"Your pulse is your heart rate, or the number of times your heart beats in one minute. Pulse rates vary from person to person. Pressure waves generated by the heart in systole moves the arterial walls. Forward movement of blood occurs when the boundaries are pliable and compliant. These properties form enough to create a palpable pressure wave."

The body does. For some there is no mystery in it. You blink. You breathe. Your heart pumps. Your body does without thinking. There is no awareness until there is, and then it is acute.

Her hands are pale. She watches them when she speaks because she knows she is emotive. It fascinates her, but scares her, too, how they move without her decision; how, when she is quiet, when she is alone, she will watch them and flex her hands three times just to show she has control over her body. There is no mystery. She is aware. Her lungs take in oxygen. She exhales. She’s in control.


Is it obsession or addictions which kill you?


Human hearts are made up of two pumps that work in tandem. The blood comes in, the oxygen rushes out. Left and right -- equal and opposite -- alpha and omega.

Sometimes, she likes to take a breath and trap it in her chest. She can feel her heart shuddering with wild anticipation to act, her veins quivering with the work they want to do. It’s all doing. There is no knowing to it. Her brother tells her that’s what makes a person beautiful, to him. It isn’t the perfect face with all its symmetry and shapes, but rather underneath the skin, there is a simple system working without thought, each part functioning together to make you take a step forward, without thinking, into the future.

She doesn’t care for the future. It’s too uncertain. It cannot be controlled.


The first time she skipped a meal was an accident. A long day, a longer night, the water had boiled over the edge as she slept. In the morning, she woke up and she didn’t feel empty, she felt hollow. The unbearable lightness of her body made her feel dizzy. She had to think of each breath. Each step was measured. She felt the demand in her stomach. There was no sympathy, no way her body could do without her. When she poured the cereal, she looked at it and then, she poured it down the drain. Let her body want, she was in control.

She pushes herself to see how long she can go now. She holds on to that feeling of nothingness. It is an exercise of discipline over desire. She has no control with the way she blinks first in a staring contest against her best friend, but this she can. Her hands twitch when Clara brings the bowl of popcorn to the sofa, but she is in control.


“You haven’t ate today have you, Min?”
“Oh, no, I did.”
“Oh. Do you still want to come get dinner?”
“Sure, I just won’t get something to eat.”


She finds a perverse pleasure in watching other people eat, knowing how it makes her stomach growl, how her eyes long. She finds it even more exciting when she is naked at home and she can count the bones in her ribs. One, two, three. One, two, three. Everything is in multiples of three. Three is her favourite number because when it is three, someone always gets left out. Three siblings, three best friends: two winners, one loser.

As she manipulates her body, harnessing control over its appearance, her career grows. No one comments on it. No one cares that she is getting smaller and smaller, disappearing before their eyes into harsh lines and thick broad-strokes. Her friends are calligraphy with their beautiful curves and she is a scratch, a stick drug through the dirt to mark a line between two people. Pick one of us they tell the third.

The more roles, the less autonomy. She doesn’t make the decisions. She has a team that does it. Her palms spread out in front of her as she gives herself away. The narrative of Minna Marks doesn’t belong to her, but the body of Minna Markovski does and she doesn’t listen when someone tells her to “eat something”. No one notices when she puts her dinner into the napkin. They think she must have been so hungry she ate it that fast. It’s amazing, she thinks, how the brain tricks you into seeing the truth as something false. Her hands are clean. She drinks a coconut water while they eat dessert. If she closes her eyes, the texture is just like cake.

She throws the napkin out when she gets home. The food inside it makes a satisfying thwack when it hits the bottom of the bin.


Someone told her she had an addictive personality, but to her: there is a difference between an addiction and an obsession. She isn’t addicted to not eating. She can eat when she wants. She’s obsessed with it. She feels disappointment when she does. She tells herself it isn’t her body winning, but rather her keeping from losing control. She’s on a precipice of being caught. They will take control away from her. Force her to drink protein shakes and talk about her problems. She doesn’t have any. What’s wrong with wanting to be master of yourself?

That’s her obsession: control.


“Hey, try this?”
“What is it?”
“Something that will make you feel wild, uncontrolled.”

She hesitates for a moment, but when was the last time she let go?


The cocaine dilates her pupils and suddenly the world is as light as her body.

Her heart is out of control. It thumps wildly against her and she can’t slow it down, not even with awareness in her breath. Her body overrules her. Her brain pulses. She is reptilian, everything happens without reason. She blinks. She breathes. She laughs. She starts to cry and she doesn’t know why. And, for once, she doesn’t care. She is happy and it spreads through her veins like smoke, thrumming like a drum. Two fingers against her wrist: the beat of her blood as loud as the sound of food thrown away.

How long has she been sad? She doesn’t think about it. She supposes she always has been. How can you tell you were when it is all you ever knew? The cocaine is white, as pure as her insides, it’s clean, hollow, empty and it quells the noise from her body. It rewrites the wires, let’s her feel something she hasn’t in a long time: normal.

It’s not an obsession, this feeling. She doesn’t want it. She needs it.

Obsessions ruin you, she remembers. Addiction kills you.

This is an addiction.