Chapter Description: Their wish to lose weight led three adults into the clutches of an unsavoury company. Now reduced to children, they must learn that not just their bodies have been affected.
Their wish to lose weight led three adults into the clutches of an unsavoury company. Now reduced to children, they must learn that not just their bodies have been affected.
The instant they had been led back in, Anton walked to the nearest toilet he knew had a mirror. What he now saw in it was so much worse than he had expected. He looked at the reflection of a boy he barely could define as himself. His face showing few of the lines he was used to, instead getting rounder. Panicking, Anton removed his sweatshirt, starring at his upper body. There was little to no hair, not even under the arms, neither many muscles. It seemed like the normal upper body of a boy.
Without thinking he removed his sweatpants and underwear, being all too aware of how loose they were. What he saw, shocked him maybe more than the other sight. His penis had shrunken. Worse it still did. The pubic hair, too, didn’t just get thinner, or fell out, but receded into his body, until he was completely hairless down there. Even now his penis seemed to shrink, though he prayed he was imagining it.
He looked again to the mirror and the boy who looked back at him, was even younger than before, clearly pre-puberty.
“No, this isn’t real,” Anton told himself. “This isn’t…”
He stopped. Coughed. His voice. Even his voice now sounded like that of a child. Touching his throat, he noticed his Adam’s apple being less pronounced. What now? Would he shrink to nothingness?
Horrified by this thought, Adam stepped near the sink – it being roughly in line with his navel – using it as height-measure. He stood this way a long time, the only sound he heard being his own ragged breaths. Finally, he was sure that it must have stopped, that the drug had run its course. He didn’t relax, but began breathing normally again.
“Mr. Lubowsky?” Dr. Anderson’s voice called him from beyond the door of the toilet. “We want to meet you all in the cafeteria to set it right. Will you come.”
“Go to the devil!” Anton murmured.
The high voice the words came out was bad, what he saw in the mirror was worse. An angry boy, looking close to throwing a tantrum. Nothing an adult would take seriously, nothing he himself would take seriously. He could at least try to act like an adult.
“I come!” Anton shouted. “Give me a minute.”
Trying to compose himself, he began dressing himself in the much too large clothes. Maybe the doctors already had an answer. At least it couldn’t get worse than this.
It turned out Anton had been wrong about the latter.
“You lie!” Michelle claimed.
Anton sighed, talking to her was hard as with a stubborn child. This shouldn't come as a surprise since she currently looked around 10 years old, as they all did, but still was something Anton couldn't accept.
“No,” he repeated in a patient, calm and grown-up manner desperately holding his frustration at bay to not sound as young as she did. “We are forty. We are here because we wanted to lose weight.”
“Pretending to be grown-up is for babies!” Michelle replied.
“The doctors confirmed it, remember?” Anton reasoned. “Besides, look at our clothes!”
All three of them who sat in the cafeteria wore clothes many sizes too big for them, their shoes and in Christine's case their socks lying at the foot of the stools. They looked like children wearing adult clothes, but this impression was simply wrong. Horribly wrong. Still Michelle refused to look at herself, instead she crossed her arms and looked away from him. Anton had never seen a better example of pouting.
Giving up, he looked at his own hands. They were so small, that he even had had problems to properly hold the football. Pulling his sleeves up, Anton looked at his arms. There was little enough fat on them, but also no muscles, no hint of a biceps and he found he missed them nearly as much as he had been happy losing the fat. Having a healthy, slightly muscular body – a version of his body he could have had at 20 as he realised now – had made him feel so strong and confident, that he had believed to be capable of anything. Now he felt weak, dependant and the surrounding seemed so much bigger. Even the chair he sat on.
How could he have gotten into such a thing? Why hadn't he noticed it earlier? Had he been so easily been blinded by losing these kilos?
Feeling overwhelmed, he looked at Christine, who sat on a chair next to him. She had been silent since the doctors led them back in and had excused themselves to look for a solution. Even now she had a faraway look on her face Anton couldn't decide if it meant she was shocked or just in thought.
“Christine?” he asked.
“I remember riding a bike,” she explained in a far-away voice, before turning her head to him. “A motorbike not my old red bicycle. I can see me on it, but I don't know where I parked it. I remember my birthday. I believe it was my thirteenth. I had kissed Luke Ferrano a day before, but I can't say who my friends were or who celebrated with me. Only that it was in a restaurant I loved, but I can't remember its name. Afterwards we all drank vodka... or did we do it?”
