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by Sara Dobbie

Maybe you’re a boy or maybe you’re a girl, or maybe you don’t know who you are yet, but you’re standing barefoot on the cold tiles in the locker room of your high school. While catcalls whip through air heavy with the scent of sweat, you close your eyes and hope that by doing so you can disappear. Whispers and stares, glares and conversations that you aren’t included in swirl around you, and your head pounds the same refrain as your heart. You know you have to change out of your regular clothes into the standard issue gym uniform, and you hope that you can do it as quickly as possible. If you maneuver things correctly, if you slip your sweater over your head while simultaneously sliding the ugly grey t-shirt over your arms, then maybe no one will see that you are too thin or too fat, or covered in acne, or bruises, or scars, or cuts. That you are too tall, or too short, or a different color, or the wrong thing. In this moment you don’t know yet that all this will remain with you, will become ingrained in you. That years from now you’ll wake up in your bed, skin glazed with perspiration, gasping and confused, with an impression of nakedness and shame. All you know is that other people with better bodies and the right clothes seem to be drooling in expectation of seeing you exposed, that you feel like either screaming or running. That you need this credit to graduate, but once you have obtained it you will never set foot in a locker room again.

Sara Dobbie is a Canadian writer from Southern Ontario. Her work has appeared in Re-Side, The Spadina Literary Review, and is forthcoming in Ellipsis Zine, Crab Fat Magazine and Read More. Follow her on Twitter @sbdobbie.