Katelyn has lost her appetite and doesn’t ever want to eat. One day she passes out at school and Robert realizes that it’s time to have a serious talk.
Disclaimer – This story includes themes of eating disorders and may trigger some. Just wanted to give you a heads up.
“Katelyn! Jessica!” Robert called from downstairs. “It’s time for dinner.”
I groaned. I didn’t want to eat tonight. I didn’t want to because I had no appetite. Then again, when did I ever have an appetite?
Jessica closed her English book and got up off her bed, walking towards the door. “You coming, Kate?” she asked.
I moaned, “Yeah. I don’t want to but I will,” and I closed my math book. I always waited to do math last. I hated math. So I don’t really understand how Robert and I got along so well when he was all science and math like and I was more of a language person. I mean yeah, I was good at math, but I didn’t love it. You know what I mean?
I jumped off of my bed and followed Jessica out of our room and down the stairs to the kitchen. It smelled good, but I wasn’t in the mood so it didn’t make much difference. I wasn’t going to want to eat either way. There was just something about eating I didn’t like. I don’t know why I was that way but it was like for the past couple of years I’ve slowly been starting to eat less and less. It’s not like I really cared anyway though.
Jessica and I sat down across from each other at the small table in the kitchen rather than in the dining room where the big table was. We never ate dinner in there as a family unless it was a special occasion or guests were over. Most of the time, we just sat at the table that seated four. It was easier that way anyway.
“What are we having?” Jessica asked.
“Chinese,” Robert answered. “Daniel just came back from picking it up. Neither of us felt like cooking.”
“Oh, cool.” Jessica replied. She had the same look on her face she always does when she feels like an idiot. I mean, the containers were on the counter. What was she supposed to think?
Robert and Daniel put all the containers in the middle of the table then sat down. The plates, cups and silverware were already all on the table. All I had to do was serve myself food; it couldn’t be that hard could it? Well, you’re thinking wrong if it wasn’t hard. I simply did not want to eat so I just watched everyone as they passed the food around.
“Katelyn, aren’t you going to eat?” asked Daniel.
“I don’t really want anything.” I told him.
“But Chinese is your favorite, Kate.” Robert said as he put down his fork for a moment.
“I’m not hungry.”
“We’ve had this discussion with you before, haven’t we, Katelyn?” asked Daniel. I didn’t say anything. “We’ve had this discussion with her before, haven’t we Robert?”
He nodded and looked at me seriously. “Katelyn, you can’t not eat anything.”
“I told you: I’m not hungry.”
Robert began raising his voice in the next statement, “Katelyn, this is a continuing pattern. You haven’t been eating much for a week or two now. You never eat at dinner anymore, at least not since a couple of weeks ago. You’re going to get yourself sick if you don’t eat.”
I shrugged. “I don’t care.”
Daniel and Robert exchanged a look. Meanwhile, Jessica was busily eating, probably trying to ignore this whole argument between me and our brothers.
“You need to eat, Katelyn.” Daniel said.
I started to but in but Robert just interrupted me and said, “You’re not leaving this table until you eat.”
I groaned. “Fine,” I said. “I’ll eat, but only because it makes you happy.” I paused. “Pass me the chicken lo mein.”
“Thank you.” Robert said to me.
“You’re welcome,” I replied, a little angrily as I stuffed my mouth with food and started chewing. I noticed then how incredibly hungry I was but it still took a lot of effort to eat anything. I managed to down enough to get them to leave me alone though: a little chicken lo mein, fried rice and an egg roll. I didn’t eat much of any of those, but I ate enough to where they just dealt with it and let it go. Finally I was allowed to get up and leave the table. Of course, Jessica, being a fast eater, had already left. It’s not like it mattered though.
“There. See, Katelyn,” Robert told me. “Now was that so hard?”
I muttered a no just so he would leave me alone and wouldn’t question me further then headed up the stairs to finish my homework, take a shower and go to bed. And of course as soon as I had gotten my shower done and walked back into our room, Jess just had to ask me, “What was that all about?”
“I don’t wanna talk about it.” I said as I slumped down into my bed and pulled the covers around me, falling asleep with the light still on.
I was sitting in the cafeteria during second lunch, staring at my lunch box (Jessica and I had different lunch times), not wanting to eat anything that was in it. My best friend Melissa sat next to me, blabbering away about something that wasn’t even registering in my head. Then I heard her pause and she asked, “Aren’t you going to eat anything, Katelyn?”
I shook my head. “I don’t feel that great today. Don’t really have an appetite.”