“We drank vodka yesterday, but that doesn't mean you didn't back then,” Anton noticed. “Do you remember being older? Your job? The … the accident?”
Christine seemed to think heavily, but then she shook her head.
“You will soon,” a voice said.
The three children looked around. It was Dr. Robinson who had spoken. She had just entered the room followed by Dr. Anderson.
“Once you reach your normal ages, all your memories will return,” the female doctor promised, presenting a set of syringes and three ampules.
Anton was skeptical, Michelle outright ignored them and Christine looked curious.
“They turn us into grown-ups?” Christine asked in wonder. “Again, I mean.”
“Only to roughly fifteen,” Dr. Anderson answered. “We will go five years a day. We have to be careful since bodies are not made to age at such a rate.”
“Or get younger,” Anton commented.
“Or this,” the doctor agreed.
“Why should we trust you?” Anton asked. “You knew this drug would make us younger!”
“We have told you Mr. Lubowsky: We knew the drug had the effect of making subjects loose a few years due to the recreation of cells during the burning of fat,” Dr. Anderson explained again. “This is positive since it allows people to lose weight without needing an operation to remove skin afterwards. We were curious about effects on people with wounds like Mrs. Gomez, too, but we never saw such a drastic effect before.”
“You should have been more careful!” Anton snapped angrily. “You should have warned us!”
“And you should have known that drinking alcohol during a medical trial is a bad idea,” Dr. Anderson replied calmly, but with a hint of sarcasm in his voice.
Anton opened his mouth and then shut it again without ushering a word. The way the doctors had explained it the alcohol had drastically strengthened the effect of the drug. Besides him Michelle giggled, probably because of the look on his face. He wanted to shout at her, that she had been responsible for the vodka, but held his mouth. Bickering wouldn’t help them in any way.
“This trial was too dangerous,” Anton finally said. “Especially the memories loss.”
“I agree,” Dr. Robinson conceded in a tone of regret. “But this is the reasons we had the questions to check you on these symptoms. No one of you showed acute memory loss before today.”
Anton looked at the doctors. Still skeptical.
“Look, you can call the police,” Dr. Robinson began. “But if they come, they will confiscate the drug and prevent further treatments. A trial might last years as might a study by other doctors. You would be stuck this way until they give it free. If they give it free. If not, you would have to grow up again the normal way and I can’t give any guarantee that Mrs. Carter’s or Mrs. Gomez’s memories will return then… nor that you will keep all of yours.”
Anton felt growing cold at this thought. He might lose his job and even his memories. What would this mean? Back to high-school? Rather elementary-school. He shuddered. Reluctantly he extended his arm, only to nearly pull it back, when the needle led by Dr. Anderson punctuated his skin. It wasn’t the pain – he wasn’t a baby – but the sudden realization that the doctors might screw it up again and he might turn into a kindergartner or an old man. Anton dismissed this thought. What choice did he have?
“Will it make me fat again, too?” Christine asked insecure, when Dr. Robinson was about to give her the drug. “Or hurt my leg?”
“No,” the woman replied with an assuring smile. “It makes you only older. Indeed, you will have to eat to give your body something to work with.”
“Okay,” Christine replied, wincing slightly as the needle touched the skin.
With some reluctance Michelle extended her arm, too, but looked away when the syringe came closer. Anton guessed she only agreed to take it because he and Christine had and she didn’t want to look like a coward. Peer-pressure. He was sure she would thank him once her memories had returned.
“If you don’t mind, we will test you to see how large the memory loss is,” Dr. Robinson explained. “In the meantime, I will have the cook make you something to eat. Who wants pizza?”
Roughly two hours later Anton wore sweatshirt and sweatpants which were still too large, but not as ridiculously so as the one he had worn before. Also, his new shoes weren’t in danger of falling of his feet as long as he didn’t run. The doctors had told him this was the smallest size they had and while not filling it out now, he would at the end of the day have little problem if he rolled up the sleeves. He had grudgingly accepted before accompanying them to the wing they had seemingly build up the expensive stuff.
