(Allison's mom is also a painter!)

I think I'm PMSing. But I can't be sure. I have an irregular cycle, one that did not begin until I was seventeen and one that continues to be absent most of the time. I am not the girl who had really bad cramps that kept her home from school with a bottle of Advil at her disposal. But I wanted to be! Just like I wanted to have divorced parents and go to Ala-teen meetings. I kept wondering why nobody in Health Class asked if it was cool to wear a tampon before you got your period, you know, just in case. I was practically an adult when it finally came. And to make matters worse, my sister was... normal. It was late summer and my mom and Nat were driving me home from camp. I was staring dreamily out the back window when my mom began to speak, the strained casualness of her tone catching my attention. Honey, ...Natty got her period. I glanced at my sister, mute and humiliated in the front seat. Until now my little sister had readily adhered to the standard rules regarding family hierarchy: she was younger and therefore shorter and shyer and in love with me. Now, suddenly, without warning, she had jumped ahead while I was conveniently secluded in the woods! The betrayal! The injustice! The truth of the matter. And now, twenty five years later, I am still waiting for that wonderful, terrible monthly occurrence. Oh sure, I get it now and then. But never consistently. And so my moods, wild and menacing, strike without drawing blood. I'm just a crabby asshole with nobody to blame. Instead of charting my cycle on the back page of my journal (one entry), I should note the days I am particularly rude. One guess which tally will win...

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