We are sitting on the floor of the kitchen, squashed in a corner. L is in a foetal position, sobbing, trying to press herself further into the corner, but there is nowhere else to go. I am sitting next to her, trying to hold her. She is rigid and unyielding. She fled here away from her snack of a blueberry muffin.
K is standing next to her, cutting the muffin into bite sized pieces. A glass of milk is next to the plate. L is begging and pleading. “Something else, please something else, I’ll eat anything, please let me have something else. “. This isn’t a super muffin of doom, but an ordinary blueberry muffin. Her tears are anything but ordinary, they soak her face and her t shirt, which is still damp from her sobbing fit at tea time, where she begged us just to give up on her. K and I refuse to change the snack, we know that it isn’t just the calories, but control. Ed must be in charge and L must not eat a forbidden food. We are ummoveable. Every time she says she can’t, we say she can, and she will. We keep our voices quiet and we take our time. I ask K to bring me my glass of wine. Well, I might as well get comfortable. Eventually the sobbing lowers in volume and we agree to move to the sofa. We half carry her there. K keeps proffering small pieces of muffin for them to be pushed away. The closer it comes, the louder the sobbing, the claims of “I can’t” and the quieter our responses of “you can and you will”.
But the first mouthful happens. It is always like watching a baby bird take it’s faltering few flutters and become airborne. You don’t think it will happen, but it does. Now we can counter “I can’t” with “You are doing this.” The Boyfriend calls and she doesn’t answer. I tell her she needs to fight this for him, for us, for her, for whoever, but she needs to fight. She tells me there is no point, that everything gets taken away, that he will be taken away, because everything goes and there is no point to anything. There is certainly no point in trying to debate these arguments. I tell her this time she will do it because this time, we her family are stronger and we will push her, pull her or drag her to the weight at which recovery will happen. After an hour from the start, the muffin is eaten and the milk, added to replace the left food this evening is drunk. We sit at the table, drained. L looks devastated. But her chemistry folder is there and I ask her some questions for her exams. The Boyfriend calls and she goes to speak to him. We hear her laughing and K and I remark on how happy she is now, that Mr Wonderful calls. But we are so relieved. I go back to the painting of an old cabinet, K picks up The Prince by Macchiavelli which she has decided to read and C plays the guitar and sings. On the table lies a plate with crumbs, like a battleground after the bodies have been cleared. Ed 0 L 1.