They had cuddled and watched their favorites. Nightmare Before Christmas, Thirteen, Girl, Interrupted, and The Notebook. They had diet Pepsi and popcorn. Of course before she'd come over, he'd checked to make sure of the calories in everything in the house, of all the food she liked. Just in case. He'd made separate bowls, claiming that butter tasted nasty, he liked the plain kind better. She had the movie theater kind.

And she was thin, too.

It astounded him, really.

They'd made T-shirts, and he'd even let her put eyeliner and mascara on him. He didn't mind, even. They'd been friends since the first day of Middle School. She'd been his first and only girlfriend. Of course, she'd only been his girlfriend so he could tell Cory Turner -- professional asshole -- that he had one, so they'd get off his back and stop calling him a fag.

Of course, they'd resorted to calling him fatso.

And he honest to goodness was having fun with her. He missed it, they fun they had. Moving to Jersey.. It was hell. Seeing her again made everything okay again, even if it was just a little bit. "Ooh, I know!" She'd whispered in his ears, arms wrapping around his very thin torso as they sat on his bed, acoustic guitar once clasped in her arms now discarded and her face glowed. "Let's bake like we used to! Come on, Blainey."

And he couldn't say no.. He had been on his best behavior.

Resigned, they drove to ShopRite. Tumultuous, his stomach tossed as they passed each green light. Temporary respite was provided at the stop signs, his eyes pointedly focused on the darkness outside. By a streetlight's nanosecond light he could see his reflection in the glass of the car, a thin face punctuated with barely concealed fear. Pure, raw fear, and nothing else.

And that little voice spoke again, drawn for it's cage. 'Fatso, ugly boy, you don't deserve this, you disgusting nasty monster.'

His stomach had turnedburnedtwisted into intricate knots as he stepped in, doubling, tripling, as he picked out the boxes of empty calories waiting to destroy him. He wanted to cry, he wanted to cry so bad. He could feel the tears sliding and he tipped his head back, to keep them in. He closed his eyes tightly.

"Something wrong?"

"No.. Just a headache.."


In ShopRite, now. He could feel everybody's eyes on him, burning into him, as he reached out and meekly took a gaudy red box, titled Deluxe Brownie Mix. Michelle grabbed peanut butter chocolate chips and then cookie mix, perfectly all right. As if she wasn't imagining each calorie attaching itself permanently to her thighs, coating over her ribs, her hipbones.

After all, he reasoned, he was.

He could not look at this aisle packed with more calories than he'd eat in a month, so he closed his eyes. His lids burned and he took to biting down hard on his lower lip, fingernails digging half-moon imperfections into his wrists.

Old habits die hard, you know.

In a stagger blinded with pure undaunted terror he walked to the register. Michelle plunked down Dove's chocolate bars and peanut butter cups on the counter. He slid a twenty to the clerk. He could not, could not, could not look. Michelle took the change. He carried the bags and stared at the ground as they walked, streetlights dimly lighting their way.