Jessica takes a deep breath, filled with resolve. She blurts, "I'm breaking up with you."
Twenty sighs, raising a skeptical brow. "Again?"
Jessica tightens. "You need to go, and the sooner the better."
Twenty laughs. "You want to get rid of me? After all I do for you, you want me to just disappear?"
"What you do is make me miserable. I'll be so much happier without you."
Twenty stops laughing and grows serious. "You honestly think life's going to be better when I'm not around? Think you'll get a boyfriend, do fun things, make more friends, wear nicer clothes, maybe even get a new job?"
Jessica thinks about how much more confident she'll feel without the extra twenty pounds that weigh down her body and her life. She gives an emphatic nod.
Twenty leans in, voice lowering. "What happens when I'm gone and none of those good things happen? What if you're still miserable and you don't have me around to blame everything on? You won't be able to say, "He'd like me if I was just skinny." You'll have to face the possibility that it's not your looks people don't like, it's you."
"There's nothing wrong with me." Jessica asserts, but her voice falters. "You're the problem."
"You just don't get it, Jessica. I'm your best friend. I keep you safe and protected."
Twenty moves closer, holding her gaze. "If you think you're too fat to go out with a guy, you won't go out with anyone. And if you won't go out, your heart won't ever get broken. I keep you from taking risks and getting hurt."
Jessica feels her resolve slipping away. She shakes her head.
Twenty says, "I'll never leave you, Jessica."
"No," Jessica turns away from the mirror. She hurries to the kitchen, opens the freezer door and stares inside. Her eyes land on a carton of ice cream.
She hears Twenty's voice, speaking softly, comfortingly. "Go on, have some. You'll feel better. It's easy, isn't it? Why don't you? Why don't you? Go on. Go on."
Jessica stares into the freezer. She hesitates.
You could easily replace "Twenty" with "Ed" (as Jenni does in her book) or with bulimia, anorexia, binge eating, and so forth. The point is that whatever you are struggling with is usually there for a purpose, to protect you in some way. An eating disorder is a friend as well as an enemy.
In Daphne Du Maurier's book "Rebecca" (and in the movie) Mrs. Danvers urges the main character not toward an open fridge, but an open window, telling her it'll all be easier if she just takes a (literal) leap.
What do you think Jessica will do next? How can she talk back to Twenty? How can she comfort and support herself?
How can you do the same?
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