Fiction: To Tell or Not to Tell?

 mishpacha image


M y friend Tova had always been of average weight so when I saw her again after two and a half months of summer vacation I was shocked at how skinny she had become. Truth is I’m not the most observant person. I wouldn’t notice an elephant running past me. Besides it was our last year of high school; all my friends were constantly dieting. But Tova had lost a lot… and she had never mentioned that she was on a diet.

I casually asked her what diet she was on. I was also overweight so I was looking for a way to fight the flab. I was so confused when Tova insisted she was on no diet. But my mother said she also thought Tova had lost a lot of weight. If Tova wasn’t dieting why was she suddenly so thin?

I noticed that Tova had begun to dress in layers in the middle of the summer. What was that all about? Was she sick? She said she was fine. Then she started failing tests. This was really worrisome! Her grades! Tova allowing her grades to slide? It was all a mystery to me. A horrifying frightening mystery. To which I wanted answers. But there were none forthcoming.

Then one day I found out the truth.

We were at a class party when Tova suddenly sighed and whispered to me. “I feel so full. I just want to vomit.” I was shocked. I asked “Do you do that often?” That was all I could think of saying. “Yeah ” she whispered back. Suddenly she spun around and looked at me straight in the eye. “Don’t tell a soul!” she whispered fiercely. “Or I’ll never speak to you again. And I’ll make sure no one else does either!” Then she was partying again laughing and having fun.

I thought about that event many times over the next few weeks. I even did some research on the subject. Bulimia. That was the name of the enemy that had seized Tova. But now the question was to tell or not to tell?

If I did tell no one in my class would speak to me ever again — Tova had threatened that and I believed her. But if I didn’t tell Tova could die! Then I remembered my teacher a psychologist telling us that she would keep any secret we shared with her unless it was life-threatening. Life-threatening. Tova’s condition was life-threatening!

I lifted the phone and dialed.


“Hi ” I replied. And with that I began to save Tova’s life.

What Now?
By Mrs. Leah Gardner

In the story about Tova’s emerging bulimia we are given a small snapshot of just where two people find themselves on their individual journeys through life. The author herself is conscientiously pursuing that which Hashem may be expecting of her as Tova’s friend. Tova herself has a very different path to traverse — she has to admit to her dysfunctional and destructive behaviors and be brave enough to acknowledge that she needs help. (Excerpted from Teen Pages Issue 685)

Oops! We could not locate your form.