By Connie Alexander
At school the next day Blair and I are heading to the library and I’m telling her about the wrong dosage I was given by the pharmacy for my birth control pills. “Apparently the rule for a pharmacist is to check, double-check then check again. So far it looks like it was just carelessness. The pharmacy is really being cooperative in trying to find out what happened, ’cause they could lose their license; the pharmacist on duty may lose his anyway.”
“I would hope so. Good thing you’re okay. It could easily have been far more serious.”
“You’re not kidding. Oh, there’s Mrs. Cavanaugh. Mrs. Cavanaugh, where’s Chelsea? Is she feeling any better?”
“Good morning girls or should I say good afternoon? Chelsea had a rough night of it. It looks like it was her appendix that’s been giving her trouble. That’s why I wasn’t here yesterday or this morning, she had to go in and have it removed. I’m going back to hospital right now to be with her. I just had to stop by here and take care of some things.”
“She’s going to be okay isn’t she?” Blair and I ask together.
“Yes, girls, she’ll be fine and back here in no time. Now I have to run.”
“Okay, Mrs. Cavanaugh, tell her hello from us when you talk to her.”
“I will, girls.”
We watch Mrs. Cavanaugh walk away and I turn to Blair. “It’s so nice out; you want to study outside instead of the library today?”
Shrugging her shoulders, Blair responds “Sure, so long as we can find some shade.” Smiling she adds, “After all, I wouldn’t want to lose my glow-in-the-dark paleness.”
Laughing and joking, we head out back and settle down on the grass under some trees.
Looking up from her books, Blair asks, “So, excited about tonight?”
“Excited, nervous, borderline terrified. Take your pick. This is my first fashion show and my butterflies are getting butterflies. I can’t imagine what I’ll be like just before the show, hiding in a corner sucking my thumb most likely.”
Laughing, Blair responds, “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine. I just wish I could see it—although I’d probably stick out quite a bit. That’s really not my type of crowd after all.”
Smiling I say, “Yeah, but I’d still like to have you there. Oh well, maybe next time.”
“So when does it all start?”
“The actual show won’t start until eight tonight but I need to be there by five. Mom’s going to pick me up early so I can get ready and get up there in time.”
“So you really like it?”
“What? Oh, the modeling? Well yeah I do, at least the stuff I’ve done so far. I haven’t really done very much except the commercial and that was a blast. In fact it looks like I’ll be doing a second one sometime soon. We’re just waiting to hear back on when they actually want to start production and all. But back to your point, the regular modeling stuff I just don’t know. I think I’ll like it, that is if I don’t pass out on the runway.”
“Oh you’ll be fine.”
From there, Blair and I settle down and study until the bell rings. With a final goodbye, Blair heads off to her class and I gather my things from my locker and then wait out front for Mom to pick me up.
In the car heading home I ask, “Mom, how long are you in the hospital if you get appendicitis?”
“Well, these days if it’s caught early enough, you’re only in the hospital for a couple of days. Why do you ask?”
“It’s Chelsea, she had to go in yesterday to have hers taken out and I was wondering. Do you think we can pick up a card for her this weekend?”
“Sure we can, honey. Do you know if she’s doing all right?”
“Yes, we spoke to her mom briefly right after lunch and she told us.”
“Well that’s good to hear. Now when we get home, you’ll need to hurry and shower and change and grab a quick bite to eat. There are accidents all over and traffic is an absolute nightmare. We want to make sure we get there in plenty of time.
“So, are you excited?”
“And scared. I think it’s going to be fun though.”
“I think so too.”
As we pull into the drive Mom says, “Now don’t dawdle too long, I’ll fix you something light to eat.”
“Thanks, Mom, I’ll hurry.”
Once inside, I run upstairs and into my room. I quickly strip and get into the shower. The one good thing about having my hair short is it takes almost no time to dry it once I’m out of the shower.
With my towel wrapped around me, I finish up brushing my hair and go back into my room to dress.
Sitting on my bed is Ellen, smiling at me and eating a plate of fruit.
“Hey, Ellen. That wouldn’t happen to be mine would it?” I ask, nodding my head at the plate of fruit.
“Oh yeah it is. Don’t worry, there’s plenty more downstairs. So, are you excited?”
I start to giggle and say, “You’re like the third person to ask me that and yes I am. I also hope I don’t screw this up.”
