Disclaimer:  The lyrics belong to the Manic Street Preachers (best band ever!) and are from a song called 4st. 7lbs.

*~I eat too much to die
And not enough to stay alive
I'm sitting in the middle waiting~*

Waiting. She always seemed to be waiting these days. Waiting for something to happen, waiting for someone to notice, waiting for the next meal (which inevitably became further and further away as the days went by), and waiting for it to end. When would it end? What started out as an innocent diet had quickly manifested into a terrifying, endless battle against numbers and weight. Why did she have to rely on numbers to make her happy? 124, 115, 99, 85… The scale continued to drop, and with it her sense of worth, happiness, self-esteem, and desire to live faded along with her quickly shrinking body. She could remember a time not so long ago when her life had not revolved around food, when her every thought and emotion was not controlled by her eating and weight: Happy (though never truly) when she lost; Depressed when she gained. Though she supposed it didn't really work that way, for the numbers on the scale continued to drop but her happiness never seemed to come. She was in a trap and she knew it, and so now all she could do was wait for the end. The end of her pain, the end of her "diet", the end of her obsession…the end of her life. All she had left to do was wait. Wait in the middle, for she was neither living nor dead. She simply was. And as she lay on the floor, fighting the blackness threating to consume her, she let her mind drift back to months ago. Before her entire world had been turned upside down, when a diet had simply been a diet…

*~Days since I last pissed
Cheeks sunken and despaired
So gorgeous sunk to six stone
Lose my only remaining home~*

"Tay!" a girl shouted, panting as she ran to catch up with her friend. 'Wait up!"

The slim figure ahead of her turned around, long black hair dancing around her shoulders, curtaining her pale face as she faced the person running up to greet her. The expression on Taylin's face was anything but happy as she noticed who this person was. Laura. The girl she'd been avoiding all week long. She sighed and plastered a phony smile on her face as Laura finally caught up.

"Where were you Saturday? I thought you were going to the movies with us!"

Forcing a look of surprise to wash across her face, Taylin covered her mouth with a bony hand and exclaimed, "Oh, I forgot! Sorry… Maybe we can do it next weekend?"

With a disappointed sigh Laura nodded. "Yeah sure," she said as she retreated, walking back in the direction from which she came. Not that she believed a word her friend said anymore. She'd long ago learned that nothing Tay said could be taken for truth. Well, not anymore that is. She'd changed, and Laura knew she had to accept that. The girl she once knew, the happy, smart, bright, charming Taylin had changed for the worse and was not coming back.

'Why do I even bother anymore?' She thought to herself as she cast a glance over her shoulder, watching Taylin's much too small figure run in the direction of her home. Sighing, Laura walked resolutely back to the high school, determind now in the decision she had for weeks been toying with in her mind. She only hoped that Mrs. Brown, the senior guidance counselor, would still be in her office…

*~See my third rib appear
A week later all my flesh disappears
Stretching taut, cling-film on bone
I'm getting better~*

Taylin smiled to herself as she lifted up her shirt, revealing a sunken stomach crisscrossed with dozens of scars – some old, some new. All memories of pain suffered so long ago – and stared at the well defined ribs and the bra that now hung loosely across her shrinking chest.

'Almost there,' she thought, smiling. I'm almost there. Just a few more pounds, just a little bit more and I'll be perfect. At this thought she grinned happily and flopped down on her bed. The action hurt her newly exposed hip bones though, and with a slight whimper she sat up again and rubbed the ache.

'It's just as well,' she reasoned as she stood again and walked across the bedroom. 'I can't afford a rest, not when I'm this close to my goal.' So with that thought in mind she lay down on her floor, ignoring her body as it cried out in protest as it made contact with the hard mahogany of the floor and did situps until she could no longer stand the pain.

