I couldn't help but feel jealous at the other people, who looked gorgeous, even flawless. Boys never wanted me as their girlfriend. They'd never pick me up, spin me around, or kiss me. It was worse when you had to go to school dances: everyone on the wood paneled floor, slow dancing. Whereas I'd just stand and drink. My eating habits changed, just so I wouldn't feel fat. I just wanted to be perfect. Just like everyone else. I had decided. I shouldn't eat. And I did just that, day after day. Some days merely picking at food, never finishing the meal: only when I was obliged to of course. In the end, it always made me feel sick, I could barely look at myself, nor the cleared plate. That was until I met her.
She was waiting in line for the premiere of Sherlock, for the long awaited season 3, just as I was. I was in a dark place, trapped within my mind, all I could do was fixate upon the grey marbled floor. Occasionally glancing about me, becoming aware of my surroundings. My gaze rose to face the bottom of the escalator. My heart pounded in my chest, afraid I might trip in front of all these people. I clutched my ticket as I approached the ever moving steps. Shakily forcing my legs to move, hoping I wasn't holding up the line. I focused my eyes in front of me, and there she was. I hadn't even noticed I was nearing the end of the escalator when she jumped off, speeding to where my nightmares were dwelling. Isle after isle of food and treats. She expertly grabbed tubs of popcorn; handfuls of sweets; ice cream tubs. The list was endless. By the time she had gotten around to paying her arms were brimming with goods.
I glared as she payed for every item with a singular fifty pound note. I wondered how she could possibly obtain such a glorious figure, while consuming every fat filled substance she'd filled her arms with. Her waist was dainty, even curvy. Smoothing in, and then out at her hips. Her thighs were perfect, much smaller than mine, and don't even get me started on her calves. It appeared there wasn't an inch of fat on her body. I couldn't help myself, I had to ask. "Excuse me, I hope you don't take offence to this, but how could you eat all of that and still be, well, like that?" The short, thin girl stared at me, puzzled she glanced around. Figuring out who I was speaking to. She shifted closer to me, waiting for more popcorn. I observed her, admiring her figure. I'd die to look like her.
"It's just genetics. I can't gain any weight."
Holding her now complete set of junk food, it was clear she wasn't eager to talk.
"I'm s-s-sorry. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable." I could feel myself fumbling over my words. My face became hot.
"No, I'm sorry. I've never really been asked that before. Come to think of it, I do have a lot of food, don't I? Would you like to share some with me? I don't mind"
I shook my head in small motions. I couldn't possibly eat with strangers surrounding me.
"No, but thank you for the offer. You see, I don't really eat."
Her head tilted slightly, "Ah, I see now. Don't worry about it, I understand. I'm Bambi by the way, what seat are you sitting in?"
I glanced at my ticket, refreshing my memory, " My name's Ellie, and I'm in G3. What about you?"
"Looks like today is my lucky day, I get to sit next to a beautiful girl."
I blushed a little as we walked into the screening together.
Everything was great, but all I could hear was Bambi. Quietly opening packets and tubs, secretly eating her bounty. Both of us were in near hysterics. Once the show had ended, we had decided to go to a park together, to get to know each other. We sat on those swings for hours, talking about ourselves.
"So, why did you ask me about my eating habits? My body is disgusting after all."
I examined her. " You have the body I've always dreamed of having."
She looked at me. Examining me just as I had her.
"When have you ever thought your body wasn't perfect? I'd love have that figure."
There was a long pause. My heart began to race. Had I said something I shouldn't have?
"E-ellie, can I ask you something?"
She nodded as she spoke, "Sure."
She looked as anxious as I felt. "W-when were you diagnosed with a, you know, eating disorder?"
Her eyes diverted from my direction. Maybe I had crossed a line, asking such an invasive question. She took a long, deep breath.
"I was thirteen. They said I have anorexia. They've tried helping me so many times, but nothing they did seemed to work. So I was admitted to a clinic until I was better. I did everything I could to get out of that fresh hell. When it came to weighing me, I'd hide weights in my pockets, in my hair, and I'd tank on water. If I didn't do that, let's just say I wouldn't be here right now. What about you?"
