At first I couldn’t comprehend what had happened. I woke up feeling like something abnormal was sticking to me. A few seconds later, I noticed the feeling was coming around my legs, where my Sleeptite was. Oh no… I couldn’t have possibly done what I think I had done. Pulling off the sheets confirmed it. My Sleeptite had a yellowish tint to it.
I had wet the bed.
Or rather, I wet my Sleeptite. It occurred to me had I not been wearing it, I’d be dealing with a sopping wet bed. How long had it been since I last did that? I must have been five or six… no later than that. How was it possible that I’d suddenly do it again? I remembered what Kamila had said about slowly losing my potty training. No, that couldn’t be true! It had to be just stress. Stress from moving and adjusting to a new school. It was a one-time thing. Nothing to worry about.
I wasn’t so sure, and despite my “self-reassurance”, my mood didn’t change much for the rest of the morning. I got ready for school quite slowly, my mind preoccupied on the accident. As a result, I had to skip breakfast and just grab a granola bar from the pantry, while Dad drove me to school in silence.
“Something on your mind, Am?” he asked me.
I just shook my head. I didn’t want to tell him I wet myself in my sleep.
After Dad dropped me off at the curb, my angry and depressed thoughts disappeared as I saw one boy walk past me with a huge blue pacifier in his mouth. Yes, a pacifier, like the ones babies suck on. I laughed to myself; the image of a grown boy with the pacifier in his mouth looked ridiculous.
But then as I entered the hallways, I noticed that he was not the only one with a pacifier. In fact, every single student had one, either plopped in her mouth or hanging around his neck on a lanyard. Considering the rest of what I had dealt with this week, it shouldn’t have surprised me, but the fact that I had yet to see teens sucking on pacifiers until this moment confused me.
“Amber!” I heard, breaking my train of thought. I looked up and saw Kamila coming towards me, with Linus trailing behind. Sure enough, they both had pacifiers around their necks as well.
“Hey guys,” I said. “Okay, did I miss a memo?”
Kamila gave me that usual strange look.
“The pacifiers?” I pointed out.
“Oh, duh,” Kamila said, with a giggle. “I shoulda told you yesterday. Every other Friday is Casual Friday.”
“And it’s casual to, uh, suck on a pacifier?”
“What’s more casual than that?”
I smiled politely. It wasn’t even worth arguing. Linus then plopped his pacifier in his mouth.
“So, uh, where do I get one?” I asked.
“We’ll totally have to buy you one when we go to the mall this afternoon,” she responded.
I gasped. “The mall! The sleepover! Kamila, I totally forgot to ask my parents about it,” I said. Her lips began to pout, so I quickly added, “But I’ll call my mom straight after school and ask her. I’m sure it’s cool.”
Her pout turned back into a huge smile. “Yay!” she shouted. Then her pink glittery pacifier with the face of Bonjour Kitty on it went straight to her mouth. “Thee you in cwath,” she lisped through her binky, as the two of them trailed off to their first class.
The morning started out normally, though it was awfully hard to concentrate with everyone audibly sucking on pacifiers during each class. I don’t know how the teachers were able to stand it while they tried to lecture; I guess they were just used to it. The funniest thing occurred in English when the girl who sat behind Linus had to present an oral report. Instead of taking her pacifier out of her mouth, she spoke in with the thing between her teeth for ten minutes straight!
In the middle of the report, my mind started to drift back to my nighttime accident, and that became all I could think about. My mood lessened, and suddenly all the pacifier sucking went from amusing to downright obnoxious. I was tired of this baby stuff.
I remained lost in thought during break until I sat down in French. The sight of Cameron entering the room broke my train of thought again. I had to admit, he looked kind of cute with his purple pacifier in his mouth. As he walked towards his seat, he turned his head my way, catching me glance at him. I averted my eyes, but instead of sitting down, he walked over to my desk and took out his pacifier.
“Hey Amber,” he said. “You okay?”
I looked up. “Yeah, just… my last class wore me out.”
“How’s your first week been?”
“Pretty good,” I answered. “Still getting used to stuff. Nice pacifier, by the way.”
I could see him blush a bit. “Oh, thanks. I’ve had this one since I was a baby actually. Purple’s my favorite.”
“Oh, cool,” I responded. A bit of awkward silence trailed after that.
Finally Cameron said, “Well I’m gonna head to my seat. Catch you during the naptime?”
I smiled. “I’ll save you a mat next to me.”
He smiled back. “Good.”
That conversation cheered me up a bit, but by the time I got to lunch, I was feeling down again. I joined the cafeteria line, with the question of How did I wet in my sleep? asking itself in my mind over and over. As I put on my plastic bib, took my food (it was crêpes today!) and sippy cup of juice, and listened to the sounds of pacifier sucking from every direction of the room, I realized why I felt so blue.
From the moment I moved to Timberly, I had to constantly reassure myself that I was a teenager. For the past week, I had to sleep in a crib in a nursery, take naps, and eat with a bib. Most humiliating of all, I had been forced into not just wearing diapers, but wetting and messing them too. But I could deal with it all because I knew I was nearly an adult, and these were just strange rules enacted in a strange town.
However, my bedwetting incident changed that. How could a girl who wet herself in her sleep call herself “nearly an adult”? I thought I was wearing diapers because it was the law, not because I actually need them. All these contemplations were making my brain hurt.
I sat down next to Kamila and Linus, who were discussing last night’s episode of Showchoir.
“Clearly the only thing that’s gonna stop Raquel from moving to New York is Flint,” Kamila was saying, her pacifier only out because he was forking pieces of crêpe into her mouth every few words.
