"Let’s discuss something
here," said Rosenbaum. "You were talking about your
Melanie shifted, obviously not liking where this was going. "So?"
"Are you uncomfortable with your body?"
"Wouldn’t you be if you were my size?"
Rosenbaum glibly ignored her question. "It’s just that I don’t see you as being nearly as obese as you believe."
Melanie made a face. "Obese. That’s worse than fat, you know? I hate that word. That was Brian’s word. At least Amanda Sommers always said fat. Brian, though, Mr. Intellectual…"
"Brian thought you were overweight?"
She laughed. "Brian thought I was Porky the Wonder Whale. Why he was dating me, I have no idea. He kept saying when we first got together he wanted to give me a chance even though he didn’t like the way I looked. And all through that six months I was with him, it was all about him changing the way I looked. Which, I did drop thirty pounds. Mostly through unorthodox methods."
Rosenbaum raised an eyebrow. "Pardon?"
She sighed. "Oh, wonderful. Now you’re going to tell me about how crazy this part is. Well, listen, I don’t care. I know better. I was just…" She rolls her eyes. "You know, you can do all kinds of stupid things when you think you love someone. When you think no one else will love you. And I just had to look like Brian wanted me to. Understand?"
"I’ll bet you don’t," she snapped.
"Actually, I got a tattoo for a young woman I admired when I was in college."
Melanie grinned. "What did it say?"
"Just her name. Jenny."
She laughed, trying to imagine Rosenbaum having a tattoo. He rose in her estimation.
"So, Melanie, what stupid thing did you do?"
"Well, Jareth caught me at it one night. It was rather a shock for both of us. Him for obvious reasons. Me because I’d never thought about what I was really doing until someone saw it."
I knelt down and began my prayer to the
porcelain god. It was a ritual. Wait until Brian was gone, eat
like tomorrow wasn’t coming, and then sneak into the
bathroom and…voila! No worries. A finger down the throat and
all was well. It was disgusting. It was a perversion. It was also
the only way I was ever going to get this weight off fast enough
to please Brian.
"Melanie, what are you doing?"
I choked, surprised beyond belief, and tried to stop what was happening. Too late. My reflex kicked over and I was just kneeling there tossing my cookies literally while Jareth watched in absolute horror from in front of the door.
"Are you…ill," he finally managed when it was over.
I didn’t say anything. I was mortified.
"Why are you doing this to yourself?"
I just didn’t have an answer. I really didn’t.
"Don’t you know that hurts you?" he said quietly.
"Yes," I said. I started to cry. I got up and flushed and closed the lid. I washed off my face and rinsed my mouth. Still crying. It was pathetic. I was so embarrassed, so horrified. I didn’t know what to do. Then I felt Jareth’s hand on my face. He had taken off his gloves and was wiping away the tears.
"Promise me. No more of that."
I promised. I meant it. I never did it again.
"After that, he dropped by all the
time, about twice a week. A month went by like that. I felt
better. My life was still less than wonderful…but at least,
pardon the pun, it wasn’t going down the toilet. I had a
Rosenbaum had looked distressed when she’d talked about the last episode, but had calmed considerably. "So he had helped you. Why didn’t he leave then?"
"I didn’t know. I think now it was because he had bigger plans. Like the night I broke up with Brian. Or, Brian broke up with me. Or…well…"
Melanie sighed. "This part is really nuts."
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