to celebrate national novel writing month (or the unfortunately nicknamed "NaNoWriMo") this year i will spare myself the white-hair-inducing effects of writing 50,000 words in the month of November by writing a story a day.
these stories will be of any length and veer into any territory i wish. the idea is for me to write one a day for every day of november. these will be first drafts with minimal editing.
if you are into any of it. please comment below! perhaps you can help me figure out if there's ANYthing in these stories worth adapting or polishing into something awesome.
story 15. early late bloomers (by jenny yang. sunday, november 17, 2013)
when two people with glasses decide to kiss what happens to those glasses?
i had to ask my friend aja. she was my first friend in the world.
“i think you get the boy to take it off for you” she said with cotton candy in her hazel eyes.
aja’s eyes were not that big. but relative to her tiny petite body and small red-haired head, her eyes were huge. they were the first things i noticed when we first met in the first grade.
she was my first “american” friend. i bet if that first friend was asian i wouldn’t have thought that. when we were freshly immigrated from taiwan and i was five years old, white americans were the “americans” and the “foreigners.” and aja was as “foreign” to me as it got: red hair, pale skin, freckles and eyes. i don’t think she caught on to this, but that first year were were friends and i was barely fluent in english, i would just stare at the freckles on her cheeks while we played with her barbies. when she looked up and noticed my eyes, i’d quickly ask her a question about the barbies, like that was what i was going to do all along.
“i have a red thing. let’s make her a dress.”
my mom worked in a garment factory and she made me so happy whenever she brought home a grocery bag of scrap material for my doll. i had one barbie doll and i made clothes for her, just like how mom did. aja had five barbies and a ken doll. i remember asking my mom why i could only have one doll and she said, “because you are creative and can make your doll into so many things with the cloth that i give you. one doll is all you need!” i guess when i’m five, all i could do was accept her superior reasoning.
i grabbed a long red cloth that looked like a silky rayon scarf and started wrapping it around the naked barbie doll. this was my astronaut barbie. of all the barbies that i could choose from, astronaut barbie was one of the cheapest at toys r us and the one that wasn’t just barbie wearing a frilly dress. she had a hot pink and silver uniform! she had a cool see through helmet! she had knee high hot pink boots! she had shiny hot pink space pants that could be swapped out into silver tights and a super cute pleated and flared mini-skirt! she was incredible.
in the end, these wrapped dresses all end up looking like minidresses tied in the back.
“when he takes off your glasses, that means that he cares about you and your face,” aja smiled.
we were thirteen and ready to get out of middle school. aja was no longer tiny. she and i were what you’d call “early bloomers,” at least when it came to our bodies. by the sixth grade she and i had already developed boobs and were the first among our classmates to get our periods. the problem was, we were not psychologically ready.
“ew! look at your boobs! do they leak milk?!”
kids are cruel when you’re “different” in middle school.
aja and i got our bras together. we liked boys, or at least talk about it, but none of us really wanted to let them approach us.
since were both getting our curves early on, it made us even closer. no other friend at jefferson middle school was going to understand us, especially when we had these bodies but were not ready to do anything sexual.
“did you hear shannalee? she totally blew herber,” was what we heard in the sixth grade.
“um, what’s blowing someone, aja?” i was clueless.
aja proceeded to describe it to me.
“GROSS! why would you do that? gawd.”
the boys were still ignoring us and laughing at us in the sixth grade. why would we want to hang out with any of them. and the one boy that i kinda liked, justin, he was already dating dawn. justin was half japanese-american and half mexican-american. he wore the cool black vans shoes and had his hair slicked back before any of the other boys knew what hair gel was. he was polite and even taught me what the word “kweef” meant.
“the air goes to the front.”
“GROSS! why would you do that? hahahah”
it was only the seventh grade where we can tell a change in the boys. at that point aja and i were already getting into the b cups of the bra section. i know! imagine a little redhead and a chinese girl getting boobies so soon! we didn’t know what we were working with.
the first week of the seventh grade, aja and i were practicing hitting a red rubber ball back and forth between us, pretending it was a volleyball even though it was way heavier and totally hurt our forearms. she strikes it so hard the ball leaps over my head and toward the basketball court.
shoot. i run over hoping the ball doesn’t disrupt one of the boys’ games or even worse someone lands on the ball after jumping. fortunately, quiet blonde-boy chris hustled to the ball before it crossed into the court. as he looked up to see me come after it, i had a moment where i imagined that he would look me straight in the eyes and grin mischieviously while throwing the ball away from me and back into the baseball field behind him.
“nooo!” i thought sprinting even faster to catch the ball from his hand.
but that scenario never played out! to my surprise, chris stood there until i reached him. smiled and simply handed me the ball.
“is this yours? i might have to charge you. but i’ll give it to you for free.”
what. was. that? he smiled. he was smiling at me when he said that. that feels funny.
“stupid. he was flirting with you.” aja smacked my arm.
“yes!” she grabbed the rubber ball from my hands for emphasis.
“oh.” i was so confused.
many years later, i’m still confused. because honestly, i don’t know how to flirt. god, i don’t know how to flirt. and when i asked aja about kissing with glasses, i imagined taking off her glasses.