Fragments, rewritten.


This is how it feels to be air: separated from my skeleton, glowing in the light. The lamps see straight through me, invisible skin. The girl in the mirror frowns and she claws at her insides, her ribs, and begs them to please let her out. I am no longer that girl. I don't want to be.

"She's a disturbed young woman." The doctors scratch diagnoses on notepads, pass prescriptions; pills and pills and pills that I hold under my tongue and drop into jars. They keep their thin lips pursed like fish kisses, fat thighs spilling over the edges of their rolling chairs, and tell me there's nothing they can do.

I'd love to brag to them, poke my needle fingers in their bloated bellies and teach them control. The art of being at war with oneself, unable to choke down what's placed in front of them. Show them my swollen cheeks, rotting teeth and tell of the futile battle between starving African children and starving American girl. In the end they'll all die.

Before the mirror all that's left is a frame, dissolving into the yellow glow of the lights. My ribs are full like a bird cage and my hipbones jab like daggers above the waistband of underwear, straining at the skin. I wish I could cut myself out, peel away the layers until I can see myself, standing here alone.

"Rebecca," Mother calls from the hallway, tapping her wedding ring against the wooden door instead of knocking. "Rebecca, darling, have you taken your medicine?" Rebecca means tied up, tied down. Rebecca means snare.

I tell her I'm busy, that I've taken my medicine and my hands close around the old spaghetti sauce jar I stole from the dust bunnies that shade themselves under my bed, stripped of its label and filled halfway with pills of different shapes and colors. I tip them out on my dresser, separate them by drug content: sleeping aids, appetite stimulants, antidepressants, pain killers.

"I haven't seen you all day, Rebecca. Please be safe."

"I am, Mom." My room is cold, so cold, and I place one sleeping pill on my tongue; insomnia is a bitch and I'm past the point of being able to take it at full force.

"Make sure you've got your stuff. The hospital wants you there at eight in the morning."

"All packed." I stir the pills up with the tips of my fingers, mixing them into a whirlwind swirl. My suitcase sits in the middle of the floor, stuffed for four weeks of white hospital walls, stiff hospital beds. Reusable ice packs for my head aches and long sleeves for my furry arms. I can't take the pills.

One by one I drop them back into the jar, pour them out into the toilet and let it melt, a toxic cocktail. It dissolves into a brown soup that I flush down with all the vomit I've ever forced up, all the rumbles of my stomach and ache of these bones as I sink back into them, air trapped in a jar.