Lucy at the gym
She’s there every time I go,
and I don’t go that often, so she must live at the gym
I stare at her ribs they show through the spandex
Her little legs are working, she’s going somewhere
She’s climbing up the stairs
And when she reaches the top her dreams will be there
— jill sobule
i see her at the gym three or four times a week. we must be on the same schedule.
i’m guessing she’s in her early 20s. she always takes the same elliptical trainer and works out for an hour. hard. really hard. the sort of intense, driven session coming from someplace deep inside that is probably best unvisited. even i, a running junky, am amazed by the intensity of her workout.
which would be great, except for one thing. she’s thin. really thin. starvin’ marvin thin. close to terminally thin.
if you were walking along the street and saw someone dying, wouldn’t you try to help? but what if day after day you saw someone in the gym who was dying? what would you do? what could you do?
a friend of a friend says she has talked to the woman’s mom, and though distraught, she feels helpless. imagine watching your daughter die in slow motion, a pound at a time. heartbreaking.
disease is easy from a distance. anorexia is one of those things you read about. you feel sad. you sympathize. you sigh. you move on.
but i can’t move on. i’m on a treadmill for an hour watching a car crash happening in front of me. i have a feeling the driver isn’t going to survive.
and i don’t know how to stop it.