Inquisitive: Part 8
By Hassan Izzo
Again I was taken aback by my grandmother’s anger. I studied the girl and tried to imagine what it would be like to live as a woman but, as it has surely become evident, it is the more practical skill of action that I have honed rather than my imaginative ones. I shook my head and sighed. Spending eternity in that corridor was not something I was going to do, that much I knew but really, being a girl?
“Come on boy!”
“OK, OK.” I felt I was being rushed into something that I had no way of really understanding. The whole situation was disorientating but if there was any solid ground for me to stand on then it would surely be the fact that I could trust my grandmother. “There are too many questions that I need answered.” I saw my grandmother’s face drop. “But I trust you, and I will do as you say.”
She reached out and touched my face. “Good.”
“So how exactly does this happen?”
“We sit and we wait for her to fall asleep. Then we go into her room and I shall do the rest. You will wake up tomorrow very much alive and well.”
So that night, as the girl slept, we made our way into her room and stood by her bed. I watched her chest rise and fall and listened closely to her breath. It feels strange to say but at that point, despite being asleep, I was acutely aware of how alive she was. All of her organs were working in perfect harmony, sustaining her as she slept. I looked at her forehead and pictured her brain behind it; a brain that contained everything about her: consciousness, identity, and feeling. All of it would be set free from its rightful vessel and I would invade it and take control of her limbs and organs. Tomorrow they would sustain me.
“Are you ready?”
I kicked and screamed, “What the fuck!? What the actual fuck!?”. There was blood on my thighs and blood on the sheets. I felt woozy and was too scared to look or feel anywhere down below. I fell back onto the pillows and lay there, panting with shock. As I slowly calmed down, what my grandma had said about puberty came back to me. She’d made it clear that puberty was the key to this whole thing. This, together with the blood, started knocking loose information inside my mind. I started to piece this information together and it led me to remember learning about something called ‘the menstruation cycle’ at school. At least that was what I think they said the proper name for a period was. Slowly but surely I joined all the dots and realised that the girl who’s place I’d taken, had literally been on the cusp of womanhood. The gateway had been wide open and I’d walked straight through it and into a bloody mess.
“I hope you’re awake Claire.”
I froze at the sound of a woman’s voice on the other side of the bedroom door and gasped as the doorknob started to turn. I scrambled the bed covers over me and pulled them up under my chin just in time as the door swung open and a pleasant looking woman came into the room.
“Come on, up we get. What would you like for breakfast?”
My mind raced through a thousand options. I knew what I wanted but what would she have. This thought alone brought a whole other problem into sharp focus. Even though I now had a body and access to a life again, I still had to act like this woman’s daughter. But then again, isn’t puberty when things change? I remembered how I’d suddenly got bored of certain books and TV shows and toys and how my mum had bemoaned the fact that I was growing up almost overnight. Actually, thinking about it now, it did sort of feel like those changes had happened overnight – much like the most recent drastic change I’d experienced. In that spirit I replied “Eggs, bacon and sausages please”, my soft, higher pitched voice registering in my ears.
Like any other writer, Hassan Antonio Izzo is happiest when he is sat at his desk putting words down on paper; whether it be updating his blog, working on a short story, script, poetry, journalism, or wrestling with his first novel. If anything stands a chance of getting him away from his desk, a few drinks with friends would stand a good one. His biggest claim to fame is that Quentin Tarantino loved his Mr T t-shirt when he met him; which was pretty cool.
A proud South Londoner, you can follow on Twitter @Hassanizzo86