The thing is, it's like your brain wants to go on thinking about the miserable history midterm you have to take tomorrow, but your body takes over. And what a body: you can see in the dark and run like the wind and leap parked cars in a single bound.
Of course, you pay for it next morning (but it's worth it). I always wake up stiff and sore, with dirty hands and feet and face, and I have to jump in the shower fast so Hilda won't see me like that.
Not that she would know what it was about, but why take chances? So I pretend it's the other thing that's bothering me. So she goes, "Come on, sweetie, everybody gets cramps, that's no reason to go around moaning and groaning. What are you doing, trying to get out of school just because you've got your period?"
If I didn't like Hilda, which I do even though she is only a stepmother instead of my real mother, I would show her something that would keep me out of school forever, and it's not fake, either.
But there are plenty of people I'd rather show that to.
I already showed that dork Billy Linden.
"Hey, Boobs!" he goes, in the hall right outside homeroom. A lot of kids laughed, naturally, though Rita Frye called him an asshole.
Billy is the one that started it, sort of, because he always started everything, him with his big mouth. At the beginning of term, he came barreling down on me hollering, "Hey, look at Bornstein, something musta happened to her over the summer! What happened, Bornstein? Hey, everybody, look at Boobs Bornstein!"
He made a grab at my chest, and I socked him in the shoulder, and he punched me in the face, which made me dizzy and shocked and made me cry, too, in front of everybody.
I mean, I always used to wrestle and fight with the boys, being that I was strong for a girl. All of a sudden it was different. He hit me hard, to really hurt, and the shock sort of got me in the pit of my stomach and made me feel nauseous, too, as well as mad and embarrassed to death.
I had to go home with a bloody nose and lie with my head back and ice wrapped in a towel on my face and dripping down into my hair.
Hilda sat on the couch next to me and patted me. She goes, "I'm sorry about this, honey, but really, you have to learn it sometime. You're all growing up and the boys are getting stronger than you'll ever be. If you fight with boys, you're bound to get hurt. You have to find other ways to handle them."
To make things worse, the next morning I started to bleed down there, which Hilda had explained carefully to me a couple of times, so at least I knew what was going on. Hilda really tried extra hard without being icky about it, but I hated when she talked about how it was all part of these exciting changes in my body that are so important and how terrific it is to "become a young woman."
Sure. The whole thing was so messy and disgusting, worse than she said, worse than I could imagine, with these black clots of gunk coming out in a smear of pink blood--I thought I would throw up. That's just the lining of your uterus, Hilda said. Big deal. It was still gross.
And plus, the smell.