She was sure there was a name for it, but whatever “it” was that caused the heavy pain beneath her ribs, unusual rapid weight loss and not to mention the unwelcome waves of nausea or her trouble sleeping —– stubbornly, Helena didn’t really want to know about it. She had no interest in late night Google sessions or being scolded by a GP, so for as long as she could remember as things about her body began to change, Helena had just become accustomed to ignoring it. Eventually, she figured —– or no, she hoped —– it would just go the hell away.
It had probably started when she was about fifteen. Her father had just found his new passion in antique collecting, so he wasn’t home much anymore and the shed was free reign for the kids to sneak in and out of. Helena had been the one to do it the most, she liked snooping through her dad’s projects and stealing beer from the fridge, pulling herself to sit in the tray of his truck to watch the stars through the crack in the barn-like ceiling. It had started as a sometimes thing, then turned into a weekend or a party trick thing when friends came over, which eventually turned into a “when she was stressed” thing and so on. Ultimately, it wasn’t long before it was an all the time thing, as it went, the Wilson family never really did things in halves or quarters. Soon enough, Helena had herself a flask in her school backpack, until she realized that was the fastest way to get caught. After a while, a flask turned into a colored plastic water bottle and it was embarrassing how many classes she couldn’t remember, how many she ended up sleeping through completely because she spent the night tossing and turning and sweating. How she ever even graduated college was a miracle, but at least the binging had cut down to more of a weekend ritual. All up until she was given free reign as an adult, that is. Moving out and getting her own place, being responsible for her own…. it was never destined to work out. Instead, she skipped meals because the dependence on booze killed her appetite, her glucose levels ran high, tearing through her bladder more times than healthy. Her schedule was a wreck. She woke up, she had a drink —- if she showed up for work, she’d sneak something in between energy drinks and cigarette breaks —- she’d go to the bar afterwards with friends, disguising it all as social drinking when little did anyone know, she went home only to vomit what little she had left in her before rinsing her mouth with something close to rubbing alcohol.
So the truth was, she wasn’t doing so well, but the worst part? She couldn’t even really remember where she’d let it all go wrong. One minute she’d just been mindlessly co-existing in conversation with Jay and his friends, and the next…. she’d had to beeline for the balcony before she vomited all over the girl next to her. Hoping that nobody noticed, and hating when she saw that someone did, Helena couldn’t stop herself from rolling her eyes and brushing it off. As if any of her behavior anymore was normal.
“It’s fine —- I’m fine. I had some bad sushi today with the guys from work, it’s just… coming back to haunt me… I mean we are on Royal Street, so.”
Dianna was in a foul temper. The past two weeks had been a nightmare, and if it hadn’t been for Alex, she truly believed she might have just flown right back to England to finish high school. Right now, all she wanted was her latté. Of course, as soon as she got it, she could just taste the cream. “Oh my god, how hard is it to understand skim milk?” she demanded of the barista, and without waiting for an answer slammed it down on the counter and walked away, appetite gone and patience thin. Her path to the door was blocked by someone whose back was turned to her, and she began tapping her Louboutin against the floor. “Excuse me! Can you get out of my way, please?”