Written by: Alyssa Greene
It was 8:00 o’clock on a Sunday night. I relaxed on my fully reclined lazyboy dressed in sweatpants, a large tee, and a robe that made me blend into the chair as if I belonged there. I curled up even more into the chair as the wind groaned outside, causing the branches of the birch out back to tap against my window. I didn’t realize I had fallen asleep, my eyes were closed for what felt like a second when I was woken by the sound of water trickling inside my apartment.
In one smooth motion, I had rolled out of the chair, the wrinkling of the leather loud as the rain. I quickly made it down the short hall and into my bedroom. It was dark, and as my eyes adjusted, the only light source was from the window which brought in a mist of grey to glow across the room. When I finally opened the lights, I noticed the water that was dripping in from the window and onto the floor. I rolled my eyes as I headed to my closet to grab the bucket that was used for this exact reason.
Once the water problem was temporarily fixed, my mind was at ease. I fell into my bed, back first, and focused on my breathing. It was unsteady despite the calm hum in my head. With only moving my neck, I was able to peak at the alarm clock on my night table. It was 8:41. The red numbers burned my eyes.
I knew she’d be here by 9:00 o’clock. My stomach uncomfortably shifted at the thought of her driving in the rain. I forced myself to focus back on my breathing. I felt my chest rise and fall over and over again and closed my eyes for a second.
When I reopened them, she was sitting at the other end of my bed. She never touched me. She was all dolled up in a green shirt that hung off her shoulders and tucked into a jean skirt. Her hair was naturally curled, and only slightly dampened from the rain. In her soft voice she told me about her day, whatever had happened at work, and the lunch out with whoever. The play by play and I barely listened.
She mentioned a late night snack, which perked up my interest. We left my bedroom and I slowly followed her into the kitchen. She showed me ever so proudly the display of fruits she set out. I was immediately turned off, but after hours of awaiting her company, I sat at the table with her.
She forced me to eat. Small portions of healthy food. Every meal came with a lesson, what the food is doing for my body, how every meal counts, and the disgusting idea of cheat days. She could talk about nutritional facts all night. I didn’t care for it. I found myself tuning her out again and focused on her mouth pronouncing each syllable of her words. She was mesmerizing.
I often imagined myself with her. Though it would never happen. I imagined a future where I’d lose all the weight, she would be so proud and fall in love with me. We would go for bike rides together or go for heathy picnics in the park. And if ever we happened to bump into someone we knew, we would tell them how happy we were, and the success story. I would be skinny and strong and happy, and she would love me.
That was only a dream though, and I was brought back by her ushering a plate of pineapples in my direction. I looked at it and stood up from my chair, walking towards my lazyboy without saying a word. Within a minute she followed me.
I remember her bringing me a blanket and turning on the TV, setting the volume to barely a whisper. She came close to me on the side of the chair and bent down. I looked at her. She had never been this close. I wanted to smile but I was scared she would distance herself if I did. For a moment, eye to eye, all I could think about was how repulsive my loud breathing was.
Then she spoke. Her voice broke as she said she was leaving me. She couldn’t do the night-shift anymore, and had too many patients. This time, I actually listened. She told me she was engaged and needed more time for herself and the family she was trying to make.
I realized then, I didn’t know her. I never knew her. I only idealized her and her private life. She never loved me, though I can’t say I was surprised. But she was leaving me. After 2 years, she was just leaving. We hadn’t reached any goals she had set, and she was just going to leave.
Then she hurt me more than I ever though she could. She said she was only keeping her patients that wanted to help themselves. As if I wanted to be overweight, as if I never tried. She didn’t know me. For 2 years, every night, and every morning, 9 pm till 9 am, this stranger took care of me. She told me she would stay until I found someone else. I acted angry but I was sad more than anything. I shifted away from her, and looked at the TV. She stayed bent down on my side for a beat, then walked over to the TV to raise the volume. She apologized once again and left the room. I heard the guestroom door close shut and let out a breath.
I knew for now, if I needed her, all I had to do was call.