Submitted by Amri (written when she was 5)
One, two, three, four, five. That’s how old I am. Five. It’s as many fingers as I have on my whole hand. My brothers are one, two, three, four, five. They wear pants that keep their fat legs neatly separated from each other, and they never ever wear their shirts when they play outside. People admire their mini muscles and their macho-man flexing. Dad lets them tinker with tools in the yard and Mom never gets after them to use toilet paper when they pee. One, two, three, four, five of them get to do whatever they want. There is only one of me. Just one. I sit at church locked in my tall tower of lace and frills and my legs stick together under the mass of heat and itchiness. One day they’ll probably melt into one gigantic leg, and then Mom’ll be sorry. I try to sneak pants on underneath, but Mom always figures me out and makes me take them off. I hate church!
Muscles are unattractive and I’m scolded when I take my shirt off. Mom combs my hair into ponytails that make me look like a sprout-head. And, it takes forever to sit down when I go to the bathroom. My five brothers, they are gods. And me, I’m a stupid girl. I have to play with Barbie, who constantly tips over because she stands too high on her tippie toes and her boobies are too too big. Ken never falls over. His nickname is Zeus. I have five Barbies. That’s as many fingers as I have on my other hand. But only one Ken. We all want Ken though, everybody wants Ken. Math never works in my favor, even when it’s five to one. But Dad says math is for boys.
Don’t tell Mom, but I’ve started wearing shorts underneath all my dresses. My legs coolly, separately enjoy every sacrament meeting. Mom powers can only see pants, not shorts. I love church! Hugh says that if I eat grass from our front lawn that I will grow bushes of hair on my chest just like Dad, and like all five of them are guaranteed to have someday. I throw up every time I eat grass, so I hope it still counts. Hugh tells me I should never give up, so maybe my tummy will get stronger the more I try. Sam tells me that if I jump from my second story window without a boo-boo then I would definitely make it to manhood, but if I get hurt then I’ll be doomed to sissiness forever. I try everyday. I always get hurt, but becoming a man takes a real long time. Hugh punches me and I bleed from both nostrils. It’s cool. Blood cancels out all sissiness.
No one knows that I’ve been working on this, but I’ve mastered peeing standing up. I’m very good. I never tip over, I never spill. I still wipe, though, so Mom won’t know, ‘cause she’d be mad if she found out. I have to stand pretty close to the potty, but I think it’ll get easier as I get taller. The downstairs bathroom is the most secret. Dad’s been trying to fix it since I turned four, and I turn six next month. There’s no doorknob on the door, but as long as I pee when no one’s downstairs, no one knows.
I stand right up close to the toilet. I pull my short and my undies all the way down to my feet and then move my hips forward. Then I pee. It’s a perfect stream from me to the toilet. It feels like a miracle every time I pee.
One time, Sam walks by and spies into the doorknob hole.
“Amri!” he shouts, “what you doing?”
He throws the door open and my whole body blushes. I feel hot like a fever.
“You’re so stupid! Girls don’t pee standing up.”
He slaps my arm. “Bad girl.”
He runs upstairs. I pull up my shorts and follow him.
“Mom! Mom! Where are you?” he yells so loud.
“I’m in here, honey.”
He yanks me into Mom’s bedroom and says,
“I caught Amri peeing standing up over the toilet!”
Mom looked at me, surprised. She started to laugh. She laughed big loud laughs, hot laughs that made me burn all over again. Sam clenched my wrist even tighter.
“Sam,” my mom laughed, “she can pee standing up if she wants to.”