She bought it, probably because I normally did eat enough every day to make her think that I was actually keeping myself nourished (emphasis on enough). That was so not true. I mean, the not having an appetite part was true and the not feeling GREAT part was true, but it was for different reasoning. In any case, Melissa just began prattling on again with her stories; things that in that particular moment, I didn’t really care about. Normally I would have been an attentive listener. That day though, not so much.
I left lunch, having eaten nothing and went to my 5th period class, feeling a little faint but ignoring it. I couldn’t miss any school. I had to be there as much as I could because the more I went to school, the more I’d know and the better of a chance I’d have of remaining on the academic team. Also, you had to maintain certain grades if you wanted to stay on the academic team. I couldn’t jeopardize those. So, even though I felt awful, I ignored it and continued on from period to period, although in a daze. Even as I entered my last period class, I ignored that I was overcome by a sudden weakness and dizziness and sat down in my spot next to Jessica. She looked at me with a weird and worried look on her face and mouthed to me “Are you okay?” as the teacher began to go on about the Civil War. I hated History class. I hated it even more than math, well… almost.
“I’m fine.” I mouthed back, even though I wasn’t fine at all.
And it was then that I was overcome by a sudden overwhelming feeling of “I can’t keep my balance” and “I’m going to black out any second.” I knew something was wrong so I got up and started to tell my teacher something but couldn’t finish.
“Katelyn, are you ok?” she asked.
But everything just spun around me and I couldn’t say anything in response. Within seconds I was falling and the next thing I know, I’ve blacked out. I’m not sure how much time passed before I woke up but when I did, the first thing I saw was Jessica’s face and the first sound I heard was that of the nurse’s voice, Mrs. Perry.
“Katelyn, Katelyn?” she asked. “Can you hear me?”
I tried to push myself off the ground with my arms but couldn’t. “Where am I?” I asked. I didn’t even notice all the pairs of eyes staring at me.
“You’re at school.” she replied.
“Oh,” I said.
“Your brother is on the way. You fainted and you were out for a few minutes.”
“I was?” I said in a questioning voice.
“Yes, you were.” I heard the bell ring as she said this and noticed that people had begun filing out of the room, still looking back at me. Jessica stayed where she was and within moments, Robert came in through the door.
“What happened?” he asked, not necessarily to anyone, just in general.
“She fainted.” Jessica told him.
“Why did she faint?”
“I don’t know.” Jessica replied.
Robert kneeled down beside me, “Katelyn, did you eat breakfast this morning?”
I looked up at him and shook my head.
“Did you eat anything at lunch today?”
I hesitated, not saying anything and he looked at me sternly. “That’s why. That’s exactly why you fainted.” He turned to the nurse. “She hasn’t been eating that much recently. I’ve been trying to keep an eye on her but with the hours I work and everything else thrown in there, it’s hard to be sure if she eats or not.”
The nurse nodded then looked at me. “Katelyn, you need to eat.”
What was it with everyone telling me I needed to eat? I ate enough, didn’t I? I didn’t need to eat more. I was fine. I was perfectly fine and I didn’t understand why everyone couldn’t just but out of it because they didn’t need to be in my business, especially not with eating. I could take care of myself.
Robert looked at me, “Can you get up?” he asked. “Do you have the energy to get up?”
I tried to push myself up but couldn’t so Robert and Mrs. Perry decided to help me get up. Jessica took a step back and allowed them to do so. When I finally got up, I was at least standing on my own two feet, but I still felt a little dizzy. Robert wrapped an arm around me and supported some of my body’s weight.
“I’ll take a look at her at home,” he told Mrs. Perry, “And I’ll talk to her about eating.”
“Thank you, Dr. Parker.”
He nodded. “Come on, girls, let’s go.” he paused and lifted up my backpack. “Jessica, can you get those books?” he asked our sister, gesturing towards my history book, binder and papers on the desk.
She nodded and picked them up.
“Thank you, Mrs. Perry. I appreciate you watching out for her.”
“It’s not a problem, Dr. Parker,” she replied. “Have a good day.”
He smiled at her and said in reply, “You too.” Then we walked out and to the car. Robert helped me into the front passenger side seat then put my backpack in the back of the car. Jessica got in the backseat. As soon as everyone was in the car, he started up the ignition and pulled out of his parking spot then onto the main road.
“Why didn’t you eat anything today, Katelyn?” he asked me.
“I wasn’t hungry.”
“You weren’t hungry? That’s all. That’s all you have to say,” he paused. “There’s more to it than that.”
“No, there isn’t, Robert.”