“Please, as soon as Raquel got to New York, she’d completely forget about Flint,” Linus rebutted. “The only real reason she’s going to stay is because the show’s writers want her on for another season.”
I stared intently at my sippy cup. I was done with this baby stuff. I was nearly an adult, and I demanded to be treated like one. I grabbed the cup and tried to pull the lid off. As expected, it wouldn’t budge.
“Sheesh, you take the fun out of everything,” Kamila said.
I pulled harder. Still nothing.
“At least I try to make heads or tails of the plot,” responded Linus. “All you care about is the music.”
I gave that cup all I had.
“What’s wrong with that?” argued Kamila.
I screamed in frustration. Between their inane conversation and my struggles with the sippy cup, I had enough. I was done with this. I slammed my cup on the ground. Kamila and Linus immediately went quiet. As did the surrounding people at the table.
“Okay, you two need to explain something to me,” I said to my friends. “The diapers, the bibs, the sippy cups… the crib I have to sleep in every night… what is the deal with this place?”
Both were shocked at my outburst. “What do you mean?” Kamila said. “We told you. All that stuff is for safety.”
“Okay, yeah, that makes sense… if we were two years old. This all doesn’t strike you as babyish?” When neither gave an answer, I continued. “You guys don’t get it, do you? It’s really abnormal the way they treat you here.”
“No, I don’t think you get it, Amber,” Linus cut me off. “Maybe it’s weird for you, but everything we do… it’s normal for us.”
“There’s nothing normal about wearing diapers at fifteen years old!” I shouted.
“Is there a problem here?” I heard behind me. I shut up and turned around, to see Mr. McKleenly staring me down. My heart started to race.
“Um, no sir,” I stammered nervously.
“First I see you throwing your food across the room,” he said. “Then I see you getting all excited. Any more behavior and I’m sending you straight to the principal. You got that?”
“Yes, Mr. McKleenly.”
“Now pick up your cup,” he ordered.
I spotted my sippy cup under the table. Even in its impact with the tile floor, the lid remained on. Quickly I returned to its home next to my tray of crêpes.
After Mr. McKleenly returned to his seat on the opposite side of the room, Linus spoke up again. “Listen, Amber. We’re completely aware that it’s not common what we do here. Maybe it’s a bit babyish, as you put it. Maybe it’s not like your life or how they show teens on TV. But we have no issue with the way we’re treated.”
“But haven’t you ever wondered why you’re treated like this?” I asked.
Linus didn’t have an answer. I think I stumped him.
However, Kamila had a response. “Ever since we met you, all you’ve done is complain,” she said. “How’d your old friends deal with you?”
I was a bit stunned. Kamila had been so patient with me; it was odd seeing this negativity coming from her.
“Okay, can I tell you guys something?” I started. “I woke up this morning. My diap—I mean my Sleeptite was wet.”
“So?” said Kamila, completely clueless.
“I haven’t wet the bed in years! What if it happens again? What if it gets worse? Like I start having accidents during the day?”
“You can’t have ‘accidents’ if you’re wearing a diaper,” Linus said, also missing the point.
“Yeah,” agreed Kamila. “And didn’t I tell you that would probably happen?”
“Well yeah, but I didn’t believe it. No one just loses a body function like that, right?” I questioned them, without receiving an answer. “This doesn’t disturb you guys at all?”
“It’s probably just stress,” started Linus. “You just moved here, and it’s different from what you’re used to. And since you’re in a diaper you’ve sort of subconsciously told your body it’s all good.”
I raised an eyebrow. “See, I’d expect the adults to tell me that, but you’re smarter than that, Linus. You know something’s up.”
Linus took a sip from his cup. “You’re overthinking it,” he said.
I rolled my eyes. The two of them weren’t any help. I ate the rest of my lunch in silence, while Linus and Kamila returned to their Showchoir conversation.
Eventually, though not quickly enough, the bell rang. We cleared our trays and made our way to our respective gyms for naptime. Despite all the babyish things I had just complained about, naptime was the one I didn’t mind. So far every day that week, I had fallen asleep almost instantly after I put my head on a mat, and when I woke up, I felt great for the rest of the school day. Being in such a bad mood, I looked forward to sleeping it off.
I searched around the room for an open spot, secretly hoping I might see Cameron somewhere and find a mat by him. However, he was nowhere to be found. So I went towards the first open mat I could find and lay straight down.
But I barely got a moment to doze off because seconds later, I found Alexis staring over my head.
“Get off,” she said flatly.
“Because this is my mat.”
I sighed. “There is no way this is your mat.”
“Well I was absent yesterday and apparently Billy Glick leaked all over my old one. So I want this one. Got it, loser?”
I sat up. I was in no mood to take all this from this spoiled brat. But I wasn’t about to get up and let her have everything she wanted. So I stayed put.
Alexis saw I wasn’t going to move, but she clearly didn’t want to give up either. “Get off!” she said, raising her voice.
“Get off, you freak.”
“Listen, will you just leave me alone?” I asked, with a tone of annoyance on my tongue.
“I’ll leave you alone, when you give me my mat.”
“Give me a break, IT’S NOT YOUR FUCKING MAT!” I shouted.
That shut her up.
It shut me up too. I didn’t know I could yell like that.
In fact, that shut the entire room up. Everyone stopped moving so they could see what was going on.
Alexis was stunned. She gave me a look of disgust and then backed away into the crowd. I wasn’t even sure what to do at that point. I blushed at the realization that everyone had their attention on me.
Finally, one of the atts came storming up to me to break the silence.
“Come with me, young lady,” she said, grabbing my arm and pulling me out of the room, down the hallway.