1633 c/o Andrea Mullaney

The Big Girl

There came a point when I met my parents’ gaze head on: I was seven. My mother's eyes were full of worry for me; my father’s, I think, held a touch of fear. Perhaps I had a choice then: to keep growing or try to stay there and wait for my age to catch up with my body. But I couldn’t bear looking in their eyes, so I kept going until their heads were far below me. Then I felt like the adult and they were the children, so small, needing protection.

When they put me on show, at carnivals, at court, I felt that I should really be giving them something more for their money – a few tricks, perhaps, or a song. It didn’t seem so very entertaining just to stand there and be myself. Yet the gawkers seemed happy enough just to stare and endlessly ask such ordinary, dull questions: What does she eat? Where does she sleep? Where do you get her shoes?

No one asked what I would have thought the obvious one: What does it feel like?

It feels like my bones are pulling against each other, stretching to grow even larger.

It feels like I am a changeling from another time when everyone will be this size and we will all walk around level with the trees.

It feels like you are all the same, peasant or princess, just craning heads peering up at me, poor little curious children.

It feels lonely and magnificent and terrible and strange and painful, all at once.

It is probably best that they do not ask.