My name is Samantha, but most everyone calls me Sammie, or sometimes just Sam. It's a boy's name, I know, but nobody ever really accused me of being a boy, I was just teased sometimes by the kids at school. They stopped doing that last year though, right after I had my little 'growth spurt' or whatever you want to call it. I called it a miracle.
It was like overnight I grew from just five feet nothing to 5'4" and all the baby fat around my tummy moved up to my boobs. Well, some moved down to my hips too, I guess, maybe even my butt. I went from wearing no bra at all to wearing a 30B cup! I have a slender waist and nice round hips, which seemed like totally the opposite of what they were just a few months before. I had to buy all new clothes, which was way cool too, and ... well, you get the idea. The point is that instead of looking like a cute little butterball, I started looking like a beautiful young woman.
I'll admit I got a little hung up on myself. I started worrying about how the rest of me looked, like my hair. Its auburn, mostly brown but with a little red in it too, and I had it cut to my shoulders with a bunch of waves permed into it. I've worn glasses since I was seven years old and Daddy let me get contacts, which was a big deal cause I could get colored contacts, three for the price of two. So now instead of boring old brown eyes, I have green sometimes, or blue, and even brown. But instead of boring brown, these are more like hazel with flecks of gold. So now my eyes look the way they're supposed to. Even after I get eye surgery when I'm like sixteen or seventeen maybe, I'll still wear colored contacts I think, even though I won't need them.
I turned fourteen the very day school started this year and nobody teased me about my name. I'm in the eighth grade, but I'm what they call 'accelerated' so I skip some of the regular classes and take others that my friends don't. I've always been accelerated and I could have skipped a grade, probably two, but I didn't really want to, and my dad didn't make me. I have two sisters, Stacy and Darin, they were accelerated too and now they're sophomores in college, even though they're only seventeen years old. They're twins. I don't have a twin, so the idea of skipping grades and going to college early and being alone just doesn't sound like fun. I'll wait for my friends, you know?
Just because I'm smart doesn't mean I'm good at everything though. English and math I'm really good at, but some stuff, like civics, I'm sort of bad at. Mostly because it is so boring all the time! It's hard to concentrate when you just don't care, and I spend most of my time in civics just writing poems and haiku, or maybe a little story like this one about my life. I like writing stories about myself and my family because it's like keeping a diary except better. In a diary you're pretty much just writing to yourself, but a story, even a true one, is meant to be shared. I want to be a famous writer someday, or maybe an astronaut, I haven't decided yet. Probably I'll do both and be very famous, and maybe even have my own MTV show someday.
I need good grades if I want to be an astronaut, I know that. If I'm just a writer it won't matter so much, but to do both I need a good college degree and that means I need a good college, like Harvard, or Princeton maybe. So that means I need some scholarship money, since my dad can't afford a school like that! My sisters go to college for free though, so why not me? I just needed really good grades, that's all, even in 8th grade civics because who knows how far back those college guys look when they start writing checks? I don't, and I don't want to take any chances and end up going to a college like Stanford or something, where all they teach is basket weaving!
"What's wrong, Punkin?" Daddy asked me. He'd always called me pumpkin, but he made it sound funny and I'd liked it when I was little. But then I'd sort of resented it for a little while, since I thought I'd looked like a pumpkin for a couple years. Now that I didn't though, so I sort of liked it again cause I didn't look like a pumpkin at all.
"I have to write a paper for civics." We were eating supper, just me and my dad. My brother, who was fifteen, had basketball practice. He'd had a growth spurt at about fourteen as well, and now he was almost six feet tall and sort of clumsy. He was a good basketball player though, when he wasn't tripping over stuff. Boys are sort of weird.
My dad shrugged. "That shouldn't be too hard. Do you want some help with it?" He was always trying to help me with stuff, but I never needed it, and usually ended up explaining stuff to him. Especially physics, he was terrible at it, but he liked to try anyway.
"No, that's okay. I just have to think of a law I'd like to change and why." I chewed my food slowly; it was dad's special tuna casserole. He put croutons in it, that's why it's special.
"Hmmm..." He nodded. "Have you got any ideas?"
