You wake up on your thirteenth birthday in your purple bedroom, all your Beanie Babies in a row on the headboard above your bed (you’re a Nineties kid, after all). Happy birthday, you whisper to yourself. You get up and go to the bathroom.

You pull down your soft pink pajama bottoms and your Fruit of the Loom panties. You pee, looking around the bathroom while you sit there, humming to yourself. Then you happen to look down at your panties and oh, there’s a stain. A brown stain.

You inspect it closely—smell it, touch it. You’re sure what it definitely isn’t, but you’re not sure if it’s what you find yourself suddenly wondering about. You twist around and look into the toilet and oh, yeah, ’kay, there’s blood in there.

So you flush and pull your panties and pajama bottoms back up. You wash your hands in the sink, rinsing them under warm soap-bubbled water, looking at yourself in the mirror. You look at your brown hair framing your face. You imagine that there’s something new there, something that hints at this new development sitting in your panties (you are a whole day older, after all). You can feel the stain between your legs. You feel a weird sense of pride about it, even though all you’ve been told about it is that it’s awful.

You sense that something has ended and simultaneously begun, something ugly and brown right now but promising and complicated later.

It’s something that reveals small secrets, like a yellow tulip opening up at the beginning of spring. Birds chirp in your stomach.

You decide you’ll tell your mom about the stain.

But only after you have gone back to your room and removed all the Beanie Babies from the headboard above your bed. You give each one a farewell kiss. You rub their soft fur against your face before putting them one by one into an empty shoebox you find in the closet.

© Being Women Today 2017 ebook


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