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Author's Chapter Notes:


From Her Diary

Page 128

I found this diary in her room so I thought I'd try to write down some of the stuff that has happened to me. No one's going to read it 'cause I write backward and besides, there's a lock on the book and I've got it hid behind some boxes in the closet. 'Cept when I'm writing in it, like now.

She wrote some stuff on the first few pages, I couldn't read it at first but I held it up to a mirror and then I could but it is really lame-o. Like how she thinks these boys like her and how much she hates this boy or girl and stuff like that. Puke. I guess she lost interest, or maybe she just lost the book 'cause she hid it really good and I only just found it, but there's nothing dated for like three months before she died.

Now it's my book.

Page 127

I couldn't think of anything else to write then and I just noticed I didn't date it like I guess you're supposed to in a diary so I don't think I'll date any of them. I'm not too sure of the date anyway. I'm just writing this down for myself. So I won't think I'm so crazy, maybe.

Also, I just noticed that I started my writing on like the last page and I'm going backward through the book, so maybe I am crazy. It doesn't look backwards to me but I figured out the backwards numbers at the top of the pages and they run backwards.

I don't know how this happened. It doesn't make any sense and I've given up trying to tell people about it. I tried to tell some of the nurses in the hospital but they didn't think I was talking about anything real and they kept giving me shots. I wasn't hurting that much. My heart hurt some when I realized my folks were probably dead but that was later. That still hurts. Sheri's folks try to be nice but they aren't my folks

Nobody knows I can write backward. I didn't know at first either. They think I got brain damage. Maybe I do. Maybe I'm just a pigment of Sheri's imagination, like in a story. God, that's making me cry.

Page 126

I write just about as sappy as Sheri did, don't I? Maybe it's because I'm using her brain? I guess I'm using her brain. I got a theery about that. I found out some things about her since I got out of the hospital. Nobody knows what she was doing when they found her and took her to the hospital. She shouldn't have been in that part of town and her clothes were torn and dirty.

She'd been at a party and she disappeared. I think she took some drugs and she did some bad things then she got hurt and she died. And just then I must have died, too. Only, for me it was my body that died and for her it was her mind. So, here I am, using her brain and her body.

Page 125

Anybody that reads that is going to think I'm crazy. Sometimes, even I think so.

The last I remember, there was a lot of noise and light and it hurt real bad and then I woke up. I didn't know where I was but I still kinda hurt some. My eyes wouldn't open right away and I made a noise. Someone goes, "She's awake."

Who's she, I thought.

Someone said real close to me, "Sheri, honey? Are you awake? It's Mommy."

"Mommy?" I said, or I tried to say but it came out like I had a mouthful of something. I opened my eyes and this beautiful blonde lady with the brightest blue eyes was looking me right in the face.

"Sheri? You're awake?" She's like really worried sounding.

I shook my head and that hurt a lot. I tried to tell her my name but just then I couldn't think of it and it was difficult to talk anyway. She didn't understand me. She wouldn't have understood me if she had understood me. You know what I mean. Or, at least, I know what I mean and I'm the only one that is going to read this.

Page 124

They treat me real nice but they keep calling me Sheri. I'm beginning to answer to the name cause I realized that I am Sheri. At least I'm living in her body. They kept me in the hospital for a few more days, I had a broken arm, I thought it was my right arm but they said it was my left arm. Sheri's left arm. But see, I know I'm left-handed. But Sheri isn't so I can use her left hand, I mean, her right hand as if it were my left hand and that's good.

In the hospital, I had to go to theraby everyday, it was head theraby. They wanted to find out what happened to me but I didn't know. I didn't know what happened to Sheri either.

At first I tried to tell them I wasn't Sheri but they just kept telling me that I was and they would only stop when I started crying. So I started saying, okay, I'm Sheri but I still don't know what happened. I got the feeling there was things they knew had happened they didn't want to tell me about.

Page 123
It's better now that I'm out of the hospital and Mommy took me home, Sheri's mom to Sheri's home. But it's better, I only have to go to head theraby once a week.

Except. Everything is backwards. And worse than that, I'm a girl.

I don't think I was a girl before. But now, I look in a mirror and I see Sheri. She's a very pretty girl but I don't see me. Only, I'm not sure what I looked like.

Sheri is blonde with bright blue eyes, just like her mom. And she's fifteen. I think I was nine. Maybe only eight. Now I've got little boobies on my chest and a girl's thing down there. It's so weird.

Page 122

Sure better nobody read this!

Page 121

I haven't written in here for awhile, maybe I'll start again.

They took the cast off my arm. It aches like it's dead and I'll have to go to theraby for it now, too. I've even got a little scar where a piece of bone stuck out, right in front of my elbow on the underside. It's hard to see there, especially for me. My little brother, Gary, laughed like he'd puke when he saw me trying to look at the scar.

Well, he's Sheri's little brother, he's about my age. That's eight, I mean. He thinks I'm Sheri too. He teases me something awful and some of it is really funny, cause I'm not really Sheri and when he tells me that I should wear earplugs to keep the wind from making such an awful whistling noise blowing through my head--well, I just smile at him and say, "Gary, you're funny...looking."

He's a good kid and I never had a brother. I don't think I did. I'm going to adopt Gary as my brother. But it's sure odd being the big sister.

Page 120

I thought I was bleeding to death, okay. Everybody made a big deal of me not knowing about periods. Well, I didn't. Nobody told me. I thought Sheri had been worse hurt than even the docotors knew and now I would die again.

It made me feel like an idiot. Mommy says this happens every month and I should know when it's going to happen, either by the calendar or just by the way I feel. I feel pretty cruddy, kind of like I ate something bad and someone kicked me in the stomack so I could puke it up and sort of like I just found a dead baby bird. I told that to Mommy and she said, that was exactly how she felt, too.

And now I have to wear this think like a diaper but it only covers my vagina and it goes inside my underpants. I just learned that word, not underpants, vagina. Boys have penises and girls have vaginas. It sounds like one of those countries where they have all the earthkakes and dicataters.

And penis, I think he played for the Angels last year. Bobby Penis. Now I've got the giggles and I think I'm going to be sick. Don't laugh so much when you're bleeding, it hurts.

Page 119

I wish I could die and be done with it.

Page 118

No, I don't. That was just because I had to go to phizycal theraby and it made my arm hurt and I've got my period so I feel cruddy anyway. Bleah. That's kind of fun to say. Bleah. Not as much fun to write though.

Mommy said I should go shopping to cheer me up and I go, "huh?" Cause that is like the dumbest thing I had ever heard. "Shopping for what?" I asked her.

She's like, "Not shopping for something, just Shopping," and I could hear the catapult letter this time.

"Okay," I'm like, "it's got to be better than watching dumb old TV with my dumb little brother." But Gary didn't hear me cause he was watching cartoons. I still like cartoons but I just didn't feel like watching them then, so I went Shopping with Mommy. Sheri's mom, but I'm Sheri now so she's my mom.

I like her. She's so pretty, she's like a movie star and I guess Sheri will look like her when I grow up. That is so weird.

Page 117

I'd finally had to tell everyone that things look backward to me so Mommy was all worried that I had brain damage and would have to go to class with Special Ed. So besides phizycal theraby and head theraby I had to go to the psickyatriss this week and she said that my brain was fine. They took pictures with noisy magnets, I didn't know you could do that.

I think she knows there were things I didn't tell her, like that I'm not really Sheri, but who needs that kind of hassle, I had enough of that in the hospital. I don't even mention it to my regular head therabus any more. But the new doctor said that I'm lucky I'm not really stupid or blind from the bad drugs that whoever gave me. She almost scared the pee out of me. I mean, really, I'm already bleeding down there and she tells me this stuff and I thought I had peed on myself.

Page 116

I'm never sure I've got myself dry anyway and with the napkin (that's a stupid name for it!) down there it's even worse. When you've got a vagina instead of a penis, you have to wipe yourself and you want to wipe front to back so you don't, well, you just do. It's really icky to think of doing it the other way once Mommy explained why.

But this psykatrist doctor told me that sooner or later my brain would probably figure out that things aren't really backward and that I'd be seeing stuff right way round. "You mean this has happened to other people?" I asked her.

"Probably," she goes, meaning she didn't know, grownups won't ever say they don't know something. "But the brain is very mysterious and powerful and you just have to learn how to see things right again."

I didn't tell her that I'm getting better at reading backwards writing, already. It gives me a headache, though.

page 115


Mommy and I went Shopping. First we took baths and put on pretty underwear. I know that sounds so girly, but Sheri has about fifty pairs of underpants and they are in all kinds of colors and have lace and ruffles and stuff. And differnt fabrics. Some the softest stuff and others are like so smooth and shiny. So Mommy told me to put on a pretty pair and pick out a nice comfrodable bra too.

