The new-new bartender warmly greeted a bunch of her friends an hour ago — two women and one guy, and things seemed casual and friendly. Then the thin girl with the large breasts arrived. His attention shifted to her, and so did mine. Anorexic Boob-Job Girl, I dubbed her. I started composing an episode about her charms, but then I looked closer. Her upper arms are about the size of my wrists, and I have my mother’s wrists. What I started to write as a joke is in fact a horror, and while I admired her I was shoveling dirt on her grave.
She is anorexic boob-job girl. I’m looking at someone committing one of the most horrific slow suicides imaginable, and I haven’t the slightest idea what to do about it. It’s an American impulse, I suppose, thinking that there is a solution, and that I am the guy to apply it. I feel guilty, now, thinking “Dang! She’s hot!” when I first saw her, before I saw what wasn’t there.
I don’t know what to say to anyone reading this who is shooting for weight zero. Don’t? Stop? You’re beautiful now, just as you are, and no number on a scale will ever change that? There is nothing I can say that hasn’t been said before.
Except maybe don’t die. Don’t die. We need you on this side, sensitive and frightened, honest and hurt. In this big brutal world, we need you more than ever.
I need you. I need to believe that you exist. I need to hope that I can meet you someday, by chance, and you’ll never know that I was the guy who wrote this, and I’ll never know that this helped you, but we’ll bump someday, on the A train in New York or the tram in Prague, just by accident, a little embarrassing incident, something minor we’ll chuckle over for the rest of our time, and we will both discover happiness. Chances are it won’t be me you bump, but some other lonely soul. That doesn’t matter, but it won’t happen if you’re dead.
Words, words, words. Useless futile hopeless words. Sinuous vipers that twist themselves to the tune of the piper. In the end, they are nothing, but they are all I have. Words, and when a life is at stake I know just how useless words can be. There is nothing I can say, nothing I can write, that will stop the woman in front of me from killing herself. There’s nothing I can do to stop anyone from starving herself to death, except ask. Please, don’t. For me. I use the smoke as an excuse, but I can’t get away with crying in a crowded bar too often.