Summer in the City

Summer continues and each day we marvel that this is not Barcelona or Nice, but England in July. L loves the sun, but hates her pale skin which never tans, but always burns. She heads out in shorts, but with flesh coloured tights on. Around her are young women displaying all shapes and sizes of bodies,but L’s sense of self loathing remains strong.

J is home. His presence in the home is like a large Labrador, comforting and familiar and continually hungry. He gives and receives affection so readily and contents himself in his familiar activities, practising bassoon and surfing the net. Soon we will be in Dorset for a week, going to the Tolpuddle festival, then visiting Lyme Regis and Bridport, followed by a week in Sorrento and a week at home.

This is our second summer with anorexia. An oppressive, unwelcome guest, hovering at every meal, lingering in the air of every decision. Whether L can go out with friends, whether to go to the Pride festival or in not being able to just make salad for tea. We have to consider heat and hydration: L went for a bike ride with a friend and lost half a pound. We all want to laze in the sun, but there are meals to plan and negotiations over food to block.

Out there are people enjoying the heat, loafing around and relaxing over the weekend. I wish we could be them. Then L tweets that the world would be a better place without her. I run to her and hold her on my knee, arms around her and kiss the side of her head. Our world would be relentlessly bleak without her; C, J, K and I would be slumped in misery with an endless ache and emptiness. We long for a life without Ed, but a life without L would be an eternal winter, frozen and still, where the sun has left forever. It would be no life at all.

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