I believe this was one of the first skins stories that I started back in 2011.
Trigger warning: eating disorder.
Sid, am I lovely? It's a question he hears every day without fail. If they go out, he hears it at least three or four times.
"Yes, Cassie," he would always reply with a sad smile. "You're lovelier than anyone else I know."
He means it every time but she never believes him. He doesn't understand how she can't see what he does. She avoids mirrors at all costs. He's taken them all down around their small New York City apartment aside from the one in the bathroom which he uses to get ready for work each morning- a crummy eight hour job at the local computer fix it shop. He realizes he sort of has a knock for that kind of stuff, and he doesn't completely hate it. He doesn't have to deal with the customers either, which is a plus in his eyes.
She's starting to eat less and less until finally she's using her old distraction techniques. At first he doesn't catch on, and then he starts to notice that her smiles seem fake and forced. Then finally one night he notices that her plate is still full.
"Cassie?" he asks her softly. "Are you feeling alright?"
"Lovely," she nods with her usual spacey smile. He can see through it though. He knows her better than that. It's just an act. A cover up. A mask to hide behind.
"Why aren't you eating then?"
She comes undone. Her smile crumbles and she starts to tear up. "Oh wow, Sid! You noticed."
He looks at her confused. As much as he loves her, he just can't seem to understand her sometimes. He can't wrap his head around the fact that the petite girl can't see the beauty he does. "Of course I did Cassie. Just tell me why you do it."
"So I can be lovely for you, Sid. I want you to think I'm lovely," she tells him as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
He takes a deep breath knowing that what he says next will either fix everything or it will put him in deep shit with the girl he loves more than anything in the world, and possibly put her health at even deeper risk. "I don't think you're lovely right now," he told her in his most serious tone, even going as far as putting his fork down and staring right in her eyes. "You're too skinny, Cass. I'm afraid that if I hug you too tight, you'll collapse or crumble in my arms. I'm worried about you. You need to eat. I think you're lovely when you eat." He pauses to take a bite before looking up at her with a grin. "Besides it makes your boobs bigger," he tells her with a laugh.
She giggles and takes a big bite of the pasta he made for them. He grins, all is right again… at least for now. He suspects they'll have this same conversation in a few months, just because they always do, but he'll be there then too. And for now, everything is perfect.
Maman note: As a mom, I have to say this. These Skin stories, especially the Cassie ones, were written at a time when I was suffering with my own eating disorder, one I was temporarily (and somewhat secretly) hospitalized for because I kept it to myself. If this is something you are struggling with, please, feel free to reach out to me. No one should ever have to deal with that on their own. Also, any glamorizing of an eat disorder is because it was written by an extremely sick teen, not a happy, healthy adult.
- Maman Abeille