“Damn.” I mumbled, looking in my mirror. All I had on was my bra and some underwear. I pinched my stomach in my two hands and squeezed. Flab. I walked into my bathroom and stood on my weight scale.

“Shit,” I breathed. I had gained 15 pounds. There was no denying it, I was getting fatter. My stomach grumbled dejectedly. I couldn’t help it, I was just getting hungrier.

I was never one to go on a diet or deprive myself of eating, I was always naturally skinny. I also ate healthy foods, which was good.

I walked out of my room and into the kitchen. I grabbed myself a snack and started eating in front of the TV. I had moved out of my mom’s house when I was 16. My high school had granted me a special loan, because I had not come from a secure home. They felt that it was their duty to make sure that I was not being abused anymore.  I lived in a small apartment building in downtown Ottawa, and I was finally happy with my life.

My eyelids started drooping as I watched the TV. I checked my watch, and it was only 10:30, but I was really tired. I hopped into bed and went to sleep. I woke up 2 hours later, with a grumbling stomach. I walked into the kitchen once again and started snacking.

I walked back to my room and fell asleep. I woke up in the morning and started to get dressed for school. My stupid jeans wouldn’t button up.

I went into the back corner of my closet where I kept my hand me down clothes. I had an overweight sister who always passed along her clothes to me. My eyes burned with tears as her jeans fit me perfectly. I was being stupid. Why would I cry about something like this? I bit my lip and put on my favourite shirt. Luckily it still fit.

I got in my car and turned the key in the ignition. I drove to school, wondering if people would notice the extra pounds. Well, I suppose they just saw me gaining weight gradually over the last little while.

I had gained a few pounds before, but this was kind of weird. I had really noticed a change about a week ago.

I got out of my car in the school parking lot. My best friend Annabelle came running up to me. She gave me a hug, and then stepped back.

“What’s wrong?” She asked me. She always knew when I was feeling down.

“I’m fat,” I answered, tears burning my eyes again. What was wrong with me? I never cried at school.

“Well, you are a bit softer, but I wouldn’t call it fat, just… squishy.” Annabelle was always one to speak her mind.

“Thanks, Anna,” I said.

“Oh, come on… you’re beautiful. You just gained a few pounds, that’s all.”

She smiled.

“Don’t worry about it.”

And I didn’t. Until April 15th.

***

I was cleaning up my bathroom, as it had slipped into a horrible mess. I started cleaning out the drawers, because I had spilled my lotion all over them. I picked up item after item and threw it on the counter, Tums, toothpaste, Tylenol, throat lozenges, allergy meds, tampons… I stopped at tampons. I stood up and walked to my room. I looked at the calendar that was hanging on my wall. It said April 15th was today.

April 5th was the day that I was supposed to get my period. I had been late before, but never 10 days late.

I thought back to my first period. I was 14 –a late bloomer- and I woke up with blood on my sheets. I thought I was dying… on February 7th. That was the latest in the month that I had ever had my period. I always had it around the 5th.

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