, everyone but Sam laughed at the idea of either starving yourself or vomiting your guts out. Of course they are all skinny anyways so what would they know, thought Samantha as she quietly listened choosing, for once, not to join in the conversation. That’s when Samantha felt fear, if they knew she was starving herself, would they shun her or laugh, would they be good friends and stick by her in her time of need.
As she brooded in thought, reality struck in the form of her petite friend Sara.
“Samantha? Why didn’t you get food? Why aren’t you eating?”
“Oh, um, I’m not hungry Sara” came the lie as easily as if she were to believe it.
With a smile, Samantha steered the conversation in a more bubbly direction: clothes. She got them all to talk about what type of dress they want to wear to the upcoming dance. Anna was thinking a strapless navy blue dress with a silver shrug and heels. JJ made it clear she was so anti- dance that she decided not to go and Sara just didn’t have her mind made up yet. They all turned to Samantha to hear what she has to say.
“I’m wearing a black A-line dress, they say it’s slimming” she said
“THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOUR BODY SAM!!!” exclaimed the girls.
As the bell rang signaling the end of lunch, Samantha found herself very grateful, for once. She almost told them, almost. She shouldn’t slip like that again, not again, she thought. As classes went on, Samantha found herself dreaming about the one thing that she believes will make her happy: being skinny. If I were skinny, everyone would like me, guys would be drooling, dresses would fit and I wouldn’t have to stare at a disgusting reflection anymore. I would have the perfect life she thought and all will be right with the world.
She went home dreading what she would find, she hoped that no one was home so that she can just go to her room and no one would bother her. She headed straight to the fridge out of habit but stopped midway and retreated upstairs instead; she took a shower and slept a little before her mom walked into the room.
“Hey Sam, I brought you something to eat” said mom.
“I ate earlier on mom, and plus I’m going out with the girls tonight and we are going to eat, which reminds me, I should be getting dressed” replied Samantha.
“Alright I’ll leave you to it, but promise me you will eat with your friends” said mom.
“I Promise” she replied with an eye roll.
As she got dressed, she thought about her figure yet again, wishing she could be thinner and taller, though because of her short genes, being tall wasn’t an option. She gave herself a one look over before she left her room shaking her head and muttering in disgust. She saw her mom one last time before she left, said bye to her dad and siblings and was heading out.
This could be good for me she thought, getting out of the house, having fun; maybe, just maybe she could enjoy it like everyone else.