He ignored that statement and continued on. “How long has this been going on?” he asked. “Two weeks? Two months? Two years?”
I didn’t say anything in response. “Katelyn, you can’t just not eat,” he told me. “Trust me. I know. I see teenage girls coming in almost every day with a problem like this. It’s not healthy. You can’t do that to yourself. It’s going to destroy your body.”
“I don’t care.” I said.
“You don’t care!” he shouted. “How can you not care!?”
I shrugged. “I just don’t.”
He took a deep breath in. “Katelyn, you just fainted in the middle of class and were out for several minutes. If that’s not a sign to you that something is wrong and you need to fix it, I don’t know what is.”
I didn’t say anything and he sighed. Jessica decided to break the tension by asking him a question, “Where’s Daniel? He usually comes with you when you come pick us up.”
“He’s in a meeting for that book he’s writing. They’re talking about signing off on getting it published.”
“Really?” Jessica asked. “That’s awesome!”
“I know it is,” Robert replied. “I’m excited for him. But right now I have more important things to worry about.” He looked over at me.
“You’re eating when we get home. And you’re eating every night. And you’re eating breakfast. And if you don’t eat your lunch I will make it my personal mission to have someone watching you to make sure you do.”
I just sighed, resigned. I didn’t want to deal with him right then.
“Do you understand me, Katelyn Rose Parker?”
“Yes, sir,” I replied.
“Good.” The rest of the ride remained silent as I stared out the window at the rain falling down. I always loved watching the rain. It was so beautiful. I wished I could just dance in it right then, to forget about what had just happened, to forget how obviously angry with me Robert was. I also wished that ride would have lasted a little longer than it did, but after that last statement Robert made, it lasted all of about 2 to 3 minutes.
I unbuckled my seatbelt and opened the door. Daniel came around to my side and helped me out. I really didn’t want his help but I took it anyway, because I was just so weak. He supported my weight as we got to the house and went through the door. Then he took me to the kitchen and made me sit down. When all was said and done, he may as well have been carrying me. I hadn’t really been walking at all. By this point, Jessica had disappeared, probably to our room to throw her softball around a little bit. Who knows?
I saw that Robert was rummaging around through the pantry, trying to find something for me to eat, of course but I still asked him, “What are you doing?”
“I’m finding something for you to eat. And you’re going to eat something, whether you like it or not.”
I moaned and whined, “But Robeeerrrtt…”
“No buts, you’re eating,” he replied as he came over with a couple of nutria-grain bars and placed them in front of me.
“No.” I told him.
“Do you want me to shove it down your throat? Because I will.” he told me as he gave me a look that said I had better do as he said.
I moaned, “Fine.”
“And while you’re eating, I want to talk to you,” he said as he sat down next to me. “Why haven’t you been eating?”
I shrugged as I took a reluctant bite out of the blueberry nutria grain bar, “I don’t know. I just don’t want to.”
“This has to do with mom and dad, doesn’t it?”
“I don’t know.” I told him.
“Katelyn, I’m thinking that Jessica isn’t the only one who needs a counselor.”
And that’s when I started getting angry. “I don’t need a fucking counselor, Robert!” I shouted with as much energy as I could. “I’m perfectly fine.”
“No you’re not, Katelyn. If you were fine you wouldn’t have drank and almost killed yourself three weeks ago. If you were fine you would be eating. If you were fine, you’d be talking to me about this openly instead of hiding everything like you are right now.”
I could only remain silent at that statement as I munched away at the nutria grain bar, realizing how hungry I actually was.
“I’m not going to sit by and watch you destroy yourself. You’re going to be seeing a counselor.” he paused. “And furthermore, you’re not getting away with not eating.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” I asked fearfully.
“It means that you’re getting punished for not eating like I’ve been telling you for weeks. It means you’re not getting away with something that is going to kill you if you don’t stop doing it. And it means that you’re going to be getting help because otherwise you might end up seriously hurting yourself.”
“You want me to state it bluntly? It means you’re getting a spanking.”
“Wait a second… that’s not fair.” I protested.
“Life isn’t fair. Neither is it fair what you’re doing to yourself or to me or to Daniel or to Jessica. I’m not going to watch you starve yourself, Katelyn Rose. You’re not going to kill yourself because you won’t eat.” he paused, hit in a soft spot when I looked up at him pleadingly, “I’m sorry, kiddo, but I gotta do this.”
“No, you don’t, Robert. You don’t have to do anything.”
“I have to do it if I want to make sure you’ll start eating and keep yourself alive instead of developing an eating disorder and dying.” I whined. “Katelyn, I’m only going to do this because I care about you. I don’t want you to…” He was cut off by Jessica coming down the stairs, phone in hand.