First came the tube in which he had to lie down, while his brain was scanned. Now he sat in another room, wore a plastic-helmet on his head with various electric cables attached to it and filled out a sheet of paper with various questions. While Dr. Robinson looked at him from across the table.
Name? Anton Lubowsky.
How old are you? 41.
How do you start a car(detailed)? Get in, adjust the seat and mirror, start the motor, loose the break, check the mirrors for other cars, children, etc... Drive.
Describe your daily routine: …
On and on it went. Technical questions to find out how much of his factual knowledge was still intact. When he was ready, he handed it to Doctor Robinson who overflew it briefly.
“Looks good,” she noticed. “How do you feel?”
“I feel a bit weary, not like a charged battery like I did with the other drug,” he admitted. “But this is a good thing, isn’t it?”
“The other drug made your body burn older cells – and the fat – using the energy to regenerate itself. The energy left went into your system,” Dr. Robinson explained. “Now it is the other way.”
“Wouldn’t this mean I could have gotten thinner, this way, too?”
“Sure, but it means more stress and less regeneration. Your scars, the superfluous skin. This all would have stayed. All in all, this drug would not sell as good as the other.”
“Will I be as muscular as I was this morning?”
“If you train,” the doctor explained. “In both cases the muscles change along their use. This was one reason for the exercises.”
Anton nodded. This made sense.
“Next, we…” Dr. Robinson began, but was stopped by a knock on the door.
It was Dr. Anderson with a plate of salami-sandwiches. Despite the pizza only two hours ago, Anton felt his stomach grumble.
“Supplies,” he explained while placing it on the table.
“Thank you,” Anton replied while hungrily taking one sandwich.
“No need,” Dr. Anderson replied. “Susanne, a second?”
Dr. Robinson looked at Anton. “You excuse us?”
Anton nodded, still chowing.
The two doctors left the room and Anton was left to contently eat his sandwich, until – by a sudden itch – he turned slowly rose and walked to the door, always weary of plucking one of the cables coming out of his helmet. He eavesdropped, holding his ear the door, but was unable to get more than whisper.
“… the executives don’t believe …” he heard Dr. Anderson’s voice. “… fake …”
“… must give us more time …” Dr. Robinson spoke. “… breakthrough …”
“… two more days …”
Silently Anton crept back in his stool, taking another sandwich and chowing intensely in thought.
After a moment Dr. Robinson came back.
“Still feeling fine?” She asked, seeing him eating.
Anton nodded while swallowing the last bite.
“Good let us continue,” the doctor suggested. “What is your earliest memory?”
„Sitting on the floor, playing with Zagra, my green plush dragon. I must have been three. Playing on the playground in the park.”
“Continue with significant stations of your life. Best with Kindergarten”
“I remember when older kids from elementary school played a small scene for us,” Anton said, scrubbing his chin. “I also remember getting in a fight there and having to stand in the corner. Drawing with crayons. Celebrating birthdays. Having a sleepover. The food was bad, but mommy always made me something for in-between. Once a girl fell and lost a tooth.”
Anton felt his own teeth with his tongue.
“A special occurrence you remember in detail?”
“During my fifth birthday I celebrated in kindergarten and had another party at home dressed as a cowboy including plastic guns. There was a cake showing a cowboy hat.”
“Nice. Elementary school.”
“Our first teacher Mrs. Cumberbach was a dragon. Later we got Mrs. Binetti who was nicer.”
“Mrs. Cumberbach was younger. She had open brown hair, sometimes tamed with a ring. She singled out someone nearly every hour to punish him or her with chores. She always had a reason, but we knew she did it because she liked it. Half through the second grade we got Mrs. Binetti. She was older and had gray-brown hair she wore in a bun. She looked severe, but was really nice, giving us sweet if we were good.”
“Your best friends?”
“James Irving, Matt Trust and Andy Shook.”
“A trip to the museum in Jacksonville. Dinosaurs, astronauts, cowboys and then eating fries at the restaurant. It was cool and we talked about it forever.”
“Sounds like fun,” Dr. Robinson commented, making further notes. “Let us talk about high-school.”
“I like it.”
The doctor stopped in her writing and looked up frowning.
“Yes,” Anton assured her. “It isn't far from home.”