“I’m sure you’ll be fine.”
I pull on my jeans, and then put on my bra and a tank top. Slipping on my sandals I grab the plate of fruit then start to head downstairs to the kitchen saying, “You’re coming to the show, aren’t you?”
“Are you kidding me? Wild horses couldn’t keep me away. I don’t want to miss your premier fashion show, besides it isn’t every day that I get an opportunity to see the backstage workings of a fashion show. I want to take notes for when it’s my turn.”
“Say, speaking of which, what’s the latest with your line?”
“It’s being evaluated right now. Then when that’s done, I just sit around until they tell me if I’m in the show or not. If I am, then I need to do more fittings with my model, yadda, yadda, yadda. We’ll see.”
Plopping down at the kitchen counter I say, “You’ll get in the show. I even bet you’ll be picked to go to fashion week.”
“God that would be so great but I can’t let myself even begin to think that. There are only three openings for that and I don’t know if I’m that good.”
“Well I’ll think it for you. Your stuff is great.”
Mom, Dad and the boys come into the kitchen. Mom asks, “Are you girls ready to go?”
“Yes, Mom!” we chorus.
Dad comes over and gives me a hug. “Are you excited, princess?”
At this I just start to laugh.
“What did I say?”
“Nothing, and yes I am excited. I wish you guys could be there.”
“Well I can understand why they want to keep the numbers backstage to a minimum. I suspect it’s going to be a madhouse. Besides, your brothers made it clear they really don’t want to go.”
“Yeah,” says Mark, “who wants to see an ol’ fashion show?”
“I know,” I reply, “all those scantily clad models walking all around there. Who’d want to see that?”
I can actually see the light bulb go off above both of their heads. When the realization of what they’d be missing dawns on their faces, I give Dad a quick hug, grab my bag and laughing, Mom, Ellen and I leave to go up to the show.
In the car, Mom—who is still smiling—says, “You shouldn’t tease your brothers like that.”
“I wasn’t teasing. You and Dad always tell us to look at all sides of an issue before making a decision. I just gave them a different perspective to look at things…you know, solely as a teaching moment. But did you see the look on their faces?”
At that I start to laugh again and Mom and Ellen join in.
We arrive at the venue right at 5 p.m. There’s quite a bit of prep time involved before the show even starts. I need to see the stylists, manicurists, get in my first outfit and this needs to be coordinated with twenty-five or so other girls. But everyone is so nice that I’m really enjoying myself.
After going behind a screen and stripping out of my clothes and putting on my robe, I go back out and I relax on a couch backstage, talking with Mom and Ellen. The other girls are slowly making their way here, sometimes stopping by to say hello.
Connie shows up and I introduce her, “Mom, Ellen, this is Connie. She's one of the models in this show.”
Just then I hear my name being called to go back for hair and makeup. Music is starting to be pumped throughout the venue and I sit back while two stylists fuss over my hair and face and a team, yes a team, of manicurists attack my hands and feet. When they get done with my hands, I’m told that they need to give me toes. Feeling confused and quite the newbie, I tell them that things were going to get crowded down there with the ten I already have.
They laughingly tell me that since I’ll be doing the yoga outfits that I’ll be barefoot and therefore need my toes painted. Well duh! I wish I’d had thought of that before showing my ignorance. Oh well.
With hair, face, fingers and toes done, it’s time to get into the first of three outfits I’ll be wearing tonight. At this point I can really feel the energy mount. It’s almost go time!
I absolutely love these clothes. They’re super comfortable, extremely flexible but not the usual bland blacks or grays. The colors are vibrant and fun, some of the patterns are like tie-dye or something out of the sixties. Like I say, fun.
I’m in the first group and we gather around Missy, the event coordinator, as she gives us our final instructions. “Okay, ladies, remember, I want to see some bounce and energy in your walks. This isn’t a couture show, give them smiles and let’s have fun with this. Keep an eye on your distance from the next girl. For those of you hitting the upper walk, be careful up there. I don’t want anyone falling off. When you get offstage, for those of you who have a change, no dawdling, I want you out of your current outfit and in your new one in record time. We could do with a few more girls but since we don’t have them, let’s hustle. Okay then, get in your spot, we go in ten.”
We all line up and my nerves kick into high gear. Photographers are everywhere taking pictures and as Connie walks by me, she touches my arm and whispers “You’re doing great, just relax, you’ll be fine.”
