. green things rising . excerpt of a novel-in-progress .
Along the shaded, wide boulevards of Colonial Williamsburg. I am wearing a red t-shirt and skipping along, away from my brothers, my parents. My mom and dad are talking amidst themselves. They sit at a bench. My brothers are chasing each other, catching water in their hands from a water fountian, throwing it at each other, the spray missing each by at least a foot every time. My parents call me over.
"We have something to tell you," my father says, slowly.
My mother jumps in, interrupting, abrupt, unabashedly, "It's about time you start wearing a bra. You're too big. Everybody can see."
My stomach drops. I flush. I can't believe they are bringing it up here. I nod my head and start walking away. "You're not a kid anymore!," she chases after me with her words. I am afraid other park-goers hear.
The rest of the day I hold my arms in front of my chest..
T wo months before I want to shave my legs. It is late spring. It is humid. The time has come to wear shorts at school. I wear jeans every day, and the sweat pours down my legs as I sit in the bus. The back of my shirt, the bottom of my thighs are glued to its fake leather seats. The inside of my thighs glue together as well, so when I get off I imagine I walk like an early version of an anthropod robot, a droid, a C3PO. My crotch, faint sickly sweet scent. scent of pee, scent of urine, scent of me....In the morning I douche, I roll underarm deodorant on the crotch, but all my jeans smell the same: of wet wet wet. sickly wet, sticky wet. In desperation, I wear my only light cotton pants: a bright fluorescent yellow pair. I know eyes are on me as I pass through the hall. ignoring my pants would be like ignoring a well-lit marker, an orange eye, bulging with light while passing it driving along the highway at night. I change into shorts when I come home from school. I want the freedom of feeling cool and clean.
But my mother refuses to let me shave. "You've been a kid for so long. Don't give it up yet!"
She takes off her pants and rolls the flesh of her thigh, grips it, so she can pinpoint a scar.. It is like a crater, a moon crater,a desert crater, indented, like an old woman's mouth, open and wrinkled, a prune. "You see this, I got it when I was shaving." She looks up at me for my reaction.
"And this," she moves to her knee, where there is a small scar, an indented line, "is another knick."
Her calves are decorated
with blue and browwn marks. "This is what you get once you start shaving.
You bleed every where, your legs get rough." She rubs my calves upwards, so
my hairs stand on end. "Yours are still so smooth. Don't give it up. Women
in Germany don't shave. Why should you? Don't think like such an American."
I am silent. I have no better argument other than I want to, other people do, it's what's expected...
She takes advantage of my silence. "They'll never be the same. It's easier if you don't start."
But I want to shave. Worse
than wearing my fluorescent yellow pants once a week would be to walk down
the halls with my dark black hairs. I am an animal. I envy the grils with
their long blond hair, the blond peach fuzz on their faces, their cheeks and
chins, their legs.
. home . close window .