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She went to the land of Hollywood with a diamond wedding necklace hanging loosely from her neck like a noose before it gives its snapping goodbye. She went to the land of dreams with pride coloring her shadow; a haughty swing of her thick plait; and why not? Her name was Serina –she was named after a dream.
Why not? I thought, though I cried the night before because she got the chance bestowed to her curvy hips, her white Colgate smile, her crystal blue eyes. And what about me? What about me. I have never had the smartness of a woman.
I envied her from the day I realized that looking pretty was more important than being rough. I had always been good in games, in fighting, in being well… rough. When we were much younger, I used to bully her so badly that she never joined in any of our games. She became a weak ghost, a girl who was just that…a girl. No more. Well I… well; I was more of a boy, a fighter, someone who laughed when the mother advised the daughter to wash her hair with herbal shampoo to make it shiny and black as coal. I ran after kites and learned that slamming the flat of your hand into someone’s face is much more effective than curling that same hand into a fist. I learned that one should never box someone with the thumb hidden inside the white-knuckled clench of a fist. I learned that if someone digs at your eyes with two fingers, you could just bring your flattened hand vertically up at your nose, and whoever’s fingers however long, would never reach your eyes. I learned that being flat was more beneficial than being round.
The day I discovered that I was turning round, that my legs could not carry me fast enough, that the boys I used to beat up now towered over me; anger glinted inside like a raised knife waiting to fall. From then on, I stopped fighting with boys and started fighting with girls instead. I could have died for my gang - a group of seven girls who knew that their only honor was their strength.
One day my friend was walking down the road after a harvest party with a cup of alcohol made out of rice gurgling in her stomach. She bumped into an older woman with a baby clinging onto her hip; and the woman turned around and told her to watch where she was going, if she wanted so much to bump into somebody, why not pick on a boy and not a woman with child.
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"Personal Narative- Tough Girl." 123HelpMe.com. 18 Jul 2019
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Somewhere between feeling the volleyball slap my forehead and waking up thinking that Serina had washed her hair with red mud, I realized that I had missed something in life; that something had zoomed past me with the speed of a taxi, and I was left behind choking on the hot fumes.
Serina came to school everyday on the arms of a boy, the same one, a different one; I could not catch up on the latest news of her life. She gained popularity so fast; my previous gang friends joined her company. They started looking at boys themselves. They began smiling, talking, giggling, slapping back loose strands of hair with the flat of hands. They started washing their hair with herbal shampoo.
A week ago Serina took off with one of her boy friends. "Eloped" – the news came in the form of hot speedy gossip. Everyone else’s question was "which one?" My question was "how?" Some said it was the one who dropped her off at school in his brand new BMW. Others said it was the one who bought her a new mp3 player. No one said how.
Two days later, another piece of gossip fired through our tiny town – Serina has been left at a cheap hotel, it screamed in bold letters, she has been left at a cheap hotel in Las Vegas. The boy only pretended to fall in love with her. He asked her to marry him. He said he would take her to his rich house in Hollywood. She flicked back her shiny and coal black hair and thought she would finally be out of here. She would finally show all these people who she really was. She would no longer be bossed around. She would finally be somebody. Her shadow colored with pride.
At first I cried because I had not learned how to become a woman. Then I cried because Serina had not learned how to become the right type of woman. I cried for her as I fought. I cried for her future as I broke my promise to myself. I cried for the man who sold her as I broke jaws with the flat of my hand.
I have earned a black belt in karate. I have fought with men. I have won national tournaments. I have fallen in love. In a month’s time I am going to start hanging a diamond wedding necklace about my neck. What I will do with that necklace – that will be the hardest fight of all.