Startled awake by the loud and constant sounds coming from her alarm, Mia turned over, revelling in how warm and comfortable the cotton sheets were against her cold skin. Reluctantly she pushed back the heavy sheets that kept her warm, the heat trapped under the thick duvet. The crisp morning sun shone through the gap in her curtains, lighting her room up enough for her to shut her eyes against the bright sun violating her eyes.
September fifth. The first day of year eleven, a new school year. The summer holidays were over and so was her peace and quiet. Mia wondered if this year was going to be any different or if it was going to be like the previous year. Unsettled nerves fizzled in her stomach, making her feel nauseous. Heading over to her wardrobe door, stepping inside she let her hands settle on her running clothes cursing. Her mum had put her laundry away in the wrong places pulling them off the shelf’s Mia put them all in the correct order. Starting with the white fading through colour, then to black. It was all colour coded, it looked nicer that way. Keeping all the colours together fading from light to dark made it look better. It was more appealing to the eye. It was calming for her, relaxing even. Mia could have sworn her mother did this on purpose, constantly moving and changing her things around. She had the best intentions Mia knew that but she just wished she would leave her stuff alone. Everything had a place and was put there for a reason.
She would like to say the summer made her better, that a little sunshine did her good, when in reality she had never been worse. She may have looked better two months at west RAD changed nothing but her physical appearance. Mia’s mental state was still as fragile as when she was first sent there. Her temper was still the same when people kept pushing and pushing. She would snap. Her family’s constant prying eyes watching her every move since she got back two weeks ago to make sure she was behaving irritated her. She had to ensure her overbearing mother that she was doing much better and her overprotective father that she was okay. I’m Fine. She had practiced telling herself. Her brother Mason was the one she found it hardest to lie to, but somehow she managed to convince him she was better.
She walked through to the bathroom down the hall from her room. A beautiful modern bathroom light and airy with lots of white marble and gold hardware, but it hid all of her dirty secrets. The scales she had hidden in the bottom of the Landry basket that decided whether she could eat or not that day. The pristine white porcelain toilet that she had become so acquainted with every time she heaved out the contents of her stomach out as a punishment, a way to cleanse her body of the toxins she binged upon. The glass shower with gold accents that washed away her pain and tears, that drowned out her cry’s when she sobbed. Stepping onto the scales Mia was met with a number she didn’t want to see tearing her apart inside. Fat was her first thought disgusting she was disgusted with herself disappointed with herself. She let those doctors at the hospital convince her that she was sick, that she was under weight. She allowed them to get inside her mind. She allowed herself to eat letting herself believe they were right. They were wrong!
She was almost perfect before she went there. Only a few more pounds and she would have been beautiful. All of her hard work had been ruined in just two months. Mia told herself how she had her work cut out for her if she was going to get back to how she was before she came home. Even though she hardly ate yesterday the number remained the same it hadn’t change one bit since she last stood on it the other morning. Her head tilted back she let out a deep sigh of frustration and hatred. Hatred towards herself for not being good enough for not being thin enough. Hatred at her parents and doctors for fixing her.
Every day, every dam day she stepped onto that scale hatting herself more and more each time. When was she going to be satisfied? When was the number going to be small enough for her to stop this torcher, this slow form of suicide. She stepped off the scale hiding it back under her dirty clothes in the wash basket. Her head was pounding. She was so sure that she hadn’t eaten over her limit.
She couldn’t remember the last time she had felt pretty. Stepping onto that scale was the worse thing she could have done because now all she felt was ugly and fat. Mia’s tummy grumbled and twisted in pain and she was reminded that she hadn’t had a real meal since last week when they had a family dinner before Mason went off to University. They had a family roast to celebrate Mason getting into Oxford one last time. She ate all of her dinner, it was too much. Too much food for her shrunken belly to contain. She felt so full that she physically felt sick. No one had noticed when she slipped away from the table to dispose of the food she had eaten in the down stairs toilet.
Her mother Lucy was too busy gushing over Masons achievements to think anything of it especially when Mia gave her a smile when she returned to the table. Lucy noticed the look in her daughters eyes but she just assumed it was nothing just part of her recovery and shoved it under the rug just like anything that wasn’t perfect.
