I don’t like what’s been happening to me this year. And not happening. And not happening fast enough.
Let’s start with my voice. Just last year I was still getting picked in music class to sing solos at programs and assemblies. Remember? Then, over the summer, that voice was gone, practically overnight. I noticed it at church. One Sunday I was singing along just fine, usual soprano, people around me smiling, probably thinking That kid has a nice voice!
A week later? I can’t sing any of the high notes. The low ones sound raspy, and broken. Summer cold? Next week it’s worse. No summer cold. No more soprano voice. No more smiling adults around me in church. No more solos.
And then … my skin. Stuff popping out. Overnight in some cases. My nose is clear when I go to bed, dotted with red and white and black when I look in the mirror the next morning. Nice.
Lately, too, whenever I even think about a girl I like—or look at one—or smell their perfume—well, let’s just say I want to wait a bit before I stand up. Thinking about liver and onions sometimes helps. Or mushrooms. (I hate both.) But sometimes nothing helps. Except a jacket I hold in front of me as I walk—quickly—down the hall.
Some of my short friends are tall friends now. Some of them are very tall friends. It was kind of funny, watching that happen so fast. One day, it seemed, their pants fit. The next day, you could see a foot of their socks between their shoes and the bottom of their pants. I thought it was funny. Until I noticed it wasn’t happening to me. My pants from seventh grade were still fitting in the eighth. I didn’t like that. Especially since I want to be at least six feet tall, don’t ask me why. I’m not sure. It’s just what I want.
And in the shower—after gym class?—I’ve noticed that some guys (most guys?) are looking more like … well, like guys. Hair, hair—everywhere. Some of them, Mr. Stratford, are shaving after gym. I don’t think they really need to—but they can. And so they do. Standing over there, hogging the sinks, wiping white cream all over their faces, scraping away as if they’ve been doing it all their lives. While I and a few other smoothies—that’s the name for us now, smoothies, there are other words for us, too, but I’m not going to write them here just in case, you know, you decide to change your policy about how honest we can be, about how we can write about anything—stand there looking like little kids, like naked third graders who wandered into the wrong room.
Short version of what I want. (1) To have a decent singing voice again. (2) To have a body that doesn’t go all … rebellious … when I’m around a girl I like. (3) To grow to be six feet—or a little more (nothing too gianty). (4) To grow hair where it ought to be growing—but not so much that I look like my uncle Darrell, who has so much curly hair all over him that if he fell over backwards he would bounce right back up.
Is that too much to ask?