6 - I Watch the Ripples Change Their Size
I glared over at the clock, as if I was trying to force my mind to see it, register the time, and realize that there was absolutely no reason for it to be so tired at this hour. However, that didn’t stop a yawn from forming at my mouth, spreading out into a stretch that reached down to the very tips of my toes. Probably, I thought resentfully, my younger body was simply used to being put to bed around now.
I remembered that in the summertime when I was little, my parents had always been pretty lenient about bedtime, and, since I was generally good about going to bed at a decent hour, they usually didn’t even bother to remind me that it was getting late. I’d tried to stay up late a couple times, but that had always ended up with me falling asleep anyway, usually in some awkward position, like sitting at my desk, so I would usually go to sleep at around the same time as my parents made me during the school year. Not that this body had been through more than one, perhaps two, school years.
If there had been anything to do, I might have been able to stay at least a little more awake, but, at the moment, I wasn’t about to leave Lela’s room. Preferably at all, though I knew that wasn’t going to happen. Once Lela got back from my house with the book, and my toothbrush, I’d make a dash for the bathroom to brush my teeth and relieve my aching bladder, which had felt full almost immediately after her parents had gotten home, and I’d hidden out in her room with half of my sandwich. I guess I should have had her act as a lookout for me, before sending her off to my house, but at the time it seemed a better idea to have her get the book.
She’d been, of course, skeptical when I told her about it, and I hadn’t thought I’d be able to convince her to get it until I thought to ask for my own toothbrush as well. I’d tried to explain that, assuming this wasn’t some whacked out drug trip, the book probably was somehow the cause of my condition - or would be able to explain it, at any rate - but, as increasingly frustrated as it was making me, I had never really got the sense that Lela believed me about it. I guess it was, somehow, harder to believe in than me losing however many years.
She’d humored me, though, and claimed she’d bring it back with her; I guess I didn’t exactly doubt that, yet I was glad it wasn’t actually hidden, or else she likely wouldn’t have wasted the time to look for it. Or maybe she would, just to get me to shut up about it.
I gave a huge gasp, feeling myself flinch, when I heard the knock on the door. My bladder spasmed, but I managed to get it under control, though it cost me the time and concentration it would have taken to answer first.
“Are you in there?” Lela’s mom had a chance to call first, now, the doorknob beginning to turn.
I jumped off the bed and threw my body, as little help as it would be, against the door. “I’m fine!” I yelled back, perhaps a little louder than I needed to. “I… umm… I’m getting changed!”
There was a pause, though at least she stopped trying to open the door, allowing me to relax a tiny bit. “Wasn’t Lela going to get your pajamas for you?”
Fricksticks. “I’m… I’m trying on one of her shirts,” I improvised. “She said I could borrow it, if I want, but I wanted to make sure it fit first.” Not that her clothes would normally fit me, but she did have a few things in her closet that were a couple sizes too big for her.
“Are you sure you’re fine?” she asked after another stretch of silence. “You sound a little…”
“I’m fine!” I shouted back, again probably trying too hard to compensate for my younger voice. “I just… have a cold!” It only took me a couple seconds to realize how stupid that was, so I followed it with, “But I’m not contagious or anything! Don’t worry, I’m not gonna get Lela sick or anything!”
Her voice sounded doubtful, but luckily, she decided to leave it alone. “Well, it’s nice to have you over!” she told me. “Have a good night, sweetie!”
“Thanks!” I listened as she walked away, then sank to the floor with a relieved sigh. Lela had some nice carpet in her room, soft and fluffy, so that your feet just kind of sank into, made you feel like you were walking, or sitting, on a cloud. It was kind of what I imagined the floors in those padded rooms of insane asylums were like, though, which seemed rather appropriate. Probably annoying to vacuum, too.
