“Rayne, got a minute?” It’s Quinn, waiting for me by my desk for the second day in a row. Her skin is wan and her smile is thin, tacked on with more than a dollop of willpower.
“Sure, Quinn. Just let me grab a cup of coffee first.” I go downstairs to get my steaming cup of java, then return to my desk. I hang up my coat on the rack near my desk, then sit down. After turning on my computer, I finally turn my attention to Quinn. “What’s up?” I had thought about it this morning and decided the best strategy for dealing with Quinn is to be pleasant but professional. After yesterday, I have no desire to date her. I am too old to be in a relationship with someone who obviously is in need of deep fixing. When I was a teenager, I thought it was a sign of love to be willing to work on a person’s issues with her/him. It is to a certain point, but Quinn’s problems go deeper than I have the patience to deal with. I know myself well enough to know that it can only end badly.
“I wanted to apologize for my behavior last night. It was atrocious.” She pauses, as if to allow me a chance to contradict her, but I remain silent. “I am so embarrassed that you had to see me like that. It must seem like I have this huge eating disorder, but I don’t really. I’m just dieting.” Unfuckingbelievable. I don’t know if she’s trying to convince herself or me, but she’s backtracking from what she said yesterday.
I tell her that I’m not going to debate the stupidity of dieting or discuss the nuances that differentiate between dieting and eating disorders, but in my opinion she’s crossed the bridge from the former to the latter. She counters that every woman at least thinks about sticking her finger down her throat, which causes me to hoot in derision. I stare at her in disbelief, but also in sadness. Here is a bright, beautiful woman who thinks there’s nothing wrong with shoving her fingers down her throat after eating. She blusters that it’s easy for me because Asian women are so tiny. Her voice is rising and mine is, too. I tell her it’s worse for Asian women because we have two cultures that revere thinness even though not every Asian woman is tiny. I am considered huge by Taiwanese standards as my sister is so kind to point out as often as she can, but I do not even think about sticking my fingers down my throat. It’s such an anathema to me, especially after loving Claudette.