Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Tyler/Lauren: Bare truths

The First Night

One thing I have to say about Lauren's room is that it was neat. It was a study in how many ways there are to store clothes, because there are two dressers, a loaded closet, shelves, a shoe rack, a cosmetic table, and bins that contain her winter clothes. The fact that she even differentiates between winter clothes and summer clothes boggles my mind. The only non-wearable possessions she seems to have are technology: a laptop and of course her phone. This girl seems to own no books, no CDs, no DVDs... although in a day and age where iTunes and Netflix are the norm, I can see why she wouldn't. People just don't own things anymore.

I haven't sorted through the entire wardrobe yet, having carved out a small number of items I feel comfortable wearing: t-shirts and pants. It's too hot for long sleeves, and this body seems to react to extreme heat something fierce. From what I've seen, most of Lauren's clothes are designed to free up as much skin as possible, highlighting her figure.

The overprotective brother in me thinks this is not okay, and girls that young shouldn't show off their bodies so much, but the part of me that is dying of heat exhaustion thinks it's fine. I wish there were some middle-ground between "loose, breathable summer clothes" and "modest coverage" for this girl. But there isn't: I'm looking at a summer in pairs of shorts that are smaller than what I used to wear for underwear.

When I first got here, I finally came to grips with the fact that three days of just living had made me grimy as hell. This issue was already lurking in the back of my mind from the time I read Lauren's letter, but I made efforts to rationalize it: I'm a caretaker of this body. I'm going to have to look sometimes, to touch.

The sliding door of her closet is a wall-sized mirror, so no matter where I go in the room, if I don't have my back to that wall I can see myself. Have to see myself. I walked close to look myself in the pretty blue eyes.

"Hi Lauren," I said to my reflection, "My name's Tyler, I'll be... you, for a while. Sorry about this."

Closing my eyes, I pulled my t-shirt over my head at the neck - I reckon sooner or later I'll get used to the extra drag created by my hair. Then I slipped my thumbs under the waist of my sweats and pushed them down to my ankles - beneath, I had actually been wearing a pair of my own jockey shorts, which slipped off on their own, being that there was enough room for two Laurens in there.

I clasped my arms around the delicate regions and pointed my eyes at the ceiling to open them. Slowly, slowly I brought them down until I was staring myself in the eye. Then I let my gaze scan from my reflection's bare feet up along my legs, crotch, torso, breasts, and neck until finally I was looking myself in the face again. Modestly, I cupped my breasts with my hands and, in a vain attempt to complete the coverage, tried to crook one leg over the other to guard my, er, lower half.

I know this has been my body for a few days, but I couldn't get over how frail and helpless I looked under my clothes. I started to shiver and shake.

You've never seen something so pretty looking so unpleasant.

I decided to focus on little details. The freckle above her lip, her perfectly straight, white teeth, the little intents where she has her ears pierced, the little crown of eyelashes encircling her baby blues. I tried to force my grimace into a pained smile. The girl looking back at me was pretty, but you could tell she was sad and not hiding it all that well.

I wrapped myself in a bathrobe and headed for the shower, which did not have the finest pressure I've ever felt, but I get it. I took my sweet time, rinsing my sweaty parts, hairless legs and underarms, behind my knees and ears, dumping loads of shampoo into my hair. I was trying so hard to be thorough and functional about it that I must have spent forty minutes in there before turning the knob off. I feel like someone should have checked to make sure I was still alive, but that's the benefit of being a teenage girl: nobody thinks twice if you're in the bathroom forever.

I made the mistake of trying to dry my hair in the washroom, which took way, way longer than I'm used to, which is when the door opened on me... and I met Lauren's 11-year-old half-brother Kevin.

So, I guess those locks on the bathroom are just decorative.

I stood there slack-jawed. I probably could have covered up better, because at that point I was still buck naked with a shower casually slung over my shoulder, not particularly covering anything. I could have shrieked at him for not knocking, pushed him out, done anything, but I guess I was still deep in self-absorption that I waited for him to back hurriedly out, after presumably getting way more of an eyeful of his sister than he ever expected.

Wet hair and all, I slumped back to "my" room to comb out the tangles. I changed into some pajamas, laid on my side and curled up into a ball, feeling like I could use a drink.

That's the moment I've been thinking of since I got here. Less than an hour in, I had already embarrassed myself and potentially traumatized a member of Lauren's family.


One of the first things I did after discerning what had happened to me and Meghan was to notify the real Lauren that we had "landed" so to speak in their bodies. This was accomplished by leaving her a lengthy, rambling, disoriented message swearing up and down that her life was in good hands, and then confessing it was probably odd to hear all this in her own voice and maybe it would be best to communicate through e-mails.

As it happened, she and her stepsister had wound up in the body of a couple from Austen, Texas - what's with people coming from all over to go to Maine? (Well, I guess I did.) So I guess making a visit is out of the question. As Alice Delacroix, she's supposed to be a personal chef, but is more suited for dishwashing. Her husband, Clay, aka Tasha, is an investor of some kind, which seems like a high pressure job, but I don't know what's needed to make a go at that.

She gave me the passwords to her various online accounts, and told me she would e-mail herself all the relevant homework she had been sent on vacation with, which she had special dispensation to turn in late. That was lucky, but that leaves the final exams for the year, which I have no idea how I'm going to tackle in her place. Cram hard, I suppose. Then, if I pass all those, I still have to live through her senior year.

So Tuesday morning, I woke up in my little Lauren-shaped divot in bed to the sound of an insistent knocking on the door. I slumped downstairs to find a busy breakfast scene, with Susan, her husband Albert, and the twins Kevin and Kylie, having a free-for-all. Susan looked at my ragged sleepclothes and immediately noticed something off: "Honey, you're usually up for hours by now, are you ok?"

I thought about telling them that no, I wasn't okay, but Lauren had missed plenty of school and it fell to me to sit in her place. I sucked it up and said I was just wiped after the vacay.

"Sounds like you've got a frog in your throat," Al piped up, commenting on my conscious attempts to grumble my way through having a girl's voice with a southern accent.

"It'll pass," I said, pouring myself some corn flakes, to the astonishment of the rest of the party.

"Since when did you eat breakfast?" Susan asked.

I shrugged. The old Lauren may have starved herself, but I don't intend to. I ate quickly, then dressed once again as grungily as I felt like I could get away with. To wit: I still didn't touch Lauren's underwear drawer.

I walked the kids to their school, which was on the way to mine, which I found only through the magic of GPS.

At 8:30, I made it to the doors of Eisenhower High. 12 minutes later I was 12 minutes late for Biology. Something about my first class in my newly de-aged now-female body being biology feels like it should be delightfully ironic instead of just sad.

After taking the only remaining seat and getting a strong talking-to from the teacher, I settled in for 40 of the boringest minutes of my recent existence.

And so it begins... more to come.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you didn't touch her underwear drawer, what the heck are you wearing?