I used to wish I had cancer.
I used to wish that my tumor suppressor oncogenes would mutate and stop working so that my cells would make errors in their genetic coding and continuously and furiously multiply until the cancerous cells infected my whole body.
Until they ate away at the fat that hung off every limb. And then of course when I was slim and tone the doctors would remove the tumor and the poisoned cells and I would be cured.
And I would be skinny.
This was the dream that recurred every night, that fell off my lips in nighttime prayers and were parts of silent please every time I flipped a model magazine page and my heart hardened at the sight of thigh gaps and curves I knew I'd never have.
I wished it so hard that I almost believed it would happen.
But I must have not been specific enough in my prayers because I didn't get cancer. My sister did.
Rather than my tumor suppressor oncogenes mutating, it was hers. They let a brain tumor slip in and they let it grow larger and larger until it was inoperable and it was only the complaint of mild headaches on a yearly checkup that let anyone know she was dying.
Now it would be impossible to not know she was dying.
Her skin was like play-do that had been stretched to far, just on the point of breaking but still barely holding on. Draped across brittle bones that looked like they'd shatter at a sharp look.
It was not me wasting away layers of fat in a hospital bed until the doctors miraculously cured me. It was her, wasting away her healthy body that doctors would never cure.
My dream became my nightmare.
My wish a curse.
And the day she died, I knew I'd never be the same.