Just for fun, I thought I’d give BlogFlash Halloween a go. It’s a holiday blog carnival sponsored by author Terri Giuliano Long, and the theme is “Spooky.”
Since my new character Emily got such great responses last week, I’ve decided to let her “speak” some more. In this scene, she’s recalling her time spent on an eating disorders unit as a teenager.
Three floors down, on the pediatric unit, little kids with cancer and cystic fibrosis were dressing up as witches and fairies and goblins; upstairs, we were costumeless skeletons. I took two hours to drink a can of strawberry Ensure, each swallow so chemical sick sweet I thought I might vomit.
But it was better than the alternative: getting the tube. You could hear Anna, the girl whose seventy-five-pound scale readout we all coveted, screaming all the way down the hall. They had to bring in security. She came out with her head lowered, her eyes filled with tears and shame and violation, the dampness trickling onto the surgical tape they’d used to affix the thin plastic snake to her cheek.
Trick or treat!
I rolled over onto my side. No hallway haunt for me; I’d been put on bedrest ever since my heart started skipping beats. I jammed my hands between my knees. Tucked my elbows against my ribs. Bone to bone to bone.
Get well soon! read the card from my high school classmates, propped up against the can of Ensure on the bedside table. Well? What did that mean?
I thought of candy apples. Curved rivulets of caramel dripping from a wooden spoon. Cider and hay and woodsmoke. My stomach turned even as it ached.
“No! No! No!”
Beth, this time, escorted between two burly guys with walkie-talkies.
It took me ten minutes to get up the strength to roll onto my other side. Away from the door, to block out the sound, to turn my back on what I knew was happening in the treatment room.
We were spooky sad stupid girls. We were pained witchy creatures with rusty-colored falling-out tresses. We were broken candy hearts, spun into cotton-wisp air.