It took me awhile to do that. I mean, I had to look at all of them. It was sort of disgusting at first but they are my panties now so I can look at them. I giggled a lot but I picked a purple pair, not a dark purple but a light purple that has another name like marvin or leander or something. They had a soft lacy waist band and they are all stretchy but thick enough so the pad isn't going to be visible.

Mommy gave me a special pad, with wings, so I wouldn't leak on any clothes I tried on. The wings are just, like, it's wider in the middle, which is a weird place for it to be wider since that's where I'm not.

Page 114

I picked one of my bras that almost matched my panties except it is kind of more pink and not as purple. Then I put on an old soft pair of jeans and some white socks and black slippers. And my top was yellow with a big blue daisy on it. I told mom that it should have two daisys, you know, one here and one there, right over my boobies. She thought I was kidding so she laughed. I guess it was funny.

I pulled my hair back and put it into a crunchy. That's like a round piece of cloth with a fat rubber band sewn inside it. No, it's not like that, at all. Anyway, you put your hair thru the hole in it and pull your hair thru and twist the crunchy and put your hair in again and then you've got a ponytail. I've got this long hair now and a ponytail keeps it out of my face.

Mommy had me write down all my sizes too. She got a tear in her eye when she saw how cruddy it looked when I tried to write things right way to. But now I know I wear a junior size 5 or a small in tops but I need a 7 in most slacks. My bra is a 32A and my shoes are 7B or 7-1/2N.

Then we went to the mall!

Page 113

I'm not going to write down everything we did there because we were there for hours but it turned out to be a lot of fun. Not at first. At first, I kinda worried about being in a crowd of people and that was odd, I don't think lots of people used to scare me. Sure did now, I ended up holding Mommy's hand as we walked through the more crowded parts of the mall.

Of course, all those people at the mall thought I was a girl and that was sure weird but I knew they couldn't tell I wasn't cause I'd been in the hospital for more than a week and nobody guessed even when they could see me without clothes on.

I think I sort of giggled like someone had poked me then so Mommy goes, "Are you okay, sugar?"

"I'm fine," I'm like, "just nervous." But I figure that whatever happened to Sheri started in a crowd and that's why crowds scare me a little and that makes sense cause she was at a party and a party is sort of like a crowd having fun. So some part of me remembers that but I don't remember it so it just makes me feel creepy to have a lot of people around me.

She goes, "Where would you like to go first?"

I'm like, "The toy store?"

So we went to the big toy store, it's huge, they must have stacks of every toy anyone makes anywhere. I looked at the boy's toys first. Mommy asked, "Why do you want to look at this stuff?"

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I didn't want her to think I was weird so I'm like, "Well, Gary didn't come with us, so I thought we could buy him something?"

Mommy goes, "Well, aren't you sweet. I suppose we could, do you think you'd know what he would like?"

I'm all, "Oh, yeah, memory isn't so good, tell me if he already has it?"

Mommy nodded, looking pleased that I had thought of my little brother and worried that I didn't think I could remember what toys he had. I picked out a remote control toy tank that came with four army men but Mommy said that she wouldn't let me buy him a military toy or anything else violet. "For gosh sakes, Mommy," I'm like before I really thought about it. "He's a boy, he's going to be violet, anyway."

Mommy looked at me very seriously and goes, "Boys don't have to be violet."

I wanted to argue about it, I was actually getting mad and suddenly that scared me a little. So, I found another toy, a remote control SUV with four campers instead of soldiers. They had cameras and binoxulars instead of guns and I knew Gary would like it just about as well. Mommy agreed to that and seemed pleased and we got out of the boys' part of the store quickly cause I felt kind of sick at my stomach for some reason, I guess my period.

Writing about that made me tired, I'm going to go to sleep now and maybe write about the rest of the mall trip later.

Page 111

So we went to the girl's toys next and I looked at dolls for a bit, cause like I thought I was supposed to since I'm a girl, but Mommy said aren't you getting kind of old for dolls and I said, yeah, I guess. I didn't really want to look at dolls anyway, dolls are stupid.

We went to look at the video games next but they don't really have any good ones for teenage girls and that is just wrong. I knew Mommy, Sheri's mom, wasn't going to buy any violet video games for me and the ones that aren't violet are just stupid. Even for girls, they are stupid.

Mommy pointed out one that was called a Virtual Makeover, and I picked it up and looked at it. It was like, put in a picture of yourself and try out differnt hair styles and makeup and clothes on the computer. That was so girly it was stupid.

Mommy goes, "Would you like that one, Sheri?"

I thought maybe it might be a good idea, even if it was stupid, cause I could try doing girl stuff on the computer and I would only be a virtual idiot instead of a real one. "Yeah, I think I would," I said and she bought it for me. It cost a lot more than the toy we had got for Gary but Mommy didn't seem to mind.

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We must be rich, I decided. I looked back at all the shooter games and the martial arts ones and thought how unfair it was that now that I was rich, I was a girl and I couldn't play those games anymore. That was so unfair that I wanted to cry about it but Mommy was trying to be nice to me and I didn't want her to feel bad. Besides, even if I were a boy like Gary, she wouldn't let me buy violet games, either, even if we were rich.

We went to this little store next and it sold nothing but earrings. It was called "Just Rings" and really, it did sell necklaces and bracelets and little handbags but mostly it sold earrings. I knew I had holes in my ears for earrings and Mommy had put some little gold studs in for me but they were really plain. I bet with myself that Mommy wouldn't let me get anything really cool like skull and crossbones earrings but I went in with her to look around anyway.

I found some American flag earrings that didn't look too girly, even though the stripes were pink instead of red, but then I thought, well, what would Sheri like to hang in her ears?

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So I picked out these little white lambs with blue stones for their eyes and pink bows around their necks. I knew I had Sheri's bright blue eyes now and Sheri's daddy calls me his little lamb sometimes even though I am almost as tall as Mommy so I giggled when I found the lamb earrings. Mommy laughed too, they were silly.

"We'll have to get you a bow for your neck," she goes and I looked and they had like neck ribbons and hair ribbons too. So I picked out pink ones that matched the pink on the lambs and I thought that Sheri would like them. I liked them, I guess.

They had a display for birthstone earrings and I looked at that. Sheri and I have the same birthday even though she was born seven years before me, it is still the twenty-nineteenth of July, which is the same as mine and just over a month away. I mean the twenty-ninth.

We are Leos, too, so I looked at those kind of earrings as well as the July ones but I didn't like any of those. On another rack, I found a set of Tiger head earrings. They had differnt color combinations, like Tiger's with purple-and-gold stripes and green eyes, so I picked out a set of Tigerheads with pink-and-white stripes and bright blue eyes like mine. Tigers are almost lions so that would be okay for a Leo who is a girl.

I'm tired of writing again and I haven't even got to the clothes!

Page 108

You know how boring it has been around here since I'm still like talking about going Shopping.

Okay, so we went to a clothing store that is just for like teen-age girls. Fashion Something, I think it was called. Wow, I never saw so much girly clothing. I picked out a pair of jeans that had daisies on the butt, like the daisy on my chest. I thought they were silly and kind of cute.

Mommy picked out some stuff for me too and we went to the dressing room. There are all these little booths you go in and try on clothes, you don't see anybody naked.

So I tried on clothes and the jeans didn't fit, too big in the butt, really. I told mom so she went to look for another size and I tried on some of the other clothes. Sheri is really pretty so it's kind of fun to dress her up and look at her in the mirror. I even did some silly posing and laughed about it.

I couldn't believe it, we stayed in that shop for an hour and I must have tried on thirty differnt things, including some dresses Mommy thought would look really "boss" on me. I think boss means phat in Mommy-speak.

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The dresses did look good on Sheri but I didn't want to wear them out of the dressing booth for even Mommy to see them. I mean, I'm pretty sure I'm a boy or I used to be a boy and boys can wear earrings but they can't wear dresses unless they are just weird.

She finally talked me into coming out so she could see and then she wouldn't let me buy the dress! Can you beat that? I guess it was too short or something. Okay, so since she didn't want me to have it, then I felt like really like maybe I did want that dress.

Being Sheri is making me nuts, I think. I realized that when Mommy told me to stop whining about the dress. I apologized and we hugged each other and it was okay, we could have fun again.

So I didn't try on any more dresses but lots of realy girly tops and blouses. Sheri is so pretty she looks good in anything pretty. Well, we finally left and all we bought was the daisy-butt jeans I picked out first. Can you beat that? I wore them out of the store, cause I liked them a lot, even if they were a lot tighter than the ones I had worn to the mall.

