I'm so full. I've never felt so full in my whole life. I swear, I can see my belly pushing forward because there's so much food in it. And if I can see it, so can everyone else.
"Why did you eat so much, Juliet?" Mother hissed at me through clenched teeth. "Are you a pig? You'll get fat if you keep doing that." She straightens up and smiles kindly at another lady going past. "Ileana! How are you?"
As Mother goes to talk to her acquaintance, I struggle against the tears in my eyes. Another country club fundraiser from hell…and I'm stuck in the middle of it. I'm stuck in the middle of a veritable banquet, with all the food you can eat, and I've been eating for nearly half an hour straight. And my belly is aching.
I excuse myself to no one in particular and walk, lady-like, to the fancy bathroom, with its perfumed soap and folded towels. I make a quick check under all the other stalls, and see no high-heeled feet. Finally, I lock myself in the stall farthest from the door and drop gracefully to my knees, pressing my clenched fists hard into my belly.
The food comes up effortlessly; a talent born from lots of practice. My eyes water and my nose clogs up. Toilet water splashes up and sprays my face. I'd think it was gross, but it's happened so many times that it doesn't bother me anymore. I can feel my makeup running down my cheeks. There is no such thing as water-proof mascara—when someone creates a mascara that will last through a purge, I will be a very happy girl.
I strain, pushing out the last of the food through odd contortions of my stomach and throat muscles. Finally, I'm finished; my stomach is as empty as it was when I started. I grab a piece of toilet tissue, and start to clean up stray vomit. As I wipe it off the toilet seat, I think about how disgusting this is. How disgusting I am. The flush of the toilet is loud in the empty room.
I listen again for other people before exiting the stall. I wash my hands and fix my make-up. I've got the routine down to a science. I re-line my eyes, powder my face to cover any redness, and pop a zero-calorie breath mint into my mouth. Then I look at myself in the mirror.
You could tell, if you knew what to look for. You could see that my face is a little puffy, a little red, with slightly sad eyes. If you were looking.
I turn sideways and examine my silhouette. Run my hands over my now flat stomach, feel my hipbones jutting through my dress. No harm, no foul. Everything's okay. I'm in control.
I leave the bathroom and go to find my mother, with a smile on my face.