With a parting smile and a squeeze of my arm, she takes the lead-off spot.
Her words don’t seem to have any effect, and if anything, I’m getting more nervous. Margo the designer is giving each model a final look over before she and Missy send them out. The music is pounding and it’s like I have tunnel vision. Everything but the moment and what’s going on in front of me is blocked out. My heart is pounding; my excitement is through the roof.
The girl in front of me is sent out and I step forward. Margo makes a minute adjustment to my top, gives me a smile and Missy is saying “Go, Alex!” and I’m walking.
Everything falls away and I’m totally in the moment. My nerves are gone, I’ve got a bounce to my step and I’m having the best time of my life.
I hear the noise of the crowd fighting with the beat of the music but I can’t see them through the lights hitting the stage.
I make my way along the lower runway then quickly up to the upper stage. Once there I effortlessly flow from one pose to the other then I’m done and racing backstage to change into my next outfit. Twice more I do this then suddenly it’s time for the finale and we’re all walking out to the applause of the crowd.
Once backstage and changed into my street clothes, I go to find Mom and Ellen.
“Mom, Ellen, what did you think? Was I too dopey?”
“You were very good, honey.”
“Yeah, sis, you were great. I love her line. Everything looks great.”
“They do and they’re super comfortable too.”
“So who is this girl?” asks Connie as she comes up and gives me a hug. “Not some first-timer that’s for sure. You were great. I can’t believe that this was your first runway show.”
We continue to chat and Margo comes up to us.
“Connie, Alex, I wanted to tell you what a great job you did. Thank you. To show my appreciation, you can have one of the outfits you wore.”
“Oh my god, thank you, Margo. That’s great.”
“Well you deserve it. I hope we can work together again sometime. I need to keep moving so you two take care.”
“Well I got to run too,” says Connie. “I’m sure we’ll get to work together again, Alex. In the meantime, think about what I said. Bye now.”
“See ya, Connie.”
Mom and Ellen walk with me as I go get my outfit and gather up my stuff.
“Think about what, Alex?” asks Ellen.
“Oh, well I think I mentioned that Connie also teaches fitness? Well she offered me a job if I ever want it helping her out. I don’t think it can happen though since her place is across the bridge in Oakland. Okay, I think I have everything, we can go.”
“That was very nice of her,” says Mom.
The next morning, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, music is in the air. It’s all rather annoying as I’d really like to sleep in a bit more.
Stretching out I think back on last night and can’t help but smile. Who’d a thunk that it would have been so much fun?
Turning I grab my phone off the nightstand. I had wanted to call Robbyn last night but it was far too late. Given the time difference, even she should be up by now.
Just before I’m sent to voicemail, she answers.
“Hey there, girlfriend. Don’t tell me you’re still in bed—”
“It’s Alex you ninny. Are you okay?”
“Oh I see. It sounds like you’re really getting into the play—”
“Well that’s great. I wanted to tell you about the fashion show last night—”
“Yeah, it was last night and it was a blast, although I got to tell you I was really nervous before it started—”
Yeah, it was a lot like that—”
We keep talking and I tell her all about the show. She still sounds tired when I’m done so we cut the call short with her promising to call later so we can continue to get caught up on things.
I put my phone back on the nightstand and seriously think about seeing if I can make it back to sleep when there’s a light tap on my door before it opens.
Mom steps in and says, “Morning, sunshine, I thought I heard you.”
“Morning, Mom. Yeah, I just got off the phone with Robbyn. I wanted to fill her in on last night.”
“So did you enjoy yourself? Was it like you’d thought it would be?”
“I did enjoy it and it really wasn’t like I thought it would be. You know, when you see a runway show it really doesn’t look like it’s much work or even all that exciting for the model, after all a model just has to walk, right? But it wasn’t like that at all. It was very exciting and you don’t walk, you walk the ‘right’ way. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain.”
“Well I think you did great. You certainly looked great. If you want to stay in bed you can. There’s nothing important going on today.”
“Well as much as I think I’d like to, I think I’ll just get up. I want to give Blair a call and see if she survived her night and see if we can’t get together. Would it be okay if she came over today?”
“Sure, honey. Blair is a very nice girl. I’m glad the two of you are developing your friendship.”
“Okay then, honey; come downstairs when you’re ready.”
As soon as Mom is gone, I pick my phone back up and call Blair.
