A house plant is dying. Tell it why it needs to live.
I look at the sad little thing sitting on the corner of my counter. It was a beautiful orchid at some point when my mother brought it over but now the leaves are turning brown, the stalk is limp, and the flowers have fallen off. The instructions for care were super simple, just put a few ice cubes in it once a week. Too bad I never spend time in my kitchen more than on my way out the door.
“I’ll make you a deal,” I say more to myself than the dried up potted plant. “I will start taking care of you.”
Me or the plant I don’t know. I pull open my freezer and knock three ice cubes out of the tray into the dry soil. I’m hungry, it’s been two days since I’ve eaten anything but I think I could go a little longer. If I’m not weak.
I cast a wary glance at the contents of my freezer as I put the ice tray back. Frozen lean cuisine meals and skinny cow ice cream sandwiches stare back at me. Gifts from my mother. I told her that I didn’t have anything in the house because money was tight. She stocked my fridge and freezer with all the diet stuff she could find.
She doesn’t know. It’s a skinny girl’s disease, not something that fat old me would ever have. She did tell me I looked like I’d lost a few pounds. That was nice, until she told me how I’d lose even more if I tried.
I slammed the freezer door shut and looked back at the orchid she’d given me and sighed. “Maybe she’ll say you’re pretty.”
I have this odd fascination with eating disorders. I’ve written blurbs about them before. I have read several excellent young adult books that deal with them as the primary conflict. I do not have an eating disorder, but sometimes when I feel particularly down I can sympathize with how someone might start down that road. I think it’s a writer’s job to confront the things that make them uncomfortable and the idea that I can understand WHY someone becomes anorexic is highly uncomfortable. So I write about it. To learn more about what I think I know, and about myself.