I didn't know how to respond. How to even process this new information. So I answered her just as she had answered me. "I was the same age as you were when I was diagnosed with bulimia. I was hospitalized: force fed through a tube until I was healthy enough to be transferred to a clinic, which is far away from here. I just wanted to feel beautiful, instead of feeling so hideous all the time. You can try to convince me otherwise all you want, no professional has ever succeeded."
Silence fell upon us once again. Ellie sparked the conversation this time, "Have you ever considered the body swapping surgery they've developed? I have. I've considered liposuction too. I guess it's my only option left since no one wanted to swap bodies with me. I know it's pretty expensive, but I can only imagine how expensive the surgery is."
I concentrated on her for a moment. Positioning my posture. "I have considered it, once. With a friend I admired. I mean, I practically wanted to be her. But when I asked her about it, she said she didn't agree with any surgery that wasn't needed. She said, I may think my body is fat, but I'd be taking away someone's hospital bed. She just didn't understand that our mental health is just as important than our physical health. They're both vital for living."
Ellie embraced me. Agreeing with my little speech. We exchanged numbers and added each other on Facebook. After that, we spoke daily. We didn't stop until one of us fell asleep. Our parents had pulled us out of college: we're both too unstable to attend as of yet. It was all going so well, until something changed in me. I wasn't answering Ellie's messages anymore. Before I knew it, it was twelve am and I was ringing what was hopefully Ellie's doorbell. She answered the door. I must have looked an absolute state. My clothes were a complete mess, torn in places, and slightly covered in dirt. "I had to come and see you" I breathed, covering my chest with my hand. To match my clothes, my face was streaked with dried tears, with some added dirt.
"Bambi, how the hell did you find me? I didn't give you my address, also, why are you covered in dirt?" I lowered myself to the floor, still catching my breath. "I-I looked everywhere for you. I knocked on every door, asking for you. Then it hit me: you have your house phone on Facebook. So I used the phone book to find you. Oh, the dirt is from when I was bored and rolled around a little. But anyway, here I am!" Ellie huffed a little, "So it took you until now to come and find me? It's 12am Bambi."
I nodded rather enthusiastically now. " Yes, I left around 9."
She edged closer to me, examining my face. "What exactly did you need me for? I'm guessing it was pretty important?"
Tears welled in my eyes. As one escaped from me, I inhaled lightly and spoke, "I've had enough of living like this. I just can't do it anymore. I want to be beautiful, just like everyone else. I want to be like the people who have someone to hold at night, someone that will love me for me. Fat girls like me, we're just shamed by the beautiful. Left to be unloved."
There was a long pause before Ellie made the decision to sit next to me. She draped her arms around me, and held me close, "To me, you are beautiful Bambi. I feel the same way about myself: I want to be beautiful, and perfect. I want to be held close by someone who loves me, for exactly who I am."
Ellie rose beside me, clenching my hand. "Get up. Come on, you need to shower Bambi, and change your clothes too." She lifted me gently until I was on my feet once again, locking her arm around my waist for security. Together, we walked upstairs to the bathroom. Ellie helped me undress my inactive body. Once we worked my shirt off, I felt her warm fingertips trace my spine. Shuddering under her touch, I breathed deeper. Keeping myself alert. Feeling my lungs filling with oxygen, my chest and rib cage expanding. I knew my bones protruded, I could only imagine what she thought of me now. Lowering me into the bath, she helped me wash the places my arms were too exhausted to reach. I turned to face her, "Ellie, can I ask you something?" My gaze hardened. Determined to keep eye contact. She nodded sweetly. "Can we please swap bodies? I know, it's a huge ask. I just feel we shouldn't be in the bodies we're in."
My lips parted slightly, letting out a small sigh. Thoughts raced through my head. Ellie turned to face me, clutching my shoulders, "It would cost a hell of a lot. Maybe we could earn the money?"
I nodded frantically, "Yes! We could get part-time jobs and save the money."
Ellie's gaze dropped for a moment as she exhaled. "Alright, are you sure you want this? It's permanent. Once the procedure is done, we can never go back."