We went to a bra store next and that is just too embarrassing to talk about. Maybe next time.

Page 106

I'm still not going to talk about bra stores. Bad enough that I have to wear one. At first, I wouldn't, I mean in the hospital where I first woke up when I was getting dressed to leave they gave me a bra to put on and I cried.

Sheri's mom is all, "What's wrong, honey?"

I go, "I don't want to wear it."

My arm was still in a cast and she thinked that was the problem so she goes, "Are you afraid you'll hurt your arm trying to put it on, dear? I can help you."

"No. Yes. Don't make me wear it!" I think I might have cried about it and Mommy's like, I didn't have to, if I didn't want to.

Bad enough my peepee was gone but I knew I had boobies, too. I was being stupid, not wanting to wear the bra, cause Sheri's boobies jiggle and bounce and rub on my clothes when I don't and it feels even weirder than wearing the bra.

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So Mommy let me go home without wearing a bra and I didn't wear one for the first few days. I was still pretty much like not feeling good and spent a lot of time in bed. I still kind of like thought I might wake up some time and find out I was still me. Whoever it is that I used to be.

I tried to read newspapers and see if any nine-year-old boys had died the night Sheri got hurt. But those first few days I couldn't read at all, everything just looked all jumbled up. It was more than a week before I figured out that it was because it was all backward.

It was Gary that got me to start wearing the bra. Little brothers are nooseancies, I found out. Everytime he saw me he would giggle and I asked him why he thought I was so funny looking cause it kind of hurt my feelings.

He goes, "I can see your titties making wiggly tents in your blouse." And he laughed like that was the funniest thing. I wanted to slap the snot out of him.

So, okay, I wear the bras but I'm not going to talk about going to the bra store.

Page 104

Some of Sheri's friends came to see me, after I had been at Sheri's house about a week. Mom made them leave when I started crying. I remembered that because one of them called me today to ask if they could come back.

Her name is Jennifer, the one who called, and she goes, "Like Sheri, we never see you now? Are you all better?" She said it like she was singing it.

"I guess." I'm like, "I still have to go to theraby for my arm twice a week." And my head once a week, but I didn't tell her that. I was a little worried talking to her, she had scared me pretty bad when she came over. She talkes really fast and her voice goes all over the place and I don't think she listens to what you say.

"Uh huh," she goes. "But someone saw you at the mall the other day, so like you're okay to go out and do stuff, huh?"

I didn't want to say yes, so I asked her, "Who saw me?"

She's all, "Connery Thompson! That's who!" Like I should know who that was. "He's like he didn't say anything to you cause you were like with your Mom."

"Uh huh, yeah, we went Shopping, I don't remember seeing him." I shouldn't have said that. People get like all upset when I say I don't remember something.

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"Well, he was sitting right near you in the food court, he says," Jenny goes. "How could you not see him? Omigod!"

"I don't know. What does he look like?"

"What does Conn Thompson look like? He was like the dreamiest guy in the soft more class!"

"Well, I don't remember what he looks like," I'm all feeling cross like and I don't care if she gets upset. "He should have innerduced himself." There were lots of people in the mall and lots of boys looked at me. I figure it's because Sheri is so pretty.

She gets really excited and goes, "Omigod! Sheri, you've got to be kidding! You were like crazy about him all last year! Don't you remember?"

I go, "No, I don't!" and I hung up on her.

This is why Mommy made them leave when they came to see Sheri after I got out of the hospital. They kept saying I had to remember stuff I didn't remember and they made Sheri cry. So Jenny calls to see if she can come back and right away she's doing it again. And I'm crying again.

Girls are stupid. Escept I'm a girl now and I'm really stupid cause I can't remember and I can't hardly read and I'm supposed to be in high school and I don't know anything.

Page 102

So I went to Sheri's room and I cried some more. Sheri has this big green and pink alligator, it's stuffed and it's almost as big as Gary, so I hugged the alligator like I'm doing now and cried and got its pink belly fur all wet. Her name is Ally McGator and she's got big green eyes with long plastic eyelashes and she's so ugly she's cute.

Mommy came to the door and goes, "Jenny called back to say she was sorry."

"I don't want to talk to her," I go.

Mommy didn't say anything for a moment. "Honey, Jenny and you have been friends since the second grade--"

"No, we haven't!" I think I screamed. "I don't remember that! I don't even know her!"

Okay, like I'm not that stupid and I know you shouldn't innerupped your Mommy and scream at her. So, when she came into the room, I thought like I'm going to get hit and I jumped off the bed and tried to run passed her.

I was crying so I couldn't see so good and so she caught me but she didn't hit me she just held me close and she's all like, "It's okay, baby," and "Mommy's here."

And I cried all the more like I'm doing now cause she doesn't know it but she's Sheri's mom and not mine and I think my mom is dead cause wouldn't she be looking for me?

Page 101

I had to cry some more, but it's later now and I'm still here. I was trying to tell why I'm here in my room writing in my diary and it's the middle of the day.

Jenny called, I said that, and she's like been Sheri's friend like forever so she espects me to be Sheri and when I can't remember she tries to make me remember.

Mommy doesn't do that, heck, even Gary doesn't do that. I asked Mommy why she doesn't try to make me remember.

She goes, "The doctors said you would remember or you wouldn't and trying to make you remember would just upset you."

I laughed a little, a sick sort of laugh, I guess. "Well, yeah, it does. It makes me mad and it makes me cry and it scares me cause I can't remember."

"I know, honey," she goes. "We just have to be patient. Maybe you'll remember someday."

That scared me. Cause if I start to remember being Sheri then I won't be me anymore and I'll really be dead. I think I was all, "I don't want to remember!"

Mommy, Sheri's mom, pulled me into her lap even though I'm as big as her and patted me and hugged me and goes stuff like, "It's okay," and "You don't have to remember until you want to," and "It's because you got hurt that it hurts to remember, but you'll get well soon."

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I wanted to get well for her, I wanted to become Sheri, as much as I could because it would make Mommy happy. But I still wanted to be me cause I'm so scared of that dark place I must have been in before I woke up in the hospital.

  @                       @      @


Those are tear drops. The ink won't stick to them.

I think I was dead and I don't want to be dead again cause I might not find my way back. I'm a girl now but it's better than if Sheri comes back for her body, cause then Sam will be dead. I don't want to be

                @           @   @        @

     @       @


Page 99

I stopped crying now. I think I'm all cried out. I'm so thirsty but I'm going to stay in my room until supper, Mommy thinks I'm asleep. I think I did sleep a little.

She heard me crying and I had to hide this book under the pillows when she came in but she held me and I feel maybe a bit better. I didn't tell her why I was crying and she thinks it is just cause of my period. Which sucks but that's not really why I was crying.

I had a really weird dream. Maybe I remembered something. But not about Sheri, about the other me. I think I remembered my name. Sam. This lady with dark hair and eyes called me Sam. She was lots bigger than me. Not like Sheri's mom who's about the same size as me, as Sheri.

My mom in the dream was bigger than me and she called me Sam. I'm a boy named Sam and I'm only eight, only now I'm Sheri and I'm fifteen and I'm a girl. I wish I could cry some more cause it hurts to need to cry when you can't.

Page 98

I dreamed again and I remembered some other stuff about being Sam. I remembered we were all going somewhere together in my dad's truck. I think we were going to the hospital, but maybe that part is just a dream cause I woke up in a hospital.

But I think we were going to the hospital cause something was wrong with Mommy, Sam's mom. I think she was going to have a baby. Maybe I do have a little brother or little sister besides Gary who is Sheri's little brother?

It was dark and I was asleep but they woke me up to go along because there was no one to stay with me. Mommy was making noises like she hurt really bad and I wanted to sit next to her but I had to sit in the back cause I was too little to sit in front.

They kept saying it was early and I was a little cranky because it was early, it was still dark.

I think I fell asleep back there. Then I heard people talking and then there was a lot of noise and a bright light. And then it got really really dark and cold and I woke up crying.

Only this time, I woke up in Sheri's bed at home and not in the hospital bed. I just laid there a long time and only cried a little bit.

Page 97

I think I figured something out. Sam and Sheri both died but God put pieces of them back together and that is me. Sam's parents probably went to Sam's funeral and his body is dead and buried and that's why they aren't looking for me.

I know they loved Sam, they kissed me when they put me in the back seat. I know they must miss him terrible and I miss them.

But if Sheri were the one that had to stay dead, her parents would be terrible hurt too. And Gary.

I heard someone say, "Life's not fair," and I guess death isn't either. Someone has to be dead and it's not me, even if I am all patched together and my arm still hurts sometimes and my head doesn't work right. It's the other little broken pieces of both of me that has to stay dead.

