Awake at night you focus,
On everyone who has hurt you,
And write a list of targets,
I slapped the off button on my alarm clock and literally rolled from the bed. I let out a small oomf! when I hit the floor. I sat where I was for a few minutes, trying to blink the sleep from my eyes. I was just getting to my feet when the bedroom door flew open. My ten year old brother stood in the doorway, staring at me. "If you don't get up, you'll be late to the breakfast table."
I stared back at him. "So?"
He sighed and, as if I didn't understand, he explained slowly, "So, if you're late to the table, Mother will be angry."
"Mom'll get over it, Tuck." I laced my fingers together and stretched my arms above my head, yawning. "I don't eat breakfast anyway."
"You're eighteen years old. Surely, you realize the importance of three balanced meals a day?"
I stared at him again. "Y'know, Tuck, sometimes, you sound like you're thirty."
Tucker frowned at me, "That's ridiculous. You know that I'm ten years old."
"And you're too literal. Now, get out, brother mine, so I can get ready for school." I suddenly grinned. "It's the first day of my last year and I intend to look good. Now, scoot."
He was still frowning when I closed the door in his face. I shook my head and laughed. He was such a little freak. But I loved him. I yawned again and looked at the clock. I had two hours to get ready, so, I headed for the shower.
I burst into the sun room just as my mother sat down at the breakfast table. She turned to me, "Elizabeth Brenna Sinclair, you are late. Again."
"I know, Mom, sorry." I sat down in my customary seat, beside Tucker, and looked at the grapefruit on my plate unenthusiastically. It's not that I'm against fruit or anything, but it's not something I want to eat in the mornings, which is usually nothing. Me and breakfast have a long standing agreement: I don't eat it, and it doesn't give me a stomach ache within two hours. I pushed the plate away. "You know, I'm really not that hungry. Besides, I just brushed my teeth."
My mother stared at me for several seconds. "You have to eat sometime, Elizabeth." She raised her voice slightly. "Sarah?"
A maid entered the room and stood discreetly in the doorway. "Yes, Mrs. Sinclair?"
"Please take Elizabeth's plate to the kitchen. It seems she doesn't feel well enough to eat." Sarcasm dripped from every word.
I stared at my mother. When Sarah reached for my plate, I jumped up. "I've got it, Sarah." I grabbed the plate from the table and strode out of the sun room, into the kitchen, and dumped the grapefruit into the trashcan. I dropped the plate in the sink then leaned against the counter and closed my eyes. I felt my fingers clinch, my nails dig into the soft skin of my palms, and pressed my fists against my aching eyes. I wouldn't let the tears fall. They wouldn't stop the hurt.
My mother thought I had an eating disorder. I didn't. I just couldn't eat when I was around her. Around my mother, my stomach twisted itself up into great, big knots, and nothing would stay down. Quite simply,