“How did that story get out? Some girls on the bus said that you had to have stitches because of incontinence. Everything I hear hurts my heart.”
“How did the story get out? My parents went public with it to Billy’s parents, then Angel heard it, then Penny heard it, then on and on. Those girls on the bus are straight up liars! I think I know who it is, tall brunette, short blond?” I nodded. “Rumor central station,” she said and grinned.
I grinned. “That’s better. You were in full heart meltdown out there. Do me a favor and kick Billy Carnes in the balls for…wait. You haven’t done anything with him yet, have you?”
“No,” I said, but I know my face was red. My skin is so fair that I cannot lie. I blush.”
“Well, before you do, just remember this. He’s had sex with a third of the girls in this school. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but it is not that far off, some boys, too. I’ve got to run. Come sit with me at lunch. We can plot his destruction!” Monique said as she turned and walked away.
That went well. And she’s right! I need friends! The first bell rang and I hurried to class to meet with the teacher. He is going to take me to a special classroom where they will proctor my exams. This is going to be grueling. But it should all be over by lunch. I just need to block out all the perimeter stuff, the love and the hurt because right now, I can’t tell the difference between love and hurt. It’s all jumbled up together. There’s the door for home room. I’ve got everything, so off I go, if I could turn off the tears long enough to get through this.
There’s the cafeteria line, out the door as usual. The kids stood talking, hands in pockets, arms crossed, by the red brick walls and the gray metal double doors swung wide and held with those little foot things that swing down with rubber ends. The tests went well! I feel good about all the subjects, especially math and science. I had time to go back over my work and make sure my answers were right. That feels good! I walked up to that last person in the line and stood with my arms folded under my boobs-that-will-never-stop-growing. I’m already too big for the A-cup bra. They pooch up over the top. It’s time for a B-cup. Boys notice them now. They stare at them while they talk to me. It makes me a little mad, but a little flattering at the same time. They forget me and talk at my boobs. Sometimes I like to look at the bulge in their jeans, so it equals out. It’s funny what you think about standing in line.
“You need a purse,” a girl said.
“Hmmm?” I asked and looked up. It was Monique. I smiled and she smiled back.
“A purse. You need a purse. If you had a purse, you could keep a hair brush, which you also need. The girls talk. They love the color of your hair, but tsk at it because you never brush it. You would be a knock-out, if you would keep your hair brushed,” Monique said. She picked at my hair with her fingers, smiling at me with her dimples.
“You’re sweet, Monique. The way Billy talked I had you pictured as the wicked witch.”
“I’m so sick of Billy Carnes I could just shit!” she said. I laughed out loud.
“I can’t…never mind,” I closed my eyes and shook my head. I looked away.
Here come more tears. I could get a part-time job somewhere. I’ll be thirteen real soon. She gripped my shoulders and gently turned me. “Can’t what? Why are you crying?”
I can’t say. I can’t tell how badly I would love to have a purse like hers. A tear fell. It’s like being hungry and someone is eating a sandwich in front of you. I’m not talking “missed breakfast” hungry, I’m talking “haven’t eaten in three days” hungry. If you’ve never been there,