Jaclyn DellaTorre

Aspiring writer. Inspired by my own weird life.

31

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Crumpled Under The Rug



I hold my breath and as quietly as I possibly can, I slide the package of pop tarts into the waistband of my sweatpants. My father, who everyone calls Big Neil is working at his night job. My step-mother, Lynn is half asleep/ half drunk in her bed (at 7 pm on a Friday). I creep passed her open bedroom door, walking as slowly and carefully as possible so I don't wake her up. I know what happens if I do, she will force me to make her a cocktail and prolong my pop tart feast. Each step upstairs feels like an eternity. Then finally, in the safety of my room with my door closed, I sit on the floor and open the wrapper as stealthily as possible. I'm in frosted brown sugar cinnamon pop tart heaven. Stuffing the evidence into a place where no one will ever find it.
It's 1993, I'm a 4'8" tall 12 year old that looks like a 50 year old because I weigh easily 180 lbs, and my clothes are either hand me downs from my adult Aunts or were bought by myself at Bradley's with money I earned babysitting for my neighbors. My mom died two years earlier and my dad works very hard at a couple of different jobs to pay all of our bills. My step-mother gobbles down pills and lays in bed as she rings a bell and asks me or my 16 year old brother to make her frozen mudslides in the blender. My brother is a cool teenager who is either at wrestling practice or out with his friends most of the time. My life mostly consists of walking to my neighbors’ house, the LaValle family, to feel like I’m part of a normal family or hiding in my bedroom at my own house eating my feelings by wolfing down candy, pop tarts, ring dings, hostess apple pies and anything else I can shove down my 12 year old throat. I can't remember a time from the age of 12-19 where I wasn't swallowing my emotions with a heaping tablespoon of vanilla icing out of the container or an entire sleeve of Oreos dipped in peanut butter. My mornings on the other hand are a different story all together, consisting of my dad waking me up at 6 a.m. to weigh me because I'm on my "diet of the month". My poor dad who I know now meant well and thought he was helping me, saw me everyday only eating my ridiculously expensive, very small pre-packaged food but then sees the scale going up. I can still hear him saying "why the frig are you getting so fat Jackie?! You eat literally nothing! Maybe we should go to the doctor!" He didn't realize that I was eating the disgusting pre packaged freeze dried then rehydrated diet foods he had recently ordered for me but then also anything and everything I could sneak into my room undetected. I promise him I will try harder and for that moment I really mean it. He tells me "ok Jackie, I love you kid" then goes to work for the day. Why couldn't I have just become a whore or have started smoking pot like other preteens from dysfunctional homes?
Fast forward 11 years and I'm now living in my own apartment with one of my best friends Lauren for about a year when my dad calls to inform me that he's selling the house, the home I grew up in and that he and Lynn are moving to Ft. Myers, Florida as soon as possible. Since my binge eating days I have become a semi-functioning adult that has switched gears over the years from eating my feelings to drinking them and barely eating, like most 23 year olds in my life at the time. This isn't any healthier, I know, but it helped me not be as big and fat as I was when I was a 12 year old trying to eat myself into a sugar coma every night. I wasn't dealing with the house being sold very well and I will always feel terrible for Lauren who had to deal with my crying fits and over drinking that I did while I was going through this weird traumatic time. She handled it like a champ and drank right along with me. We had more parties, played more beer pong, watched more silly movies then anyone I knew just to try and get my mind off of being sad for a little while and for that I will always be grateful to her. My brother though was the only one that understood how sad I actually was because he was upset too and he knew I associated the house with my mom’s memory. Whether that was a healthy way to think or not was not my main concern at the time. One night, soon after my father broke the news that he was getting rid of the house I met up with Neil for dinner after work. We went to our Uncle Bobby's pub, The Half Point. It was a real life version of Cheers. Everyone literally knew everyone's name and it was our favorite place to go. While we are sitting at our table waiting for our dinners to come my cell phone rings, it's dad, and in the first syllable he says as I answer the phone I can tell he sounds insanely pissed. "Are you frigging kidding me Jackie?!" He's yelling, "There are enough wrappers under here to fill the goddamn Grand Canyon?!" He's screaming in his loudest "mad Dad" voice and tears are instantly running down my face as I am trying to stifle my laughing. I know EXACTLY what he's talking about and I feel a combination of shame and embarrassment mixed with the shear hilariousness of what I was hearing. I put the phone on speaker for my brother to hear the smack down my dad is giving me via phone. Neil, who I'm sure knew the secret I was keeping all of those years. Our rooms were right next to each other our entire childhood and no matter how hard I tried to hide the noise of the cellophane wrappers I was sneaking, most of them are really loud no matter how much practice you have opening them. He starts listening to dad yell at me as if I'm a child and starts laughing immediately and so hard that he's nearly dry-heaving. Big Neil is still hollering at top volume "All those goddamn diets I put you on? And you were eating everything in the house? Did you seriously think I was never going to pull up that area rug? There's at least 3000 wrappers under there!!!" Me and Neil are laughing so hard now that snot is running down my face and he is pounding his fist on the table uncontrollably, and people are staring at us in the restaurant. My dad is still hollering and saying "are you two assholes seriously laughing this hard? What the hell is wrong with you?" Then he hangs up annoyed that we are in hysterics.
Apparently me stuffing my fat girl evidence under my huge area rug wasn't as fool proof as my prepubescent brain thought it was. In the very back of my mind I must've thought there was a possibility this would happen one day. I'm sure I must've told myself "I'll clean it all up before anyone finds it" a million times but then just as quickly as my life went haywire after my mom passed away and my father got remarried, my life changed just as abruptly at the first sign of having a social life in high school so I just let myself forget about it. After all of those years of eating and hiding wrappers I dropped my habit and moved on to going to the movies, sneaking booze with my friends and trying the best I could to be cool. I still was eating as much as two adult men could have eaten but I wasn't spending time in my room hiding it anymore. I moved out years later without ever thinking twice about the rug and what was underneath it until the very moment my Dad called. I had just about completely blocked that gross collection of plastic wrappers out of my memory. In the span of that 5 minute phone call I feel terrible that my dad had to clean that mess up, embarrassed he found it, amazed it took so long and honestly I'm instantly starving thinking about all of those delicious feelings I ate to make that giant pile of garbage.

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