She?s sleeping in the other room right now. From where I?m sitting, I can see her silhouette rise and fall gently as the morning sun peeks through the blinds. Her name is Lucy. Normally, she has long, sandy-blond hair that flips easily when she throws her head back and laughs. Over the past few years, her hair has been colored an angry red, velvety brown, and even raven black. But right now, Lucy?s hair is light ? yellow ochre with stray streaks of gold everywhere ? just in time for the hot summer sun. The morning rays peering through her window illuminates her hair. She is beautiful.
We all adore Lucy. She spends time with all of us in the morning, right before she gets ready for class. Lucy gives each of us a sense of purpose. I mean, living in a cardboard box on some shelf in a random store just isn?t the way it?s meant to be for appliances like us. Without Lucy, we feel meaningless.
She?s stirring now. Stretching her arms above her head, Lucy reaches for the clock sitting on her nightstand. Clock and I are good friends ? we both share one common trait: our functions serve to tell the truth. Though noble and purposeful, always having to tell the truth is not an easy quality to have? Clock tells me about the number of times he has been scoured at, frowned at, sworn at ? just by the fact that he openly shares the truth on his face. I empathize with him. It?s not easy to always tell the truth.
Lucy is sitting up now. Although she slept soundly for at least 7 hours, she still looks exhausted. There are bags under her eyes ? hazel, Mirror says, always between a bottle green and chestnut brown. Toothbrush tells me that she got in late last night ? something about a party at a nearby frat house with her two friends, Liz and Nicole. She got in so late, Toothbrush says, that she didn?t even touch me. Suddenly, I feel myself get a little colder inside. Telling the truth today? will not be easy.
She is walking into the bathroom now; I can see her daintily painted toes. We all know that she keeps her toes painted because her nails are more brittle than ever. Clipper says he barely has any work to do because her nails are paper-thin. Lucy sets her hands on the sink and looks at herself in the mirror.
We all wonder what she sees when she looks into the mirror. Of course, Mirror himself swears by all the mirrors in the world that our Lucy is perhaps the most beautiful girl to have ever walked the earth ? her high cheekbones, lightly-set dimples, and cheery smile are sure to be the best, he says, not to mention her perfect 5?6? frame. But instead of smiling back at herself, Lucy furrows her brow, steps back, and reaches her fingers to her waist to pinch herself. She looks down at the tiny bulge of skin between her thumb and index finger and draws in a deep breath. Before I know it, she steps carefully on top of me, fists clenched, and lips pursed. The moment of truth came quicker than I could have helped.
She lets out a long breath before looking down at me.
114 pounds, I read. Five more pounds then yesterday, she thinks. I know she is thinking it. A surge of anxiety rises up in me? I?m sorry Lucy, I cannot help but to tell you the truth? but for what it?s worth, I think you are beautiful, the most beautiful girl in the world. Please don?t hurt yourself Lucy?
Lucy is angry with me and everyone else knows it. Everyone else also knows that I cannot lie. I cannot lie, Lucy, I live to tell the truth ? please don?t cry. Lucy is crying now, running her hands through her yellow ochre-stranded hair and crying. We all lie motionless, scared for her and feeling helpless.
Suddenly, Lucy stops crying. Her face is stony, void of emotion; a blank expression has replaced her look of distress. She steps off of me and walks swiftly into her bedroom. Bending down, Lucy reaches into her tiny dorm fridge and takes out a half-finished quart of Ben & Jerry?s ice cream, a leftover sub, and egg salad. With gusto, she begins to scoop huge spoons of the ice cream into her mouth while heaping in spoonfuls of the egg salad and taking bites from the sub. We are all fearful for her; she acts as though she has not eaten in weeks. Nearly choking between bites from her food, Lucy tosses the empty contents of her impromptu binge aside and runs into the bathroom again. She collapses at the toilet bowl and begins to retch.
For the next several seconds, we all cringe in pain at each heave she makes. Once, twice, three times, four times ? she vomits into the toilet, retching so violently that her hands shake in effort to pull her hair away from her face. From the sounds she is making, we think she is trying to purge all of the pizza she ate last night as well. Finally, she stops. There is sweat on her brow. She is gasping for air.
We are all quiet. We are all thinking. How did this happen? When did Lucy began to lose her way?
Slowly, Lucy gets up. She flushes the contents of her binge and purge away from the rest of the world. Her phone begins to ring in the next room. She moves into the other room and picks up her phone. Hello? she says.
Oh, hi Liz, she says. Lucy puts her hand up to her forehead and closes her eyes.
I?m fine, Lucy says. Yea. that was some party, wasn?t it?. Uh huh.. I don?t think so, he?s not really my type. No? I don?t have time to with classes anyways. Yea. Yea, I?ll be at work tonight. Really, Liz, I?m fine. I?m great. Okay. See you tonight. Love you too. Bye.
Lucy hung up the phone and begins to get dressed. I notice for the first time how fragile her shoulders look. She applies some makeup to her face and runs her fingers through her hair. Somehow, her hair seems more limp now than it did when she was sleeping. Grabbing the books off her desk, she takes one last look around the room and notices the conspicuous evidence of her earlier binge. She looks at Clock on her nightstand, scours and makes a face, and kicks the trash under her bed. I?ll deal with it later, she mutters. And, then, lingering for only a few more minutes, she is gone.
I wish I could tell Lucy how beautiful she really is.