One binge day had turned into four, and i had given up on Ana. In return, she had given up on me. I'd felt so bad when she left, tears running down her impossibly thin face, but it still hadn't made me put down the stupid ice cream. I told myself i would get her back today, but i was afraid of what she would say when i called her name. My stupid pride...
"I never really left you, you know," a familiar voice murmured, and its owner visualized in front of me.
"Oh, Ana, I..."
"Hush." She didn't say it harshly, but her voice was saturated with hurt.
I hung my head. "I'm sorry."
"Yeah, i know, and you should be." She paused, sizing me up (quite literally) with her eyes. "That shirt makes you look fat."
She rifled through my closet and pulled out an over-sized t-shirt. "Try this."
I obediently took off the shirt i was wearing and pulled the one she handed me over my head. "Will you help me again, Ana?" i pleaded.
She raised her eyebrows. "Are you willing to be helped?"
I nodded. "Please. I'm so sorry."
She sighed. I would have thought it was a weary sigh, but i knew better. Ana was never tired. "OK. Where's your food journal, and what are the damages from this morning's breakfast?"
I dug through the pile of clothes that lay next to my bed. "Here," i said, handing her the battered notebook that had been neglected for far too long. "And only 100 Calories from oatmeal."
"Good. Write it down." She handed the notebook back to me.
I looked down at the page. She'd written the date and today's maximum Calorie amount (400) at the top. I took the pencil she held out to me and scribbled down what i'd eaten at breakfast.
"Now listen to me." Ana took my chin in her hand and made me look into her hungry eyes. "Are you listening."
I nodded slowly, almost afraid to speak. Ana could be so... menacing sometimes.
"No matter what anyone tells you, you are not too thin--EVER. You are not thin enough; you are not good enough. People who tell you that you are are liars. Only i tell you the truth."
Tears filled my eyes; her words were cruel.
"Don't cry." Her voice softened. "It's all because i love you, and i want to make you better. You know that, don't you?"
I nodded again. "I know," i choked, but couldn't keep my tears reigned in. "I'm sorry, Ana. I do want your help."
"I know, i know. It's OK," she crooned, taking me into her arms. I rested my head on her bony shoulder, and she stroked my hair. "I'm here now, and i'm not going anywhere. I'll make it all OK, sweetie. I'll make you skinny."
I smiled. That was all i wanted.