„Tell me about it.“
„Math is cruel, but this is because Mr. Smith is boring and strict. Mrs. Debauch, our English-teacher is strict, too, but she makes the books fun to read. Makes me wish to be an author someday or journalist. Mr. Strowsky, our sport teacher is best of all. He motivates us and doesn’t let anyone fall through if he really tries. I’m in his football team, you know?”
“Anton, how old are you?” Dr. Robinson asked.
Anton seemed to ponder a moment. “13 … no 14! I just had the party at home where Daisy kissed Collin. Afterwards we all went to McDonalds and got us beer … You won’t tell that to my parents, will you?”
“Promised,” the doctor said with a false smile. “Anton, why don’t you answer the questions on this paper for me.”
1. Your Name
3. How do you start a car?
You switch the key and give gas.
4. Describe your daily routine.
Usually mom or dad wakes me up at 6:00, I wash and brush my teeth before we have breakfast. Then I take the bus to high-school. There…
Christine ate the last sandwich Dr. Anderson had brought her, lying on her bed and looking at the ceiling, not quite knowing what to do with herself. She had planned to speak with Anton about their situation and her feelings, but he had gone with the doctors ages ago it seemed and not yet come back. Anton seemed to know what to do and wasn’t as overwhelmed as she felt. He was mature, adult and looked quite cute. She was supposed to be adult, too, but didn’t feel a bit as confident as he. Right now, she felt like a stupid child.
Frustrated Christine put the rest of the sandwich away and zapped through the channels. TVs weren’t supposed to be that thin and that there were fewer channels back home. The home she remembered. These memories didn't come easy to her, part of her told her that they had a flat TV at home, too, but as long as she tried hard, she could remember it properly.
Christine stopped by a music channel, but the songs were also different from the ones she remembered. Then she briefly looked into one of the many kids’ channel, finding one with SprongeBob SquarePants. She switched after a few scenes, wondering if she would have enjoyed it if she had stayed ten like this morning, wondering if she would enjoy it now if she allowed herself it. Most of all Christine wondered who she was.
Christine remembered this morning clearly, at least she thought so. She had woken up being big. At last bigger than now. Had she been slightly groggy? She believed so, but also enjoying the thought of spending more time with Anton. The day before she, Michelle and Anton had made a small party in his room. She remembered this, too, but before? Vaguely she believed she had slept with him – a more muscular, older version – but wasn’t too sure if this was just a fantasy. Maybe she should ask him, but felt worried about embarrassing herself.
Before that she remembered exercises, but how many and for how many days she couldn’t tell. If the doctors had told her she had been here a month she would have believed them, much if they had told her it had been a week. It hadn’t even been that long though. Anton had been adamant, that they had arrived here only four days ago.
All Christine remembered about this was being driven somewhere though a rural landscape. The memories of before, of her being 39, were blank and the latest time she remembered now was her 17th birthday, but not her 16th and only vaguely her 15th. Maybe it was because she had slept with Luke Striker during it. She wasn’t too sure about this, though, maybe it was a fantasy.
She remembered having glowed for him since they had been 13. For a moment she felt a longing to be with him again, but then she remembered that he must be 39 now, as she was supposed to be. A grown man. All the friends she remembered where grown-ups by now. Maybe they had children themselves who were her age.
Feeling tears dwell up in her eyes, Christine turned her thoughts to other memories. She had always wanted to own a motorbike. This was another thing she remembered. It was a sour memory, though, as she knew she had finally gotten her wish and it had cost her dearly.
Thoughtfully she removed her sweatpants and looked at her right leg. According to Anton there had been a scar, up to her hip, though it had already vanished yesterday. He had been a bit reluctant to reveal that she had had to use a cane, too, being in some pain. The painkillers and the lack of activity had been the large reasons for her being fat. Christine remembered none of that and thankful for it.
Twenty years of pain, she thought. How could I have lived through it?
Her mind held no answer for this, but her leg seemed to bit a bit rounder, a bit better formed than the last time she had looked at it. Deciding to check this she walked into the bathroom without bothering of taking her pants back on. In the bathroom she removed the rest of her clothing and looked at herself in the large mirror.
