I’m panicking and running up the stairs to get to the bathroom in a house that reveals itself as I move. Not soon enough- it’s happening on the carpet. I get into the shower and I understand more clearly that cubicles are named after their shape. Small, cramped, obscured by flimsy curtains front and back. All of a sudden, my dad flings open the curtain in front of me and I recoil, arms tucked, legs crossed. “What the hell are you doing?” I stammer. I don’t know what he’s saying to me but it’s not important. “What?” he seems unperturbed, if not a little confused and surprised by my reaction. It’s as if it were the most natural thing in the world to see me naked. “What the fuck!” I’m so angry and embarrassed. He finally turns and leaves the cube.
I’m welcomed back to a school atop of watering holes and grassy cliffs. A school where people are characters with extra big grins and extra loud voices. In the cafeteria, he stands there, acknowledging me silently but not approaching. Accurate depiction; a scene from Grease. This girl with extra wild hair takes me around, and as she asks me about him, I find myself pretending that his nickname is off-limits, that he’s someone I know of but do not know. Then, I come across a group of acrobats, who, as she tells me, are sponsored to perform dangerous tricks on the school grounds. They’re clownish, with their crimson lips and perilous zeal. They get on shoulders, fold their backs, sway and start over.
My counsellor wants me to submit the thank you card I wrote her to a few people so they can translate it into a number of different languages and repackage it. She reads it line by line and starts to sniffle at the good bits. I’m glowing. She dabs at her eyes and then uses Tippex to white-out the places where another word might fit better.