For several weeks before school started, I worked feverishly alone in the locked bathroom with the-skirt-that-would-not-be-hemmed. I knew better than attempt the hemming myself, although in retrospect my mother would have probably looked the other way if I had taken care of it quietly, let her off the hook for the tailoring while she bent over the waltzes and gavottes of other people’s children in the adjoining room. I used a belt, a pair of black and white suspenders, and four diaper pins to jack up my skort to a still-appalling length just barely above my knee, and that only with the added discomfort of being grievously crotched by the under-shorts of the garment. Even when hiked above my knee, it refused to hang properly or make the sporty swing a cheer skirt supposed to make when you jump around. Instead, it swayed, like the hanging brushes of a drive-through car wash.
The colon spasms began as the first game day drew near. I blamed algebra. When it came time to wear the outfit to school, I was reduced to rocking and moaning on my bedroom floor after breakfast, hugging my abdomen. Abbie was the perfect friend. She avoided even looking down at my skirt from the luxury of her neatly hemmed one. Our unspoken agreement was not to talk about it. I got up extra early on game days, tugging up the heavy uniform with every random sash I could find in my closet. I readjusted the suspenders between classes, desperate to show some kneecap.
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