As far as Lucy was concerned she had paid a grate deal of money to ensure Mia was better and as long as Mia said and did the right things she would not be concerned. Lucy loved her daughter she loved both her kids so much but she also loved there Statius in a wealthy and high society group. Keeping up appearances was important to Lucy. ‘Remember Mia you were staying at your aunts for the summer.’ Mia only nodded at her. She couldn’t have the perfect Holland family name tarnished. She went to grate lengths to protect it.
Mia’s father David was exactly the same. He had high expectations for his kids. Upholding there place in this words was important so you only imagine the things he had to do and to keep it quiet when his wife found out he screwed someone from his place of work. It nearly got out the woman he slept with was going to tell everyone unless him and Lucy paid her a huge sum of money, which of course Lucy did after calling her a few choice words. It took her weeks before she could even look at her husband again.
Lucy was able to look past David’s infidelities as he claimed it was a mistake and he did truly love his wife. Mia however thought it was a complete lie if his love for her mother was true then he would not have even looked at another woman let alone entertain the idea of sleeping with one. The fact of the matter was he did. He was unfaithful and Mia couldn’t forgive him for breaking her mother’s heart.
Mia took her phone off its changing station, plugged in her headphones to drown out the world and ran out of her house with music blearing in her ears. Running was good for Mia she enjoyed it. She could clear her head. She imagined herself running away from her problems. If only she thought as she pushed her legs faster the last of the cold summer wind slapping against her cheeks turning them bright pink probably the only colour she had in her pale face. Reaching the Peerwood town sigh she began her journey back home. The trees all swirled together blurring into one continuous smudge of green, brown and orange.
Mia slowed down to a walking pace as she neared the end of her road. The gated community that kept all of the houses for the rich safe from the poor scum of the town, or at least that’s what her brother jokingly said along with ‘The gates keep the abusive rich husbands house wives locked up tightly so they can’t blab about what twatty asshole their husbands are.’ Mia didn’t find it
funny. Neither of them saw a reason to have a gated community in the town it was a safe town. ‘I wonder what rich person has a secrets they need to lock away.’ Mason said when they first put the gate in. Shaking her head of the memories she said a quite ‘good morning’ to the guard at the gate as she passed him showing her proof that she lived there, even though he saw her every day at 6,O’clock in the morning when she left and then later when she returned.
‘How was your run miss?’ She stopped in her tracks, years they had lived here but never once had he asked her a question. She had been running past him every day now for almost a year and a half and he never asked her that.
‘Pardon’ She asked politely.
‘Your run. How was it?’ He asked once again.
‘Umm, Good thank you.’ She went to walk away when he began talking again and not wanting to be rude she turned back around to face him.
‘You know, I saw you every morning and I always wanted to say something but it was not my place. However, I cannot sit back and watch you start waste away again. You do know you are killing yourself. Right. Doing this’ He used his large meaty hands to gesture up and down her slim physique.
‘Excuse me?’ She breathed trying to regain her breath. He tilted his head to the side as if to ask really. You know what I
mean. He handed her an unopened water bottle from a case he had stored under the shelter he stayed in when it was raining or to get out of the heat in the summer months. Mia felt herself warm at his kind gesture but the warmth soon disappeared when he continued taking.
‘My sister suffered for five years. Five years before she lost her battle. She was much like you. Young, beautiful her whole life ahead of her but she wouldn’t accept the help that was offered to her and she died. Her heart gave out because it couldn’t take it anymore, or at least that’s what the doctors on the eating disorder ward told us. She was 24 when she died.’ Sadness washed over the man’s face. Mia couldn’t help but feel sorry for the man grieving his lost sister. ‘You went away right before the summer holidays, when you came back you looked better, almost healthy.’ She was going to walk away when he gave her words of encouragement. ‘You can ask for help, aren’t there phone numbers you can ring for help now’ It was like he was mocking her with his placid face. ‘It’s hard but it’s never too late.’ But it was. It was too late for Mia she was already too far gone drowning in herself.
‘I’m sorry about your sister, but I’m fine.’ She whispered opening the water bottle thanking him for the drink.
