The boys were splashing in the pool. From her bedroom she could hear the screams and splash of water. She lay on her bed, staring at the ceiling. It was hot. Too hot.

She wanted to be out there with them. She wanted to be laughing and diving into the pool and to not have a care in the world.

Except… she wasn’t.

She was stuck inside.

The pain in her stomach raged on.

There was no calming it.

It was too hot for a hot water bottle – the sweat was running down her face, down her arms into her sheets. She didn’t want to move. She was stuck there, in pain, staring at the white ceiling. A fly tiptoed across. She watched it’s slow progress until it buzzed away, finding the exit it had been looking for, leaving her alone again.

So this was what adulthood was, she thought dully.

Pain and discomfort, and not being able to do things you wanted. No wonder adults always looked so miserable.

She didn’t want to grow up. She didn’t want to be an adult. She didn’t want to be a girl, not if this was what being a girl meant.

The boys outside – they didn’t care. They didn’t understand. They didn’t have to worry about this.

No wonder they called it the curse.

The summer had always been the best time of year. The best – all that freedom and escape. Swimming, playing… now she felt like she’d never have that again. She was doomed.

The house shook as a door downstairs was wrenched open and slammed again. She heard loud, heavy footsteps coming up the stairs, dashing past her room… and then out again. She can hear talking downstairs, the whirr of the blender, and then a shout upstairs.

‘Do you want a smoothie?’

She doesn’t reply.

She closes her eyes and continues to lie there, hoping that they will go away again.

She can hear them hesitating at the bottom of the stairs, before the footsteps return to the kitchen and the talking begins again. Good.

At least the splashing has stopped for now.

She hears the lazy whirr of an aeroplane passing by and wonders where it’s going. She wishes that she could be on board, that she could be going somewhere else, away from here, away from adulthood, back to childhood and lazy easy days where nothing mattered.

The splashing starts again. She rolls onto her side, staring at the wall, wishing it would all go away. She closes her eyes, and wishes herself back to an easier, better time, when adulthood was just a fiction.