Her head rose, meeting my hard stare.
"Let me tell you something Ellie. I've fought for everything I've wanted. As a child I fought tooth and claw for a book. I searched everywhere for that book, until it found its way into my possession. That was a book. I'll do anything to swap bodies with you. Hell, I'll even eat if I have to."
I held eye contact. It felt like an eternity had passed before Ellie nodded in agreement.
"Come on, we should get some sleep."
I agreed. My limbs couldn't cope with anymore movement. Ellie propped me up against her side, tugging my waist as we walked to her room. She let me sleep in her bed: I guess it was too risky to have me sleep on the sofa. In case her parents saw me there. She reassured me her parents don't go into her room, unless she's awake. Once Ellie had gotten into her bed, safely looking at her phone, I swapped the fluffy white towel for one of Ellie's over-sized night shirts. I proceeded to remove the second towel, which I had been wearing as some kind of turban. I dropped it above the first towel before spinning on my heels to face the bed. With physical exhaustion beginning to set in, I walked as steadily as I could, approaching the bed. Ellie placed her phone beside her pillow, and continued to stare at me as I whipped back the corner of the bed sheets. Climbing into bed, her bed, I pulled the covers over my shoulders. Almost instantly, I closed my burning eyes. The darkness welcomed me as I drifted away.
As I awoke, I opened my eyes to Bambi: already awake and using my laptop. Squinting at the screen, it appeared she was searching for jobs, with more than enough tabs open. Something inside me, deep in the pit of my stomach, twinged with annoyance. "Bambi, what are you doing?" I didn't even see her head turn to face me. "Oh, you're awake. I've been looking for jobs. Sorry I didn't ask before using it, I wanted to make a quick start. I've applied for you too." Talk about being over-eager. It took me a moment to focus, "Oh, so you found my CV did you?" I shut my eyes for a moment. Calming my bubbling rage. "I guess it's OK, as long as we've applied. What did you choose for me then?" Her head spun back to the computer, giving herself a quick reminder, "So, I applied you for hairdressing, retail work at ASDA, a waitress at some uptight restaurant, and also a fishmonger. That's OK, right?" I nodded slightly in agreement. I counted the days. Awaiting their responses. Attending interviews, that always arrived at the same conclusion. "We regret to inform you our company cannot hire you. Unfortunately you don't possess the substantial qualifications necessary to perform the job. Sadly, with your record of clinical admissions in mind, I'm afraid we simply cannot hire you." I guess I can see their point, even though they can't see my stage of recovery. They didn't even acknowledge it. Perhaps a therapist's note would have helped: but of course I had no time to get one, with Bambi longing for the surgery. After days of mindlessly lingering on the subject, I met up with Bambi. Once again, at the park: the first place we went to after we met.
“So.. How did your interviews and things go?” I asked Bambi calmly, whilst on the swing looking at my hands and the dirty ground. “Shit. Just shit. Oh sorry we can’t employ you because you don’t have enough stability mentally. Fuck me, what a load of bullshit. If I wanted to hear that I would’ve gone to college.” I nodded slightly with a straight kind of smile, “Yeah I got that too, along with things like, your qualifications are too low. You need higher ones to be able to apply.” Bambi huffed violently, she got up and turned towards me. “Ellie, I need some bloody alcohol. I’m tired of being told that I can’t do things, my mum and dad said I can’t get drunk; even when the legal age of drinking changed. But screw it, I’m getting drunk, then tomorrow I’ll apply for more jobs and if they say no, I’ll get rude. Come on, this way.” I tried to reason with Bambi, this wasn’t a sensible idea. She had obviously had forgotten about taking her medication. Or she just thought fuck it. Either way, I wanted her to rethink her actions.
We got into the bar and sat on the barstools. People looked at us weirdly, like we were an exhibition. A bartender came over and asked for what we’d like to drink, “Vodka.” He looked at both us, I pulled on Bambi’s arm to get her attention. He nodded and got her a shot of vodka. “Bambi--” I said to her as I pulled her arm.