Mia stood outside the gate to her house. The house she lived in since she was a little girl. It was a three story modern house with only the best of the best technology. A new kitchen had been installed over the summer when she was away and an a new fancy alarm system she couldn’t work for the life of her. Her mother Lucy liked things to be kept up to date always had to have the newest things not because she was a snob but because she always wanted what was best, for her family for her kids so did her husband. He wanted to give his kids what he didn’t have growing up. Mia was convinced it was because they had to much money to know what to spend it on. Mia was extremely grateful for all of that but she wouldn’t care if they lived in a council house living life from pay check to pay check as long as they had each other. Taking off her dirty running shoes before she got mud all over the floor she quickly slipped passed the kitchen and headed straight for the stairs to head up to her room. Grabbing her school uniform she carried it across to her bathroom. Mia’s room was the only one in the five bedroom house that didn’t have an on suite but she didn’t mind. She loved her room it beautifully decorated a soft pink and cream colour scheme with gold accents just like in her bathroom.
Mia avoided looking into the mirror whenever she could, she hatted seeing her reflection. After her shower she decided to brave it today. She took in the image of a girl in front of her. The girl was thin but still too fat. Pale, so deathly pale. Her small flat chest that once was full. Her visible protruding ribs that were once protected by a layer of fat. Her stomach that once flat with slight abs was now caving inwards making her hip bones more visible. Tiny arms and tiny legs that would buckle after depriving herself of important nurturance her body needed. When Mia was younger she danced a lot and was taught how important it was to look after and nourish your body, to give it the right food but still have the sweet treats you wanted. It was all in moderation. She wanted to stop she did but it was like and addiction some control in the chaos of her life. It was sick to say but it was the only thing that gave her a drive in life something to strive for, seeing how thin she could become. Maybe people would like her more is she was skinnier and prettier was her first thought when she chose to go down this road. Little did she know she was making a deal with the devil.
Ripping her lifeless green eyes away from the site she let her hands brush through her thinning hair pulling it into a side braid. Mia decided as it was her first day of year eleven to put a little makeup on. She thought if she had a little colour to her face she would seem more approachable. Then maybe she could make some friends maybe her old ones would forgive her.
Once she was dressed she took one last pitiful look in the mirror she noticed how her once shinny and full brown hair was now dull and flat it had even become a little thinner. Her green eyes that once twinkled with excitement and passion were now tiresome and dark. The affects were not just physical, they were mental to. Happy moods had now been switched out for unstable mood swings.
‘Good morning sweetheart. Would you like me to make you some breakfast.’ Her father said as she entered the large new kitchen. He was worried about her he had every right to be, no father wants to watch their kid waste away knowing there is nothing they can do to help. David didn’t want to lose his daughter to her illness, her sickness. To her bulimia. Bella as Mia called her Mia was told by her counsellor that if she named her and treated it like a real person she could give herself the power to cut her out of her life like a toxic friend.
But toxic friends always come back.
Once asked to describe what she imagined Bella to look like all she could muster up was faceless dark black cloud hanging over her head. Telling her what to say to the people around her to keep them happy and not asking to many question’s. ‘No thanks dad.’ calm and quietly she spoke hoping that would be the end of the conversation.
‘I would really like it if you ate something.’ His voice was stern and demanding. ‘I know this is hard for you but Suzie said-’ He was trying to keep himself calm with his response Mia didn't like this and cut him off.
‘Yes, let’s all do what Suzie said right? because she knows what’s best’ Why couldn’t they understand. Why did they have to keep pushing and pushing. ‘She can fix me right? I mean that’s what you pay her for isn’t it. To fix your problems’ She was the same marriage counsellor they saw after David’s affair. Mia knew she was being harsh her voice now dripping with venom as she spoke. ‘because that’s what I am. A problem in need of fixing’ Mia felt so emotional today it was her first day back seeing all of her peers since she was taken out of school almost a week before the summer break she was scarred to go back wondered what everyone would think of her. Would this year be the same as last. ‘Why are your pushing me. I’m fine just because I don’t want breakfast doesn’t mean I’m falling back into old patterns.’ She was rambling. ‘You didn’t even visit me while I was gone. So don’t bother playing the concerned parents. I’m not hungry!’
