Short fiction | Legs

The online literary zine EnbyLife was generous enough to publish a short story of mine! This one’s about the strange rituals associated with doing girlhood “properly”, and how something an annoying teenager says to you in passing can stick in your head forever. You can check it out for free here!

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In preparation for the tattoo, I shaved my legs for the first time in a year.

Technically, I didn’t have to. Only one leg was getting inked, after all. But it was weird to imagine one limb smooth and shiny while its sibling walked beside it, a mirror image save for twelve months’ worth of scruff. Maybe it could have been a statement. Performance art, even! Something something multiple expressions of the self can exist in the same body.

As I stood in the shower washing clumps of shin-fuzz out of a disposable razor, I mentally wrote half an artistic rationale for leaving my left leg hairy. But then I imagined the sensation of the scraggly calf brushing against the perfect smooth one—worse yet, against the tender healing skin of the new tattoo—made an involuntary ‘yurk’ sound out loud in my bathroom, and decided to just do ‘em both.

Afterwards, I ran my hands down my legs, plasticky smooth for the first time in months and months, and tried to figure out whether it felt good or not. Tangibly, texturally? For sure. Velveteen to the touch, still dewy with moisturiser.

Emotionally? Well. That got complicated. A rush of dopamine from patting my own satin-soft shins is inevitably followed, shot and chaser, by a memory: an echo of a giggle that vibrates around my brain.

Keep reading…

2 Comments

Filed under Fiction

2 responses to “Short fiction | Legs

  1. Caitlin Stern

    I don’t recall names, but I do remember similar sneering, giggling comments. One prompted me to ask my older sibling how to shave, others resulted in my getting very good at changing quickly for gym.

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