“Wait, when did you get yours?” Alex asked Leah, realising she had gone very quiet over the past ten minutes.
“Guys can we not talk about this over lunch please-it’s gross. Well they’re not gross but c’mon” she dismissed, staring into her Mac and Cheese.
“I wonder if they do vegan mac and cheese” she added, skilfully trying to change the subject and hook potential vegan Kayleigh into a monologue about food.
“She hasn’t got it yet” said Ronnie, who was getting a little kick out of Leah’s clear discomfort.
“Look at her boobs, of course she’s got it! Why don’t you wanna tell the story? And by the way my sister eats vegan mac and cheese all the time” said Kayleigh, staring enviously at Leah’s inflated chest.
“What are you hiding” Alex said playfully, sliding closer to Leah and staring her intently in the face.
“Nothing!” Leah snapped. Ronnie the sadist was aghast and in a state of glee at this sudden loss of composure.
“Woah, okay fine! We were just asking” Kayleigh said quickly. Leah stabbed her mac and cheese with her fork
“It’s not like we’re your friends or anything…” Alex said, lilting the phrase with persuasive melancholy
“Closest friends…” Ronnie continued
Leah slammed her fork down on the table and screwed her face up in frustration. She looked them, one by one, square in the eye.
“If you really want to know. I mean really, because you’re so fucking nosey…I got my period at camp” she ended hurriedly.
There was a confused silence on the wake of this statement. As Kayleigh opened her mouth to speak Leah spat
Kayleigh bit her lip, Alex pressed her lips together tightly and Ronnie began laughing without sound.
“Yes. I was at fat camp. Stop fucking trying to pretend you don’t wanna laugh because i know you do. Go ahead”
The girls broke into hyena style laughter, a tear rolled out of Alex’s eye. Once the dust had settled, Leah composed herself and began again.
“I went to fat camp when I was 11 just before I came here. I was fat okay! I admit it, I was fat. I was a fat kid. My brothers used to give me a lot of junk food. But I swear-I was one of the thinner kids there. This was in A-me-ri-ca. They were like little baby whales and cows. I was one of the popular ones, it was a real boost to my confidence actually”
By right of her unique status of being a foreigner, being smaller than the majority of the campers and being pretty she was afforded special privilege among her chubby peers.She had even had a boyfriend there-Tag. Tag was from Wisconsin and was too fond of pizza. While at camp he would sometimes dream he was swimming in a sea made of pizza. Though in the dream sometimes he would drown, death came as a sweet, carb-laden lacto pumped release.
It was a balmy evening after a disappointing dinner and the two had snuck out of their camp houses to meet. Tag was 14, which made the whole affair reek of an even more glorious scandal. He had snuck out of his Power Sharks (hoo ra ra!) cabin by telling the boys he was going on an evening walk to burn more calories. Leah had told the Magnificent Mermaids (hoo ra ra!) the same thing. As Leah was leaving Big Annie, who always seemed to wear the same yellow tye dye shirt and was often sat king-like upon her top bunk, yelled after her with in thick southern drawl
“I know whir you been goin!”
“Bitch” Leah whispered to herself as she closed the worn wooden door behind her quietly. She hated sleeping below Annie because the bed always creaked when she flailed about in her sleep. She had become convinced one day the structure of the bed would break and she would be flatted by her.
“But why?” Alex prodded.
“I’ve seen younger photos of you and you really aren’t that big”
“speak for yourself” said Ronnie.
“Have you got a photo? Show us a photo I swear I won’t laugh” Kayleigh asked desperately
“Fuck no! Im taking those photos to my grave. I went because, because, on this school trip, one of the last trips of year six we went to a theme park and” she suddenly realised what she was about to say, how expectant and in bliss the faces of her friends were, and quietened her tone.
“I was too fat for the rollarcoaster”
Little Leah snuck ninja like through the camp, skipping over stray logs and shielding herself behind cabin houses. The darkness had nearly fully settled over the camp and the smell of warm evening wood and soil had tinged the air. All the stars were starting to shine out in the darkness overhead, unshy in making their numbers known over this little spot of nature. She was huffing and sweating when she reached the giant wooden beaver, the layer of flab that circled her stomach feeling particularly averse to the intense jiggle it had just experienced.
