Everyone around the room offered my condolences to me for losing my mother. I never knew what to say to people who did that.
“Do you know anything about your father?” Deandra asked. She was 12, but to look at her, you’d think she was twenty. She was about five feet four, big breasts, pouty lips, nice smile and very pretty. Everyone ogled over Penny, to me, Deandra was the real beauty.
“I never knew him and Mother never talked about him. I don’t even know his name, except King, my last name,” I said. There were nods around the room.
“We hear that story a lot in here, Ronni. Well, welcome. You’ll feel more at home as the days go by. Ronni, my real name is Ms. Eva Williams, if anybody ever asks who’s home you are in. Everybody around here knows me, so if you get lost, ask someone and they will point you in the right direction. This is a big city, so take it in small bites until you know your way around. I have a word of advice about that. You seem to have a gentle nature about you, and there are some lions and tigers out that door. Stay close here for a while. Stay safe, okay?”
We talked for another few minutes about the hot water problem. Papa had installed a bigger hot water heater but it still wasn’t enough. I suggested that the boys bathe one night, then the girls bath the next. Mama adopted that idea, and she made a new rule of only fifteen minutes each in the bathroom. That’s a big deal because between all of us, that’s two hours.
After the meeting, Bart told me to hold up and he took me to Mama for a private meeting
“I’m not comfortable in the room with her, him, whatever it is. She looks at me.”
“He’s a boy, Bart,” she said. “How does he look at you?”
“She’s more girl than boy, that’s for sure! Undress her and look at her body! She has boobs and a girl’s hips!”
Mother stepped back and gave my body a critical look. Then she looked again, for a long time.
“She’s into boys, too, Mama. I can tell by the way she looks at me.”
Mama was hesitant. “Thank you, Bart. Run along. I need to talk to Ronni alone.”
Bart said as he left, “She’s a girl, Mama, us kids already worked it out.” Bart went upstairs. Mama made sure we were alone.
“Ronni, I want you to know that what’s going on with your body is not your fault. What you feel inside about boys is not your fault, either, if it is true. But I know now that I should make you an appointment with the pediatrician doctor. We need to go back up to the attic and try to find you a sheer white bra, an A-cup from the look of it. We don’t want your boobs wiggling all over the place at school. The kids will tease you.”
I followed Mama back up the narrow stairway to the attic. She pulled the cord on the dangling light bulb and we rummaged through some boxes until she found me a couple small bras. She unbuttoned my shirt and I took it off and she gasped.
“If I didn’t know better, Id’ say you were a young girl, Ronni. If you don’t mind, could you turn around and pull your jeans down? I want to see the shape of your hips and legs.”
“I don’t mind, Mama,” I said and started to unbutton my pants.
“I don’t want to look at your front, child, so turn around please,” she said.
I smiled at her and turned around. I didn’t like Mama at first but she was starting to grow on me. Her round face and her smile was warm. I slid my pants down to my knees. She gasped again.
“I swear! You have a girl’s body, Ronni. You and I are going to go to the doctors to get them to tell us what’s going on with you. I have never heard of this!”