I glanced around the room again, as I began to squirm with the pressure in my bladder, trying to keep myself from thinking about it too much - but not too little, either. How could the owner of this room, I wondered, think of -me- as a kid? You know, back before I -was- one…
She still had the same poster hanging over her desk that had been there the first time I’d seen her room, a unicorn rearing up, and, in all honesty, looking rather fierce. For a unicorn. Her calendar, a little to the side of that, was displaying a picture of a pair of kittens sleeping, curled up with each other, in a basket. She had a row of stuffed animals on the desk itself, leaning against the wall, which were in addition to the ones she had on the top shelf of her bookshelves, and the couple still on her bed.
I guess, technically, they weren’t overly strange things for a teenaged girl to have in her room, but you wouldn’t find them in mine. Well, other than my teddy bear, whom I’d had since I was a baby. That was different, though.
As I was considering that, I heard something above my head, and, before I had the chance to deduce what it might be, I found myself on my back in the hallway, once again fighting to keep my shocked bladder contained. I wasn’t pleased with the amount of effort it took, but at least, in the end, I won, before scrambling back into the room and glaring daggers up at the confused Lela.
“What in the world are you doing?” she asked, setting a paper grocery bag down on her bed and starting to sort through it.
Luckily, since she was busy with that, she couldn’t see my blush. “I… er… I kinda forgot your door opened out,” I admitted sheepishly.
I was expecting, even bracing myself for, her to giggle at that; instead, she turned to me with an odd look on her face. “Are you feeling okay?”
“Of course not!” I fumed. “How can you even ask that?”
She shrugged awkwardly. “I meant relatively…”
“Did you get the book?” I asked, crossing my arms impatiently.
She hesitated, which pretty much answered my question right away, certainly much better than her actual response of, “Why don’t you go get ready for bed first, and then I’ll explain. Okay?”
If I hadn’t just narrowly prevented an accident a few moments before, and wasn’t sure how much longer I could wait before doing so, perhaps a little less successfully, again, I would have protested. Since I had, I found myself nodding, which led to Lela thrusting a pile of clothes and various toiletries she’d just taken from the bag into my arms.
“What are these?” I asked, looking down at the pink fabric I’d just been handed. It certainly wasn’t anything -I- owned.
“They’re pajamas,” she told me, sounding as if her patience was starting to run thin - because, obviously, this was so much tougher on her. She could be such a drama queen sometimes.
“Skye!” It wasn’t a shout, not quite, but it still made my heart skip a beat as I automatically started to apologize. I managed to stop myself, and found enough righteous indignation at her speaking to me like I really was a willful child to give my own voice some edge.
“Are you going to check to see if your parents are out there first?”
As infuriating as her last comment had been, it wasn’t nearly as unsettling as the sympathy I saw in her eyes. “I don’t think you need me to do that.”
“Why not?” I demanded. “I don…”
“Just go, Skye,” she ordered, but more gently. “I’ll explain when you get back. You should be able to reach the sink on your tip-toes… I’m sure we could find a stool or something if you need it, though. I just didn’t think I needed to drag yours back with me.”
“That’s not mine,” I tried to explain, but decided it could wait for later when my bladder twinged again, and, despite my reservations, opened Lela’s door and dashed for the bathroom. Technically, though, it was my mine, from when I was little - it was my mom’s fault it was still sitting in the bathroom, however.
My trip down the hallway was rather anticlimactic, considering how long I’d been fretting over it. From the sound of things, Lela’s parents were watching TV in the living room, not staking out the bathroom, waiting to see why I had been hiding in their daughter’s room all night instead of at least greeting them.
It was strangely unsettling to see how big everything in the bathroom appeared to be, driving home just how messed up this situation was. I could barely see the top of my head in the mirror, and even that was making me feel a bit dizzy. The toilet looked gigantic, to the point that I was a little afraid I was too small for the seat, though once I had hopped up there, that was, of course, not the case.
As I sat there, finally able to let my bladder release, I noticed that the wet spot on the panties around my ankles was bigger than I’d thought, and I wished I had thought to ask Lela to bring me fresh ones. She probably had, for the next day, but those weren’t going to do me any good until I was back in her room. My pants looked a little damp, too, but I knew her better than to doubt she’d brought a clean pair of them, even though, to be honest, it had slipped -my- mind.
