Look The Part(115)

By: Jewel E. Ann

“You know, Swayze, the Gibsons are sending Boomer to a private school only an hour from our house. If we send you there, you’d already have one friend.”

Boomer. Another hideous name. Sounds like a Rottweiler. Nice boy though. I like him, but not the way he likes me. At least I don’t think so. He carries my backpack to the bus for me after school, but he also snaps my bra in class. The bra I don’t need. My mom pressured me into getting one after several of my friends got them. I don’t have breasts. Nope. Nothing there yet. Still, I wear it to feel like all of the other girls, and apparently Boomer’s need to snap it during literacy every day means he likes me. At least that’s the story my mom tries to sell.

Not buying it.

“I like my school.” I twist my blond hair around my finger then slide it through my lips curled between my teeth.

Mom frowns. She has a thing about hair near the mouth. A hair in her food triggers her gag reflex to the point of vomiting, and then she can’t eat that type of food for months. Dad always threatens to plant a hair in the ice cream she likes to sneak—his ice cream.

“You’ll be in middle school next year. It’s a good time for a change. The transition will be easier.” Dad nods as if he only needs to convince himself and my mom.

“I like my friends.”

“You’ll make new friends,” Mom says, shaking her head and scowling at the hair in my mouth.

I pull it out and flip it over my shoulder. “Why can’t you be happy with a normal child?”

“Swayze, if you just give this a try, I promise we won’t ask you to switch schools again, even if it doesn’t work out.” Mom flinches like something’s caught in her throat, probably bile from seeing hair in my mouth.

One last move. One last school. I’ll do it. But I won’t believe it’s truly the last.