I saw my older sister Maggie throw up the spaghetti and meatballs she’d eaten for dinner in the toilet upstairs. I opened the door and just stood there in the bathroom doorway as she casually flushed three times until the stains and stenches were nearly gone. I watched as she splashed her face with water and brushed her teeth vigorously, spitting out frothy clumps of toothpaste as she stared into the sink. She didn’t look anxious or sad or calm or anything, just cold. She looked really cold. I wanted to get her a sweater.
I didn’t say anything the next evening at dinner, just sat and watched as my sister used the sharp silver knife to forcefully cut her slab of chicken into minuscule pieces. There must have been at least twenty morsels on her plate. I watched as she slowly lifted her fork to chew, her mouth moving mechanically. Sometimes she would raise her napkin to her mouth and pretend to wipe it.
I followed her into the bathroom, and she didn’t tell me to stop. I watched as she grabbed her toothbrush and stuck it down her throat, silently gagged and threw up right into the toilet bowl. I saw it. She pulled out her ponytail and washed her face and scrubbed her hands and brushed her teeth and didn’t look at me once.
“Please don’t tell anyone,” she said.
I never did.