Sitting near Darci Madison on the school bus is enough to put anyone with woman-sprout
issues over the edge. Sure, she might wear a push-up bra, but the point is that she has more
than enough there to push up. I, on the other hand, don’t. I glance down to critique my
Kleenex sculpture...and can’t help but compare her jiggle to my stationary tissue wads.
Tormented by the abundant boobage sitting across from me, I hesitatingly admit to
myself that yes, I am an addict. I’m not a drug addict—no, too risky and expensive. I’m
not a sex addict—please, I haven’t even had a decent make-out session sans drool and
cheap cologne. Something that others blow their noses into happens to be my addiction
of choice. I, April Bowers, am a tissue-wasting, size-34C-obsessed bosom sculptor. Yes, I
confess...I am a bra stuffer.
As I ponder the injustice of having a bellybutton that sticks out farther than my
34AA chest, I begin to wonder if instead of growing out, my boobage is growing inward.
Maybe if I were inside out I’d have the body of a goddess.
What a fantastic theory.
My brief smile is abruptly halted by a speed bump that makes Darci’s ginormous
boobs heave from her chest. A panic bubble lodges in my throat as the bus slows to a
stop. The bus driver opens the door with a shrewd grin. She watches me in the rearview
mirror as I approach the exit.
“First-day jitters?” she says.
I glance down at my chewed fingernails, smiling passively. First-day jitters doesn’t
quite describe where I’m at right now. Early-life crisis is more like it.
With heavy feet, I slowly slink down the steps to emerge onto the hazardous war
zone that most refer to as Penford High School. The ominous sand-colored building
stands before me like a large enemy barrack. Déjà vu hits me at warp speed. It seems like
just yesterday I was making the same brutal walk of shame as a brand-new freshman with
no friends. This year two things have changed: I’m a sophomore, and I’m not new
anymore. But one thing remains the same: I have no friends.
I feel vulnerably alone making my way through the groups of bubbly girls conversing
about their summer hookups, vacations, and shopping sprees. This is the moment I’ve
been dreading since Haley Lucas, the one good friend I made last year, moved to
Dorothy’s wonderland in July.
Delaying the inevitable, I stop to pull out my compact to make sure my war paint is
still intact. A wave of relief comes over me. My makeup still looks okay. It’s amazing what
superficial reassurance can do for someone marching to her social death.
Just as I’m shutting my compact, I notice a reflection that I’m not at all happy to
see—Delvin McGerk. Also known as King Stalker McGerk of Loserhood. I walk briskly,
hoping to slip into the sea of students unseen by his radar eyes. My hopes are smashed
when he catches up to me, waving excitedly. Frustration floods my body as I glance over
at him. His creepy eyes look like huge silver dollars lurking behind his thick magnifying
“April Bowers, you’re looking rather illustrious today,” he says.
Why does he talk like that? More important, why does he talk to me?
“Thanks, Delvin,” I mumble, looking to the left to avoid eye contact.
“What?” I huff irritably.
Predictably, he grins and croaks, “My mom talked to your mom yesterday.”
Bingo. I knew he was gonna say that. After all, it’s the only thing we have in
common. Yes, we both have moms...and yes, they know each other.
“No way, McGerk. I don’t believe it.” My sarcasm is so thick, I could spoonfeed it
to a baby.
“It’s true,” he insists, adjusting his lopsided glasses.
I stare at his ruler-parted floppy brown hair, wondering what planet he came from.
An uncomfortable silence ensues.
It just so happens that my mom and Delvin’s mom are old sorority sisters. Before the
move here last year, I had high hopes that Delvin would have movie star looks and a
playboy reputation that would skyrocket me to popularity as soon as I stepped foot in
the school. Having heard stories about how pretty and popular Patty McGerk was in
college, I couldn’t help but believe her attractiveness and social skills would be passed
down to her only son. My disappointment was monumental when during our first
introduction, Delvin spent a half hour explaining aeronautics while obsessively adjusting
his lopsided glasses. Lucky me. Since then, he has convinced himself that our mothers’
friendship gives him the right to be a total stalker.
“Sooo....” He chuckles, nervously twisting his backpack straps. If I were up for it,
he’d spend the whole day exchanging awkward glances.
“Delvin, I’ve gotta go,” I say sharply, leaving no room for mixed signals.
He winks, like he’s about to say something über suave. “Well then, I guess I’ll see ya
I pray he’s wrong.
His chapped lips curl into a ridiculously cheesy smile before we part ways. I’m
blinded by the sheen of ten pounds of metal securely fastened to his teeth. Why couldn’t
my mom be old friends with Troy Hoffman’s mom? Probably the same reason I have
boobs the size of sesame seeds.
I clutch my class schedule tightly and continue my march through the double doors
of doom. The hall is bustling with all the personalities one would expect to find in a
recipe for teenage stew:
Deliciously Dramatic Teenage Stew
– Athletic muscle-head beef types
– Tall, gangly carrot types
– Self-conscious round potato types
– Angst-ridden emotional onion types (with too many layers to peel)
– Bully shredded-cabbage types who leave you with stomach cramps and gas
– Shy bouillon cube types who dissolve into obscurity
– Social butterfly bean types—beans, beans, the magical fruit; the more you eat, the more you toot...or in this case, talk
– And finally (drumroll, please), stuck-up acidic tomato juice types who cover all the abovementioned with their gossiping slime
Stir together until uncomfortably blended under the high heat pressure of a social nightmare. Let simmer for nine months out of the year, but please don’t overcook...Rumors have the tendency to become vile if cooked too long. Remember to store in an airtight container to ensure drama does not become stale.
In my former life, I was a social butterfly bean type. However, upon transferring
schools, I immediately transformed into a shy bouillon cube type. Being comparable to a
cube of evaporated meat extract is disheartening to say the least.
After hustling through the strong whiff of simmering personalities, I find my
homeroom. I beeline it for the first empty desk I see to sit my socially suffering butt down.
“Pssst—April,” an annoying voice calls out from the back of the classroom.
I look back at my older brother. He loves to humiliate me in groups. Sadly for me,
homerooms are alphabetized, not separated by grade level. Apparently living with him isn’t
“Hi, Aaden.” I cringe.
“How was your ride on the