It nearly didn't happen. Millie and Rhianna spent all of Tuesday trying to convince me that Theo didn't really like me. I was devastated and broken, but mostly I was angry. How dare they tell me who I should or shouldn't date, telling me that I'm nothing to him, just another girl he can fuck, that he should be behaving in a way that they deem more appropriate, chasing me like a lovesick puppy. I was furious and my self-esteem was in shatters again. Sure, he was rubbish at replying to my messages and never gushed his feelings towards me, but I'd only really known the guy a few weeks! They sat me down and told me that taking him out on Friday would be a terrible mistake because he didn't like me and would only hurt me.
But I am a rebel. I rebel against anyone who tells me what to do, and my God, thank goodness that I do! I remembered the way we had talked for hours, I remembered the way we had laughed, I remembered he had made me feel something I hadn't felt for such a long time.
I ignored their words and went ahead with my surprise, took him to the Light Bar on St Martins Lane in Leicester Square and then a bright, glamorous hotel off Oxford Street.
And yes, yes dear readers, I was right, everything about it was perfect, perfect, perfect!
"Why do you like me?" he asked.
"Because you make me smile - and I like smiling."
"...You have a beautiful smile."
I touched his hand and looked at him intently to express my thanks. His eyes told me he was telling me the truth.
He carried on, " I don't know why you worry about your weight, your body is perfect, don't ever change. You look gorgeous tonight. You must know you do."
I melted inside. "Thank you... so do you."
I gave him a Christmas card with the room key and room number. "Happy Christmas".
"This is the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me - and the sexiest. Thank you, seriously, I don't deserve this."
I beamed. "Yes you do."
I made it clear that this surprise night out and hotel was a Christmas present, but he still made the gesture to take me to a restaurant for dinner during the night and then out to lunch the next morning. We sat down to lunch at 12 noon and stayed in the same seats for 7 hours straight. Its incredible to say, but the time just passed so fast and so wonderfully as we talked and talked, learning about each other.
Yes, we met after work at 6pm on Friday and left each other at 7pm on Saturday - over 24 hours together, and every moment just so wonderful.
He wanted to know what I had been doing since I graduated and what the big secret that I kept about it was.
I asked him what his inclin was. He hesitated. Somehow I knew that he had worked it out.
"Go on, tell me what you think it might be," I demanded.
He shook his head, clearly troubled. I kept pushing him, it was going to be better if he worked it out than if I told him cold.
After more hesitation, he finally chose his words, "...Something to do with an eating disorder..."
"Why do you say that?"
"Because it's something you've spoken about a fair amount."
I took a deep breath and nodded slowly. I trusted him now, I had let him in, he knew me and he cared about me. So I nodded and told him about my eating disorder - I explained where I had been since I graduated, why I had left London, how long I was in treatment. He took it so well, never saying a word to interrupt me, just remaining so sincere and kind. He let me in too - he let me see the softer side of him, the gentle sensitiveness that he kept hidden to the rest of the world.
I felt like even though he knew nothing about eating disorders, he understood, he was different. I saw the way he looked at me had changed. I wasn't just some pretty girl to him. I wasn't even just some pretty, intelligent girl or just some pretty, intelligent and fun girl. He did something that Alex had never been able to do - he looked at me and saw all my scars, my bruises, my battle wounds - and he saw that they had made me beautiful inside.
I always said about Alex that I was beautiful in ways he could never understand until he experienced pain - and it was true - what makes me so beautiful and special is the side of me that I can express here, my head full of beauty, my heart full of love, my body full of scars. Alex had never felt my beauty. He was cold, scientific and unemotional. Theo is not like that. Intelligent, masculine, practical, yes, all those things that Alex was, and yet still capable of looking at me in a way I'd never seen anyone look at me before. He looked at me like I was beautiful - inside.
Of course I didn't tell him that I was still bulimic now. He is never going to know about that.
I cheerfully told him I was better now as I stuffed my face with fish and chips and helped myself to his chips too.
"Look at what I eat, obviously I'm ok now! I never want to go back to feeling like I did when I was at my worst, ever."
I should feel bad for lying to his face. But I don't. I will not let my eating disorder ruin what I have with Theo. I will lose him if he knows, just as I lost Alex, and lost every other guy I'd ever liked. People can't handle it.
After an incredible night out, incredible sex, incredible intimacy, it was wonderful to spend those seven hours with him where we just chatted and laughed and smiled.
Millie and Rhianna had been calling me all day and I didn't answer them. When I finally picked up my phone, Rhianna shouted out me and told me I was out of order for ignoring them when I was Theo. I put the phone down and burst into tears, turning away from him so he couldn't see my face.
"I'm sorry," I said "I have to go."
They were making me go out to Public in Chelsea with Millie's boyfriend and his friends. After everything we had talked about - my illness, my Mum, my circumstances, I only finally burst into tears when Rhianna spoke to me like I was a piece of shit over the phone in front of him.
He pulled me close at the tube station as we said goodbye and kissed me tenderly. He thanked me again, and I smiled, "You're so welcome, I'm glad you had a good time."
I was so angry and hurt and upset by the way Rhianna had spoken to me on the phone. I went home, stuffed my face, threw up, put on a little tea dress and flats and went to meet them. As I walked over Millie looked at me in poorly disguised horror. Everyone else was dressed up to the overdone maximum. I shrugged, sure I felt like crap but I was making a point. I wasn't here to attract a bunch of random men I didn't give a fuck about. I wasn't going to make her happy by getting with someone she deemed more appropriate.
"I'm bring Jimmy's single friends for you to meet, 'Real men'," she had said.
Real fucking men? I wasn't attracted to a single one, there wasn't one under the age of 29. Who did she think she was trying to tell me what was good or bad about a guy. She had treated Theo so unfairly considering she didn't even know him at all and made both me and him feel like shit. I made friends with 'the mean girls', what did I expect. Rhianna spent all of today telling me how hot the guy she got with was and how skinny everyone kept saying she was. Even Millie's boyfriend was lusting after her 'body of a 6 year old'.
I went to my therapist yesterday for my last 'follow up' session since leaving treatment in June. And as a result I am now going back into treatment again. Sad isn't it. I couldn't get better, I still treat my body like shit, I still have no control over my bulimia, I still want to be thin more than anything else. I will find out later this week if I have to go to the bottom of the waiting list again or if I can start straight away.
It is our work Christmas Party on Friday, and that date - Friday 16th December - is ruling my life. I am petrified and sick inside at the idea of looking fat and ugly especially standing next to my two ultra-gorgeous, ultra-stick-thin friends. I will be the ugly, fat brunette one.
I ended my friendship with Rob in the office because he was bad for my recovery and self-esteem. I have to put myself first again, I have to stay away from people that make me feel like shit about myself. Fighting to block out my own voice is hard enough.
"What do you want from me Ophelia?"
"You make me smile. I want to keep smiling."
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9 months ago