"Not yet. I was thinking about maybe fourteen year olds should be able to drive." It wasn't a very good idea, but it was something anyway.
Daddy chuckled. "I think they shouldn't give out licenses until people are twenty-six at least."
"Yeah right!" I giggled at his teasing. "That would really get Jeremy mad." My brother was started his driver's education class and Daddy had promised him a car for his sixteenth birthday. He was pretty excited about that.
I cleaned up after supper, still wondering which law I would change and why. Every law I could think of sounded pretty good, but I didn't know all the laws though. I don't think anybody does, so maybe I just needed to look for a stupid one, like one of those 'it's illegal to spit on the sidewalk before noon on Thursdays without a state spitting permit' or something. Whatever it was, I need it to be a good one, because I needed to ace that assignment. My teacher, Mr. Lawson, could be a real jerk and he wouldn't hesitate to give me a B or even a B- if I wasn't careful. I suspected Harvard wouldn't even think about taking someone who got a B- in civics!
I was in my room, surfing the internet and looking for good laws to change, meaning bad ones, when my phone rang. My dad had told me once that a long time ago people couldn't get online and talk on the phone at the same time, but that seemed sort of silly to me; what good was that? I almost wished there were a law against talking on the phone and surfing the net simultaneously; that would have been a good one to change. But I guess it had only been a bad idea, and someone had fixed it. I got a cellular phone for my 14th birthday and I couldn't even imagine not having one now, barely a few months later.
"Hey, Sam, what's up?" It was my sister Darin, everybody calls her Dare, but not because she's adventurous or anything, she isn't. Dare is a total bookworm, way more than me, and a thousand times more than Stacy. Darin does homework the way kids eat ice cream, as fast as they can until they get a headache, and then they eat more. She does homework so fast that she does Stacy's too. I wished she'd do mine.
"Hi, nothing, just doing my homework." We talked for awhile about school and the report I was supposed to write and then about Daddy and then about her and Stacy. Darin calls me a lot, since we didn't have a mom or anything, and that was okay. I like my sisters.
"Here, Stacy wants to say hello," Darin finally said after our goodbyes.
"Hi munchkin." Stacy was smiling; I could hear it over the phone. She always smiles and people like her a lot. Especially boys. Dare doesn't really like boys, I don't think. She had one boyfriend once, but that was all, and she never even kissed him so far as I know. If I had a boyfriend I'd be kissing him all the time! All the boys I know are pretty boring though, sort of stupid too. So maybe not.
"Hi Stace." We started talking about the same stuff I'd just talked to Darin about, except Stacy had an idea for my civics assignment. She always had ideas, but they were usually really strange and ended up making you wonder how she ever thought they could possibly work. But sometimes she had good ones too.
"So you need to get an A on it, huh?" She made a little sound like she was thinking. "Hmmmm..."
"Do you know any good laws to change?" I asked her hopefully, but if Dare couldn't think of one, then I seriously doubted Stacy would.
"Maybe," she said, "Tell me about this teacher of yours."
"Mr. Lawson?" I shrugged even though Stacy couldn't see it. "I don't know, he's just a teacher."
"Is he young? Old? Friendly? Nice? Mean?" Stacy asked, not giving me time to answer. "Does he ever, uh..."
Stacy paused like she was wondering if she should say what she wanted to, or maybe she was looking to make sure Darin couldn't hear her, and I sensed one of her whacky ideas coming.
"Come on, what?" I asked impatiently, feeling curious now.
"Well, does he ever look at you?" Stacy had lowered her voice a little. "You know, like ... Look at you?" She stressed the words like they meant something else.
I'm not dumb; I knew what she was asking. After I turned thirteen I noticed a lot of guys looking at me, and not just boys my age either. I mean men who were older, like way older sometimes. It had made me a little uncomfortable at first, but mostly because I still thought of myself as being sort of short and round, instead of tall and curvy. Once I got used to it I started liking it and I even went out of my way sometimes to make sure those guys got a good look at the new me. It wasn't hurting anything and it made me feel good about myself, so what's wrong with that?
.... There is more of this story ...