Marya enjoys her school work and finds life as an independent very satisfying. She begins to write for the U's newspaper. Marya starts to mess around with a guy named Mark who is a photographer at the paper. They eventually move in together though there is a 7 year age difference between the two of them. Tensions rise as their relationship progresses. Marya's mom thinks that American University in Washington D.C. is a good place for Marya to go to college. She sends Marya out to D.C to see how she likes it and Marya falls in love with the hustle of the city. She idealizes the fantasy of slipping into the enormous crowd to disappear. Back in Minnesota she and Mark mutually break up and go their separate ways. Marya is living in D.C within the next month. At AU Marya is studying journalism and working on a local political newspaper. Her dorm room mate moved out after a week which was a huge relief since Marya could now have her individual peace. At first, Marya is going out with people to parties or clubs but she becomes more and more of a workaholic which doesn't give her much time for friends and also for food she tells herself. Marya is at one point living on less than 200 calories a day yet she walks to and from her paper's office which is 24 blocks away. Her look is slowly deteriorating and any muscle or fat she once had has completely been eaten away at. Marya begins to have a hard time breathing normally and her heart beat is irregular. One day on the way back form work Marya falls and is unable to get up because her body is too weak. Marya has dropped to 60 pounds. For four days Marya goes to visit Lora in Massachusetts. The two seem just the same as they left off. Lora talks very loudly and fast about what is going on with her life but when she asks how Marya is doing, Marya tends to avoid the question. Marya can't look Lora straight in the eyes anymore since she is so ashamed. When Marya gets back to D.C she is 54 pounds. Marya's mother comes to visit her and when Marya goes to greet her, she passes out. In the E.R. the doctors gave Marya one week to live.
Present day: Marya is still struggling with her image and still constantly scrutinizing her body. She is married to Julian, her adolescent love. He too is not far out of the wrath of Marya's fire as he is the one she questions on whether or not she looks like she's gained weight. Marya will never be completely normal and she has a permanent heart murmur to prove this.