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New York City, one story at a time.

“It started when she was nine years old. The first thing I remember is the arguing about food. My parents would tell her to eat. She’d say she wasn’t hungry. There was weighing of the food. My father would lose his temper, but she still wouldn’t eat. Once he got so angry that he hit her. From the age of ten to thirteen she went to a hospital in Barcelona. Occasionally she’d come home to visit, but mostly I only heard from her through letters. Nobody explained to me what was going on. They only told me she was very sick. I didn’t even hear the word ‘anorexia’ until several years later. Things got even worse when she came home from the hospital. The illness was even more ingrained. She’s twenty-five now. There have been periods where she seems to be getting better, but it always gets worse again. It’s taken a toll on my parents. Both of them look like they’re in their seventies. My mom is on antidepressants. The therapists have told them that the disease has gone on for so long now—that it will probably be lifelong. Whenever I try to ask my sister about it, we always argue. She gets frustrated. She feels attacked. So I’ve stopped trying. It was only two months ago that she finally admitted having a problem. We were walking home from a family dinner, and she told me everything started when she was nine years old. She was meeting a group of friends at the mall. And a group of boys started making fun of her. She had a lot of freckles back then. And bright red hair. And maybe she was a little bit chubby. But just the smallest bit.”

(Madrid, Spain)
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