“Daniel wants to talk to you,” she said, handing out the phone to Robert.
He took the phone from her and mouthed “Did you call him?” She nodded yes.
“Hey, honey… not great. How’d it go? You got a contract? They’re publishing it? That’s GREAT, Daniel! I’m so excited for you. Uh huh, yeah. Jessica told you? Yeah, well, Katelyn fainted at school today. She decided not to eat any breakfast or lunch. You handed her a breakfast bar on her way out this morning after she refused to eat eggs? Oh, really? Mhm… ok. Well, I forced her to eat something when we got home. Yeah… I already talked to her about it. I told her she’s going to eat whether she likes it or not. Uh huh… yeah, I was going to deal with her about right now. You want me to wait until you get home? Daniel, I’m not sure I should do that.” he paused again, here. “Okay, well, if you want me to wait that’s fine but I’m not so sure it should be harsh. You just want to be here to talk to her? Okay, alright. I’ll see you then. Bye, honey.”
He hung up the phone and handed it to Jessica, “Hang that back up,” he told her then, turning to me said, “He wants to talk to you when he gets home. So we’re going to wait until he gets home and is done talking to you.”
“What if I don’t want to talk to him?” I asked him, in a bit of a smartass-y tone.
“Either way, you don’t have a choice in the matter. This is too serious to take chances with,” then added, “You’re sitting here until Daniel gets home.”
“Whatever, Robert,” I said, irritated by this whole situation. Why they wouldn’t just leave me alone about it I didn’t know. I honestly didn’t think I had a problem. I WAS eating enough, wasn’t I? Wasn’t I?
It seemed like hours before Daniel finally came through the door when in reality it was probably only several minutes. “Robert!” he called gently. “Where are you?”
“We’re in here, Daniel.” Robert answered. His arms were crossed, as he leaned against the table, the same way he’d been for the past 10 minutes or so.
“Hey,” Daniel said, taking a sharp breath in. I could tell he was a weird mix of excited, worried and angry. Those last two emotions were probably because of me. The first one was obvious. He’d just gotten signed on for the publishing of his first novel. “How you feeling, Katelyn?”
“Better,” I replied. I didn’t need to go into any further detail than that.
He sighed and sat down at the table across from me. Robert took a seat next to me. “When did this happen?” he asked.
“7th period History Class,” Robert said, as if he knew it by heart. Hell, he probably did know both my and Jessica’s schedules by heart. He had a mind for memorizing but who the hell knows?
“Katelyn, I gave you that breakfast bar AND I offered you eggs. Why didn’t you take either one?” Daniel asked.
I shrugged, “wasn’t hungry.”
Daniel gave Robert a look. Robert only looked back at him as if he didn’t know what to say.
“There has to be more to it than that, Katelyn. You don’t just not eat for more than 2 weeks because you’re not hungry.” he paused then looked over at Robert. “This definitely has something to do with your parents. Katelyn…”
Then I started shouting, “Why do you think this has anything to do with my parents being dead!? Why do you always bring them into this!?! It has nothing to fucking do with them. I just don’t like eating, ok! I don’t want to eat! Just leave me alone!”
“I will not leave you alone, young lady.” Daniel replied. “You can’t do this. You’re going to end up killing yourself if you keep doing this. I’m sure Robert already told you that.”
Robert nodded, “I did. And Daniel is right, Katelyn. You are going to end up killing yourself if you keep doing this.”
I shouted back at them. “Who the hell cares! It’s not like it matters anyway,” then muttered, “My parents are dead. I should be dead too.” Robert had a shocked look on his face after I said that.
“I heard that, Katelyn,” Daniel said. “And you’re wrong.”
“Why would you ever say that, Katelyn?” Robert asked.
“Because me and Jessica were supposed to be in the car with them. But we both had homework to do and we both opted to stay home when we were really supposed to go.” I paused. “I technically shouldn’t be alive right now.”
Robert looked over at Daniel, “We can’t spank her, Daniel. I can’t spank her.”
He held up his finger for a second, mouthing the words: hold on. “Katelyn, what makes you think that any of that was your fault? Or that you should be dead right now? You weren’t in that car for a reason. It’s a good thing you’re alive. It was hard enough for everyone to lose them but if you and Jessica had been gone too, Robert would have lost his entire family. And you and Jessica are close enough to being sisters to me that I may as well have lost my entire family too.”
“I don’t know” I whispered, burying my face in my arms.
