Becoming a Woman

I sat with my legs squeezed tight together, praying it would go away. By this time, the blood was everywhere, great gobs of it gushed down my legs and coated my jeans. My curse had arrived. I was clearly going to die. I sat at my desk with three other girls, trying to concentrate on the group project we were working on. I think it was Catherine who first led the conversation to our periods as we sat around that desk and I pretended I wasn’t bleeding like a stuck pig. The other girls all wondered what their first one would be like. One of them didn’t think there would be much blood, not the first time. You might not even be able to tell once yours started Catherine said. I jumped in at this point and said you’re wrong there will be blood gushing everywhere. The others wanted to know how I knew and I said my period had just started today. They didn’t believe me. Cathrine suggested that perhaps I simply had a cracked butt,  so I parted my legs and showed them the blood between them. As if there would only be a little blood. The damned stuff was everywhere.

I don’t know who ran to get the teacher. My next clear memory is standing in the girl’s bathroom and being handed a clean pair of pants by my mother. To this day, I don’t know how I got there or how I got the blood cleaned off of me. I just remember huddling in that stall, hunched over in embarrassment. Now everyone knew. I was the bloody freak. But, there was my mother, explaining to me through the door how the use a pad. She thought she had more time she said. She was sorry she hadn’t explained in more detail early, but I was only 11. The one thing I get early and it’s my period. Lucky me. She said I could come home if I wanted to. I loved her for that. We would go home at once. I would go straight to my room and never come out again. The world clearly wasn’t safe since it had cursed me like this. My mother, unfortunately, went on to say she thought I should go back to class.  I told her that everyone in there knew I was gushing blood. She said the girls I was with had just quietly gotten the teacher they hadn’t stood up and announced my condition. She said she would wait for me and if it was really bad we could go home. So I slunk back into class. No one noticed. Other than Catherine, who asked if I was alright. I nodded and she left me alone. The world didn’t end.

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