I cried a little more then I got up and wrote this down. I think I'll hide this book again and then go down the hall and see if Mommy will let me sleep the rest of the night with her.

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I didn't write anything here for a few days and stuff got better.

At least, I'm not like sick with my stupid period anymore. I found the book again today and at first I thought I would burn it or mark up all the pages with a big marker so no one could read it.

It's written backward and it's got a lock on it and I hide it everytime but still someone could find it and read it and then they'd think I'm crazy. I must be crazy, huh? Cause I'm Sheri MacDonald and I think I used to be a boy named Sam.

But I've got to tell someone or I will go nuts! So I can write stuff in this diary and then it's like I told someone and I can go back to trying to be Sheri so no one finds out that I think I'm really Sam.

I just read all that back and you know, I probly am crazy.

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I've been trying things out with makeup. I'm blonde and I've got these big blue eyes and I guess I'm really pretty. Not beautiful, I'm skinny and my hair is all straight and I think my chin looks silly, there's too much of it and it's pointy, but people say I'm pretty all the time.

So I've got like a ton of makeup that Sheri bought or Mommy bought for her. And I've got like a mountain of these magazines, most of which are about how to use makeup and how to dress pretty and what to say to your best friend when both of you like the same boy. As if.

I've been reading the magazines. It's something to do and I almost don't notice that it's all backwards anymore.

You can only watch so much TV and Mommy won't let me go anywhere alone and all of Sheri's friends are these dumb girls who don't believe I don't remember being Sheri, so I'm stuck here and what else is there to do.

I've got this pink computer, it's mine and no one else uses it. That's the coolest thing about being Sheri. But I can't use any violet computer games, Mommy won't let me, and like golf and football games are like boring.

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I can play race games and this one that is like snowboarding, but it has only boys on snowboards and no girls, so I only played that one a few times. I mean, I'm a girl and there is no use pretending I'm a boy even in a computer game. Stupid games.

Even race games get boring after awhile and my brain is getting better cause I can read more than I could and it doesn't give me headaches no more. I can still write backward if I want to, tho, ha ha.

I can write frontward now too, I just switch hands. In my head I mean, I don't really switch hands cause Sheri's right hand is Sam's left hand. Boy does that sound stupid.

Oh yeah, the makeup. So I read all these magazines, and I played with this computer game called a virtual makeover. It's like you put in a photograph of Sheri and then you can play with her makeup and hair and clothes. Fun? Well, if you're bored enough I guess, ha ha.

So I played with this makeover program and I made Mommy crazy asking her if I could like dye my hair black and get some cool tattoos. She won't let me do that, but I can use the makeup in my room and try out differnt looks on my own for real and not just in the computer.

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First, I take a bath and I use all the bubbly stuff and nice smelling stuff and I stay in till I'm ready to start pruning and then I get out. I dry off with these big fluffy pink towels and pat myself dry all over and put on powder and some more smelling good stuff.

Oh, wait, I wash my hair, too. I've got long hair and it takes like forever to get dry, so I wrap a towel around my hair and another one around my body. My titties keep that one from falling down and I know I look cute.

Then I sit at my vantity, it's got all these lights around the mirror and I turn all of them on. I put some light cream on my face and then clean it all off, too.

Then I try making up my eyes. That's the hardest thing. Eyeliner, and eye shadow and mascara and eyebrow pencil. I do something really extreme like orange. Then I look at it and make a face and then I clean it all off and do something differnt.

Mommy had to show me how to do eyes, you can't learn that from a magazine cause it's like so hard!

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Then I take the towel off my hair and turn it around and put it back on to like suck up more water from all this hair I've got. Then I do my mouth. I draw a line around it and I paint it all in with like five differnt colors of purple.

Then I clean it all off and do it again.

Then I clean my face real clean again and take the heavy towel off my head and use my hairdryer and combs to get my hair dry and try to make it do something besides hang down my back like a big blonde tail. It can take like an hour to comb and brush my hair so it's all shiny.

Now I'm dry all over so I take the other towel off and get dressed in my panties and bra. Maybe I try on some of my fancy undies, too. Then I do my face for real, only if I use too much Mommy will call me Racoon-face and make me wash it all off. So I just do a little.

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If I'm still bored maybe I write in this stupid book, ha ha, or maybe I paint my nails. That can take a long time. I've got on this color called Perfectly Peachy Rose, right now and I like it a lot.

It's hard to paint the nails on my left, I mean, my right hand cause I have to use my arm that got broken to do it and that makes it hurt all the way to the top of my head.

But it looks nice when I'm done, I even paint my toenails, I am so girly!

I even giggle like a girl, jeez. And doing all this stuff makes me giggle a lot. I guess it's fun or maybe it's just silly.

But I can't play violet boy games so I've got to do something!

Now I get dressed and that can take a long time, too, cause I'll like put on differnet things and see how they look. I've got lots of clothes.

I pick out some pretty underwear. The panties are the best cause they are like all soft or they have lace on them or they're all shiny and they come in lots of colors. The bras try to be pretty too but they are just so my boobies don't make such points and they aren't very comfrable so I don't like them so much but I wear them cause Gary would laugh if I didn't.

Little brothers are a pain but I guess I love him. Okay, yeah I do.

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So I play dress up in my room by myself. Maybe it's something girls do.

After I've got my undies on I picke what I'm gonna wear that everybody sees. I've got lots of pretty dresses and sometimes I take them out and try them on. Some of them are for like parties and some of them are for like just wearing around if I want to wear a dress. Which is a weird thought cause I used to be a boy and boys don't wear dresses much, ha!

So far I haven't worn one of the dresses out of my room but someday I will I guess. I mean, I'm a girl now and no one will think I'm weird just cause I wear a dress.

I've got skirts too and one of them is this little bitty denim skirt, it is so short that I wonder if Mommy knows I have it?

But I look so good in it! I've got these long legs and I'm kinda skinny and this short skirt makes me look so tall and I bet if I wore it to the mall and that Connery Thomas-who's-he saw me he would drop his tongue and step on it.

So I'm not going to wear that either! Sure would be funny to see the boys's faces if I did, though.

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So I've got these cargo pants that are cool cause they have lots of pockets except that some of the pockets are fake cause they aren't really pockets just buttons on fake flaps. The pants come to just below my knees with big cuffs and they sit right on my hips and they make me look tall too. They're gray which sounds like a dull color but they're not.

And if I wear this top I've got, it doesn't have any sleeves and just one strap that goes over my LEFT shoulder and like looks like it ties there with a bow but it doesn't. Then its got wide gray and pink stripes that go kinda sideways but the top ends several inches above my pants so part of my belly shows.

I look really good that way, too, though that doesn't look as good with the shoes I've got that go with my dresses and it looks stupid with my sneakers too. I can't wear that anywhere till I find the shoes that go with it. Maybe boots?

I've even got some high heels and I practice walking in them some times when I'm wearing one of the party dresses in my room. This red pair is like my favorite cause they've got like a black and red bow on the front and big clunky heels that are easy to walk in. Some of these shoes would just like kill you if you had to walk very far in them.

I've got like fifty pairs of shoes. I know we're rich cause who has fifty pairs of shoes and they aren't rich?

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So I take the cargo pants off cause they don't go with any shoes I've got. Mommy needs to take me Shopping, again, cause I'm a girl and I'm silly that way, I guess.

I'm giggling so I guess that proves it.

I like wearing my daisy butt jeans that I bought last time but they are in the wash, so I get out one of my jumpers to wear. I had to look in some of the magazines I've got to find out what some of this stuff is called cause why would a boy know?

This one is called a jumper skort, it's blue, and I've got several of these cause they make me look cute. A jumper skort is like a pair of overalls with straps on my shoulders and a bib in front and below the waist it is like a pair of really wide-leg shorts. It almost looks like I'm wearing a skirt with them.

I put on a different top with this, just a plain t-shirt but it's a really short t-shirt so that on the side you can like see a bit of skin between the t-shirt and the waist of the jumper where the bib comes down. The straps cross in the back and you can see a bit of skin back there too, I bet.

It's a pink t-shirt, I like pink now, so I put on pink socks and my white leather sneakers with the pink laces and I look so cute if Sheri's dad was here he would call me 'Princess'.

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But sooner or later, I have to leave my room. So I'm dressed and I put on some jewelry. Usually just a necklace that is just like plain gold and some earrings. The lambs look really cute with the jumper skort.

I've done this like every day for three days and when I come out Gary says I'm stinking up the house and I threaten to spray him with cologne.