She looked like 15, all right. Since the last time she had seen herself in the mirror she had grown maybe 30 centimeters. Her face had become leaner, subtly more attractive and there was no sign of pimples she had seen before. Her breasts had developed, too and she guessed she needed a bra now that her upper body no longer looked like that of a boy. Hair now covered her groin and briefly she wondered how Anton now looked there.
Christine knew she should be satisfied. She was no longer a child. Then again, she was not an adult yet, either, but somewhere in between and this made her feel even more insecure. Had been ten so bad? Would being older be better? She slowly went over her well-formed breast and down to the hair between her legs. This felt good, but she believed this morning it had been even better. How had it felt when she was even older? 39! How would this feel?
Deciding to search for an answer, Christine walked back in the living room, still naked. She opened a closet she didn't remember to have ever put something into, but still knew what it contained.
First Christine looked for her wallet and found it in the rucksack at the bottom. Opening it she pulled out the driving license and looked at the photo on it. The woman on it had to be her, the name and birth date said so, but she couldn’t, or rather didn’t want to believe it to be true. Sure, Anton had told her she had been overweight, but the double chin and thick cheeks were a shock. There were the eyes, though. It were the eyes of a woman who went through a lot but was unbroken. If there was anything of this photo Christine liked it were theses eyes.
More insecure than before, Christine went through the rest of the wallet, until she found a picture of her parents. Their smiles made her instantly homesick and wanted to be back in her room, lying on her bed, with her mc-player playing songs of her favorite bands. Maybe she could go back. Just pack her belongings, call a taxi and drive back to her parents. She could start again and promise them to never ever touch a motorbike again, if they let her back in.
Tempting, but silly, childish, a voice in Christine’s mind told her.
As she looked closer, she noticed that her parents looked older than she remembered them. They must be around sixty. It would be egoistic to ask this of them, especially considering what they must have gone through with her already. If they still lived.
Christine pushed the last thought away and continued studying the wallet. There were over a hundred dollars. A lot of money and a credit card. She could take a bus to somewhere new and start a new life there. Los Angeles maybe. Maybe she would take a new name and …
And end up homeless, the adult voice inside her told her. This or inside foster care where they will ask questions you can’t answer.
I can find a job, Christine tried to reason with this voice. Anton said I am an accountant.
You have no idea what an accountant even does, let alone have the skills, the adult voice insisted. Speaking of, do you think you even have the knowledge you would need to continue high-school?
Christine refused to further argue with this voice, but had to admit she was probably right. Her recollection of the classes was vague, though she trusted herself to catch up if given the time. She had made it to college once after all.
Putting the wallet back in the rucksack, Christine wanted to close the closet, when another idea crossed her mind. She grabbed the nearest shoes, the bra, jeans and a blue blouse and walked back into the bathroom. There she put them on as good as she could, before looking at herself in the mirror. It was grotesque. She didn’t even look like a child wearing adult clothes, but that of three.
As Christine starred at herself in disbelief, she suddenly felt strange. It was as if she had the size to fill out her old clothes. In the mirror she was the same, but her body insisted, that she was fat again. Desperate she touched herself, feeling the smooth skin and lean arms and not the hanging fat her body still told her she had. It lasted for maybe ten seconds and afterwards Christine found herself on the floor, covered in this sack of a blouse and holding her knees close to herself. Sobbing slightly, she felt hot tears run down her cheeks and brushed them off angrily.
When Christine felt calmer again, she stood up and angrily pulled off the blouse. Then she stuffed it into the large trash can standing by the sink. She did the same with the jeans and the underwear. Then she stormed out into the living, took all her old clothes out of the closet and stuffed them into the trash can, too. She checked the rucksack but only found hygiene articles she would still need – 15 not 10, she remembered – and of course her wallet. For a moment she pondered throwing it and her old identity in the trash, too, but finally decided against it. She wasn’t her 39-year-old self anymore, but that didn’t mean she wouldn’t have need of things from it. Most of all the money.
It knocked at the door. Hastily Christine checked herself in the mirror and then threw some water into her face to hide the signs of tears. She just realized she was still naked when it knocked again.
“Coming!”, Christine shouted and grabbed a bathrobe, fastening its belt as she walked to door.
It was Michelle who waited on the floor when she opened.
“I have boobies!” The other girl exclaimed, grinning widely.