“Hey Blair, I see you survived last night—”
“Yeah, it was a blast. I can’t wait to tell you about it. You want to get together?”
“Well then, how about you come here?”
“That’s super. Tell you what, I need to get dressed and have a quick snack then I’ll run over and we can walk back here. Sound good?”
“Yeah, well you should try it sometime. Okay, I’ll be over in just a bit. Oh, grab your suit too. We’ll lounge in the pool all day—”
“Don’t worry: I have SPF gazillion lotion you can use, so dig out your suit—”
“You forget I’ve seen it and its rockin’, now no more arguments. I’ll be over in just a bit—”
“Yeah right back at ya, bye.”
Smiling, I hang up and hop out of bed. After a quick wash, I dress in my running outfit and head downstairs.
Mom has just finished up fixing a batch of smoothies and I grab a glass. Just as I sit at the counter with it, a rumpled-looking Jack comes in from downstairs.
Surprised I say, “Hey, Jack, when did you get here? You weren’t here last night when we got home were you?”
“Good morning, Alex. No, I got here later.”
“I thought you were back down at UCLA.”
“I was but I came back up for the weekend. Now if you’ll excuse me, her highness requires coffee. She really isn’t a morning person is she?”
Both Mom and I chuckle and I say, “Nope, never has been.”
Shaking his head, Jack pours two cups of coffee and heads back downstairs.
“Mom, I think it won’t be too long before our family grows a bit more.”
“Honey, you shouldn’t rush into things, you’re still so young.”
Laughing, Mom looks to the stairs and says, “Just making sure you were awake. Yes, honey, I think you may be right. So, what are your plans?”
“Well, I called Blair and I’m going to run over to her house and then we’ll walk back here and hang out.”
“Good. Would you like me to drive you over there?”
“No, that’s okay. I need to get my run in and it’s less than two miles. Walking will be good.”
The gate is open when I get to Blair’s house so I jog right up to the door and ring the bell.
The door opens and Tia is there smiling at me.
“Buenos días Tía. ¿Cómo estás?”
“Buena. ¿Cómo te señorita?”
“Great. Is Blair ready?”
“Sí. Please come in. She’ll be right down.”
Just as I step into the entryway, I notice Blair coming down the stairs dressed in another of her unique outfits. This time she’s wearing a cute Juliet top in pale lavender over a white gauze minstrel shirt that is long enough that it’s serving double-duty as a mini skirt. Under the skirt she’s wearing lace print leggings that match the pale lavender in her top. On her feet are black lace-up boots that look like she stole them from the Wicked Witch of the East, with their flared-out heel, pointy toes and cross-pattern lacing.
“Wow, you look great. You do realize that it’s about two miles to walk in those boots?”
“Hey, Alex. Yeah I know. If it gets too bad I put my high-tops in here,” she says, patting the side of the over-sized bag she has slung from her shoulder.
“Good, you have your suit in there too, don’t you?”
“Yeah, I have it. I’m still not sure I want to go swimming though. Your whole family is going to be there, right?”
With a quick wave goodbye to Tia, we head back to my house and I reply, “On and off but that shouldn’t bother you. They don’t bite or anything. My Mom really likes you, I’m sure everyone else will too.”
Looking askance at me she says, “We’ll see. Most people just think I’m weird.”
“That’s why you’ll do fine at my house. My family is about as weird as you can get sometimes.”
“I hope you’re right.”
“I am. So this is a different look for you. You’re not in all black today.”
“I don’t always wear black. I like color too; I just tend to wear black on school days.”
“I think it looks very nice, although it does seem just a tad over-dressed for the weekend.”
“It’s actually really comfortable.”
“You look like all you need is a set of wings to complete the look.”
“Having wings would be so neat wouldn’t it? I mean, can you imagine being able to fly?”
“I know. If I had one super power I think it would be the ability to fly. I guess that’s why I like Parkour—it’s a lot like flying sometimes. Some day I’d love to do skydiving. I hear that freefall feels like you’re flying.”
“As much as I would love to be able to fly, I don’t think I could do that. I’d rather have the ability than have to rely on something to keep me from going splat on the ground.”
“Hey, that’s part of the fun.”
“You’re nuts, you know that?”
Smiling I say, “I’ve never denied it.”
Once we get to my house, we say hi to Mom and go on up to my room.
