She was in the basement doing laundry.
“Mom, I have to tell you something,” I said.
“I’m not going to hear anything about the end of the world, Star,” warned Mom, glancing into my eyes. I felt annoyed, as if she was denying my intelligence or bravery or some silly presumption of stupidity. Nevertheless, I needed to do this.
“I am not talking about that. I wanted to tell you that, well, I am a woman.” I suddenly felt flushed. How could I have said IT?
“Star, Congratulations!” she yelped, spreading her arms to embrace me.
“Well, Mom, I don’t have it right now. I wanted to tell you something else,” I said gravely.
“What, sweetie?” Mom asked tenderly.
“Well, this has been for almost two years,” I muttered.
Mom looked aghast.
“But you didn’t even have…a chest then!” Mom whispered.
“I know,” I said, feeling strangely guilty.
“And you didn’t tell me?” Mom asked. I think I saw tears in her eyes glistening.
“We went to shoot the .22 that day,” Mom murmured, her eyes looking far off.
I remembered that day with dread.
“You probably didn’t even have sanitary supplies!“ Mom yelped, hugging me. She brushed aside one gray hair, and tenderly smiled.
I wondered if I was red, green, or white.
“I'm proud you told me about it, Star,” she smiled, and let go, “I don’t mind.”
“Mom,” I whispered, “Can I go take a bath?”
“Oh, I guess I am crowding you! Sorry!” Mom smiled nervously. I started walking upstairs.
“Star?” Mom called. I looked back. “Star, remember. I love you!” she called.
I nodded and walked up the stairs. I drew a deep, hot bath and slipped in. I tried to envision myself wearing a bulky space suit, and living in the same place forever. Well, not forever, just until I died. Whatever. Peace suddenly barged into the bathroom, her 11-year-old face looking disgusted.
“Mom told me the good news!” Peace said, with fury.
I could die. If mom had told Peace WHEN I got it, I would so totally shoot myself. Because you know what Peace would do? She would scream her head off and be all like, THAT WHOLE TIME YOU WERE HAVING THAT? What can I say? I do not want that to happen.
“Umm, yeah isn’t that nice news?” I said.
“Oh yeah it is! First I find out you’re going to live while I suffer and die and then I find out you’re a menstrual monster!” Peace exclaimed, “I hate you! I really hate you!”
I burst into tears.
“Y’know Peace, I have been having a really stressful time with this whole thing, okay? It has not been good for me. Do you think I enjoy the thought of you, Mom, Dad and Chunky dying? I am not completely brutal! I’m really sorry about this!” I shouted.
“Okay, Star. I guess I am being a little unfair. However, I feel like I deserve to live. I do not want you to abandon me. Star, we have been so close in the past years. I don’t want you to leave me to die,” Peace sighed, her arms still crossed.
“Apology accepted,” I said, “Now can you leave?”
“Sure,” Peace replied, with a giggle.
I pulled some shampoo off the rack and squirted a pile of it on my head. I could not believe that tomorrow I would be visiting the NASA headquarters for an orientation, and that the day after that I would be boarding a rocket to the space station. I sank back into the bathtub, and tried to relax.
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