Seven months ago I was packed and ready to head back to college after winter break. I had been seeing B and W for about three weeks. My weight was up a little bit, but pretty close to as low as it has ever been. My flight was leaving early the next morning.
I was on my laptap in our basement when my dad came home from work around 9pm. Usually he pokes his head in the doorway, says hi, asks about my day, and heads upstairs. That night, he came into the room and sat next to me on the couch.
My dad and I are not very close. We butt heads less now than we did when I was in middle/high school, but we don't spend much time together and we don't talk much. It bothered me more when I was younger, but I've since gotten used to it. So it was uncharacteristic of him to initiate conversation like that. He started asking random questions about whether I was packed and had my boarding pass ready and all that.
Out of the blue, he said: "Kaylee, you have to take care of yourself. Mom and I aren't going to be there to take care of you."
His voice started shaking and his glasses were getting fogged up and then I realized he was crying.
I think that night was the first time it hit me how much the eating disorder was affecting my parents. I tended to think (well, I still do) that it was my private thing. Not an illness, nope, no way. Just my personal arsenal of rituals to maintain my sanity because how else would I avoid getting fat?
Seeing my dad cry - and for the record, I've NEVER seen him cry before - made a teeny tiny part of me consider that maybe I wasn't actually super disciplined and blessed with insane self-control. Maybe I didn't need to be left the hell alone because everything was under control, dammit. Maybe I was just sick.
I'd like to say I had an epiphany that night - saw the light and embraced food and health and my lady curves, but obviously not. Within two weeks, I was back home mad as hell and my relationship with my dad was worse than ever. But still, that one moment sticks with me.