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My mother didn’t say much, only pursed her lips and sighed. She tried to explain: “Your body is following Hashem’s plan and growing in a healthy manner. This way, when you get married, you could give your children the milk they need to grow….”
I nearly died.
Milk? My lumps would sprout milk?
“But what’ll I do with the milk till the baby comes?” I asked, almost in tears.
My mother laughed.
“The milk only comes after the baby,” she said. “Until then, nothing happens.”
Huh? Then why didn’t God make women grow breasts after they have babies instead of before? Who needed unnecessary lumps hanging around for years before they would be used?
But I did not ask my mother this. I knew what she’d say: “Don’t argue with God. He knows how to run His world almost as well as you do.”
I ran to my room and locked the door. I sat on my bed, and I thought. I squished my chest down hard, but it popped back up every time. I shook my head. It could not be. There must be some way out of this — medicine, an omen, a prayer, something that could make the lumps shrink back down.
I stared at my reflection in the mirror, sucking in my chest. Who was I? All those years I’d thought that I was me, when all along I was really my mother. What would I do?
I slouched on the floor, tugging at the neck on my shirt. I could not believe it. I would now have to wear my sister’s ugly school sweater for the rest of my life.
The next morning, my mother took me to a bra store located right in middle of my neighborhood. When we arrived, I slumped out of the car. I turned casually in the other direction.
“Stop this,” my mother said through gritted teeth. “Appreciate the fact that you’re healthy. God forbid they wouldn’t grow….”
And then it occurred to me: What if someone from my class was in the bra store? What if Hindy or Rochel Leah was in there? What if one of my teachers was inside and I strolled in behind her?
I hugged my mother frantically. I begged her to take me away. She peeled my hands off her waist. Holding my arm tightly, she walked me inside the store.