"Porky pig, porky pig," he yelled in awhiny eight-year-old voice.
"Shut up!" I shrieked in reply. Ichased him around the playground, my eight-year-old gut bouncing with eachstep.
* * *
"What's the matter, Porky?" he yelled,mockingly, his tall, skinny frame running circles around the short, heaving pileof fat that was me.
"You s-suck, A-An-Andrew," I managed tostutter between gasping breaths.
"Look at this punk," Andrewsaid, in a haughty voice that didn't fit our 10-year-old status. "What's up,b---h?" he taunted me.
I tried to walk by, but he wouldn'tlet me pass.
"C-Come on, Andrew" I pleaded.
"Sorry,I couldn't understand you, Stutter-Boy."
"F-f**k you. Did youunderstand that?"
* * *
Between sixth and seventh grade Ilifted. A lot. My muscles stretched to the point of almost snapping. My framecouldn't handle the muscle, and my skin started to tear. I didn't stop.
Myclothes didn't fit. My pants stopped at the ankles, showing my dorky stripedsocks. My shirts were tight around my chest and shoulders.
When I went tothe doctor, he looked at me, at his chart, and then back tome.
"Francis, it seems that since your last physical three monthsago, you grew almost four inches. How old are you again?"
"What's your shoe size?"
"An eight adult."
"Wow. Well, keep eating thoseWheaties."
* * *
I walked into middle school for the first timeand started timidly toward my locker.
Andrew saw me. I looked away andstarted walking faster, but he yelled for me.
I turned, my heart beatingfaster.
"Andrew," I said. "I just want to start out myyear ..." I stopped. I noticed something was different. I had to look downto see Andrew.
Andrew noticed the change, too.
I laughed tomyself, but couldn't hold it in for long, and a chuckle started to build in mylarge chest. My big upper body bounced with each laugh and my arms tensed withjoy, bringing my biceps out so that my sleeves became tight. In an effort to stopI tensed my chest, but the only thing that happened was my pecs came out anothertwo inches and looked like they were trying to escape my skin.
After Istopped laughing, I gave him a smile. He smiled back, but it seemed forced; thecorners of his mouth quivered.
He extended his hand.
I took it ...and squeezed until I heard something crack.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.