“Hmm,” says Blair, “you know I do like your room. It isn't quite what I thought it would look like when I first came over but I do like it.”
“Oh and how did you picture it?”
“You know, I’m not quite sure. It isn’t as girly as I thought it would be but that isn’t it completely either. It’s nice though. I especially like your mermaid and fairy prints and those little dragon figurines. All the fashion magazines don’t surprise me, just the sheer volume you have.”
“Well some of them are my sister’s but I figure if I’m going to be in the fashion world, I better know a thing or two about it.”
“So you really do like all that? I don’t know if I could do something like that even if I was tall enough—the thought of everyone looking at you—it would freak me out.”
“I really do like it. That’s kinda surprised me too and they aren’t looking at you, everyone is looking at what you’re wearing. At least that’s the way it’s supposed to be. You’re more or less just a glorified clothes hanger. Of course as a model, you do want to be noticed but not the way most people think. Oh it’s hard to explain.”
“That’s okay. So long as you’re doing something you enjoy, that’s all that matters, right?”
“Yeah, and so far I do enjoy it.”
We continue to chat and Blair goes through my music collection. I’m a bit surprised when I find out she hasn’t been exposed to some of the classics like Pink Floyd, Queen or The Who. Dad being a classic rock aficionado introduced me to them and others last year.
After lunch, when the ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ finishes, I stand and say, “Come on, let’s go change.”
“Change? Change for what?”
Sighing I respond, “Blair, come on, let’s go swimming.”
“Ahhh, just for a bit okay?”
“Sure, now come on. I’ll do you if you do me.”
“I said I’ll put lotion on your back if you put it on mine.”
“Oh yeah, sure thing.”
Back up in my room I say, “Strip on down. I’ll get the lotion and be right back.”
I dig around under my sink and finally locate the lotion. When I get back to my room, Blair is stripped down to her panties.
“Okay,” I say as I sit on my makeup bench, “Let’s see your back.”
Blair turns her back to me and I begin to apply the lotion.
“Hey, are you okay? You seem awful tense and you’re shaking a bit.”
“No, no I’m fine. Um, the lotion is just a bit cold is all.”
“Oh, sorry about that. Man, I love the feel of your skin, it’s so soft.”
When I’m done with her back I shift to kneeling on the ground and ask, “While I’m at it do you want to do your legs too?”
“Wha…oh n-no, oh well, ah s-sure I guess.”
“Okee-dokie.” As I apply the lotion I can really tell that Blair has nicely toned legs. “Say, I never see you do gym so how do you keep your legs so toned?”
“I do a lot of Pilates and I have a waiver for my P.E. requirement at school.”
“There, all done, unless you want me to do your arms and front…ah probably not, so here.” And I hand her the lotion and stand up. “My turn.”
At that I quickly take my clothes off and turn my back to her. All of a sudden I feel a tad awkward and I jump a bit when the lotion first hits my back.
Blair rubs the lotion in with neither one of us saying anything else and when she’s done I go to my dresser and get my bikini.
As I am putting it on, I turn and see Blair slip into her one-piece.
“Hey, that’s neat.” She has a black one-piece suit with little white and pink skulls all over it. “Where on earth did you get that?”
“Isn’t it great? I found it in a catalogue and couldn’t resist. They had a bikini too but I like the one-piece better.”
With both of us ready, we head on outside and jump into the pool, the little bit of awkwardness that I felt quickly disappearing.
Having Blair over Saturday was a blast. I could tell she didn’t feel comfortable around my family at first but she seemed to loosen up by the time dinner came around. It helped her I think that Mom asked for our help in the kitchen and was willing to let Blair put together a dessert for us. Blair is a natural in the kitchen and that’s easily the place where she is most comfortable.
I played lackey to her commanding general while she put together a roasted peach sundae that doesn’t sound like it would be good but was to die for. It certainly got the enthusiastic support from the entire family and they made sure to tell Blair too. It was nice to see Blair smile at the praise.
Sunday I spent doing chores, doing my homework and reading a rather lengthy email from Aunt Dee. It seems she finally believes that she has one less nephew and one more niece. She was stunned by how much we look alike. I had sent her a picture of me and she sent back a picture of her at my age in the same pose. Looking at them side by side, the only differences I see are hair length and eye color. It’s really spooky.
