Gemma was at the centre of it all, more excited than she had ever been before.  She felt, for the first time in her life that the world was embracing her. She belonged.

This was her new personality.  She donned the disguise willingly.  She was carefree, unaware.  For the first time in her life she was oblivious to events beyond the realms of her everyday life.  Untouched by pain, by protest, by despair.  Just like everybody else.  But when reality finally cascaded into her life she found herself excluded once again.  She was under attack and she retreated into herself.  She was a city under siege, ceaselessly bombarded by what other called ;delusions’.

She wore skirts two sizes too big for her, cynched in with belts.  They still flapped around her waist and hung from her hips.  She pushed both hands between the belted fabric and her new concave stomach.  She felt powerful, so powerful and yet she felt cold, so cold.  Her fingers turned blue in the frigid air.  Her fellow pupils stared at her with a kind of morbid fascination.  They watched from the window when she went jogging every morning but not with pity or with sadness but with envy and admiration.  She was their living, breathing, walking, talking instruction manual.

She became increasingly misanthropic.  She felt ugly inside and she was brimming over with negativity.  Her friends faded away.  They stopped e-mailing her.  All she could talk and think about was food.  She alienated those around her. At the very worst she despised them.  At the very best she tolerated them.  The life was draining out of her.  She could feel it.

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