“You’re wrong,” he said, simple as that. “Go upstairs so your brother and I can talk. And no playing your violin either.” he added.
I nodded, a lump rising in my throat. I wanted to cry. I wanted to cry so badly but obviously, as we know from previous experience, I wasn’t one to cry. And I didn’t just hate it, I detested crying. Surely I don’t have to go further than that to describe my hatred for tears. In any case, I ignored the fact that I wanted to cry and started to walk up sullenly to my room. Nothing had been going right in the past month. NOTHING.
Suddenly, I heard Robert’s shaky voice as he said, “I can’t believe she would say that, Daniel. Does she not know how much I love her? I mean… if she’d died with them, I don’t know what I would have done. I can’t believe she said that.” I stopped walking. He was crying. Robert never cried. He didn’t like to and was so much like me in that regard. Or rather, I was so much like him in that regard.
I’d never meant to hurt him when I said that. But it was the truth. Some part of me really did wish I’d died with them. Still, hurting Robert tore me to pieces on the inside. It hurt me more than anything I’d done to myself ever had. I can’t believe I’d been so stupid as to say something like that, especially in front of him.
“There’s something more there than we thought there was, Robert.” Daniel told him. “She has survivor’s guilt.”
“I know she does.” Robert replied. “I still can’t believe she would ever say something like that. It worries me.”
“I know.” Daniel said sadly then paused. “Did you talk to her about a counselor? It’s not like we don’t have the money.”
“I did. She protested. I told her she’s going anyway.”
“Good, because I agree with you.”
I shook my head. I couldn’t take anymore. So I just stalked back up the stairs the rest of the way and to my room. All that was left to do was to sit down on my bed and wait nervously for them to come upstairs.
“You okay?” Jessica asked me.
I nodded. “I’m fine.”
By this point it seemed like school was a lifetime ago when in reality it had only been a couple of hours. It seemed even longer, perhaps eons ago that I had been waiting for Daniel and Robert to come upstairs. But then again, maybe it would just be Robert. Maybe it would just be Daniel. Who knows?
Eventually though, I heard a knock at the door and whispered in a hoarse voice, “Come in.”
It was Robert who entered my room. “Jessica, can you give us a minute, please?”
“Yeah,” she said then left the room, probably to go join Daniel downstairs.
Robert sighed as he sat down next to me. “So…” he said. “What are we going to do about this?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know.”
“Well, I’ll tell you what Daniel and I came to the conclusion of,” he replied. “Firstly, you are definitely seeing a psychologist or a counselor. Secondly, we’re going to be watching you to make sure you eat and you won’t be allowed to leave the table until you eat a sufficient amount. And thirdly, you’re going to get a spanking. It’s not going to be hard or long, just enough. You’ve been through plenty already. I don’t need to make it much harder than it already is.” he paused. “Do you understand why I’m doing all of this, Katelyn?”
“Because if you don’t, you can tell me. You can ask me if you don’t understand.”
“No, I do. I do understand.”
“Then I need you to tell me why so I know that you understand.”
“You’re doing it because you care about me and you don’t want me to get hurt or see me slowly killing myself.”
“That’s right,” he replied. “That’s exactly right. Daniel and I care about you too much to see you hurting yourself like this and we’re going to put a stop to it.” he paused. “Stand up.”
I didn’t have the energy in me to fight, so I just did as he said and stood. He pulled me closer towards him and unbuttoned then unzipped my jeans, pulling them down to my knees in the process. He then gently guided me over my lap and pulled down my panties, resting his hand on my bottom.
“Do I need to lecture you more on the importance of eating?”
“Good.” With that he lifted his hand and started to smack my bottom over and over again, in a methodic way. One smack on each cheek, two smacks on each thigh, three smacks on my sitspots and all over again. The weird thing is, I don’t even think he was trying to gain a pattern. It sort of just came naturally. That didn’t really matter though because within seconds of him beginning the spanking I was kicking, begging for him to stop. He didn’t say anything, just kept spanking and spanking for what felt like hours until I was crying. In truth though, it was probably only a couple of minutes before he stopped and began rubbing my back and speaking to me.
“I’m sorry I had to do that, Katelyn.” he said to me as he rubbed my back. “I just don’t want you to hurt yourself.”
I told him through tears and in between sobs, “I’m sorry, Robert.”
“I know, sweetie,” he replied as he pulled my panties up and lifted me onto his lap. “Promise me you’ll start eating,” he pleaded as he looked into my eyes.
“I promise.” I told him.
He smiled and threw his arms around me. “Good. I’m glad,” he said.
And for the first time in about three weeks, I smiled like I meant it.