Four Blocks

Image of Set Stories Free - 2018
Image of Short Story
The car screeches, nearly missing me. The driver stops to yell at me. That what I get for walking against the light. I almost leave my suitcase in the street. It’s hard to pull my bag, with my arm in a cast. A car honks as I run back to grab it, someone yells.
I’m not ready for this. Four blocks to go.
I lean against a wall and take a deep breath. The brick cool against my neck. I run a hand down my ribs, counting them. One. I’m not ready. Two. I don’t want to go. Three. I can’t change. Four. I don’t want too.
I shift from one foot to the other, chewing my lip, I didn’t want to do this. I started to walk down the sidewalk.
Hunger tears through my stomach. I’m paranoid that the people walking by will hear it, notice me, look at me. I wish I was invisible, transparent, invisible to the human eye. When people ask what superpower would you want? I always pick invisibility. People remark, “Oh, so you could steal things, or be a spy?” No, I want to be invisible.
I’d rather just drift around, with no one watching me, but maybe I don’t want to be invisible, I want to be a ghost. Have somewhere to haunt, and that would be that.
Three blocks to go.
Eyes on me, they’re picking apart my flaws, seeing everything past flesh, blood, and bone. That I’m failing at being alive, I don’t know how to be a person.
But the opposite happened, the looks and stares of people with pitying eyes. “You’ve taken it a bit too far.”
“We’re worried about you.”
“Why don’t you eat anything, Mary?”
Two blocks.
I should have taken a lyft, dragging my suitcase behind me, one of the wheels has broken. It’s making a grating sound. A woman stares. I try to move faster, but I’m tired, and the world starts to spin.
I put my suitcase down, and sit on it, breathing slowly in and out. Tears stream down my face. I count my ribs again. One. I will not get better. Two. This may be your last chance. Three. Who cares? Four. You want to live, don’t you?
I fell when I was walking down the steps at school, all the sudden the world faded to black. When I woke up, I was on the ground, my arm hurting. The bone breaking in two. When I opened my eyes, light blinded me, laying on the hot sidewalk, people crowded around me.
Sitting in the hospital. A chorus of concern hit me.
“I’m worried about you, Mary.”
“This is a wakeup call.”
“What if this is your last chance?”
“Why aren’t you even trying?
“I’m not going to watch you wither away.”
One, two, three, four. My sister left, with a scowl on her freckled face.
One block left.
What if I try? What if I can’t? What if I’m always going to be in the spiral of not eating, eating too much, purging, not eating, feeling ashamed of what I was.
Restrict, Binge, Release, Shame. Restrict. Binge, Release. Shame. My life is told in four acts, there is no curtain call, there is not ending. The play will not stop. The show must always go on. A never-ending story, until the day where it fades to black, and the light doesn’t come back.
I was currently performing Act one, my favourite. Restriction. The one I was the best at. The one I wish I could wallow in forever. But act two always weasels its way in. Act two, I binge. Act three. It has to go away, I have to take back the mistake I made. I kissed more toilets than people. Act four is shame. I drown in it. It devours me.
I’m there.
Walking up the steps, a wave of dizziness hits me, sending me backwards, I grab the railing just in time before I crash into the pavement. My suitcase isn’t so lucky. It falls down the steps, cracking open, all my things spilling out. My journal, my clothes that probably won’t fit in a few weeks, a ball of yarn rolls down the steps.
It was only four steps. Four steps to a new life, to promises that I’ll be happier on the other side.
That could have been me. Cracked open on the pavement, contents spilling out, a heart that I don’t use, a stomach that doesn’t get to eat, cracked ribs, broken spine.
I descend the staircase slowly. One step. I’m not going. Second step. Maybe, I will. Third step. No. Fourth step. Yes.
I’m standing on the sidewalk, looking down at my bag. I push my things back inside. Put it together.
I take one step. I’m going to get better.
Two steps. I want to live.
Three steps. I want more than this life that I have been living.