Beneath The Skin

5 min
Image of Spring 2019
Image of Short Story

The mirror is an object of lies. As I stood in the bathroom looking in the mirror, I seen the lies through the piece of glass. I couldn't help but look at myself and see all my insecurities come to the surface. Every one of them.

My thoughts were loud and I wanted to believe everything, how my mind screamed that I was beautiful. I refused to believe it, because it was all a lie. A lie I wanted to believe and hold onto. I slowly took my clothes off staring into the mirror wanting the lie to be true.

I stood their naked looking at myself in the mirror trying to figure out, what was next?  Why was beauty so painful? Why did it take so much to be beautiful?  As I looked I'm the mirror, all I seen was a overweight girl who wanted more for herself. I choked on my  tears as my fingers brushed my stomach, while I touched parts of myself that were still foreign to me.

Every part I touched - Every part I was supposed to love about myself. I didn't and I cried for my body. I cried for the pains of beauty. I wiped the tears away putting clothes on covering my body forcing myself not to look in the mirror. I walked out the bathroom, grabbing my phone off the dresser. I had several missed calls from Cora.

" I'm waiting in the drive way." She said happily. I smiled sadly, grabbing my purse and house key before I left. Cora smiled pulling out of the driveway, talking admirably about the plans she made for us. She blasted music in the car and I sung along dancing with her.

Cora parked the car grabbing her wallet before she left the car. " Come on, I thought we could eat first." She said.

My stomach turned over at the smell of food. " Cora, I already ate. Do I have to walk in there with you." I asked her nervously. I closed my eyes breathing slowly trying to calm the recoil of my stomach. Cora's hand was on the door handle and her eyebrows were raised in questioning.

" Is something wrong? Are you sick? Oh my Gosh, we should of just stayed at your house. I'm so sorry." Cora said frantically. What was I supposed to do? I couldn't tell her because I knew she would try to help me, she would want to talk about it. There was nothing for us to talk about though. If Cora knew it would break her heart and I didn't want to be the cause of her pain.

I took a deep breath walking into the restaurant. I stood by Cora's side as she looked at the menu. I put my hands behind my back counting the minuets until I could walk out. Until I could go home and cry into my pillow for hiding the truth from her.

Cora grabbed her meal and we sat at the table talking, I looked away from her trying to put my attention to something else. Something other than the food she was putting into her mouth. My stomach growled and I balled my fist restraining myself.

" Are you sure you don't want some of my fries? Here, I got you some water." She said. Cora pushed the water towards me and I shook my head as she offered me the fries. I sipped on the straw but I could test the grease and the salt.

I needed to go home. I needed to be in my room and I needed to be back in the bathroom once again. Cora threw her trash away, walking out the restaurant with me following behind her.

She drove to her house and a smile found its way on my face again. I was sleeping over at her house tonight. We were going to watch movies all night and talk about anything as the clock ticked to midnight. I was happy thinking about it and the queasiness in my stomach began to disappear.

Cora ran upstairs to put on her pajamas and when she came back down stairs, she gave me some of her pajamas. I went to the bathroom turning my back to the mirror because I knew if I looked at myself I would be in here longer than I needed to.  I didn't want Cora to worry about me.

I ran back downstairs and Cora laid on my lap. We watched movies and talked about everything,  before the clock hit midnight my eyes grew heavy.

" I'm going to bed, Aria," Cora said. " You know where the spare room is." She smiled tiredly. I went to the spare room and laid in the bed, letting my thoughts wonder. My stomach growled loudly, but the thought of putting food in my mouth was making me sick thinking about it

I pulled  myself under the cover blending in the darkness and silently crying myself to sleep.

When I woke up the next morning, I could smell breakfast down stairs. I tried closing my eyes and going back to sleep, so I could run away from this nightmare.

" Aria, breakfast is ready." Cora said.

I slowly got out of the bed trudging downstairs into the kitchen. I sat at the kitchen island and Cora smiled. I poured myself some orange juice and it wasn't food, I didn't know how much longer I could keep this up without her noticing. Without her asking for questions because I was afraid of the way she was going to react.

" Aria, I made enough for the both of us. Are you going to eat?" She asked. I nodded my head making her happy. But, I never touched the plate of food. As I thought about eating it, I thought about how many times I would have to make myself sick throughout the day to keep myself where I was, until I was ready to purge again.

That was the sad thing about beauty though it was pain. It was struggle and I was living it. My life was a beautiful struggle and my best friend didn't even know.

I sat at lunch with Cora scrolling through my phone trying not to watch her eat. Trying to calm my stomach, so it could stop growling. " Aria, are you not hungry?" She asked. I shook my head, getting up from my seat. The lunch bell rang, I went to the bathroom, fixing my hair and makeup in the mirror. Trying to keep the tears at bay.

Class went by and when school ended I went home. I opened my closet pulling out an old box, grabbing the magazines from the inside. Magazines were a girls kryptonite because the girls were proud of their body on the pages.

I ran downstairs and grabbed all the junk food I was able to find. I took it to my room and watched movies, and eating.  Every time I ate though, it was always the other side of that was trying to pull away from the food.  Did the girls in the magazines have to worry about what they ate?

Did they have to worry about what their body image would look like afterwards?

Did they worry about how much food they ate before they were satisfied? Did they worry -

I shook the thoughts away pushing the food away. I sat there watching the rest of the movies and I felt guilty for the food I ate and the weight I was about to gain if I didn't get rid of everything. I didn't bother pausing the movie when I left. I went to the bathroom kneeling down in front of the toilet slowly sighing.  The tears never fell down my face because although I felt guilty every time I puked up the remains of my stomach.  Tears were not going to reverse the damage.

I closed my eyes and counted slowly.




I shoved two fingers in the back of my throat as far as they could and puked up everything I ate without regret.  Once the food was down the toilet, I felt better but then the tears decided they wanted to fall. I sobbed for the food and the damage I was doing to my body.

I slowly got on my feet cleaning up the mess I made and looking at myself in the mirror one more time. I kept making myself the same promise over and over again, and I broke it every time.  I sat back on the couch pushing everything I ate away from me, I felt sick after eating all that food, but I craved it so much more since I wasn't eating anything.

I tried to occupy myself, trying to myself from thinking about making myself sick again.  I painted my nails and watched some more movies, but I still didn't feel right. I called Cora I just couldn't tell her the truth, not yet at least.  Cora came over and we talked about every other



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Image of Roger Ley
Roger Ley · ago
I felt very sorry for the main character. You gave a vivid insight into the problems of a bolimic teenage girl. Very instructive , well done. Would you mind looking at my story 'Dia de los Muertos' I hope you enjoy it.
Image of Keith Simmonds
Keith Simmonds · ago
Fascinating and intriguing, this story ! My votes !
Here’s an invitation to read and support “The Awakening”
which is also in the Button Fiction competition! Thanks in advance!