Noun: tom·boy
(boy·ish girl)
CHAPTER
1
lying: (noun)
1. the telling of lies, or false statements; untruthfulness:
I’m only telling you this because I won’t be able to tell anyone else.
I think I’m a boy.
This is absurd. I’m a girl. Ask my mother. Ask anyone around.
Yes girl, but no girl. Makeup, dolls, you know the drill. Way out of my league. Maybe I’m just exaggerating.
Maybe I’m just your average tomboy, nothing more, nothing less.
That’s why when I cut off my hair, I didn’t think my mother would mind.
I was bored that day, bored out of my mind. There was nothing left to do-we had just moved into a new neighborhood, and I knew no one. I had no one to play ball with, and shooting hoops would be a pain in such scorching weather.
I began to wonder what I would look like with short hair.
Would I look like a boy?
Maybe.
Did I want to look like a boy?
Yes.
Two seconds and a clipped off braid later, it was done and over with. A peak of brown stood out on the top of my head, the chocolate waves that streamed down my back now replaced with a dirty blond cap.
That’s the story of how I didn’t end up going to basketball camp, even though I was a good girl during the school year and didn’t fail any of my classes like I usually do.
My mom didn’t just mind me cutting off my locks: she freaked. By freaked, I mean she grounded me until I was thirty. She took away every video game and basketball I owned and burned them. She banned me from using the kitchen scissors ever again.
It’s all good though, because Mom gave me Dani. Dani might have been the best thing that has ever happened to me, yet the worst.
Rose was who started Dani. I never intended to cross paths with her, let alone become friends. We became friends, and maybe something more.
I met Rose through my sister. Abby is your average six year old. Cute, peppy, obsessed with unicorns and princesses. She relishes me, I know she does. She wants to have makeovers and tea parties and sleepovers with me. Not for the tomboy, thank you very much.
Other than the fact Abby trails after me like an extra tail, she’s okay. She’s not the best at standing up for herself, so when I find her sobbing at the playground, I am instantly suspicious.
Breathless, I sprint to her. “What happened?”
“Someone tripped me,” she sniffles in response, indicating to a blond over at the other end of the playground.
I rise as fury curdles, anger bubbling from my lungs. I stride over to the blond. She looks innocent enough for someone so disrespectful: a braid draped over her shoulder. Aquamarine eyes.
”Why did you trip my sister?” Words barely through gritted teeth. The blond flashes pale.
“I said, why did you trip my sister?”
She shakes. “I didn’t,” she mumbles. Liar. “I accidently pushed her forward. I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.”
Reluctantly, I forgive her, but not without competition first. “I’ll race you to the top of that tree,” I challenge her. The tree is massive, the kind with branches that curve like fingers, leaves draping you in canopy.
She grips the trunk of the tree, ready to begin. Feet find the branches, fingers reach higher and higher. I take my own force on the trunk, and begin to make my way up the tree, each stalk guiding me closer to her.
I finally reach the cove she is at, and perch myself next to her. We dangle our legs over the side of the branch; her flip flops, my Converse. She’s won the race, but I can’t bring myself to say it.
“I’m Rose,” she says without my asking. Rose. Pretty name. I replay it under my breath, let it roll off my tongue.
“Well? What’s your name?” She’s curious, much too curious for her own good.
I take a deep breath. I could have said just about a million things. I could have told her the truth, the overextended truth. Instead, I give her the simplicity. The lie. “Dani.”
“That’s nice.”
I say nothing, but she fills in the silence for us. She does so by popping the question of the day. The question I dread, the question that kills me so much.
“Wait, you’re a boy, right?” Rose bores her eyes into my soul. Does she know?
No, I’m not.
At least not on the outside.
Would it really be a lie if I told her what I felt inside? Would it really be a lie to tell her the truth?
“Yes,” I say. “I’m a boy.”

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Chapter 2

pre·tend (verb) 2. Lay claim to (a quality or title).

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