“What Ellie? I’m just trying to get a fucking drink.” She forcefully tugged her arm back from my hand. Forcing me to let go.
“You haven’t taken your medication.Take it then drink if you want too.”
She huffed and rolled her eyes, “Fine.”
She rummaged through her handbag and found her medication and purse to pay for the drink. “Thats a fiver please.” The bartender said as he leaned on the bar. Bambi got her medication out and left it on the counter, he examined what the pill bottle said. The pill bottle said take one each two hours, as he took the fiver he was handed he looked at both Bambi and Ellie. He knew that they were both uncomfortable with their own bodies not just by the way they looked, how they acted and sat with the feeling of being watched, but because of the appearance of them two, Bambi’s cheeks were bony, but had a bump in them, this suggested that her saliva glands in her face were inflamed. She also had a very slim body, so slim it looked like if you held her hard enough her bones would snap, shatter and splinter. Ellie had a little more weight on her but it was only slight, she was also bony and fragile looking. However, her saliva glands weren’t inflamed they didn’t seem to exist.
He walked back over to the other customers served them and they left or walked away to another seating region. “How’re you feeling now Bambi?” She nodded, “I’m okay. Sorry for forcing you here… But I just needed a drink, I can handle at least one, right?” I nodded agreeingly she drank the drink and pulled a funny expression, “Ugh. Okay no, thats vile. Ugh… Aha.” I laughed with Bambi as she shook her head as if to say, that wasn’t a clever idea. The bartender came back and looked at both of the two girls, “No. I think that’ll do with the vodka aha not the most nicest of drinks.” He smirked and then said, “Oh I didn’t come here to serve you… I came here to say. Well uh, theres a doctor upstairs he’s specialised in what you’re looking for.” Both of us stopped laughing and looked at him with focused eyes, “What do you mean… What we’re looking for?” Bambi asked seriously, he didn’t know how to say it so looked down at the ground, inhaled and said, “Body swapping.” Both Bambi and Ellie looked surprised on how he knew that is what they both wanted. “Well we would go see him, if we had any money or a job.” I said as I leaned on the counter. “He doesn’t want money he wants to be able to help. He’s a person that will do it for free only if you guys can have a convincing story to do the operation. You’d understand it more if you go talk to him. He’s upstairs on the first right knock on the door and say Tobias sent you, he’ll understand what you want.” Both me and Bambi looked at eachother. We grabbed everything and went upstairs we knew what we wanted and if this is true, that we can swap bodies. Bambi clenched her fist and held at a ninety degree angle towards the door, she hesitated. “Ellie.. Are you sure we can do this? Is this what you truly want?” I nodded, I really did want to look as perfect as Bambi. Bambi inhaled and knocked on the door. “Who is it?” An elderly voice called out, “Who is it? What do you want?” I looked one last time at Bambi then back at the door, “Tobias sent us.” I cried out, Bambi couldn’t say those words, she seemed scared. I didn’t truly understand why she was scared as this is what we’ve dreamed of. This is everything that we could ever want, of course I was scared but I couldn’t wait to get it all over and done with.
The elderly man opened the door and looked at both of us, Bambi’s eyes widened with fear. He made a gesture with his arm and directed us to two armchairs. “Sit.” He said calmly, “So Tobias sent you did he? How very thoughtful of him. Before we start to even talk about why you want this surgery so badly let me go over a few rules. If you’re here because you want to look a celebrity, please leave. This isn’t want this surgery is for. The surgery is to make young woman like you two, happy not something so people can say things like Beyonce… You look just like her! Why look like a celebrity when you can be happy? Another thing, all changes are permanent. They way this is done is by extracting vocal cords, spinal cords, and other things back together using a fiber optic wire that acts like a spinal cord. Vocal cords can be put together easily and won’t need a fiber optic cord. You’re head will be attached to the others body and should be… Well, its a fifty fifty chance, but it should work. Yes your voices will be the same, or should be. So please don’t come back crying because something isn’t right. I can’t change it but I can alter it to something different in the surgery that you two may proceed. Is that understood?” Both me and Bambi nodded, “Yeah. We understand.” Bambi said. He sat down at his armchair, “Good. Now explain to me why you feel you need this surgery. Oh another thing, if I find something selfish, I will stop you and ask you to leave. However, if Tobias really thinks you’re meant to be here then I will at least listen to you two. Please start with your life story and how you think this will benefit you.”
