We waited for the bus at the end of the driveway. The shadows were long, early in the morning. Everything had a shadow. The mailbox. The pine. Us.
I was fascinated by my shadow, and would examine it carefully as it changed. Look at it now - with my hands on my hips, standing on one leg, sideways, crouching.
But, of course (being that it is me), there was something that traumatised me in all of this.
When I stood sideways, you could see my ponytail, perched high on my head in the shadow. But when I stood normally, you couldn't see my hair - the shape of my head was the only thing visible.
My thoughts immediately ran as thus :
When I wear a ponytail, can people not see that I have long hair?
Long hair is OBVIOUSLY the ONLY thing that marks me as a girl!
Would people think I am a boy?
OMG people might think I am a boy.
There was only one solution to all of this.
I pushed my ponytail around a bit, so it was just off-centre. When I examined my shadow again, I could finally see evidence of my ponytail.
I jumped on the bus, swinging my ponytail as I walked up the aisle to my seat, satisfied in the knowledge that no one would mistake me for a boy.
Even if it was the eighties, with my wonky ponytail that wasn't quite centred but wasn't quite on the side enough to be called a side ponytail (à la Madonna), I must have looked like a right dork.