• Harlow in Monte Carlo

Dancing Skeleton

I remember how cold I felt each time I stepped into the hotel lobby from outside. I would close my eyes and exhale through my teeth, as if bracing for impact.

It was in Miami, the rain pouring. A storm was arriving and yes, of all the charming weather condition the Sunshine State could offer, I happened to stumble upon a bad one. The hotel I was staying at is the one where they filmed the benefit concert scene in The Bodyguard (1992), a movie I've worshipped for years.

But even the hauntingly vivid image of a singing Whitney Houston couldn't save me from the coldness. A young couple walked over to the pool entrance, the woman bikini-clad. In sauntered another good-looking couple, also in swimsuits, the woman holding a glass of iced fruity cocktail. They walked towards the elevator.

All this while, I was in the same hotel lobby with all these people, and yet it seemed like I was the only one the cold air from the AC rushed past. This was in the midst of all the madness of the pandemic.

But somehow my extreme cold intolerance during that week had nothing to do with anything that's going on in the world. I was feeling cold because I was at the height of my eating disorder. I had been eating very little for three months up til that week. My body no longer recognized how to protect itself from any drop of coldness.

This was last November, but to me it feels like a decade ago. Fastforward another three months: the pandemic seems to ease a bit, people begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I think back to the short period of time I spent in Florida end of last year. After my week in Miami, I headed to another hotel, this time in Hollywood, Florida. One night at the bar I overheard someone talking about how the hotel was the one Anna Nicole Smith infamously overdosed and died in. And that somehow concludes my impression toward Florida - Whitney Houston, Anna Nicole Smith, endless coldness, and my bones-protrude, skinny body.

These days whenever I feel weak, those familiar feelings start to creep into my mind. Florida - the sun glinting off young, hot vacationers' sunglasses; the waves breaking lazily on the beach frontage; towering palm trees and white sands - somehow becomes a place that will forever haunt me. It will always be there to remind me how impossible self-love is, and that death can be just a heart beat away.


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