Michelle had a great time, sitting on her bed and watching cartoons. Still, she wondered how Anton and Christine could be such cranks. Anton was the worst, because he had started with this talk of them being really big, but now Christine was brooding, too. They were silly! Pretending to be grown up was for kindergarteners and they were already in elementary-school, doing big divisions and multiplications. Sure, the doctors had agreed with Anton, but what did they know? She wasn't even sick!
To the contrary, Michelle felt great, only a bit hungry. Seeking to remedy that she decided to search the kitchen for something sweet. She put on socks and shoes. Both fitted her better than before, but she took no notice of it. Already she was on the floor, pressing the buttons to call the elevator and making plans. Having a party would be a great way to better Christine's mood. Michelle loved parties! Back at home she had been on lots, sometimes even with boys, though they were icky!
No, a reasonable, sad voice noticed, you were never on any parties. No one ever invited you, because you were fat and poor.
That is not true! She almost screamed. I had a great party at my 12th with Betty Rubens and Sally Mortimer! We had a sleepover and lots of fun!
They both laughed when you invited them, the voice replied mercilessly. After this you were too scared to ask any other in your class. You celebrated with your parents and even mother ended up going to bed early because she didn't feel well. The day ended with you having eaten most of the cake and crying yourself to sleep.
“No. No. No!” Michelle shouted.
No longer wanting to wait on the elevator, she ran down the stairwell, wishing for nothing more, but to escape this cruel, lying voice. Once she arrived at the ground floor, she breathed hard and wondered why she felt so pumped out and why she had even come down.
Food, she remembered.
Grinning she walked in the direction of the cafeteria. There was a middle-aged woman sitting on a chair behind the counter, reading some journal.
“Hi,” the girl said. “I'm Michelle!”
“Hello Michelle,” the woman replied with a weak smile herself, putting away her journal. “How can I help you?”
“Mhh, do you have something to eat I am hungry.”
“Dr. Wil...” The woman stopped. “I mean Dr. Anderson is already on the way up to bring you some sandwiches.”
“Sweets, too?” Michelle asked. “We want to make a party.”
“Sweets are bad for the teeth.”
“Pleaaase?” Michelle begged, giving the grown up her nicest grin. “We will brush our teeth afterwards. Promised.”
The grown-up laughed.
“Fine, since you are such a well-behaved child.” She stood up and going through some cupboards. “We need to get rid of the supplies anyway.”
Michelle grinned by this praise.
“Here.” The woman handed Michelle a bag with chips, chocolate and candy. “Have fun at your party.”
Michelle hopped back to the floor while the woman looked after her smiling. At the elevator, the girl pressed the button and waiting tapped on her feet. The lady had been nice! Sure, Christine would like it and they would have a great time, like the one time she had a birthday party with Betty and Sally at the pony farm. There had been real ponies, not the speaking ones in the cartoons. When the door opened, she rushed in, nearly running into Dr. Anderson.
“Whoa, calm down!” The man said, making a step back.
“What is in the bag?” The doctor asked. “No more alcohol, I hope!”
Michelle giggled and shook her head. He was silly. Of course, they were much too young for alcohol.
“Just sweets,” the girl explained. “I and Christine will have a party.”
“Well then, have fun, but make sure to first eat the sandwiches I placed besides your bed. You need something more nourishing to grow up right.”
“Promised!” Michelle replied as the door of the elevator closed.
Back up in the second floor she went straight into her room, finding the sandwiches where Dr. Anderson had said they were. Devouring them hungrily while watching another episode of magical ponies, Michelle thought about if she should invite Anton, too, if he was back. He was cranky, but Christine liked him. More than liked him, he was her boyfriend, or close to be so. Michelle wanted to have a boyfriend, too. There was Trevor Sproon at her school, who played a lot of football, too. She liked him and could ask him to go with her.
He laughed about you back in the yard, when the other girls were throwing your lunchbox around, the sad, mature voice piped up again. All were laughing, while Sally said you were fat enough.
Michelle just ignored it, but was distracted enough that drop a piece of sandwich on her sweater. Annoyed she brushed it off, noticing that her breast was no longer flat. Curious she walked into the bathroom, undressed and looked at herself in the mirror.
She had breasts! This startled her for a moment, but when she touched them this felt more natural. Of course, she had breast. She was a teenager! Smiling she went over her flat belly and elegant hips.
