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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Fearful (08/23/07)

TITLE: Companion Unaware
By Pat Guy


The enemy she feared most was there before her and waiting. The hidden glances among her friends seemed to be pointing their finger at her asking, “What’s Carly going to do?”

Yes, she knew what they were thinking … and it didn’t help. Neither did the overhead lights that seemed to illuminate this enemy that caused her to tremble so. Her friends didn’t understand … no one did.

The fork in her hand shook in unison with fingers that wanted to drop it and run. Gripping the cold utensil only revealed the fear gripping a hold of her. Hushed murmurs in the restaurant faded in and out with the pounding of her pulse … she couldn’t breathe. Her lungs felt empty, as empty as her shriveling stomach … as empty as her shriveling body.

Trying to act as though nothing was wrong, Carly took a few stabs at the enemy on her plate. Her brain screamed, “I can’t!” She swallowed back the bile creeping up her throat.

Hunger. The friend no one understood – her constant companion. She was safe as long as the pangs of hunger went with her everywhere. Only then was everything alright. Hunger … her secret friend.

She looked down at the tiny morsel on her fork that would fool no one. She put it down. She thought a baked potato with cheese sauce would look normal and be safe – she wouldn’t have to chew … well … not really chew … just fake-chew.

She picked up her drink to give herself more time. Perception Carly, perception – you’re working on perception. Food is not the enemy. Yes it is! No, it’s not. Breathe slowly, relax – you have to push forward. It’s okay – you can do this!

She sighed as she listened to the flow of gossip from one friend to another – somehow it was comforting. Names, shocked exclamations, laughter, movies last seen helped to draw her attention away from the trap of her mind.

Trap … prison … she needed to find a way to break free. Lord, help me … what do I do?

Her stomach rumbled, and she felt safe … again.

She looked down at the potato, then at her friends enjoying their breadsticks, salad and pizza. Pangs of anguish shot into the depths of her heart – she felt consumed with longing. The pizza smelled so good. No! I can’t! I’d have to chew!

Fear seized her mind and began to slowly squeeze her throat. Get up! Leave! No Carly – stay right here. Concentrate! Perception … focus… perception. You can do this!

She picked up her fork … food is not the enemy … she took a bite … food is not the enemy … she smoothed it around in her mouth … food is not the enemy … she took a sip of water … do it again Carly.

She stabbed at the potato catching some cheese … uh oh … now what … concentrate … food is not the enemy. Again Carly … again.

Her goal was ten bites and she made it to eight. She even shared a tidbit of harmless gossip of her own … a boy she met. Her friends went wild calling for dessert … a huge piece of a five-layer cake with four plates.

Panic swept over her like ice water. Dessert! Oh no! I can’t!

She felt too full. How was she going to …? Food is not the enemy Carly… it’s okay.

Maybe if she took just a tiny bite with icing – two more times would give her ten. Maybe, just maybe she could make it. Lord, help me!

She put the napkin to her mouth to wipe the nervous mist above her lip (no spitting out food this time) and rolled the sweet, smooth concoction around her tongue. Deep slow breath Carly – one more time … yes … you can do this.

She didn’t like the feeling in her stomach – it felt uncomfortable and full. Ten measly bites, but she made it. And maybe her brain was complaining, but it wasn’t screaming at her to run away.

And here she was, walking out with her friends, smiling and chattering away along with them.

Thank you Lord. Um … fake-chewing still counts … doesn’t it?

“Yes dear one, and I will help you and give you strength, so do not fear.* We will walk to victory together, one step at a time. You and I …

… we can do this.”

*Isaiah 41:10,13 (NIV)
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

This is a website with many links to helpful resources www.freedomfromed.com

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This article has been read 1126 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laurie Glass 08/30/07
I love this. As someone who's been there, I'll say this is spot on. A well written story that needs to be told - to give a better understanding of eating disorders. Thank you for writing this.
Rhonda Clark08/30/07
This really touched my heart. Getting a peek inside a girl like this is eye opening. Great, great stuff.
Amy Michelle Wiley 08/31/07
Very powerful and well-written. Wonderful job!
Sherry Wendling08/31/07
"Hunger--her secret friend..." Wow--I hadn't understood before what a horrible bondage that is. Carly's twenty minutes in a restaurant were, to her, like breathless eons. Your descriptions, her dialogue with Jesus, got it across powerfully. I sure hope this gets a wide audience.
Lynda Schultz 08/31/07
You got into Carly's head to perfection. I hope you'll publish this for the sake of those who have to face this problem every day. Good work.
Sharlyn Guthrie09/01/07
I deal with eating disorders in teaching health to 7th grade girls, but I had never heard or thought of hunger being perceived as comforting before. Thanks for the walk in this struggling girl's shoes.
Ann FitzHenry09/01/07
This is really wonderful. I hope it reaches many others outside of FaithWriters.
Joanne Sher 09/02/07
Just EXCELLENT - you definitely put me inside Carly's head in a way I have never experienced before. I truly feel that I understand those with eating disorders better now thanks to reading this. Thank you for that.
Dee Yoder 09/02/07
I was really gripped by the intense feelings of the MC. This gives a great insight into the mind of those who suffer from eating disorders. You had me reading intently from the first sentence.
Jan Ackerson 09/03/07
Oh, this one definitely needs to find a bigger audience! Wonderfully written, perfect in every way.
Lynda Lee Schab 09/03/07
What a creative entry for "fearful." So prevalent in today's world. Yes...please do find a bigger audience for this one. Expertly written.
Jacquelyn Horne09/03/07
I've never understood this problem, but you have made it a little easier to understand.
Myrna Noyes09/03/07
Very relevant and well-written piece! Your descriptions of Carly's thoughts, emotions,and physical feelings were excellent! Great job! :)
Patty Wysong09/03/07
Excellent! You captured her fear and her struggle. I loved the prayer sprinkled throughout. Super.
Sheri Gordon09/04/07
This is really, really good. Your writing put me in the middle of the scene from the first sentence. I felt her panic and fear throughout the story. I fought with her as she battled in her head. Great job with the topic.
George Parler 09/05/07
I've never read a story on this subject before. The subject matter is indeed sad but this writing of it is wonderful. Good job.
Kristen Hester09/05/07
You did an awesome job getting into the mind of the MC. As someone who LOVES food this was the first time I could understand someone with this problem's mindset. I am so thankful for this story. I feel like I have a greater understanding now. Bless you for this.
Verna Cole Mitchell 09/05/07
This well-written story takes us straight into the mind of a person with this problem.
LaNaye Perkins09/05/07
This entry touched me deeply. I love how you described Carly's battle. Well done!
Betty Castleberry09/05/07
I am not familiar with eating disorders, but you've helped me have a better understanding of them. Great job of sharing your MC's thoughts. I liked this.