His friends come over and they like stare at me sometimes. I can't figure that out. I asked one, I think his name is Gib. "Why are you staring at me?"

"I dunno," he goes. "I guess I like looking at you."

I'm all, "Well, stop it, you're beginning to creep me out."

And then I put the TV on something I know they won't stay in the room with like a soap opera or some moony movie.

Gary always grins at me when his friends are staring. In fact, if I come in the room and his friends don't see me right away, Gary will tell them to look at me. I made a kissy face at one of them and he jumped up and said he had to leave right away. Gary and I both laughed about that one.

But most of the time I am so bored I could scream.

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I have got the coolest Dad!
We're going to Disneyland!

Not till Saturday!

I wonder what should I wear?

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I haven't talked about Daddy here, much. Sheri's dad. He's like unbelievably good-looking, I mean, like a movie star or something. He's got a little bit of gray hair but most of it is like dark brown and he has this cute curl of hair that sometimes falls on his forehead.

He's so big, he makes me feel like a little kid again, he can pick me up and hold me over his head. I thought I was going to die from giggles the first time he did that. He picked me up by my middle and held me against the ceiling in the hallway. I laughed so hard, my panties got damp.

He calls me "Princess" or "Moppet" and he calls Gary "Tiger" or "Grunge". It's kind of embarrassing to be called "Princess" but somehow it's okay when Daddy does it. It makes me giggle like a stupid girl, but I guess, well, I have to pee sitting down and I know I'm not too bright for someone who's suppose to be fifteen, so I guess I am a stupid girl.

I found out Daddy used to be a football player, like in the pros, but he got hurt and went back to school and now he buys and sells stuff and makes lots of money doing it. His name was Trevor MacDonald but they called him "McTruck" and he played for the Los Angeles Rams. He never got to be on the first team cause he got hurt in his second season in the pros.

And on Saturday, he's taking Gary and me to Disneyland!

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Okay, so Mommy isn't going to Disneyland with us, it's Daddy's weekend. Daddy doesn't live with us, I guess I hadn't said that here before. I'm not sure if they are divorced or just separated. Daddy's friend, Uncle Robert will be going with us.

Uncle Robert is okay, he's a lot younger than Mommy and Daddy and he has blondish hair almost as long as mine. He and Daddy live near the beach and once a month Gary and I spend the weekend with them, except last time I had just got out of the hospital the week before so only Gary went since Mommy wouldn't let me go and Daddy didn't want to have a fight about it. Nobody told me nothing till later.

Uncle Robert says my name, Sheri, funny. It's like "Sha-REE," and he says that is the French word for "dear" and it's spelled "Cherie". Which looks like it might be the French word for "Cherry" but it isn't. He's pretty funny, really and he makes me laugh.

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Okay, I'm not that dumb.

Uncle Robert is almost as pretty as Mommy, even though he's got guy muscles and he doesn't swish or lisp. He looks skinny next to Daddy but anyone would, cause Daddy is like huge! They call each other Bobby and Trev, but Mommy says we have to call Uncle Robert, Uncle Robert, not Uncle Bobby. I wanted to ask her why but I figured she had some compulgated adult reason that wouldn't make sense to a kid.

If something like what happened to me had to happen to someone, why didn't it happen to someone like Uncle Robert who might actually like it? Okay, that's not fair, Uncle Robert probably wouldn't like it, cause then he would be like Mommy and if he and Daddy got married they would just get another divorce.

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Disneyland is so cool! and we got to do everything! We went up on Friday night and stayed in the hotel and I had my own room, it was mostly pink which was okay, I guess. I could hardly sleep anyway, I was so excited. I don't think Sam ever got to go to Disneyland.

There were crowds but as long as I was with Daddy they didn't scare me. Just like being at the mall with Mommy.

I worried about sleeping alone in a hotel but it was like a suite and Daddy and Uncle Robert were in the big middle room and Gary had a little room like mine but it was yellow instead of pink. So it was almost like being at home with Mommy next door on one side and Gary on the other and I guess I did sleep cause Uncle Robert had to call me, "Cherie!" like five times before I woke up.

But what really woke me up was Gary shouting right in my ear, "Sherilynne Amber MacDonald, get your bun out of bed!" He scared me so bad I ran over him on the way to the bathroom and it served him right.

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We had breakfast with Chip and Dale in the hotel, right there at our table making us laugh. Then we rode the Monorail to the park and we went to Toontown which was better for Gary than for me, cause, darnit, I'm too big of a kid for some of the cool stuff there. The part of me that is still Sam was kind of jealous.

But then we went to Space Mountain and some of the other rides and Gary was too short, so I guess it evened out. We got all wet on Splash Mountain and they took a picture of us and we got to keep it. I look really scared and Daddy and Uncle Robert are like laughing. Even Gary looks happy instead of scared. I guess it did scare me and just as we went over the falls, I kinda thought I heard traffic noises and Sam's mommy yelling at me.

So we were standing in line for the Haunted Mansion and Gary and I were playing some stupid game he invented, like he gives you a number and then you look around and figure out what it is that that many people are all wearing like blue shorts or Minnie Mouse ears. If you think you've got it figured out, and you think the number has changed, you can ask for a recount and see if you're right.

And that's when I thought of it, it's like I'm haunting myself.

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So I'm wearing a pink denim jumper skort and a white babydoll t-shirt under it and yellow and pink leggings and my nicest sneakers and matching fanny pack, and suddenly I'm cold. It's June in California and that means it isn't summer yet, cause the sun goes behind the clouds and hides all day and if the wind blows it can get pretty cold. Okay, we didn't get that wet on Splash Mountain and besides we ate lunch and mostly dried off, so I shouldn't be cold.

So, I'm thinking of asking Daddy to get my jacket out of his backpack so I can put it on and Gary goes, real snotty like, "Give up?"

I wanted to hit him. He always wins these games he makes up, and I know it's because he is smarter than me, but I'm bigger and I could hit him and he couldn't do anything about it. But mostly he is a good brother and I don't want to get violet like a boy so I don't hit him and instead I just go, "I'm not playing your stupid game, Gary!" Only I guess I said it real mean like.

So he goes, "Yeah? I bet you don't even remember the rules?" Which I don't. Which is something he doesn't usually do, make fun of me for being dumb, which is what I meant by him being a good brother but I guess I made him mad.

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So, now, I'm cold and I'm really annoyed, cause I was trying to figure out if I'm Sam being haunted by Sheri or Sheri being haunted by Sam and we're standing in front of this big creepy house that's supposed to be scary and okay, I'm a bit scared, and Gary is trying to out sass me.

And I wish I knew some teenage girl cusswords cause I'm about to cry and all I know are little boy cusswords and those would sound really stupid. So, I just go, "Since I'm not playing your game, why would I know the rules?" and I'm trying to get mad so I don't cry but now I'm shivering.

I guess I hadn't said but Gary was ahead of me in line and Daddy and Uncle Robert behind us. Ahead of Gary were these two boys, bigger than me. I'd seen them but I didn't really notice them until one of them laughs and I look up.

He's a big guy all right, not as big as Daddy but big. He's got green eyes and a dimple in his chin and this shaggy hair that is sort of red. He smiled at me and I forgot all about what I was going to say to Gary.

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"I'm Dennis," he goes when he saw me looking at him. I think my mouth fell open but I didn't say anything. He had this deep voice and it sounded like he was happy to see me and maybe he was about to laugh. I felt my face turn red.

Gary is all, "Hey! Leave my sister alone!" And Dennis hadn't even done anything.

And I'm like, what do I say to him? Why can't I say anything? And he just laughs at Gary, and points at the guy who's with him and says, "Little brothers. This is mine, Keith." And now Keith is just staring at me, he's got the same green eyes Dennis has but his hair is really red and he's not so big but still big and he's got freckles. And I swear, all of a sudden I needed to go to the bathroom.

Gary goes, "Dad!" And Dad and Uncle Robert look around and I'm still standing there not saying anything.

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Uncle Robert takes my arm and he's all, "You okay, sugar?"

And I nod, cause I'm all right, I just need to go to the bathroom but I still can't talk. I think I made a noise, kinda like a cat, maybe.

Daddy kinda growled and stepped between me and Dennis and I didn't have to look at him anymore and I could suddenly talk, so I go, "Gotta go. Restroom." So I start off and Uncle Robert goes with me.

He's like, "Did he scare you, honey?"

"I dunno. I really got to go?"

He nodded and said he would wait for me so I went into the girls restroom after we found one. It's kind of weird using the girls room, but it would be weirder going in the boys room. So, its a big place and I find a stall, and like right away, I'm crying and I don't even know why. It's not a big cry, just a little one but I swear I felt better after I cried.