Waiting there by the intricately carved beaver she looked out expectantly at the boy’s cabins, scanning for Tag like movements. A few minutes passed and a small fear grew within her that he wasn’t coming, like that time her dad had forgotten to pick her up from school when she was 5. She had waited alone for what seemed like decades, holding back tears for the duration. She turned back around towards the girls cabins and saw his shadowy figure approaching, his alluring, potato shaped figure. She blushed and primped herself as quickly as she could, pulling down the special unicorn-mermaid hybrid t shirt she had worn for the occasion.
“Hey” Tag said, puberty strangled voice cracking slightly
“Hey” she replied, quietly.
“Can I kiss you?” he asked, dead behind the eyes.
He lept on her and she felt his doughy stomach press against hers. His tongue went straight into her mouth like a wet, uncontrollable snake. He abruptly stopped after a minute or so and tried to regain his composure, wondering if he need conceal the small semi that had formed beneath his shorts.
“Wanna go for a walk?”
“Wanna hold hands?”
She grabbed his hand, which was sticky. Contraband she assumed innocently. She knew he was a penchant for those forbidden strawberry jelly sweets and if there was anyone badass enough to sneak them into camp, it was him. They trundled towards the edge of the camp with hands locked to where the steely toilet building was. It was the part of camp that edged onto the forest and was furthest away from the camp councillor buildings. There was a dim glow from a singular light that had been crudely strung to the toilet block.
“Wanna kiss again?” He asked
He pinned her against the wall the way he had seen it done in a movie he had watched the night before. Two minutes into the sloppy kissing he dared grab a small handful of her barely formed breast. He squeezed too hard for her liking. He stopped and looked at her, smiling. His mouth was always slightly open in a slack jaw type way and the bottom of his front two teeth were perenially on show. She looked at the vast array of freckles that covered his face, (which also looked like a potato) and how his ginger hair curled at the edges. She liked what she saw and let out a small giggle.
“Um…I did this with a girl before she said she really like it okay?”
Leah nodded obediently, slightly bewildered. Tag moved his chunky hand towards her pink cotton shorts. He placed his hand on her vagina and began to move his hand, looking her in the eyes to make sure she was enjoying it as much as he knew she would. Leah saw his muddy green eyed widen with excitement and then slowly his brows furrow into another expression. His gaze averted from hers and went down to his hand which had stopped moving altogether. Jumping back squealed, becoming pre pubescent again.
“So gross dude so gross!”
“What?!” Leah cried passionately
“You cut yourself down there! Its bleeding. So gross dude! Go away from me. Im breaking up with you”
A stunned Leah looked down and pulled the elastic of her shorts outward to see her indeed, bloodied pants underneath. She smiled.
“Good!” she screamed
“You have a small willy and I’m a woman now and I don’t need you!” she screeched as he walked off towards his cabin. She placed her finger on her bloodied spot and saw it transfer to the skin of her finger and smiled again. For a moment before leaving she sat down on the soil and felt a rush of energy between her and the earth and with grinning face gazed up at the fully rounded moon, who seemed to approve.
“You actually said that?” Alex asked in disbelief.
“It’s Leah. One of the first things she asked me in year 7 was whether I knew what The Feminine Mystique was” Kayleigh said, leaving the “duh” out.
“So you’ve always been like this” Ronnie mused. Leah laughed.
“Yeah your story was definitely the best” Alex said, hands up in surrender. The bell rang to signify lunch was over. Kayleigh smacked her head on the table.
“Don’t make me go” she cried, anticipating the laborious science lesson with Mr Toaden. Leah put her hands on Kayleigh’s shoulders and shook her.
“Come on Kayleigh. Just sit at the back and you can go to sleep” Leah advised
“Her level of consciousness won’t affect how shit her grades will be anyway” Ronnie added, swinging her heavy black rucksack on over her blazer. They all gathered their things and left the lunch room with Leah, smiling silently to herself with her hand placed softly upon her womb.