After I had finished up on the toilet, I couldn’t stand the thought of pulling my wet clothes back up my legs, so I kicked them off - after all, even if I found the idea of going without underwear unsavory, it was just a couple yards back to Lela’s room. I cleaned myself up as well as I could with toilet paper and a bit of water from the sink, which I could just reach, as it turned out, before washing my hands.
I had planned on immediately starting on brushing my teeth, doing my best to do so without allowing myself a clear look at myself in the mirror, but the latter part of that failed before I could begin to implement the scheme. A little girl’s face was staring back at me, her big eyes watering as I watched, her tiny nose dotted with light freckles. She was, admittedly, kinda cute, but I could feel my stomach churning as I looked at her.
“Why are you here?” I asked her, starting to sniffle.
She didn’t answer, just stood there and stared, making my head feel like it was spinning from the sheer disparity of what was in the mirror, compared to what I was used to.
I steadied my body on the sink, hardly having realized I was starting to fall until I did so. I gave myself a moment or two to calm the rest of myself, then decided that, hey, I probably still had mostly baby teeth, so I could be satisfied with just a very quick brushing.
I tried to avoid seeing my body, after stripping off my shirt, pulling the pajama shirt on quickly and intending to do so with the pants as well, until I bent back down to get them, and saw the white thing that had been nestled between the two halves of my pajamas. My first thought was that perhaps Lela was more prescient than I’d given her credit for. And then I touched them, intending to pick them up.
I pulled my hand away, as if they were hot to the touch, feeling myself trying, once again, to start crying. It wasn’t panties after all. I reached out again, picking it up this time. It wasn’t a diaper, at least, yet they weren’t that far off. I didn’t keep up with kids’ disposable underwear, but I thought it might be a Goodnite.
I pulled up the pajama pants, left my toothbrush and -paste on the sink, so I could hold my wet things and dry ones in separate hands, and stormed back to Lela’s room.
“Is this some kind of joke?!” I demanded, fully intending to throw the garment, whatever it may be, at her, though I was still trying to juggle everything at the time, so I mostly just ended up dropping my shirt and the Goodnite rather undramatically. She was apparently expecting this, though, and had the good grace to pretend to be embarrassed at being called on it.
“It was with your pajamas,” she tried to explain, apparently forgetting that we were talking about -my- stuff.
“No,” I corrected her, “it wasn’t.”
“Yeah, sweetie, it was,” she contradicted me, sitting down on her bed. “I think you’d better sit down.”
“I’m sick of this,” I told her. “Just tell me what is going on!”
She closed her eyes briefly, like I’d seen her do when trying to keep her cool. “Skye, this… thing, whatever it is… It goes a lot deeper than you think. I got to your house, and your parents were acting really odd, with all these rules about what you could eat and when, and… Well, anyway, when I got to your room…. It wasn’t your room. I mean, it was, but it was decorated differently, and all of your clothes were different, too. I saw that there were Goodnites with your pajamas, and I thought that maybe it might be a good idea to bring one, just in case, you know?”
“I’m not a baby,” I reminded her. “I’m the same age as you, and…”
“And it looks like,” she broke in, staring pointedly at the clothes still in my hands, “that it was a good idea.”
I stopped with a blush. “That was just…” I could feel my bottom lip quivering as I tried to say it.
“I know,” she said softly. “I know, Skye. And we can get those all cleaned up for you tomorrow. But you’re not used to that body, and if you had Goodnites… Well, don’t you think we should play it safe?”
I stared down at my feet, unable to bring myself to nod, no matter how good an argument I knew she was making.
Her mattress squeaked as she got off her bed. “I’ll get those to the laundry room,” she said, lightly tugging my pants away from me. “There’s a pair of panties in the bag for tomorrow. Why don’t you decide what’s best and get changed, okay?”
I stared down at the Goodnite, wondering if I was going to be able to bring myself to put it on. The door opened behind me.
“Wait,” I said, turning to her. “What about the book?”
She shook her head. “There weren’t any books in your desk, hon.” She shrugged, half-smiling down at me. “Sorry.”