Dorothy had a warm body. She felt cold even during the soothing months of monsoon and those that followed. Her mom would wrap her in layers of winter clothes if it started drizzling outside. However, she wouldn’t slip into those layers to school. This was as much out of a fear that school children would tease her for the ‘bunny-bear’ that look she carried as the teenage blues she was going through. She presumed it was easy to bear the coldness of weather than to bear the tantalisation that her garb would invite. On days when she felt it was difficult to sit in the class without shivering, she would wear a nylon shirt under her school uniform to fight the chill. On other cold days, she would rub her palms under the desk.
Winters would bring her joy, for she would be able to wear warm woolen fabric, thick coats, muffler and scarves without fearing any raised eyebrows.
On a Sunday morning Dorothy caught fever, or fever caught her, as she insisted to word it. Dorothy had to be injected so that she could write her examination the next morning. That night, Dorothy was wrapped in the blue blanket and spent the night wondering if she would have to wear sweaters to school. Throughout the night she would try to come out of the blanket to experience the magnitude of cold outside it and then crawl back into it, quick enough to escape the harsh air.
The next day, fever had subsided but she couldn’t drop the sweaters. She realised it was too foolish to appear for the exams without looking like a baggage of clothes.
At the school gate, she fumbled with her heavy legs, overburdened with fear and trepidation. Once in, she scurried groggily to vanish into her class room. She noticed that except for a few surly boys and girls, nobody appeared to give her look any serious thoughts.
The day passed without any fuss, leaving her astonished.
This experience imbibed in Dorothy the courage to wear sweaters. She tried her luck again in the same sweaters, and later made it a practice. She would don that ‘bunny-bear’ look whenever her skin felt cold. It became less of an effort for her to muster the courage to wear that garb. To her surprise, some other children of her school too started wearing sweaters during a cold day of monsoon or early winter, as if they were waiting for her to fuel them with bravery. Dorothy had never felt this proud to wear coats on a non-winter day.
She now wears what her body asks for, not what she thinks others would be pleased to see her in.