There you have it; she told the sad voice inside her. Why should anybody call me fat!
The voice didn't respond and Michelle's thoughts moved to Trevor. Sure, he would like her! She would ask him out and they could go on a date or even a double date with Christine and Anton! Vaguely she remembered cheerleading with Christine this morning. Was she a cheerleader? Of course! She and Christine could show their best move while the boys were playing. Everyone would praise them how great they were and Trevor would love it most of all.
Michelle thought what she and Trevor could do, her hands moving to the spot between her hips. Suddenly she heard in the TV Twilight Sparkle proclaim they had to do magic and smiled. Just like that the other magic, that of her hands over this spot was gone and Michelle giggled at how much fun the show was. Then she heard Pinky Pie saying that they had to have a party and remembered that she wanted to have a party, too!
Quickly she got dressed, turned off the TV, grabbed the bag with sweets and went to Michelle's door. Knocking impatiently.
“Coming!” Michelle heard her friends say.
A moment later the door was opened.
“I have boobies!” Michelle exclaimed with a big smile.
Christine was too stunned to find the right answer to this, so she let Michelle in. The other girl tweeted of parties and fun and double dates in a speed which made her head spin while she tried to catch on. At last it was clear that Michelle had had no crisis in regard to her identity, but Christine was beginning to wonder if this was such a good thing.
They sat on Christine’s bed, their legs crossed and the bag with sweets and coca cola between them. Susanne felt reluctant to touch anything of it. The memory of the picture on her id-card, the ghost of her old body she had felt in the bathroom, were too fresh. Maybe it would even best if she never touched sweets again. Then she watched Michelle eating with obvious enjoyment and decided she was being stupid. She had become overweight due to the accident and painkillers according to Anton. The way she remembered it she had always done a bit of sport, but never shunned chocolate or counted calories and had still managed to be in good shape. Carefully she took a small Mars and began eating it.
It tasted great.
“Already thought you have a bad stomach,” Michelle commented.
„I was just thinking about Anton,“ Christine lied. “I wonder what the doctors are doing with him for so long.”
“Christine and Anton are sitting in a tree k-i-s-s-i-n-g,” Michelle replied giggling.
Christine made a sour face, but then smiled.
“Guess so. At last we did,” she tried to remember what the two of them had done yesterday and was quite sure it had been a bit more than kissing. “Who have you kissed?”
“Trevor Sproon,” Michelle said, her eyes dreamlike. “He is a great footballer in my school and so cute. When I’m cheerleading I do it just for him. Last valentine’s day he gave me a big cushion in the form of a heart.”
“That is great!”
Christine's own smile felt awfully forced. She wondered that the other girl didn’t notice it. The *boy* would be forty now, but what wasn’t the main problem, but that Michelle never had been a cheerleader. Susanne remembered clearly having shown her one or two moves this morning, when they had cheered for Anton. Michelle had said she had not known how to do it when she had asked her and it had been clear from her movements, too. Of course, her memories of being a cheerleader could have been suppressed at this point, since they had both been around 12, but her own hadn’t been. Could she have started later?
There was something Anton had said, when he had talked to them in the cafeteria this morning. Yes, Michelle had been overweight since childhood and this didn’t sound like something a cheerleader could be, at last in her … their time. So, Michelle must have made this up. Yet, looking at the other girl Christine had a strong guess, that she believed what she spoke of, that she remembered it that way, the way she had remembered being just a child this morning. This was more unsettling than Christine could say.
“So,” she began, taking some chips. “What are your favorite bands?”
“Green Day, Nirvana,” Michelle counted up and turned around to the TV which showed MTV, but was turned down. “And him! Isn’t he cute?”
Michelle nodded. “I even went to one of his concerts with all my friends from school. We had the best time. Isn’t it great to have friends?”
He wasn’t even born back then and you had no friends at school, Christine realized with sudden clarity. At last not many. I would bet the contend of my wallet, if not that of the bank-account I must have somewhere, that you neither ever had a boyfriend. You play pretend girl and you don’t even know it.
How much of her own past was made up? Did she sleep with Luke around her 17th? Had a great time with friends? Had she been an outcast like Michelle had likely been? Christine looked at the boy singing on the screen. No, she didn’t remember him at all. Green Day and Nirvana, but both might still be around. Anton might know, he had also told her that she had the accident with 21, so the part she remembered was most likely true.
