• He’s always been good with numbers. Really ******** good. What it’d be easy to forget about Die was that he finished high school at the top of his year. He’s good with numbers; he’s decent with words, pretty damn good with music, but he’s best with people. Amazing with people, he smiles and he charms and he tells them the truth right to their faces. He just tells the truth so spectacularly that they don’t believe him. “Have you even eaten today?”
    “No, I’m fasting, second day into it.” A wide grin.
    “There’s no need to be sarcastic.”
    No need to be sarcastic? Good job, because he never is.

    He’s always been good with numbers. He knows that a minute of jogging burns seven calories - 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, 49…How many sevens until he can eat without feeling guilty?
    He knows that a half hour walk at two miles an hour burns 85 calories and he can work out a multiple of that number as easily as he can breathe.

    In his box of diet pills there are 180 capsules, two to be taken three times a day. It should last him 30 days if he sticks to the recommended amount. He won’t. He hasn’t. He empties them out every two or three days and counts them. They’re shiny sugar coated orange, thankfully tasting better than they smelt and they’re smooth under his fingertips as he moves them from one pile to another counting softly under his breath.

    He’s good at counting calories, the calories he’s consumed, the calories he’s burned, he’s best at counting his calorie deficit. Three thousand and five hundred calories, a deficit of three thousand and five hundred calories burns a pound.

    A pound of fat, a pound of uselessness, a pound of temporary flab he is going to get rid of. He was a stone lighter then he was and he couldn’t tell the difference, bones no more prominent, nowhere more toned. Now he’s only eleven pounds lighter and he can see those three pounds everywhere on his body.

    There’s still a little sane, rational part of him that knows he’s not fat. He’s a perfectly healthy weight, he gets a fair few comments about his slimness but they don’t comfort him past a five second ego boost. He knows he’s not fat. He just wants to be thinner.

    He knows his methods are unhealthy, he knows that starving himself will damage him, he knows the self-induced vomiting will damage him, he knows the diet pills will damage him, he knows the obsessive exercise will damage him, he knows the laxatives will damage him. He knows the combination could kill him.
    He doesn’t care. He just wants to be thin.

    He’s miserable. Miserable and guilty when his stomach violently growls, miserable and guilty when he eats, miserable and guilty when he purges. He’s just so miserable.
    He doesn’t want to die, though. He’s idly thought of suicide. Very idly he wondered if he took enough sleeping pills, took enough paracetamol, what it’d be like. He wouldn’t have to worry about calories, pills, weight. He’d never have to worry about anything again.

    But no matter how strong the urge to not exist is, he knows he’d never do it. He’d never kill himself. He hates himself, but he loves being him. He loves his friends, his bandmates; he knows that for some strange reason they love him too. They would be sad if he died. They’d miss him. They would, he assures himself. People care about him and it makes him feel so much more guilty about the things he does.

    He’s slowly and calmly falling apart. It’s taking a frustratingly long time, but the weight is coming off again and he knows he’s going to keep going until he can’t anymore. He’s accepted his fate, the calm satisfaction and the quiet guilt brings a perverse sense of peace.

    The peace is occasionally shattered by the screaming voice in his head. He’s not good enough, he’s stupid, he’s ugly, he’s selfish, he’s needy, he can’t do anything right, he’s annoying, he deserves this, he’s just not thin enough, it tells him again and again and he’d kill for it to shut up.

    He lashes out in angry swipes, smashing red raw knuckles into bare brick, stomping his feet like a small child not getting their way. He’s full of adrenaline and anger and he wants to hurt himself, distract himself from the uncontrollable noise in his head but he can’t leave marks. There may only be one person even vaguely worrying, but there’s no reason to deepen the concern.

    He seeks comfort in the most important, most hated, most integral part of his life right now: food. He shoves anything and everything down his mouth, calorie after calorie, he eats things he can’t stand the taste of, he keeps eating far past being hungry, he just eats and eats and eats.

    His knuckles are still sore from the last time he made himself vomit and punching the wall didn’t help, shoving them down his throat doesn’t exactly hold any appeal right now. He has a pack of twelve chocolate laxatives left; ‘One dose to be taken before bed.’ He eats all twelve.

    He tells himself he won’t cry, this entire spectacle was pathetic enough without him crying. It doesn’t work. This feels like the calm after the storm and the quiet unsettles him as much as the noise did. It’s one or two tears that turn into a flood and he clings to himself, surrounded by crumbs and wrappers.

    When he finishes, empty of everything, of food and of tears he sits on his bed. He sits, mind completely blank. He can’t feel anything particularly, apart from the vaguest hint of guilt he is too tired to let seep into him.

    This is catharsis in its purest form, he’s completely drained, completely empty, and he can’t even muster up enough feeling to be scared of when he’ll start to fill up again.

    It’s the early hours of the morning and he lies back on his bed. Next to him is a glass with the dredges of yesterday’s water left and a small collection of sleeping pills he’d acquired trying to find some that worked. He likes the Kalms; they smell okay and taste of sugar. The bottle says to take three or four an hour before bed time. He takes ten and waits, absent-mindedly amused by his inability to take heed of recommended doses.

    Tomorrow is a new day, and hey, he might not make a mess of this one.