art by Ron Sanders
Measures and Countermeasures
by Beth Cato
The other girls at camp had warned Colleen about what to look for, how her family would try to save her when she came home. Sure enough, through the fluff of the bedside rug, her toe traced hardness the size of an old credit card. A remote weight sensor.
Hot anger seared through her chest. She hadn't even been home for two hours. She hadn't had a chance to betray Mom's trust, to break that stupid promise the camp made her sign before leaving: "Weight has nothing to do with beauty. I promise to be healthy, and in my health, be beautiful."
When Colleen was little, she used to say she'd be an actress when she grew up. She put on the best performance of her life as she signed that paper--real pulp paper--and thanked all the doctors and cabin moms. With every step, she had felt her thighs rub, and she shivered in revulsion.
The clatter of dishes carried through the walls along with Mom's wavering singing voice. Colleen grimaced. Mom said she'd had anorexia as a teenager, too, that she knew how it was. Bull crap. Mom didn't know--she couldn't know. She'd weighed about 180 as long as Colleen could remember, and never made any attempt to exercise or look better. Like she was happy or something.
180. Colleen weighed half that when she arrived at camp.