Relative Secrets

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Someone mentioned Poptarts earlier, and I started thinking about something that I've never written about: starvation. When we lived with our father for a while, when mom was hospitalized, we were mostly under the "care" of our stepmother. I'm not really sure where she learned about brain washing, since she really wasn't they type of woman who read much about anything other than illnesses, but she somehow knew that, in order to break someone down, you starve them, give them very little sleep, and work on their self-esteem almost constantly. We were always hungry. We had three meals a day, but they were sparse, and even when there were leftovers, we were not allowed bigger portions, or seconds. I remember throwing leftovers away, sneaking bites of it when she wasn't looking. Anyway, poptarts. When we finally got away from this woman, and back home, we all had eating problems. Both my sisters gained a lot of weight, and mom could not keep food in the house. We knew that she'd let us eat as much as we wanted, but, having been hungry for a solid 6 months, that feeling just wouldn't go away. There was something guilty about it too. It felt like we were cheating somehow, to get enough to eat, somehow sinful and not something we'd get by with for long. Sometimes, the stepmother would give us a poptart for breakfast. We'd get one, and that'd be it until lunch, at which time we'd get half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I remember how good the poptarts were. I remember using my fingers to pick up any crumb that dropped onto the the table. I remember savoring every bite, wishing I could have more, knowing that I wouldn't, and feeling almost desperate about it. It was a feeling like being trapped, or in hell. The suffering wasn't an obvious thing. It was deep inside, and ached like no physical pain ever could. After we were home, I was at the grocery store one time, and had a little extra money. I bought a box of poptarts and hid them under the seat of the car. Later, when noone was around, I went to the car and ate all of them. After I finished the box, I sat in the car and just wept. It felt like I'd just been in a fight; my heart was pounding, I was angry, and my stomach was in knots. I finally leaned out of the car and puked. I think it was strawberry.