Chapter 17: Grown & Sexy

I really hated school. I hated my life! I didn’t feel like a teenager at all. Neither did Donnie. We were forced to grow up all at once. There was no maturation process. One minute we were children, and the next minute we were children living adult lives. I wanted so badly to put my teenage days behind me so I could at least be rid of all the stress that school brought–and don’t forget all that time spent! So…I kinda dropped out of school. I didn’t exactly drop out, but I lied about my age. I only had two more days to go, but I couldn’t bear to go back. So, before I left school on Friday, I told my principal that my birthday was on the following Sunday and I would not be back. I don’t know whether he actually believed it or if he pitied me, but he bought it! I threw myself a private little party just to make it appear real.

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You have no idea how glad I was to be free from school! It was a major weight off my shoulders. Now that I was a real adult and not just living like one, I figured it was time to give myself a new look. I called it “grown & sexy.”

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After I did my hair and make-up, I crashed in my mother’s room. I figured I deserved to sleep in there now. I planned to sleep until there was no more sleep left. I woke up refreshed and happy. It had been a drastically long time since I remembered feeling that way.

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I got myself together and went straight outside to the garden. It was such a beautiful morning. I found myself whistling while tending the garden. I must have inherited my father’s love of music. It’s funny how genetics work. I’ve got my mom’s body, her face, her brains, my father’s love of music, and then some kind of way a love for the outdoors.

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“So…we did it,” I said.

“Did what?”

“Didn’t get caught…arrested…or whatever you said would happen. And we didn’t need uncle Ace’s help either.”

“Wow…you’re right!”

That night I decided to go out and see what grown & sexy living was all about.

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I met a lot of people–mostly men. I drank. I danced. I had fun!

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“Huh! So THIS is what being grown and sexy is all about! I could get used to this.”

I was very inspired by that night. I started going to the gym every other day. I would go one day, workout until my muscles cried uncle, rest the next day, and then go back and do it all again. I knew it wasn’t about how I looked, but I wanted to feel sexy. Confidence is attractive, and I wasn’t very attractive.

A few days later we celebrated Donovan’s birthday quietly at home.

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“We made it, Joy! We really made it through!”

“We sure did, little brother.”

“You know…we haven’t really been able to talk much these last few years, but I’ve always wanted to tell you how great of a sister you are. I know when we were younger I used to tease you about being the head of the family, but you still took care of me. You took care of everything! I love you, Joy.”

“Donnie! You’re gonna make me cry!”

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Although neither of us got any presents for our birthdays, we both got exactly what we needed: life! We were zombies on a treadmill, going nowhere. But now we could stop and breathe and enjoy what life had to offer us. We could do whatever we wanted and be whatever we wanted. Life was finally good.

I started taking Donnie to the gym with me. I knew he wasn’t interested in working out with his lazy self, but I thought it would be good for him to get to know people. He had become to be so outgoing since his birthday. I figured if he didn’t have a social life he might have gone postal on me!

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I also went to the gym to meet people, but I was there to accomplish a goal. I was there to obtain a better version of myself, and I must say…I’m liking what I see so far!

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