I'm smiling, a sick, sad, quiet smile. This is my signature, this is how I hide. I smile. To any normal person, it's a bright smile, with happy eyes, round cheeks, and that cute dimple in my chin. To me, it's the epitome of lies and desperation.
The house slowly empties and I fall back into the comfortable chair that has held so many lonely and pathetic moments. My knees curl up into my chest, there is a stabbing pain behind my ribs. Hunger, I've felt this before. Not the kind of hunger you feel when you've gone a few hours without eating. Not that morning hunger. But a real deep starvation, my body mind and soul are all crying out for sustenance. How long has it been? Three, maybe four days...maybe more. I never count anymore. My nails dig into my knees but that doesn't help. I close my eyes and breathe. In and out. Slowly. Focusing on each breath, it takes a lifetime. The soft whoosh of air into my lungs, forcing my chest to expand, revealing the thin ribs lined up perfectly, one after another. Exhale, I collapse into myself. I continue to focus on my breathing for awhile, but the hunger persists. I walk into the bathroom and slowly undress. As each article of clothing falls to the floor I try harder and harder to avoid looking in the mirror. I turn the faucet, hot. I watch the water fill the tub, clear and clean. The room becomes steamy, a hot fog bringing beads of sweat. When the tub is filled I turn off the faucet and step in. Too hot, almost immediately my foot turns a bright red, a funny comparison to my white body. I get in anyways. Only now do I remember how much I hate baths. I examine each inch of my body. Some of it I like. The hard concave area between the sharp points of my hips. The thin frail look of my wrists. The rest I hate. The round of my belly, the curve of my thighs, the mounds of flesh and fat that make up my breasts. Something inside me longs to rid myself of these features. I count the bruises on my legs and arms. Dozens, I wonder what caused each one. I've been in the heat for too long, I know very well that my body can't take this. Things become hazy, my eyes begin to feel heavy. As my vision turns to black the sick taste of disappointment fills my mouth. Consciousness fades.
I awake sometime later in cold water with the overwhelming feeling of self hatred. I step out of the tub, trying hard to keep my balance...I have to grab the counter to avoid falling. I notice the hunger as I dry myself. Dull now, more of a nagging feeling. I hear voices in the living room. With a sigh I put on my clothing and right before walking out, I dress my face with that smile. Bright and happy with the cute dimple in the chin...because that's the only way to hide the desperation.