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So then I sat there for awhile, I didn't have my panties down or anything, just sitting on the toilet in the stall where no one could see me. And I thought about being scared and being like haunted and why had that guy scared me so.

I don't really think he wanted to hurt me, he just wanted to be friendly, probably because now I'm pretty like Sheri. Okay, now that's a scary thought too.

So then I did use the bathroom and dried things off and put my clothes back together; wearing a jumper skort is kinda cool but you practically have to get undressed to go to the bathroom. So I go out to the mirrors and I look and its pretty obvious that I've been crying and I'm scared. I'm glad I had all that practice last week then cause I pull my makeup out of my fanny pack and fix my face and that's kinda a good thing to do cause now I'm not so scared.

So I go out of the bathroom and Uncle Robert and Daddy and Gary are all there waiting for me. I know my face turned red and I'm like, "What about the Haunted Mansion?"

Gary goes, "We decided not to ride it, too spooky."

I made a face at him and he made one back at me and I had to giggle first.

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Daddy goes, "Are you okay, moppet?" And I nodded, then he took my hand and pulled me in for a hug and that felt good. He's big and I felt little again when he hugged me. Daddies give the best hugs when you've been scared.

Uncle Robert and then Gary hugged me, too, and Gary says, real soft. "He said he was sorry."

"What did you tell him?" I asked. I figured he meant that guy, Dennis.

Daddy said, "We told him you'd had a bad experience a month or so ago and that crowds made you all shy."

I think my face turned all red again and I went, "Yeah, like maybe that was it. I guess I did kinda freak out. I'm sorry."

Daddy held my hand and went, "It's okay. We're here to have fun, if you weren't having fun, time to do something else." And he said it like he meant it.

Then Uncle Robert goes, "What would you like to do, love?"

So we had something to drink from a cart while we talked about it. I decided I didn't really want to go on anymore rides but Gary looked so disappointed when I said that I almost changed my mind. He's a little kid and Disneyland is like super important to a little kid.

Uncle Robert is a mind reader sometimes and he goes, "Trev, why don't you take Grunge on some more rides and Princess and I can go shopping?" And that like made everyone happy. Going shopping sounded like a really good idea. Weird.

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There's places to shop all over Disneyland and one of the coolest is New Orleans Square which is right near the restaurant we ate lunch in. There's like jewelry shops and little knack-knack shop and clothing shops, too, and they've got stuff there they don't have anywhere else in the world cause it is made just for New Orleans Square, I asked.

Uncle Robert is just as cool to shop with as Mommy and he doesn't worry about what things cost either. Sometimes I think, like when I'm here in my room all alone, that everyone is being so nice to me cause I'm going to die and they know it and they just won't tell me. And I get really scared.

Then I remember, I'm Sam, and I'm already supposed to be dead and I get to live as Sheri so it's all extra, like bonus lives in a violet arcade game.

Okay, that's just as weird as when I thought I was haunting myself.

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Anyway, I bought some real cute earrings in New Orleans Square and a leather jacket that had like Sally from "Nightmare Before Christmas" on it. She's the girl who's made out of pieces of differnt kinds of cloth so she's kind of like me.

I mean she has scars from where they stitiched her together like the one on my arm and the other on my ankle and the one on my head that's hidden by the way I comb my hair. And I'm made out of pieces of differnt people, some of me is Sheri but some of me is Sam.

Like I said, Uncle Robert is a mind reader and he goes, "Are you crying cause her story is sad?"

I just nodded and rubbed the picture of Sally sewn on the back of the jacket. I didn't wipe my eyes cause then I would smear my makeup.

Uncle Robert got a tissue out of his fanny pack and dabbed at my eyes and goes, "Remember, Sally's story has a happy ending cause she's a smart girl who tricks old Oogie Boogie."

I remembered cause she had to take herself apart to do it but she got sewn back together so I laughed at that and I'm like, "Thank you, Uncle Robert."

"You're welcome, Cherie," he goes and kissed me on the nose and made me giggle some more.

Sometimes Uncle Robert is almost like having another Mommy. When he does that stuff to Sheri's brother, Gary says he's gonna call him, "Aunt Robert" if he doesn't quit it.

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I wanted to go back to shop at Pooh Corner near Splash Mountain cause I saw some really cute stuff there but that would mean walking towards the Haunted Mansion again, too, so I didn't mention it.

Instead we went to the Adventureland Bizarr and I bought a cool Indy hat for Daddy and some Indiana Jones toy figures for Gary. I got a silk camouflage scarf for Uncle Robert, too, and he tied it around his head and talked like Ahnold and made me giggle more.

So then we went to Main Street and picked out some pretty stuff for Mommy and I bought this hat with Dopey ears on it and I wore that.

Uncle Robert goes, "It's you." I laughed but it's true, I'm Dopey.

Out on Main Street, Capt. Hook tried to dance with me but that big face of his is just too scary up close. Besides, I don't know how to dance. I go, "Wrong fairy tale, I'm Dopey. Go dance with Peter Pan." And he got all offended and stomped off.

Uncle Robert goes, "Get her."

I don't know why he said that but it was sure funny. I laughed so hard we had to find another rest room. Jeez, you just don't want to laugh that hard if you've had a Coke and you're a girl.

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We stopped at the Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street and had Cherry Cokes while we waited for Gary and Daddy to catch up with us. I felt pretty good after some Shopping, like Mommy says, it's good theraby. Uncle Robert looked at me like he was really amused about something.

I go, "What is it?"

And he goes, "Nuttin'!" in this funny cartoon-like voice.

So I stuck out my tongue at him and he laughed and I giggled.

He goes, "Your tongue is all red from the cherry syrup."

And I'm all, "No, it's not!"

"Take a look," he goes. And I tried to stick my tongue out far enough to look at it and Uncle Robert spazzed out, he laughed so hard. So I'm giggling and trying not to laugh and I get out my compact and take a look and sure enough, my tongue is as red as a cherry sucker. It actually looked kinda cool but I'm all embarrassed now.

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Then in the little mirror before I put it away, I saw them coming into the shop, Dennis and Keith, the two guys from when I got scared in front of Haunted Mansion. So I turned around to look, like a dummy, and of course they saw me.

Dennis looked so big and I could see his green eyes all the way across the room. He smiles at me and he's got dimples. Why dimples? I mean, why not? Then his red-headed brother, Keith, waves and they get in line to get sodas or ice cream.

Uncle Robert looks where I'm looking and he frowns like he'd seen something he didn't like. He looks back at me and at first I didn't look at him but he made a noise so I would look and he goes, "Cherie, do you want to leave now?"

So I looked at him and I can see he's all worried and I go, "Huh-uh, Uncle Robert. I'm not a bit scared now." And I turned back to smile at Dennis and Keith to show them I wasn't mad at them or anything and then I smiled at Uncle Robert to show him I was okay and I put my compact away.

Uncle Robert looked worried, so I patted his hand. I'm all, "I'm okay," and I patted his hand. Then I looked over at those guys and they are both looking at me and they smile. And that was weird, cause it was almost like someone tickled me and I giggled.

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It's okay to giggle like that if you're a pretty girl.

"Are you flirting with them?" Uncle Robert wanted to know.

That wasn't something I espected so I'm all, "Huh? I don't know how to flirt!" But I looked back at the guys and they waved at me and I giggled again. I was kinda afraid my voice would go all squeaky so I didn't say anything.

Uncle Robert goes, "For someone that doesn't know how to flirt, you're doing a good job of it, sugar."

So maybe he was right, and even if I don't know what flirting is maybe I'm doing it? And I'm all, "What do I do now?"

And he laughs and he goes, "If we stay here, they'll come over to talk to you. Do you want to leave?"

I'm all, "This feels weird." It did too, it felt really weird right in the pit of my stomack, it almost hurt, and my fingers and lips tingled. It felt so weird but I kinda almost liked it which was part of what made it even weirder.

So he goes, "Then we'd better leave." And he gets up and I get up and we start to go out.

But I looked back and Dennis kind of raised his eyebrows and I got the giggles again. Uncle Robert goes, "You're dangerous," and he takes my elbow and we go out on the street.

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I'm all, "Did I do something wrong? Was that flirting? What's wrong?" Cause Uncle Robert looked kind of annoyed with me.

And Uncle Robert goes, "You really don't know?"

I shook my head, kinda embarrassed cause I'm so dumb. And now Uncle Robert looks really worried.

I heard someone yell, "Sheri!" and I looked up and Gary and Daddy were coming down Main Street towards us and I laughed cause Gary had got his face painted somewhere and he looked so funny with blue and green stripes and lightening bolts on his cheeks.

