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Story of a Stranger
When things start to hit you hard all at once, you begin drifting further and further from your self. You become a stranger.
The last week of December, just after my 17th birthday, I started having an intense pain in my hip. I told my mother about it, she told me it was because I was overweight. She didn't even try taking me to a doctor or anything.

After that, I took a new approach to losing weight. I started eating less and less, and what little food I did eat, I'd puke it all up in the toilet as soon as I could. If people were particularly active, I'd take a shower and throw up in there so no one could hear me. I even added on to my workout routine. Previously I had a reasonable goal of 100 crunches a day. Now I was doing up to 500, chanting with each one, "Skinny, skinny, skinny..."

A couple weeks passed and the pain had only increased. My mom took me to Urgent Care. They told me I had a severe bladder infection and prescribed antibiotics. I started on them that day. Later that night however, the pain shot up the scale. It hurt so bad I was in tears on the floor in my room. I couldn’t even walk. My parents carried me out to the car and drove me to the nearest Emergency Room. After a three hour wait, the doctors finally called me in and looked at my hip. They told my parents I had a hernia. There was no trace of an infection anywhere. Aside from being overweight and the hernia, I was perfectly healthy.

A week after the trip to the Emergency Room I flew out to San Jose to visit my best friends, Rebi and Evan. The first thing Rebi said to me was, “Wow you look great! Did you lose weight?” That made my night. The rest of the week we spent hanging out around the city. Saturday we even took the bus to San Francisco.

The week I had gone up to San Jose was the week of Valentine’s Day. Rebi had school all that day, so I spent the entire day with Evan and his little brothers Ty and Nate. Ty was 11, Nate was nine. I woke up that morning to both the little boys standing by my bed holding cards they had made for me. Each of them asked me to be their Valentine. Of course I said yes. Ty had written a little poem in his card for me.
Roses are red, violets are blue.
You’re really pretty, and I love you.
I can’t come up with another line,
Dear Rhiannon, will you be my Valentine?

It was the most adorable thing I had ever seen. Nate had drawn a picture of me giving him a hug.

Evan took me out to the city with him and we spent the rest of the day together, just me and him. He spent the whole time telling me funny stories about what he’d done since I had seen him last. He bought me chocolates at a candy store nearby. At the end of the day we ended up snuggling on the couch. We stayed up talking until 2:00 in the morning.

The next day I had to go home. Rebi and Evan dropped me off at the airport. I started crying as I boarded the plane, and continued like this for the next hour until I had arrived back in my own hometown. In that one week that I had spent with my best friends, I had felt more loved than I had ever felt in my entire 17 years at home.

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