shoulder blade wings — The Lamron

2022-09-24 04:10:08 By : Mr. Lou Yanqing

The girls around Mia were giggling, already half changed into their gym clothes. A loud shriek of laughter pulled her gaze from the floor, and she looked around, giving a small smile. She wished she knew what they were laughing about. She always seemed to miss it.

Abby, the only girl in the class whose mom let her buy bras from Victoria’s Secret, was covering her face with her hands, her voice coming out between breathy laughter. “I didn't mean to see it! It was an accident!” Her voice sounded indignant, but when she pulled her hands away, Mia could see that her face was red with pleasure.

A curly-haired girl whose name Mia always forgot gave another shrieking cackle that seemed to reverberate through the lockers. Mia tried her best not to wince and gave a quiet half-laugh that easily fell into the background of the giggling that surrounded her.

“Well, when we were swimming, do you remember when—”

“Did it look different than—”

“You guys are so immature,” a deep voice said, cutting through the high-pitched chatter. Emmy. She had her arms crossed and rolled her eyes, and Mia looked down, hoping that she hadn’t seen her quiet laughter. If it was okay for Emmy not to laugh, then it was okay for her not to laugh too.

“What, have you seen a lot of dicks, Emmy?” the curly-haired girl asked, seeming exceptionally proud of how easily the slang could roll off her tongue.

The tips of Emmy's ears reddened. “No! I’ve seen, like, a couple. But it's not a big deal. Like, really.”

“Well, where’d you see them then?” Abby demanded, voice too loud. The room went quiet and Abby cringed back slightly. “You know, if it isn’t such a big deal.”

Emmy rolled her eyes again and opened her mouth to speak, but she was saved by a shrill whistle sounding right outside of the locker room door. “C’mon. We have to finish getting changed. Coach is gonna actually mark us down if we’re all late again,” Emmy said, walking away. She threw her blue-tipped hair over her shoulder. Mia stared at her, stunned. If she had been given the chance to speak, Mia would have never given it up.

But Emmy was just like that. She didn’t seem to care what anyone else thought. She didn’t need anyone’s approval. Mia wished she was like that. But she wasn’t. And she didn't think that she ever would be.

Emmy started to roll down her jeans and Mia looked away, forcing her eyes back down to the dirtied blue tiles and the white lines between them. Mia had memorized the pattern. Her eyes were used to tracking the slight slant of the white lines that made it look as if the tiles were perpetually falling, falling, falling, until they were righted into straightness at the edges of the locker room.

It was important not to look at the other girls while they were changing. It was important to stare at the tile. If she didn’t, the other girls wouldn’t want to be friends with her. They would think that she was something that was wrong. Mia didn’t quite know what, but she knew not to look. 

She took a balled-up shirt and a pair of leggings out of her locker. Forcing off her jeans, she pulled on leggings as quickly as possible, hoping that no one was looking at her. Mia probably wouldn’t have minded a year ago, but she gained some weight. She’d noticed because her arms had started to fill up the sleeves of her sequined butterfly sweatshirt that she had picked out herself in fourth grade. She could almost see the definition of her arms through the fabric. She had decided that once they totally filled the sleeves, that would mean she was fat. But she wasn’t there yet.

She wished that she was as skinny as Emmy. As she pulled her wrinkled shirt over her head, she chanced a look over at her. Emmy was facing the wall and Mia could see the ridges of her spine now that she had put her blue-blonde hair into a ponytail. Mia's eyes widened. She forced her gaze back down to the ground, but she wasn’t paying attention to the blue tiles anymore.

Mia hadn’t meant to see anything. But with Emmy’s hair up, she had caught a glimpse of the bony length of her back, her shoulder blades that curved like the most delicate wings. Wings with nothing to restrain them. Wings that fluttered as Emmy reached into her locker. Mia fingered the strap of her pink training bra uneasily. How could Emmy not be ashamed, Mia thought, of not wearing one? 

A clang sounded and Mia's head jolted up. Emmy smiled at her, clothed in her own wrinkled shirt that read Camp Ontario. “We should probably get going,” Emmy said, gesturing at the mostly empty locker room. Mia nodded, giving a small smile back. She looked at Emmy and then back at the floor, trying to remember the falling falling falling tiles. The perfect straight edges. She looked at Emmy again.

“Your hair’s really cool,” Mia said. She hoped that Emmy didn’t notice the slight shake in her voice. If she did, Emmy didn’t say a word. She just grinned, telling Mia that she had done it using box dye and her mom had almost killed her when she saw it. Mia laughed. She breathed out and felt her shoulder blades unfurl, tension easing away. It felt almost like she was flying.

Geneseo’s student newspaper since 1922.