Uncle Robert grabbed my hand though and he goes, "Look, talk to your mother about flirting and about boys? Okay? I know you don't remember but you could get in big trouble if you don't know what you're doing."

I nodded at him cause now I'm like scared again but Gary runs up and he's telling me about all the rides he went on and getting his face painted in Frontierland and I'm telling him about the stuff I bought and he's yelling for me to show him what I got him and I'm all, "Huh uh!"

And I hear Uncle Robert say to Daddy, "Sometimes she's just like a little kid."

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And Daddy goes real quiet like maybe he doesn't know I can hear him, "I'd like to find who did this to her." And he sounds real mean so I didn't let him know I had heard but I just laughed at Gary.

Somebody did something to me? To Sheri? And that's why I'm the way I am now?

Uncle Robert didn't say anything but I think he nodded. And he looked all mad, too. And I've never seen Uncle Robert mad, well not since I've been Sheri. Or before cause Sam didn't know him. You know what I mean.

Oh, we saw those guys again, Dennis and Keith, before we got out of the park and Uncle Robert is right. I need to have a talk with Mom about flirting. And boys.

Which is weird, cause I used to be a boy so I ought to know but now, it's like boys my age, Sheri's age, are all strange and they act weird. And they make me feel weird.

I don't know if I like that yet.

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I've got to go to school again and it's not fair! It's summer and I'll have to go to school on my birthday and it's the middle of summer, there's never any school on my birthday!


I still need to learn some big girl cusswords cause fooey just looks like a little kid but who am I going to learn them from? I can't go up to Mommy and go like, "Please teach me to cuss." *v* {-- that's a giggle!

I guess I could just listen to her when she gets mad but I know that some of those words are really bad and she might actually wash my mouth out with soap like she threatened Gary with once when he said the f-word even if I am a big girl. *v*

Oh yeah. I've got to go to school starting next week! I was going to write more about going to Disneyland and shopping and the other park and stuff but now I'm all mad and all.

I don't want to go to school.

Mommy says I have to because I can't go back to high school in the fall cause I'm just a dumb little kid cause I can't remember nothing. Well she didn't say that exactly but it's what she meant. Then she goes, "It's okay, Sheri. You'll have fun."

Oh sure right.

The thing is, I'm scared to go to school. What if the other kids make fun of me for being so dumb. Here, I'm a big girl, I'm fifteen and I can't do that hard math stuff or spell big words. I'm so stupid.

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Mommy thinks I LIKE school. Can you beat that? I guess maybe Sheri liked school, I bet she was smart. I wish I was smart but the part of me that's supposed to be smart is a Sam part and Sam is just a dumb little kid who couldn't smart his way across the street.

It's true. I got lost one day cause I went for a walk and I couldn't remember my house number or the street I live on. I didn't think to look to see what it was before I left and I must have took a wrong turn and all these houses look alike and the streets too and they all curve.

This was the day after we got back from Disneyland. Mommy let me go outside but she didn't say I could leave the yard. I guess I shouldn't have.

So when I knew I was lost I like started running and looking and I wasn't sure if I saw my house I'd know which one it was. I was so scared I thought I would puke. Now that's stupid.

I just wanted to go for a walk cause it was a nice day and I had these cute red slacks on and a pink top. And my best sneaks which was good cause when I started running if I had had on plain flats, I would probably have killed myself.

Flats are not good for running. Well, heels are worse, of course, so that's why I was wearing sneaks except I never thought about having to run. Well, I didn't have to run, I was just scared.

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I'd probably still be running around in those crooked streets looking for my house and afraid to knock on doors if I hadn't seen the mailman. He was like half a block away and he had a big sack of mail he was carrying.

I stopped running, cause I felt like an idiot running down the street and I almost couldn't breathe. So I stopped and I caught my breath and I think, "The mailman's going to know where I live. I just got to figure out how to ask him without sounding really stupid."

So I waited in the shade while he put mail in people's door slots for a few more houses. I hoped I hadn't run so far I got all sweaty cause a girl isn't supposed to get sweaty in her pretty clothes.

Then I went up to him when he got closer and I go,"Hi!"

And he's like, "Hi!" and he grinned at me cause I'm a pretty girl and I was dressed real nice and people are always smiling at me.

So I smiled back and I go, "My friend Sheri MacDonald lives near here but I can't find her house? Am I on the right street? Do you know her address?"

And he goes, "There's some MacDonald's down that way," and he points back the way I came. "But I'm not supposed to tell people's addresses or names."

Okay, that makes sense but I guess I looked sad and worried and then he looked sad and worried, like he didn't want me to be unhappy.

So I go, "You're going that way, have you got any mail for the MacDonalds?"

He's like, "I might," and then he grins and winks.

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Okay, so I walk along with him and we talked and I giggled a lot and he asked my name and I go, "Amber," cause that is like my middle name now. I think it's a dumb name but I was stuck with it, I couldn't tell him I was Sam, could I?

He said he had a sister about my age but she lives in Pacoima and I wouldn't know her here and I shook my head cause I didn't know where Pacoima was but we live in Canoga Park. Besides, I don't know anyone, even those girls that think they know me.

But he was real nice to me and it takes a long while to deliver mail but I stayed with him until I suddenly saw my house and I'm all, "There it is!"

And he's all laughing and here comes my little brother Gary out the front door and he's like, "Oh, there you are, Sheri!"

So then the mailman knows I was looking for my own house!

I could of killed Gary for saying that but I just pretended like he hadn't and I thanked the mailman and ran in the house.

I'm so dumb I guess I do need to go to school but I'm scared about it still.

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I told my therabus therabist about being afraid to go back to school. I guess I haven't talked about her before here but I go to head theraby every Thursday at 3 pm at her house. Mommy takes me then she comes back and picks me up in an hour.

Bonnie is real nice and she's not like a doctor but I guess she is a doctor or she's a counselor which is a kind of doctor but she's more like an aunt. Her name is Bonnie Marquez but she said to just call her Bonnie.

I told her about thinking I was a boy, at first, and she like never says she doesn't believe me about anything. She's just all, "Why do you think that?" or "How do you feel about that?"

So I told her about Mommy saying that on Monday I'll go back to school and she asked how I felt and I'm like, "It scares me."

So she goes, "Why does it scare you?"

And I go, "Cause people are going to find out how dumb I am."

"Why do you think they'll find out?" she asks me.

I go, "Cause I can't do that high school stuff. I don't remember how."

And she goes, "That doesn't make you dumb, Sheri. You just can't remember yet."

And I'm like, "Pretty much the same thing if I don't ever remember."

"I'm sure you will remember more than you think you can right now," she says.

So I asked her one of her own questions, "Why do you think that?" I thought it was funny but I didn't giggle, I just smiled and she got the joke cause she smiled back.

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So she's like, "Memory is a funny think, Sheri. It's not stored in just one place in the brain, it's stored all over. So, just because you got a bump on the head and you can't remember for awhile doesn't mean your memories aren't there. You just don't know how to find them right now."

I thought about that and I thought about not being able to find my house but then knowing that I had found it when I did find it even though it doesn't look that different from a dozen other houses.

So I told her about getting lost and I guess I told it funny cause we were both laughing. Only she wasn't laughing at me, she was laughing cause I was laughing. Well, it was kind of funny in a stupid way.

So I go, "That proves how dumb I am."

And she shakes her head and she goes, "No, Sheri. Smart people get lost all the time." And she told me about going over to a friend of hers where she goes all the time except this time she turned too soon and didn't notice that.

So she goes on down the street and turns into the cul-de-sac and all the houses looked just like the ones near her friends house.

She didn't realize she was lost till she got out of her car and then she saw all the houses weren't quite the same as they should be. So she goes, "I felt sick to my stomach because I knew I was lost."

And I just nodded and I go, "Yeah, that's exactly how I felt." And then I started to cry.

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You don't ever want to cry in front of your therbist if you don't want to try to figure out why you are crying.

At first she just let me cry, I mean this wasn't the first time I cried in these meetings. So each time she just lets me cry for awhile and hands me tissues if I need them.

And then she asks something like, "Do you think you know why you're crying, Sheri?" Which is what she asked this time and I just nodded but really I was done crying so I wiped my eyes carefully. I didn't want to have to redo my eye makeup before Mommy came and picked me up.

Bonnie smiles at me and she goes, "Why do you think you were crying after that story, Sheri?"

And I'm like, "Cause I'm scared a lot and really scared of being lost?"

She's really good at asking the right question to keep you talking or just sitting there quiet till you have to say something.

So I'm still talking. "I'm kinda scared of lots of things, but being lost really scares me."

So she goes, "Why is that do you think?"

