To My Three Year Old, Naked in the Bath by Gaynor Jones

These are some things you don’t yet know.

To suck in your belly. To pull at the flab on your thighs as you stand in front of a mirror and measure the lack of space between them. To watch your buttocks flatten out on a chair and feel disgust, real disgust, as the cushion disappears beneath your flesh.

You don’t yet know the calories in an apple, a dry cracker, a smoothie, a slab of chocolate. You don’t know about shakes and bars and red days and green days. You don’t know how many steps, how many lengths, how many tears to burn off those sins.

You don’t know about sweet days and cheat days and God, all I do is eat days.

You don’t know about the noise, the mental noise, the constant numbers and the balancing and weighing up of every piece of every morsel of every bite of every binge.

You don’t know that your mother was small, then big, then bigger, then small, smaller, smallest. You know that you grew inside her, but not that you engorged her, left her bulbous and bloated and behemoth. You don’t know that sometimes, on her worst days, just for seconds, but still the thought is there, that she would rather have her ‘before’ clothes back than have you, wonderful you, in her life.

You don’t yet know about how the world works, and how it makes such terrible thoughts so.

Gaynor Jones is a writer of micro, flash and short stories from Manchester, UK. Her first lit mag acceptance was from Ellipsis for a piece based on her time with Generalised Anxiety Disorder. Since then she’s had work published in places such as MoonPark Review, Former Cactus and Bending Genres and was nominated for Best Small Fictions 2018. She also organises the Story For Daniel flash fiction competition to raise awareness of blood stem cell donation and childhood cancer support. You can read more via her website: and she tweets at @jonzeywriter.