She suddenly missed Anton and his mature attitude so much that it hurt her.
“You make this sour face again!” Michelle complained.
“Sorry,” Christine replied, trying to find an excuse. “I was just thinking about my job.”
“Summer jobs are bugger,” Michelle agreed. “I'm happy my parents have enough money so I don't have to. It is hard.”
“No, it is pretty much fun. Just a few hours helping in a shop. I'm worried if I will find this summer, though.”
This wasn't a lie. Christine's parents had been well off enough, too, but she had always liked the extra of independence the money had bought her.
And you saved a bit to buy a motorbike one day, a voice inside reminded her. Great investment!
“Don't bother. You are great!” Michelle tried to cheer her up. “I'm sure you will easily find a new job.”
“Thank you,” Christine replied honestly. “You are great, too.”
Michelle smiled and just for this moment that despite their situation, Christine felt she had a friend. Here, now, and not in her possibly treacherous memory.
“I know a great show,” Michelle noticed. “Do you want to see it?”
Michelle grabbed the remote control and switched the channels, until she got the one she wanted. Christine saw it was a record in the system. Many seasons of a specific show, she knew she would have never looked at.
“This is Twilight Sparkle,” Michelle explained. “This is Applejack and this is Pinky Pie. She likes parties, too!”
“Uhh great!” Christine lied. “But you know maybe we should switch back. Just if Anton comes back. He won't like it.”
“Boys are icky!” Michelle replied with a wide grin. “They always make themselves dirty and don't like dolls. Let us make a slumber party just for girls!”
“No!” Christine nearly shouted, jumping up. Seeing the hurt in the other girls eyes she continued calmer: “Shunning him is mean. There are enough sweets for all of us. Okay?”
Michelle nodded, though not quite enthusiastic.
“I will check his room,” Christine said. “Maybe he is already back.”
Michelle shrugged and looked back to the TV, clearly captured by these talking ponies. Christine left her room, trying her best not to run. She knocked at the front of Anton's room and tried her best not cry. This could be her. Had she stayed 10 like this morning she would sit there watching little-kids-cartoons with Michelle and think herself cool.
Please Anton, she thought, be there.
“Who is there?” Anton’s voice came from inside.
Not waiting, Christine entered, discovering Anton on his bed throwing a football up and down.
“Oh Anton!” She began, sweeping away her tears. “Thank god you are here. It is Michelle. We had this party … now she sits there and watches cartoons. She doesn't remember. Not who old she is supposed to be and neither her actual past. I think it is all messed up. Tell me I won't end this way. Tell me I remember correctly, at last the part of my life I'm supposed to remember. Tell me I won't end up thinking like a little girl!”
At the last sentences Christine's voice broke and she felt tears threatening to spill again from her eyes. Angrily she fought them back, lowering her head, until she felt Anton's embrace.
“Hey. Hey,” he tried to calm her down. “It is all okay!”
“You think so?” Christine asked, returning the embrace.
“Yeah,” Anton assured her. “We are no little kids. We are in high-school already! Let us go over to Michelle and tell her.”
“Anton, what are you talking about?” Christine asked, feeling her blood become cold. “Do you remember why we are here? Do you remember how old you are?”
“Sure,” Anton assured her. “We are 15 and we are here in a fitness camp. Why?”
Christine starred at him, but between she could say anything it knocked at the door again. She turned around, remembering she had left it open and guessing it was Michelle, looking after her. It wasn't Michelle, but Dr. Anderson, looking at them with a smile.
“I didn't want to disturb you,” he explained. “But it is your time for the tests Christine.”
“Dr. Anderson something is wrong,” Christine explained. “Anton isn't remembering being big and Michelle behaves like a small child.”
“There has seemingly been some slippages,” Dr. Anderson replied, not the slightest startled. “But with the next injection tomorrow everything will be better. You will see. Now come. We have to check your memory, too.”
Christine looked doubtfully at Anton, who smiled at this exchanged.
“Go with him,” he told her. “I will be in your room with Michelle and try to remember her that a high-school-girl shouldn't watch cartoons!”
Wordlessly Christine left him behind and followed Dr. Anderson to the elevator.
To be continued…