Jon rushed down the stairs and into the kitchen. There, his dad handed him a plate of toast, topped with an egg cooked sunny-side-up. “You’ll have to eat quick, dear.”
“You’re welcome, sweetie.”
Jon set down his backpack and seated himself at the table. He wolfed down the toast as quickly as he could without making a mess. His father watched him with a faint look of disappointment at the un-gentlemanly display, but said nothing.
Once his plate was emptied, Jon stood and pulled his backpack on. He rushed over to his dad and gave him a quick hug. “See you soon, Daddy.”
“Have a great day at school.”
“Will do. Byee!”
Jon rushed out the door and down the street. The bus was already waiting when he arrived at the bus stop. He stepped in behind the handful of students climbing into the bus and found a seat. He took in the sight of the different students: girls in casual tees and jeans or basketball shorts, many of whom didn’t seem to be wearing bras; boys in form-fitting blouses and crop tops, wearing skirts or short shorts or jeans that accentuated the legs, mostly sitting in a way that drew attention to their crotches. Jon suddenly felt a bit self-conscious, and nervously brushed some stray hairs from his face.
The bus passed Karyn’s house and pulled over at the nearest stop. As students piled in, Jon looked for Karyn but she was nowhere to be seen. I guess she does have her own car now, he realized. She must take that to school.
“Mind if I sit here?” Jon turned to see a girl beside his seat. She was familiar, but Jon didn’t know her personally; she was in a different grade. She was tall and thin, but not scrawny. She wore a flannel shirt and slacks. Her hair was short and curly, and she was wearing glasses.
“Sure,” Jon said with a smile.
The girl took a seat. “Thanks.” Throughout the ride, the girl said little. Jon did catch her take some covert glances at his crotch. It was a strange experience for Jon, but not an unwelcome one.
The bus pulled into the school, and students began filing out. Jon found Karyn leaning on the wall where they usually met up. She was wearing jeans and a Call of Duty t-shirt. She had seemingly combed her now-short hair, but it was still quite messy. She had a black backpack which had been dropped haphazardly at the foot of the wall.
“Oh, hi Jon.” She turned to him and scanned him bottom-to-top, before meeting his eyes. Jon noticed she had paused for a brief moment halfway up. “How’s it going?”
“I’m great. You?”
“Me? Oh, I’m fine.” She paused. “Looks like you never wished away that hair.”
“Oh, right. I guess it’s growing on me.”
“It does look pretty hot on you. Have you made any other wishes yet?”
Jon hesitated. “Well, yeah.”
Karyn lit up. “What did you wish for?”
“Oh, uh… I kinda, accidentally… wished that girls would act like boys and that boys would act like girls.”
“Oh. Looks like it didn’t work, did it?”
“No, it worked. It used to be boys who did sports and stuff and girls who had long hair and wore dresses and cared more about clothing.”
Karyn looked dumbfounded for a second. Then she started laughing. “That’s a good one!”
Jon frowned. “It’s not a joke! That’s how it really was.”
“Yeah right. You really expect me to believe that girls wore dresses?”
“Well, yeah, I do!”
“Can you imagine! Sarah McMillan, wearing a dress!”
“I’m not kidding!” Jon was on the verge of tears.
Karyn stopped laughing. “Wait, you’re serious?
Karyn shuffled uncomfortably. “Are you sure you didn’t make a wish that just made you think girls used to act like boys and stuff?”
“It doesn’t work like that. If you hear the wish, you remember how things were. Like, remember when you–I mean, when I wished for blonde hair? And only you and I noticed things were different.”
“Well, maybe someone else had the stone and played a trick on you. Maybe it was Zoe.”
“No, of course not!”
“You were acting normal at the mall yesterday.”
“Wait, why would you wish for long hair if boys didn’t used to have long hair?”
“Nevermind!” Jon felt like he might pull his hair out. He could tell Karyn was disturbed by the conversation as well. “Let’s just talk about this later, okay?”
“Uh, right.” Karyn picked up her backpack and the two made their way into the school.