Sleep

4.30

Wake.

Stretch.

Pull on sneakers, shorts. Rub foundation over those bags, that sickly complexion.

Tara mumbles, "Abigail, what are you doing?"

"Training," is your stiff response. Soon you will be faster than her, more energetic than her, weigh less than her. That is, when you gain control.

Run.

Faster.

Ignore that grumbling stomach. You learnt to control that temptation a long time ago, bit by bit. First it was no fat, then no carbs, then two meals, one meal.

No meals.

Sit up

Fall back

Sit up again.

And then soon Miss Raine will regret calling you a sack of potatoes. She will see how committed you are.

"Abigail," says Tara again, "Are you feeling ok?"

Which is just another way of saying, "You look awful,"

"Of course!" you spit at her, but the energy to add the venom is not there. Tara looks concerned but says nothing. Then she leaves.

I stand on the scales.

Forty four

Smile.

And soon you will be forty. Then Miss Raine will see that you have potential. Then you will be in control.

Pull your leotard on. Feel how deliciously loose it is becoming. Soon you will fit the one you wore five years ago, when you were ten.

Then Sammy is waiting. His eyes narrow as he examines you carefully, for the first time in days. He looks at your legs and you know what he's thinking. That you're not good enough. You frown.

"What?" you say under his scrutiny. He looks very much like he would like to say something but instead extends his hand to take yours.

Walk.

"Abigail," he says after a while, "I'm worried about you. You need to eat, you are getting so thin."

"Nonsense," you say, "Can't you see I am still much larger than Tara?"

Sammy shakes his head sadly, "I don't think so,"

You know he is lying.

And then Tara is there. And Sammy is speaking to her. You find it difficult to concentrate when you feel so dizzy.

Sammy says, "Tara do you notice anything new about Abigail?"

"She has lost a lot of weight" Tara says automatically, as if she was certain of the answer Sammy required, as if they had planned this against you. You focus on concentrating. The dizziness will pass.

"Both of you are pathetic. I am taking measures to make sure I can succeed and here you holding it against me, but we all know I'm the best dancer here." That outburst leaves you breathless and suddenly you are dizzy once again.

"Then why are you doing this Abigail? If you are the best, then why do you continue to do this to yourself?" says Tara. Her voice is laced with pity.

"I do not need to explain my reasons to you!" You snap.

"But Abigail," she says in that whiny voice that makes her sound like a child,"You are already better than me, you weigh less than me-"

"Like you would know Webster!"

"Tara," says Sammy and you know he is on her side, "How much do you weigh?"

"Fifty two," she says, meeting my eyes. You know it is not true.

She does not weigh eight kilos more than you. And anyway she is taller, longer legs.

"Abigail?" questions Sammy and you realise you hate him. For not defending you, for taking her side. "How much do you weigh?"

Forty four.

But tomorrow you can be forty three.

Tomorrow.

And then the dizziness closes in and the world is spinning. And Sammy is holding you, stopping your fall and Tara is calling for help and you can hear from the high heels that Miss Raine is approaching. And Sammy is whispering your name and you think that maybe he is right; maybe you have gone too far and pushed yourself too hard. But in the end it is worth it. You have achieved control.

Control.

That is all that matters.