*~Karen says I've reached my target weight
Kate and Emma and Kristin know it's fake
Problem is diet's not a big enough word
I wanna be so skinny that I rot from view~*

*~I want to walk in the snow
And not leave a footprint
I want to walk in the snow
And not soil its purity~*

94. After two months of starvation, pain, diets, threats from parents and friends, trips to the school nurse once a week to get weighed, long talks with the guidance counselor, she had finally reached her goal weight. But as Taylin glanced at her profile in the full-length mirror in disgust, she knew that 94 was not even close to where she needed to be. She obviously had misjudged her goal weight and it was obvious to her now as she stared at the fat that covered her body, drowned out the beautiful ribs, that she would have to lower her goal considerably. After a moments consideration, a smile suddenly lit up the frail face that had been for so long devoid of any emotion. 88. That had to be it, this was the new goal! Nothing would stop her. She would let nothing stand in her way. She would be thin at all costs, even if it meant her death! She didn't know, as she lay on the floor again for another round of sit-ups, how literal her thinking was. What a reality that thought would soon become.

*~Stomach collapsed at five
Lift up my skirt my sex is gone
Naked and lovely and 5 stone 2
May I bud and never flower~*

*~My vision's getting blurred
But I can see my ribs and I feel fine
My hands are trembling stalks
And I can feel my breasts are sinking~*

At 73 pounds, Taylin was beginning to become just a bit worried about her health and her new lifestyle. It seemed that lately, even when she wanted to eat (which was a rarity in itself) that she couldn't. Her friends had all left. All but one, that is. Ana. Though ana was not really a friend. She was the grim reaper in disguise, promising things like control, perfection, glamour, beauty, but never delivering. It was a clever trick, and Taylin was now sure that that was what happened. She had been tricked, had fallen into the trap, had dug herself into a hole too deep to get out of on her own. But who did she have but herself? No one. Her friends had abandoned her, had given up long ago, and now all she had was her obsession and her self-destruction.

Staring into the mirror once again, Taylin saw something that she had never seen before. As she looked into the hollow blue eyes, the sunken cheek bones and protruding jawline, she saw the shape of a young woman – hair as golden as a summer's sun, lips as red as the blood of Satan – laughing at her. Pointing and laughing as if to say, "I got you now. You fell into the trap, you're my victim now. My toy, my prisoner, I own you. Now you are nothing but another statistic… You bow to the God of Ana for you are anorexic, and I now control your every mood, thought, and action. I control you life."

And Taylin collapased, the darkness enveloping her quickly as she struggled to fight the sickening black, and allowed a single tear to drip down from a hollow, dead eye. Because she knew the woman – devil, demon, god, hallucination, whatever she was – was right. Anorexic. Controlled. A prisoner in her own body. It was true, all of it. Laying on her back, Taylin reached a hand up to once again caress the prominent ribs protruding so sharply from underneath the flesh. Ribcage. That's what they were, they were a cage. A cell. She was trapped behind them, for no matter how much she wanted to she could not stop losing weight. Could not stop the "Goddess" Ana from taking control of her life. From taking away her life.

*~Yeah 4 stone 7, an epilogue of youth
Such beautiful dignity in self-abuse
I've finally come to understand life
Through staring blankly at my navel~*

As she lay quietly wrapped in the sterile white sheets of the hospital bed, listening to the soft beep of the heart monitor and to the sounds of the IV liquid as it dripped saline fluid into her arm, filling her undernourished body with nutrients and calories, Taylin closed her eyes and skimmed her fingers once again across her ribcage and shrunken stomach. Life or death… For so long it had been out of her hands. Her fate, her life, everything was in the hands of ana, an obsession, a lifestyle, an eating disorder. But not anymore. For just a second Taylin opened the cerulean blue eyes and scanned the room, feeling a sort of pleasure as she took in the balloons, cards, flowers, and stuffed animals sent from friends, teachers, parents and acquaintances. This was life. Not a mirror, not a scale, not something as meaningless as weight. At 63 pounds she had finally seen the truth. For so long she had had her life taken away from her, but slowly…very slowly, she was getting it back. She thought it sad that she'd found the meaning of life, found out what was important and what mattered from spending hours a day staring blankly into the reflection of a skeleton in the mirror. But, she knew, that how she found it didn't matter. The point was that she had found it, that she'd realized before it was too late. And she smiled to herself as her gaze settled on a card, ironically with the words "Welcome back!" scrawled in bright red letter across the top. She was no longer waiting.

~the end~