She said, “I am aweary, aweary…”

By the time anorexics, are deemed ill enough to be admitted to Ascot House, they have consumed the fat which insulates our organs, so they find it difficult to maintain their core body temperature. At first, we all creep around with hunched shoulders and crossed arms, huddled into jumpers and cardigans and complaining of the cold.

Everyone also complains, fretfully, about the sun shining in their eyes and asks for the blinds to be pulled down, submerging us in a sickly yellow gloom. I think we’re trying to hide ourselves away for shame. We’re strange, shivering troglodytes, half alive, half interred; half asleep, half hypersensitive: shambling, hot-house zombies.

As they feed us up, our bodies reconstitute their tissues, cosily lagging our interiors with layers of fat. Now Ascot House feels hot, head-achy and stifling to me. Mysteriously, somebody keeps turning the thermostat up to 25 degrees centigrade. You can’t escape it because the windows are firmly shut, and you’re not allowed to leave the building, or even go upstairs. I googled “optimum house temperature”, and most websites recommend around 18-21 degrees. (18-21 DEGREES, PEOPLE! DID YOU GET THAT?!) I think there must be cold little elves that creep into the house at night.

Anorexics are rejecting their own corporeal limitations. We are shaking our fists at our own pathetic bodies and their disgusting secretions and emissions. Gloriously, when you’re very thin, you don’t sweat. It’s amazing, just as my weakened sphincter constantly emitted the loudest rasping, stuttering farts, but they were completely dry, odourless and inoffensive.

Now I’m “nicely insulated” again, and I’ve become terrified of feeling hot. I fear the return of sweaty, greasy skin, the faint ripe, meaty, dungy whiff, rising up from under my shirt: sour, yeasty, fungal, curdy. Sometimes, when I take my clothes off, for a horrifying moment, I detect a smell like a newly opened tin of spam. Is it me? Can everyone else smell it?

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