I wrote her back trying to bring her up to date on my life. I discussed what it has been like for me learning to be a girl after thinking I was a boy for so long and how much it turns out I like modeling so far. The end result was an extremely long email and me going to bed with a contented smile on my face. This has been one of the best weekends I’ve had in a very long time.
When I wake up, at first I think I must have overslept because I feel so rested, but a quick look at my alarm clock shows I actually have another fifteen minutes before it will go off.
Getting up, showered and dressed in record time, I skip into the kitchen to find Mom sitting at the counter drinking her coffee and reading the paper.
“Good morning, honey.”
“Yeah, great. You know, you wouldn’t have to get up so early and drive me to school if I got my license,” I say while fixing a bowl of cereal.
“Oh I don’t mind, sweetheart.”
“Mom,” I whine, “That’s not what I meant.”
Chuckling, Mom says, “I know, honey, just teasing. Your father and I were going to tell you soon anyway so I don’t see why I can’t do it now: we found a driving school for you and as soon as you’re done with your self-defense classes, then you can start driving school.”
“Really, you mean it? That is so great. You know I don’t really need those classes. I can be done now. I think I’ve learned what I need.”
“Once Joe says you’re ready and not before. You are going to be able to take care of yourself. Besides, think of it as an incentive. You’re still having trouble with the sparring so maybe this will help.”
“Oh all right. I don’t think it’s very fair though.”
Mom gives me a sympathetic chuckle and I finish up my cereal and grab my book bag.
By the time we get to school, my good mood has fully returned and with a quick wave goodbye to Mom, I practically skip into the place.
Assembly is short: both Chelsea and her mom are still out. Blair and I agree to meet up right after lunch and we go off to class.
English goes fine but something doesn’t feel quite right and I can’t figure out what. By time I meet up with Blair after lunch, I’m feeling positively paranoid.
“Blair, I can’t figure out what’s going on. I may be paranoid but it really seems like everyone is talking about me behind my back. People have been staring at me and when I go into a room or as I walk down the hall, people stop talking and stare at me. Do I look okay, did I do something wrong?”
“You look fine to me and I can’t think of anything you’ve done. However,” she says looking around, “it does look like you have more than the usual attention being directed your way. Not that anyone talks to me but if I hear anything I’ll let you know. Maybe they’re just in awe of your amazingnessness. Is that even a word? If not, it should be.”
Blair does a good job cheering me up and I finally succeed in putting it out of my mind; it’s not like there’s anything I can do about it anyway.
The rest of the day goes well and I’m just finishing up, what is turning out to be my favorite class, tennis. Well, tennis isn’t so great but the teacher is.
Miss Carter is really nice and even though my new meds are working and I no longer am dealing with the hormonal storm I was, she could get a devout celibate all hot an’ bothered just by flashing that mega-watt smile of hers and I’m no celibate, well by choice that is. I admit to having one serious crush on her.
It’s after class and Miss Carter is trying to help me with my back-swing.
“Miss Carter I just don’t get it. I just can’t figure out why I’m so terrible at this.”
“Alex, you’re not terrible. You’re not great, but you’re not terrible either,” she says with a smile.
Continuing she observes, “Most of your problem is in your grip. That’s not a club you know, shift it like this and don’t hold on so hard. Your grip needs to be looser.”
She runs me through a couple more swings and says, “Much better. See how well that went? We’ll work on that some more tomorrow. Now, could you do me a favor?”
“Oh sure, Miss Carter, anything.”
“Could you gather the equipment and put it in my office? I’m running late and I’d really appreciate it.”
“Thanks, Alex, you’re a doll.”
I know I have a goofy grin on my face from her comment as I take her racket and start to gather up the tennis balls.
As she jogs back down to the gym, I pause to admire her retreating form. When she’s gone I give a sigh and finish picking up all the balls. Gathering everything I schlep it all down to the gym and Miss Carter’s office.
With that done, I go to my gym locker and grab my towel and soap. I’m hot and sweaty and a shower will feel nice. I have almost an hour before Ellen picks me up and with most of the kids gone, it’ll be nice to have the locker room to myself.
After taking my time washing up while idly daydreaming about Miss Carter asking me to help her with something that would be totally inappropriate for a teacher to ask a student for, I turn off the water, wrap my towel around myself and go back to my locker.
When I get back, the first thing I notice is my padlock is missing. Perplexed, I look around and notice a piece of the hasp lying on the ground. Opening my locker, I notice all of my clothes are gone. The only thing in there is a nasty boy’s jock strap hanging from the hook.
