When I woke up, everything in my body felt off. I stretched and my legs didn’t even reach the bottom of the bed anymore. I sighed and didn’t even bother opening my eyes. I was so tired. Like, crazy tired. And why was my head throbbing? What was wrong with me? What day was today? Did I have school? Oh my gosh, was I late? Was there an assignment due today? Why was I so tired? Did I work out yesterday? Why was I thinking so much. What the heck was wrong with me?
I shook my head to shake all these extra thoughts out, but they just kept going. It was like a group of preschoolers that wouldn’t shut up. But anyway, back to the morning. It was my birthday. 18 years old, baby. Transition day. Which meant I was 14 again.
And then I remembered.
I was a girl now!
I grabbed my chest and felt two softball-sized water balloons hanging on me. Those were boobs. I had boobs. This was so cool. I reached for my head and felt a bunch of poofyness around it that hadn’t been there before. That was a lot of hair. I felt every inch of my body, my stomach, my thighs, my butt, but I could barely feel anything in these baggy clothes. I must have shrunk overnight. How hot was I now?
I jumped out of bed and ran straight to the bathroom, almost tripping over my pants. I made it to the mirror and looked at myself, expecting to see a teenage Gabrielle Union. Nah, Rihanna. Or maybe a a Beyoncé with a little of Megan Good sprinkled on me. But all I saw was a chubby face with big lips and bumps all over my cheeks. I lifted my shirt and saw a flabby belly underneath.
I was fat.
You gotta be kidding me.
This had to be a joke. They thought they were funny. Make the jock a fat chick? That’s real cool.
I stared at myself in the mirror for a long minute, studying what I had going for me. Or not going for me. My face was puffy. My nose was little and round. My hair was knotted in a basketball-sized afro around my head with more naps than a kindergarten class. The only cool thing that was on me was that one eye was brown and the other was hazel so everyone knew I was a crossover. But other than that, I was looking whack. Forget Beyoncé. I looked more like Jennifer Hudson—before she lost all that weight.
“Jamar, get ready!” Mom knocked on the door. “The bus is coming!”
I sucked my teeth and sighed. Great. I dragged my feet back into Jina’s room and looked through her closet. I sorted through dresses, jeans, and skirts, but everything was so flashy and extra and half the stuff didn’t even look like real shapes that clothes were supposed to be in. So I found a pair of sweatpants, a long-sleeve T, and put on her only pair of sneakers. Hot pink. These sneakers were hot pink.
I was about to walk out, but saw my reflection in the window on my way to the door. My hair. I went back to the bathroom and looked at the afro. What was I gonna do with this? I looked like a troll from the 70’s. I went back and looked through Jina’s drawers, looking for a pick. How did this chick not have a pick? Then I remembered that she didn’t have this much hair anymore. I found a drawer full of brushes, combs, ribbons, and a whole bunch of other tools that I’d never seen before. There were sticks with needles on them and what looked like balls of yarn and tiny boxes of different colors. What the heck was all this stuff? I just needed a pick.
I grabbed a brush and started brushing, but it was like mowing a lawn with a toothbrush.
What the actual frick?
“Jamar, the bus is here!”
I sucked my teeth. Screw this. I went back to the mad scientist drawer, grabbed a pink ribbon, then pulled my hair back so it was bunched up into a bun. Then I tied it up with the ribbon and called it a day. I grabbed Jina’s backpack and headed out the door.
Little did I know that this was not gonna be a good day.