1993

He flicked the little plastic cap off the top of the razor, sending it flying across the bathroom only to get lost amongst all the various lotions and soaps mum kept on the counter. It was gone, lost to the abyss now. He yanked his right pant leg up next, pushing it far up on his thigh so that when he lifted his leg up to rest on the edge of the bath it didn’t roll down. He’d have to be careful going over the scar on his thigh — acquired from trying to backflip into the pool last summer — while the injury was long healed he could still feel a little pain if he applied too much pressure.

He hovered with the razor positioned at the bottom of his ankle, suddenly realising that he didn’t know how to do it. He’d shaved his face before but that had resulted in a series of nicks that Jasper had teased him about for a week straight. Don’t get him wrong, he’d teased his friend right back when he’d come to school a month later sporting the very same thing but it wasn’t something he wanted to repeat. The face was probably harder though, more edges. Legs were pretty straight forward, right? Just one simple up and down motion.

It was at this moment the blade caught the sun and glinted, ricocheting light around the room like some sort of weird disco ball. If he had been in a tv show, it would have made a kachink sound effect. He hitched his breathing, keeping quiet for a moment so he could make sure mum indeed wasn’t home. She’d said she was going out with a friend but could have gotten home and he hadn’t realised. That wouldn’t be unlike him, No Concept of Time Matty they called him after all. Satisfied that he was actually alone, he pushed the blade onto his skin and started dragging upwards.

It was satisfying, seeing his leg properly for this first time since he’d hit puberty. But damn, he had a lot of hair and this was going to take longer than he thought. It wasn’t that he had anything against hairy legs; he just wanted to see what it was like without them. Maybe he’d like it and keep them this way or maybe he’d feel too exposed and just grow it all back.

You know, this whole damn thing had started two days ago when one of the girls he went to school with had come to class wearing the standard issue pants that only the boys wore. There had been a few sniggers but then everyone had just kind of forgotten about it. But not him, no, he’d been thinking about it non-stop. It had then snowballed into noticing how mostly everything that he owned was blue or had skulls on it, which then culminated in what he was thinking about right now. Which, just for the record, was why the hell should I not look however I want to? Only girls can shave their legs? Fuck that.

“Matty!” He was halfway up his second leg when mum’s voice echoed through the house. It startled him and his hand twitched, taking a small chunk out his calf. It was a mess, blood went flying everywhere and he cursed under his breath. Panicking, he switched the shower on and shoved his leg under the water, watching as the water turned red. “Where are you?”

“I’m just showering, mum!” He shot back. He must have been so focused that he didn’t hear her arrive. Now, he realised, he needed to actually shower lest she pry further. He could probably finish shaving in there and wash all the hair down the drain. You know, to hide the evidence.

Matty hadn’t thought his plan through. He hadn’t thought about the fact it was summertime and he would be wearing shorts everywhere. But even if he had thought it through, it didn’t make much of a difference because honestly, he didn’t really care. He was more concerned about the teasing he was going to get for the bandage covering the cut. It was deep and had bled so much that he wondered if he was going to bleed out everywhere and die. What a way to go, death from a shaving cut. Thanks to that too, he’d had to tell mum what he was up to and why he’d taken so long in the bathroom. Her response had been a shrug and he didn’t know why he’d been worried, she never cared what he did as long as he stayed out of trouble.

He felt surprisingly at ease when Jasper came to the door. His legs were smooth and he thought he looked pretty cool. But even still the first thing that was uttered by his friend was, “What?”

“What do you mean, what?” He grunted back, swinging his bag up over his shoulder and pulling the door shut behind him.

Jasper’s eyes were flicking between his friend’s legs and his own while his eyebrows were knitted together in confusion. “You shaved your legs.”

“Yeah.”

Seemingly unsatisfied with his one word response, he kicked the ground in frustration and dislodged a cloud of dirt. It flew up into their faces and made him cough. He took a moment to compose himself before continuing with a dusty, “Why?”

“Dunno,” He shrugged, laughing at his friend’s plight. There was brown grime smeared all along the front of his uniform now and he was attempting to wipe it off but only managing to smudge it in further. “Felt like it.”

“Should I shave mine?”

“If you want to.”

They continued in silence and for the first time in two days, Matty let his mind think about something else other than his legs. He didn’t want to go to school; in fact he would rather be going anywhere else right now. They always said he wasn’t the most studious person and and definitely disrupted the class more than he’d own up to. He had to keep reminding himself that there was only three more weeks of this shit. God how he was looking forward to the six weeks of sweet nothing before Tafe started.

He shot a glance over to Jasper. He was staring straight ahead with cheeks puffed out like he was holding his breath. His face was starting to go red and Matty just knew he wasn’t finished with the conversation yet and had about a million more questions to ask. Three…he started mentally counting down. Two…one…

“I thought only girls shaved their legs.”

Boom, right on cue. “Yeah, girls do but who says that I can’t?”

That had stumped him and he kicked the ground again, making sure this time to only get the grass and not the dirt. “Well…no one does but…”

“But what?”

“Why would you wanna look like a girl?” His face was scrunched up, like he knew that the question wasn’t right but didn’t know what else to say.

“I don’t think I look like a girl,” He motioned up and down with his hands, bringing full attention to his newly six-foot-three frame, broad shoulders and size twelve feet. That’s not to say that there weren’t women this tall, his own mother was above-average height, but well, you know what he meant. “Do you?”

“Well, no…”

They were two blocks away from school now and he could see that dreaded building in the distance. He briefly considered turning around and heading to the shops or something, but visions of his declining attendance rate danced before his eyes and he didn’t feel like facing mum’s wrath today. He’d skived off last week, probably should go today.

“And anyway,” He stopped in the middle of the pathway. He could at least put it off for as long as possible, wait until the siren went or something. “Would it matter if I did?” Jasper hmm’ed in response, expression still looking confused. It wasn’t a judgmental confusion though, more like he was just trying to wrap his head around a concept he’d never heard of before. The concept of being oneself.

“Hey, Matty,” He felt Jasper’s hand against his shoulder and came to a stop. His friend was leaning forward, peering down at a makeup stand. “What would you say if I bought some lipstick?”

“I wouldn’t say anything,” A smirk started to creep across his lips. Actually it wasn’t a smirk, it was a genuine smile. “No, I change my mind. I’d say go for it.”

He picked up a purple stick, bringing it up close to his face and reading the label. Amethyst Days, it was called. What a stupid name, why couldn’t they just call it purple? “I don’t wanna wear a lot or nothin’, I just think it would look cool to have coloured lips is all.”

He reached forward with newly smooth arms and picked up his own shade, an icy blue colour. He was never one to shy away from attention so he would not be wearing a nude shade. “Agreed, I’ll get this one.”