Short Story #11

Content warning: Binge-eating disorder, self-deprecation

Please keep in mind that this is a piece of fiction, and is meant to portray a characters experience with a mental health disorder/learning disability.



Her heart dropped as soon as she got the notification. Your final grade has been posted. She always hated notification emails — they only added to the buildup. Why not just tell her what the grade was? With a sigh, she clicked the link, logged into her portal, and opened her grades.


The newest addition: 68.9%.


Her eyes immediately burned with tears. She’d thought she had a chance at pulling her grade up to a C, but clearly she’d been too stupid to manage that, because her grade was a 69.3% before the final exam went in. She’d studied so hard too, harder than anyone else, and she’d thought she had a real chance. Clearly, she was wrong. Clearly, she was too dumb to pass an introductory course. Clearly, she wasn’t smart enough to be at this school.


She pushed the computer back, her face hot. Before she knew what she was doing, she was standing, just trying to get away from her failure. She backed away and made a beeline for the kitchen, helping herself to the pantry. She pulled out the Oreos and ate, consoling herself. But one cookie wasn’t enough to make herself forget, and neither was five or ten or twenty, and then that was too sweet so she opened the chips and ate the whole bag, and then she was out so she moved on to the Cheez-Its. Her mind was still going fast, so she put on a show and ate while she watched that. She ran out of Cheez-Its and dug a box of crackers out from the back shelf, and after two episodes, she went back to the pantry for more but everything was gone.


She’d eaten it all. 


She swallowed, hard, immediately swept up in revulsion. She was disgusting. How could she do that to herself? How come she was never satisfied? Why did it taste so good but not good enough to forget her problems? Why couldn’t she stop?


She threw away the packaging from all her snacks and ran up to her room, trying not to cry. She was bloated and uncomfortable and couldn’t bear to look in the mirror. Instead, she went straight to bed, huddling in blankets, hiding from her grades and food and the rest of the world for as long as she could.

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