What the hell is going on here? I start to look around. No one else is in the locker room. Who took my clothes?
I finally find them. All of my clothes have been shoved into the toilets. While standing there in total disbelief, behind me someone says, “Bitch, or should I say bastard?”
Turning, there’s Lindsey.
“You? Are you the one who did this?”
“Those are girl’s clothes, a freak like you shouldn’t even be here. I told you you’d be sorry. I always knew there was something wrong about you. You’re disgusting, you goddamn pervert!”
I’m stunned by the absolute venom in her voice. Shaken, a bit in shock and not wanting to get into it with her, I turn to get my clothes, disgusting as they now are, out of the toilets.
As soon as my back is turned, Lindsey grabs my arms from behind.
I start to struggle and say, “Damn it, Lindsey, let me go.”
The more I try to get away, the more her nails dig into the inner flesh of my upper arms.
Lindsey pulls me back off-balance and as I turn, I see Britney standing there holding a jar and looking worried.
“Do it, Brit,” says Lindsey. “I said, do it. Now.”
Britney reaches out and pulls my towel off of me. This really gets me struggling.
Britney says, “Oh I don’t know, Lindsey.”
“Damn it, Brit, don’t you dare chicken out on me, just finish it.”
Britney takes the top off her jar and moves towards me again.
Not wanting to find out what ‘it’ is, I re-double my efforts. I slam my head back as hard as I can and at the same time my foot comes up to kick the jar out of Britney’s hands.
There’s a loud crunch and Lindsey is screaming. My foot connects with the jar sending its contents flying back at Britney who is suddenly covered in either blue paint or blue dye. From the looks of it, it’s dye.
She starts screaming; Lindsey is screaming and quite obviously has a broken nose. I’m sobbing and grab my towel and try to get it back around me and suddenly others are there.
Miss Carter and Mrs. Wargo are there trying to find out what happened and its total chaos.
Twenty minutes later I’m dressed in one of the school soccer uniforms that Miss Carter found for me and sitting in one of the offices with my smelly wet clothes in a plastic bag at my feet trying to explain what happened to Mr. Rosenberry.
“Well, Alex,” says Mr. Rosenberry, “Lindsey and Britney are saying you attacked them after accusing them of putting your clothes in the toilets. It doesn’t look like the dye will be able to be washed off Britney and it looks like Lindsey’s nose is broken.”
“Mr. Rosenberry, I swear it’s just like I told you. Lindsey grabbed me from behind and Britney was going to throw that jar of dye on me. Look at my arms: you can see where Lindsey’s nails dug in. Plus, why would I attack them naked? It just doesn’t make sense.”
“Alex, as you know the school has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to violence. I’m afraid that the three of you are going to be suspended. The exact term of your suspension will be determined when the board meets tomorrow.”
“What? That’s not fair! I’m the victim here and I’m getting punished?”
“I’m sorry, Alex, that’s the way it’s going to be for now. I’ll explain it all to your mother when she gets here. Maybe we can find someone else to help corroborate your side of things. Right now all three of you will be held equally to blame.”
“It’s not fair.” And I put my head in my arms and start to cry.
I’m not sure how long I stayed in that office until Mom finally got there. I didn’t see any sign of either Lindsey or Britney as we left.
Once in the car I break completely down and cry on Mom’s shoulder for a bit. In my shaking, sobbing voice, I tell her everything that happened. I’m just finishing up and have my crying mostly under control when we pull up to the house.
“…and I don’t even know why. She called me freak and pervert and she had so much hate in her voice. I don’t even know what I did. I can’t believe she hates me that much over what Joan did.”
“Honey, I don’t think this is about Joan, at least mostly. I think I know what this is about. Come on inside and we’ll explain.”
When we get into the house, Dad, Ellen and the boys are all waiting for us in the living room. Everyone has a sad and somber look on their face.
“Mom, Dad what’s going on?”
Mom is still on my left and Dad comes over and stands on my right and puts his arm around my shoulders. As he gives me a hug, Ellen hands me a newspaper.
Reading the headline that’s circled I exclaim, “Oh no!” As I break down crying again, the paper slips from my hand. The headline facing up at me reads, Hero girl born a boy who had sex change operation. Full article on Page 3. My picture is staring out from below.
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