The doctor, listened to both of us. Sometimes he teared up and wiped his eyes with some tissue he was one of the first to listen to us and actually seem like he understood what we wanted, what we needed. When we were done, he sighed deeply and then got the operation beds ready. He used a clean sheet not a dirty one, he cleaned each scalpel, knife, along with other instruments he may need. When everything was cleaned he made us get changed and for us to put on a type of medical gown. When we were ready we were told to lay down on the beds, he got the masks that’ll put us into a coma. He attempted to put them around our mouths Bambi stopped him and then looked at me and put her hand out, she was nervous as anything. I held her hand to reassure her it was going to be okay. She then allowed him to put the mask on both of us. One, two, three, four… I counted in my head, by the time I got to four I was asleep. The doctor the surgery, cutting deep into our necks. A straight incision into the neck, the skin ripped open like a fish being cut deep into its side. The spinal cords were cut and given a new fiber optic cords, he prayed that this didn’t go badly; causing a paralysis for both of us. He then attached the cord onto the cut spinal cord, and attached the cords to where they were meant to be. After the operation took place, we woke up three hours later.
“Okay can you hear me? Ladies? Respond with a yes and a nod please.” Both of us nodded “Yes.” We said at the same time. We looked at each other, we were both still holding hands, I giggled a little and smiled, I faced the doctor, “Get up slowly, don’t rush it.” The doctor said demandingly, you could tell he was a bit anxious. I got up slowly and swung my legs back and forth I then got down from the bed and tested my arms and moved them around, then my fingers. Bambi did the same, she got up and stood tested her legs and arms, then her fingers. She smiled and ran over to me to hug me, “Hey! I said take it slowly… Well. The operation went perfectly, are you two happy with your new bodies? Look in the mirror if you want too.” We both looked at our new bodies, for once in our lives we didn’t feel ugly, we felt beautiful, we felt like we could be ourselves. We could go outside and not be shamed by the beautiful, have boys pick us up and spin us around, hold us in our arms till we fall asleep, kiss our foreheads in the dark night. For once, we felt perfection.
Later on we returned back to our homes, me and Bambi again couldn’t stop messaging each other we were just too happy, all of our worries and burdens had just gone… Or so we thought. Bambi, as soon as she got home, decided to text a guy who she was into but didn’t want to see. He kept moaning about her weight and wanted her to lose weight so she was more “beautiful” she asked to meet him outside a small cafe. She ordered a coffee to go and then waited at an outside table. He came over, he was tall, had good looks that all girls pretty much drooled over, blue sky colour eyes, dreamy brown hair, spiked up with hair gel and hairspray. He was wearing a plaid shirt that was ripped at the arm cuffs, showing off his muscular arms as he breathed in and out you could see his six pack. He had demin shorts on that had holes in the front and back, girls whispered about him as he was walking by, he smirked at the thought of other girls talking about him. He saw me and sat down “Hey. So… You’ve finally come out to see me. What changed your mind? Was it the dick picture I sent you last night? You can have it… In your mouth if you want.” Bambi almost choked her coffee “Yeah thats what you’ll be doing later with my dick in your mouth, choking on it”
Bambi put her drink down, “Uh as flattering as the dick picture was… Interesting. However, I wanted to meet with you because I just wanted to see you.”
He blushed a little, “Oh so you don’t see me romantically?” He obviously didn’t want others seeing him being friendzoned.
“No I just wanted to know you better. Go walking about and things, talk about a few things.”
He tilted his head slightly, “So you lost weight when I asked you too?” Bambi nodded, and stood up “Look! I now have the body that you wanted me to have right?” He turned towards her, examined her like a piece of meat, “Um… What exactly am I meant to be looking for?” She looked at him with a glare and looked down at herself, “Josh! Look at me! My body is different! Its a new me. Why can’t you just accept that this is the way I am you fucker.” He smirked at her, “Sorry that I don’t date girls who are fat. Babe, just accept that your fat and lose weight.”
