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Pen Your Pride

[8] Katie

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Two months later,

You’re sitting in the cafeteria.

Jocelyn sits in front of you,

To your right is Aiden.

Having Jocelyn as your best friend,

Is like a dream come true.

Even if she isn’t popular,

Or,

Thin,

She’s still pretty,

At least to you.

Under the table,

Is the small curve of her belly.

She won’t reveal,

If it’s a girl or boy.

Aiden,

And,

You,

Are official.

It didn’t take long,

But you couldn’t be happier.

Under the table,

He holds your hand.

He started putting up with Jocelyn,

Just for you.

But other than hiding his irritation,

Something is wrong.

You don’t know what’s bugging him,

But he’s changing.

He avoids your eyes,

Mumbles his words,

And barely talks about anything other than you.

Just once,

You want him to open up to you,

Confide in you,

Talk to you.

But so far,

That day hasn’t come.

Instead,

You listen to Jocelyn,

As she talks about a boy named Nathan.

It’s been so long since I’ve seen him.

She whispers her words,

And stares at her lunch tray.

I’m so worried.

You suggest going to his house,

And she sighs.

I’ve done that.

It’s boarded up.

Where could he be?

No one answers,

As the bell rings.

You say goodbye to Aiden,

Who squeezes your hand,

And head to gym with Jocelyn.

You were filling in your self-examination sheets again today,

To see how far you’ve come since last time.

Jocelyn wasn’t allowed to participate,

But she has to help record for you.

She follows you to the stations,

And writes down everything.

When you come to the scales,

You’re surprised when she steps on it.

She peers over her stomach,

And sighs.

You try not to look,

But you can’t help yourself.

One,

Seventeen.

She stares for a few minutes,

And you know she’s criticizing herself.

So you tell her she looks great.

What did you say?

Her face is shocked,

So you repeat yourself.

Thanks,

She nods towards the scale.

Don’t worry,

I won’t look.

She’s not insulting you.

Instead,

She’s being considerate.

She turns around,

As you place your feet on the scale.

It calculates,

And your fear swirls.

Eighty,

Nine.

You kept telling yourself,

That you would keep Aiden’s promise,

That you weren’t breaking it.

Instead,

You just weren’t hungry.

But you had been lying.

To your boyfriend,

And,

To,

Yourself.

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