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.But why now? Why do I lie awake nights, my stomach churning, my thoughts grinding around and around the same obsessive track? I should be feeling better, now that we’re seeing more and more good days.I catch myself thinking this—I should feel better!—and hear the words I’ve repeated to Kitty many times over the last year: There are no shoulds.There’s only what is.It astonishes me, as it always does, that thinking a thing does not make it true, that feelings are, by comparison, so slow, so awkward, so necessarily painful.Now that Kitty’s getting better, my thoughts are reaching forward, toward the possibility of real recovery, real life.But my feelings are still stranded in last year’s quicksand of terror and anxiety.It makes a kind of evolutionary sense.When you’re in the midst of crisis, the past and the future fall away, allowing you to focus only on the task before you: this meal, this evening, this doctor’s visit.Adrenaline carries you from moment to moment, deferring the shock, keeping you moving, changing, doing.But as soon as the emergency abates, you have time to sit down and think, to worry and contemplate and obsess.To feel the moment of impact—whether it’s cancer or anorexia, an accident or a crime—again and again, the slow waves of pain beating against the shore of your self.There are more good days, but still plenty of bad ones.Best of all, we see glimmers of the old Kitty.In late February, she goes on what’s more or less her first date, to the freshman formal at school.The boy is someone she met through a friend—not a serious boyfriend, but not Martin or Garth, either.I’d worried that shopping for the dress would be traumatic, as Kitty no longer fits into a size 00.Her body has changed; she’s still thin, but she’s got a shape now.On our shopping trip, she tries on a strapless dress that brings out the green flecks in her hazel eyes.“You look great!” I say, and instantly wish I’d kept my mouth shut.Kitty’s illness has sensitized me to how many comments we all make about other people’s appearance.In Kitty’s case, even the most well-intentioned compliment can trigger an anorexic reaction.Today, though, my slip goes unnoticed.Kitty, admiring herself in the dressing-room mirror, says only, “I think so too.”On the night of the dance, the boy slips a corsage onto her wrist, and though Kitty rolls her eyes and pretends to be annoyed, she poses for Jamie’s photo, her eyes shining, her smile full and real and dazzling.After they leave to walk up to the high school, Jamie and I look at each other in amazement: Kitty has had a Normal Adolescent Experience, and so have we, for the first time in months.Maybe ever, actually.Anorexia has robbed both her and us of the beginning of her adolescence.And while we can never get that time back, we can move forward.Kitty is growing up.We celebrate Kitty’s fifteenth birthday a day early, since Jamie will be out of town on the day itself.She picks the restaurant—Japanese—and we order takeout, so she can eat at home, followed by carrot cake from her favorite bakery.There’s plenty of cake left over, and my plan is to serve her another piece for a snack the next day.But at breakfast that morning she says, “I have a favor to ask.”“Anything, birthday girl,” I say.“Can I please not eat cake on my birthday?”She asks so plaintively that I say of course.But this “gift” makes me feel sad.I remember going to the bakery with Kitty when she was five, spending half an hour leafing through a catalog of decorations while she tried to decide whether she wanted a gymnast or a horse decorating her cake, how many icing flowers would fit on top and what colors they should be.I wonder if she’ll ever look forward to a piece of cake again.A few weeks later, in early March, Kitty goes to Boston for a weekend with her Israeli dance troupe.Two months ago, a trip like this would have been unthinkable, because we wouldn’t be there to watch each bite she put into her mouth.We talk ahead of time about how it will feel for her to eat on the trip and acknowledge that she probably won’t eat quite as much as usual.We pack her lots of snacks and tell her we want to know how things go, whatever happens.Despite my nervousness about the trip I feel more relaxed, that first night, than I’ve felt in months.So relaxed that Jamie and I fall asleep at ten and don’t hear the phone ring—Kitty calling to say goodnight.The next morning she calls at eight.“The eating isn’t going so well,” she says tearfully.“I’m not having any fun.” I talk to her for a while, trying to soothe her with my voice the way you’d gentle a spooked horse.We hang up and I call the group leader, who tells me not to worry; she sat next to Kitty this morning and watched her eat a nice bowl of fruit for breakfast.Now I’m panicking.A bowl of fruit contains maybe a fifth of Kitty’s usual breakfast calories.I remind myself that she’s doing well, that she wanted to go on this trip, that it’s only two days out of the hundreds we’ve been refeeding her [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]