She saw the hurt flash across both of their faces. Mia’s dad sighed showing how much her words affected him how much pain they caused him. Her mother’s beautiful blue eyes filled with tears she refused to let fall. “Mia were just trying to help we all need to work at this together as a family. To heal.” Her mums voice was gentle and kind like her. She was a very loving lady, with kind blue eyes and brown hair that only made her eyes pop more and her fair porcelain skin glow.
She couldn’t help the harsh and sarcastic tone of her voice. ‘yeah whatever you say I have to get ready for school’ Instantly Mia realised she was being unfair she didn’t get the chance to apologise when her father’s anger spiked. He slammed his palm down on the marble counter top before pointing a stern finger at Mia.
‘Don’t talk to your mother that way Mia Holland!’ She knew her dad was getting angary she could tell by his posture. Mia’s dad was a very scary man when provoked he would never ever lay a hand against any one of them but sometimes his anger got the best of him and he would throw profanity’s there way shouting at them. He often put the fear of living god in Mia and her brother when they were younger.
They knew he didn’t mean to you could always see the regret in his eyes once he saw how upset or scared they were. Often he would apologise by buying them something it use to be sweets when they were younger but you can't by forgiveness. He couldn’t help it he was brought up with abusive parents. He vowed never to lay a hand on his wife or his kids. So somehow in his mind screaming and shouting at them was okay because he didn’t hit them. Maybe he needed to see Suzie too Mia thought he clearly had his own unaddressed issues.
‘Because you care so much about mum that you slept another woman’ Unable to control her words or emotions Mia burst at her father something she had never really done before. She didn’t know if it was because of this morning knowing that despite her
best efforts the scale just didn’t budge. Perhaps she could blame her burst on teenage hormones even though her period had stopped a long time ago.
You could hear a pin drop onto the tiled kitchen floor if someone was to drop one. ‘I’m sorry I- I didn’t mean it. I’m just having a bad day.’ It was the truth she didn’t mean it. It was years ago but she was desperate to distract him from making her eat something. David abruptly stood up and left the kitchen grabbing his work bag slamming the front door on the way out. You could hear his car
engine raw to life as he drove away from the house. Probably heading to work early to calm himself down.
‘Mia’ Lucy’s gentle voice sighed as she handed her a piece of buttered toast which she reluctantly took. One hundred and ten calories. That was what crossed her mind when she looked at the toast. Walking for thirty minutes, or running for eleven would burn it off, but it was still to many. After quietly apologising Mia left to get ready to leave for school. ‘Make sure you eat that.’ She gestured towards the now cold piece of toast in her daughters hands. Mia nodded even though as soon as there was a bin in sight the bread would be thrown away. It was strange how she didn’t feel guilty about lying to her parents about something like this but anything else the guilt would consume her and swallow her whole and then she would end up confessing. But not when it came to food, constantly she lied about it without an ounce of remorse. She felt self-guilt but never directed at them.
School. Mia hatted it. What kid didn’t? it’s a place where kids go to find their social groups. It does nothing to prepare them for the real world, full of mortgages, bills, marriage, kids, health issues. The teachers tell you. ‘You can do anything you set your mind to.’
What bull is that?
As soon as Mia walked into the big ivory brick building for the rich kids to get an overpriced education she wanted to curl in on herself. Eyes were all over her, some curious some warry. Students from the year above and below Mia talking, girls squealing and gossiping like they didn’t just see each other yesterday or all over the summer holidays. The students didn’t look away as Mia
walks quietly passed them with her head hung low wishing she had friends to be this excited and gossip with.
Everyone knew of Mia but none of them actually knew her. She’s was once friends with Bethany and Ava smith the richest and most
popular girls at school. Now what was she bullied by the girl who was once her best friend, the loner looser, the pathetic girl people pick on. Maybe she deserved it. Perhaps she deserved their hate and their cruel words. But no one deserved to feel the way she did
every day. Drowning in a sea of misery. They couldn’t go a day without picking on her, it could be because she was insanely shy and quite or it was their way of weeding out the week and killing them like in the wild. The worst of them all was Bethany. Everyone has their reasons for not liking someone maybe it’s just the fact that they don’t get along but Bethany despised Mia after the incident. After the accident Mia hatted herself to. She didn’t hold it against Bethany she knew she too was suffering so she allowed Bethany to take out her anger and pain on her.