She started to grab her things and leave “Wait! Where are you going? I thought I was going to get a blowjob! Alright… Just a handjob then?!” Bambi turned around and slapped him hard around his “gorgeous” face, “Fuck you Josh. If you can’t accept that I’m like this, and that I changed for you go fuck yourself. The only handjob you’ll be getting is from yourself. Besides no one wants a 3 inch penis in them, it’ll just feel like an ant crawled through them.” She walked off and let the humiliated little boy to himself. Bambi went off to a nearby area that she could be alone in she examined herself and looked at her hands, she shook with fear and panic that she was no longer beautiful.
I decided to go see my parents and let them see that I was happier, I went downstairs and joined them watching T.V, “Hey mum, how’re you?” She looked up at me as I’ve never really asked that question. I perched on the arm of the seat, “I’m fine, how many meds have you taken today? You seem a lot more upbeat.”
I laughed a little, “Oh mum you’re so funny. Theres no need to be upset when you can be happy! I finally feel beautiful, I mean look at me! I’m beautiful.”
My mum looked me at a sensible distance, “You are very beautiful dear. You always were beautiful, I’m glad you can see this now.”
I huffed a little, “Mum I wasn’t beautiful then! I was horrible and fat. Now that I’ve altered my body I’m perfect. I can be who I’ve always wanted to be…” My mum looked at me confused, “Honey… You haven’t altered anything about yourself, you look fine to me but your body hasn’t changed at all. Sit down dear, have a cuddle.” I looked at my mum with disgust, “How dare you! I changed myself to be beautiful and here you are, shaming me. Just like everyone else you monster! Monster!” My mum called out my name as I stormed upstairs, I texted Bambi saying, “I hate this, I wish I could fucking die. Everyone hates me still. Why can’t I just be beautiful?” I cried into my pillow and didn’t talk to anyone else in my family.
My parents had left me alone and I continued to cry. My eyes were becoming more sore, crusty and sorta dusty. Voices in my head were speaking to eachother, sitting on the fence to what I should do now. They then became louder and started shouting at eachother, the voices I listened to for guidance are now demons. As they kept shouting and lingering each word in my head I felt more and more insane each minute, I hated every second I was still alive, I just wanted to be perfect like everyone else, not fat, perfection for everyone to see. I then heard a knock on the door, I tried to ignore it till I heard that it was Bambi, “Ellie its me. Open up… Please I need you.” Bambi’s voice was like an angel to me, she brung me rejoice.She was all I had left now. I went to the door and let Bambi in, she was crying as well. “I can’t do this either. Lets die… Together. I can’t live like this, if no one can see how beautiful I feel… Felt. Then why should I do this? Please, lets do this together. Look, I have charcoal here and we can burn it this will cause a carbon monoxide reaction, our hearts will stop and we will die like falling asleep, painless. Are you in? I can’t do this without you Ellie, the voices in my head won’t stop screaming and if I can’t stop them then who fucking will huh? Who fucking will? If you don’t want to do this... I’ll just burn myself you were better off without me...” I grabbed Bambi’s hand and led her upstairs whilst talking to her, “I don’t want to lose you Bambi, not now not ever, so dying with you right at this very moment would be a privilege and honor. Lets do it. You don’t know how much I want to be dead right now. Ahahaha. I can’t live with my stupid disgusting self anymore. Why do I even bother. Lets lose our minds and be together in hell.” We barricaded my bedroom door so no one could in. Bambi got a lighter and started to burn the charcoal in my wooden drawers, that way it would catch fire to everything else. When the fire started we layed on the floor besides eachother. As the fumes from the blazing fire filled our lungs, we became sleepy and ever so slightly more heavier. By the time our eyes could barely open Bambi reached out her hand to me, she was limp and fragile. I held her slowly moved my hand to hers and held it as tight I could. I breathed in my last breath of the toxic fumes, my eyes then closed shut. One, two, three, four I was asleep forever. Who knew that I was dying for perfection?</span>