My last period was gym and normally I’d love it. You know, being a varsity athlete and all. So this was gonna be cake. Except that I wasn’t a six-foot, six-packed, sexy beast anymore. I was fat. And because I didn’t bring shorts, Coach Simmons had me wear some stupid hot pink shorts from the lost and found. MY DUDE! Why couldn’t I just stay in my sweats? Now I was out here looking like the michelin tires guy in these booty shorts.
We stood at the starting line of the track and the girls around me snickered at me.
“You want some fries with those rolls?” It was Eyebrows from lunch. Her and her two friends bust out laughing and pointed at my legs.
I just rolled my eyes.
“You got one mile, ladies!” Coach Simmons said, holding the whistle up to his mouth. “Ready…set…go!”
He blew the whistle and we all started running. And immediately, I found out that my weight wasn’t the biggest problem here. My boobs were smacking against my chest every step I took and the impact burned like nothing I’d ever felt before. What was happening? Why were they doing this?
“What’s the matter, crossover?” Coach Simmons said, jogging next to me.
“My boobs are hurting!” I shouted. “I don’t know what to do. It burns!”
“Suck it up! Keep it moving!”
I kept going and my boobs kept attacking me. It was like having a sack of potatoes hanging from my neck. How did girls do this?
“Get it together, Rolly!” Eyebrows shouted as she jogged by.
I stopped running and hunched over my legs. My chest was burning. Not even from the running. Just from the banging of these water balloons. How did girls run with these things on? And now that I was bending over, my stomach was suddenly hurting. Like, really hurting.
“You need a sports bra,” someone said above me.
I looked and a girl in braids and a white t-shirt was standing next to me. “That’s what those are for?”
“Yeah,” she nodded. “It keeps your boobs from playing ping pong with your chest.”
“I thought you guys just wore those to look sexy,” I said, massaging my breasts.
She laughed. “Not everything’s about sex, crossover.” Then she held out her hand. “I’m Kerry.”
Now that I’d finally caught my breath, I stood up, shook her hand, and introduced myself. “I’m Jamar.”
“You can always walk, you know,” she suggested.
“I guess that works too…” I started to say. But I stopped short when the pain in my stomach intensified. What was that? It felt like there was an animal inside of me. Like a baby chimpanzee was using my stomach as a punching bag. Except it wasn’t my stomach. It was some other part that I couldn’t recognize.
And then I looked down and saw blood trickling down the inside of my leg. I was bleeding. Someone had stabbed me! Someone had stabbed me and I was bleeding out! My head started spinning. My heart started racing. The chimpanzee kept punching. And my whole world exploded in pain.
By now the girls had finished their first lap and Eyebrows and her girls jogged past us, pointing and laughing.
“I think I’m gonna die…” I said to Kerry, reaching for her shoulder. “I’m gonna die…”
She grabbed my arm as I lost my balance. And the next thing I knew, I was falling to the ground and everything went black.
I woke up in the nurse’s office on a cot. I tried to sit up, but the boxing match was still going on in my stomach. But there was a plastic packet sitting on me and it as was warm as an oven. The heat was making the pain a little better, but I could still feel the chimpanzee beating my insides to death.
“Everything’s gonna be fine, Jamar,” the nurse said as she appeared above me.
“What happened?” I asked. “Who stabbed me?”
“You weren’t stabbed,” the nurse laughed. And I saw Kerry standing next to her, laughing too. “You had your first period.”
“What? First period was hours ago.”
The nurse laughed again. “No, Jamar. You’re menstruating.”
I shook my head. “Men what? Why does it feel like this? It’s like a cat and a rhino are having a wresting match inside of me.”
Kerry and the nurse looked at each other. “Sounds about right.”
I lay back down on the cot and groaned. “I feel like I’m about to die.”
The nurse put her hand on my shoulder. “Welcome to womanhood.”