It was a beautiful August day in the Midwest, and if you ever lived there you would know that meant a ninety plus degree day, with the sun beating down on you and humidity of one hundred percent. To me it was beautiful; because it was the day I moved away and entered my freshman year in college. Moving into a dorm is an experience every coed talks about long after the grand day. The seasoned veterans know just how to pack, which elevator to take and what time of the day to begin and end, the rest of us stand in long lines in the heat and listen to our parents moan about having to help us. I moved onto the fifth floor of a ten story dormitory. We used the stairs for the light loads and waited on the elevator for the heavier loads. When I arrived my roommate was already there and settled; her name was Annie. Our differences were not only geographic; she from a large city and me a rural farm community, but also in age; she was three years older, but we got along great from the very first meeting. Annie would change me in ways I could not have imagined on that first day and my perspective on living life would forever be altered.

Annie was a library major, who at first impression seemed shy and easily forgettable. She had to leave school for a time and was returning as a second semester sophomore the year she and I roomed together. Her build was slender and tall, her hair short and unkempt, and her smile went from ear to ear. It wasn’t long before I found out Annie had a secret, and I would be intertwined in that secret almost immediately. Annie was anorexic. She consumed no more than ten ounces of water a day and two cups, measured exactly, of air pop popcorn. She exercised four hours each day broken into thirty minute intervals, and wore three layers of clothes to keep warm and show bulk on her extremely thin arms and legs. In the beginning I was shocked and even though sworn to secrecy to everyone, I just knew I could help her and turn her behavior around. I was wrong, Annie sucked me into her routine, and by mid October I had not gained the freshman ten, but lost it. Her routine was far too strict for me, so I compromised and adopted Bulimia instead. I took diet pills and purged the extra calories; I played softball every day, lifted weights, and ran five miles. We both took the stairs, never stepping foot on an elevator. I had lost over twenty pounds by Christmas and neither of us wanted to go home for break.

When returned in January for the second semester, Annie was five foot six and ninety pounds. Her mom and dad did not want her to go back to school, because they feared for her life. As we settled into our routine our friendship strengthened and we talked on a very deep level about our feelings of despair and disappointment, rejection and acceptance, life and death. One evening in late February, Annie asked me to hold her while she fell asleep. As I held her she looked up and said thank you for being my friend, the Annie died. I sat there a few minutes longer, and then laid her down gently, covered her with a warm blanket and called an ambulance.
I did not go to Annie’s funeral; we had already said our goodbyes. Each time Annie’s Song comes on the radio I remember my friend with that big smile.

Author's Bio: 

The eldest of three children, I was raised in a christian home in rural Illinois. A college graduate , I chose a career path in the medical field. Married and divorced, I guided two children to adulthood. From a very early age I have known of a strong spiritual presence in my life and I feel privileged to share their guidance.