I thought about Sam being lost out there in the place you go when you're dead but I didn't say anything about that. Then without even thinking about it, I go,"Cause if you're lost, then you might get hurt and no one could find you to help."

Okay, so then I had to think about that a little bit.

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This time she said something kind of different. When I hadn't said anything for a while, she goes,"When you were hurt, Sheri, someone did find you and they helped you."

I go, "I know, but I don't remember how I got lost so it's like if I get lost or scared it might happen again. I don't even remember how I got hurt."

"And that's scary," she goes.

I nodded.

"You know the police said you were hit by a car, Sheri?" she said real soft.

I nodded again. "But how did that happen? I'm not a little kid," well, Sheri wasn't, "so why would I be out in the street and get hit?"

She didn't say anything, she just looked at me and I thought that she looked proud of me for getting this far into talking about this without crying again like I usually do.

I don't remember anything about it, getting hit by a car or however I got hurt. I don't hardly remember anything that happened before I woke up in the hospital and thought I was Sam. Usually when we get this far I'm like all shaking and crying and Bonnie makes us stop.

This time it's like there it is and I know it's scary but I don't have to be scared. Bonnie is right there and nothing bad is going to happen. I smiled at her and she smiled at me

"Why can't I remember, Bonnie?" I said. "If I could remember, maybe it wouldn't be so scary." Right then, I wasn't thinking that if I remembered being Sheri what would happen to Sam?

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See, I don't remember stuff that even people like with amnesia remember. Nobody forgets which way a book opens unless their brain is really hurt bad.

And without even thinking about it again, I go, "I'm scared that I'm still lost. And no one is going to find me and I won't remember things and I'm going to be stupid forever."

Saying that kind of surprised me but Bonnie smiiles and goes, "I don't think you're stupid, Sheri. I think you're a very bright young woman." She calls me that a lot, a young woman. Nobody else does.

It makes me feel a little funny, cause Bonnie is a woman and Mommy is a woman and I'm just a girl and that's weird enough cause I used to be a boy only I don't tell anyone that anymore. Except Bonnie sometimes.

But being called a young woman is not the same as being called a young lady, cause when Mommy says that I know I'm in trouble but if Daddy or Uncle Robert says it, I know they are teasing me. And if Gary calls me a young lady, I pretend I'm going to smack him one. *!*!*!*

So I was thinking about that, getting in trouble and being teased and playing with Gary so I was smiling at Bonnie and she smiled back at me.

She goes, "Are you still scared about going to school next week, Sheri?"

And I'm like, "Yeah, but not as much. there's lots of stuff scarier than that."

So she goes, "I think going to school will be good for you. You'll get to be with girls and boys your own age again."

I go, "Boys, huh."

"You don't like boys?" she goes.

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Okay, that made me want to squirm a bit but I stayed still and pretended to be thinking about it. What Uncle Robert called flirting that I did with Dennis and Keith in Disneyland was kind of fun and I knew that those boys sure liked me.

"I guess I like boys, if they like me," I go but then I saw that Bonnie was grinning at me and we both had to laugh again. *v*

"Do you want to talk about boys and how you feel about them, Sheri?" she asked me when we stopped giggling.

"Uh, no, not right now." I knew if I squirmed again, she'd ask more about it so I go, "I too worried about school."

So we talked some about what school might be like and she goes, "It's only going to be for half a day and for the first week, you're just going to be meeting with a tutor."

And I'm like, "Just me and one teacher?"

And Bonnie goes, "Yes. It's another kind of theraby and don't you think you would like to be back in school with your friends this fall?"

"I don't remember any friends," I said, thinking about the girls who visited me and made me cry cause I couldn't remember things.

"They remember you," said Bonnie and that was a pretty weird thought too.

The door buzzer made a noise right then and I looked up and saw Mommy on the tv monitor that shows who is at the door so I knew it was time to go. Bonnie just smiled at me and went to let Mommy in.

I haven't told Bonnie about remembering that my boy name was Sam but I think maybe I should. Maybe next time.

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We went out to eat for a nice dinner last night. It was Friday and Mommy wanted us to meet this friend of hers. I think he may be a boyfriend. Gary says he's an actor on one of the cable shows. He's really good looking.

Not Gary, Gary is just little kid cute, but this guy, his name is Aaron Daly. He's good looking enough to be on TV. He's got wavy brown hair that's just too dark to be blond and he's got eyes that are so green you can't believe it.

So Mommy and I were going to get all pretty, cause it's kind of like a date, only it's Mommy's date not mine. Not that I want to go on a date but she said I could sort of practice.

Gary says I used to go on dates so much that Mommy once grounded me for two weeks for accepting three dates on the same day with three different boys. Maybe I've always been this dumb. *v*

Anyway, Mommy said I should wear a dress and hose and heels. Okay, so I got a bit worried but also excited about that, cause I haven't worn a dress outside the house except to try on in the mall since my accident.

So I picked out this blue dress, it's almost knee length and the color is just a bit darker than my eyes. It's got a kind of bib yoke of the same fabric, all shiny and the neckline is not too high and not too low either. I wear a white belt and carry a white handbag with it and wear my blue and white heels. Not too grown-up, not too little kid, either.

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Mommy saw what I picked out and she was really pleased. She's all, "You always have good taste in what to wear, Sheri. Just like your father."

So while I'm still in my underwear I go to Mommy's room to see what she's going to wear. And she's got like four dresses laid out on the bed and they are all nice. I looked at them and I'm like, "You would look good in any of these, Mommy."

And she sighed or groaned and she's like, "Yeah but how do I pick which one?"

So I look at them again and we talked about what to wear with each one and which shoes, she's got even more shoes than I do! But then I thought of something and I go, "Do you want him to remember that you're our mommy or that you're his date?"

And Mommy is all, "Oh, Sheri! That is the question isn't it?" And she grabbed me and hugged me and we both giggled then we put two of the dresses away because while they were nice they just said, "I'm someone's Mommy," too much.

Now the other two said something like, "I'm on a date and I'm serious about who I'm with." Only one was mostly green and the other was sort of white with peach accents.

I go, "Not the green, green is Aaron's color. If Gary and I both wear dark colors, that white dress will really help you stand out."

So she kissed me and we giggled and I ran back to my room to get dressed. Mommy helped me braid my hair and I helped her with hers and we both looked so good, but Mommy looked better cause it was her date.

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We went to a nice restaurant and I had a small steak and a salad and Gary had a burger and fries and Mom had a shrimp salad thing. Aaron, that's what he said we could call him, had a big steak and salad and baked potato.

The waiters came to our table all the time and Gary said it was like when he and Daddy went to this place in LA where Daddy used to eat when he was a football player. So we figured they had recognized Aaron.

But Aaron says it's because they are all flirting with Mommy and me!

I tried to watch them to see if I could catch them flirting and just what was flirting anyway. And when this one waiter, one of the younger ones, was refilling our glasses I watched him and I saw he was watching me.

So I opened my eyes real wide and smiled at him and he grinned and kind of winked with both eyes at once. I think that was so I would notice his lashes which were really dark and long and very pretty for a boy.

He flirted at me and I flirted back and it was fun. I guess if I can remember how to flirt maybe I can remember aljabra too. I think I like to flirt. *v*

Aaron invited all of us to the beach on Sunday and Mommy said we would go. And that means shopping on Saturday, even though Mommy and I both have swimsuits and stuff, it's a good excuse.

I said that and Aaron laughed really hard. He's funny and he likes to laugh and we all laughed a lot. Gary likes him, too, and Mommy was so happy that we liked him that when we got home she gave us both hugs.

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I had some strange dreams last night, so I'm writing this in the morning. This time they weren't dreams about Sam, they were dreams about Sheri. I dreamed I had got all dressed up to go to a party. Wearing a new pale lavender gown that made my eyes just jump out they looked so blue. In the dream, but now I know how to do that. A lavender dress and a little lavender eye-shadow with some purple to edge the eyeliner, that would do it.

In the dream, I was all nervous and I waited for my date but not in the front room, I waited in my bedroom cause it isn't cool to be seen waiting. I hadn't been out with this guy before, Sheri hadn't. I haven't been out with anyone and after this dream, I'm not sure I want to go.

I don't know his name, I'm not even sure this really happened. Maybe Mom knows his name, but I don't know how to ask her.

Cause he comes to pick me up, he can drive so he's older than me and I see him but I can't see him somehow. That's why I'm not sure if this really happened.

We went somewhere to eat and then we went to a party, it was a party with a lot of older kids. The music was really loud and I danced and I guess I do know how to dance after all.

Then we had a fight. I don't mean a hitting fight but an arguing fight. He wanted to do something I didn't want to do. He called me a little kid and I think I called him a bad name. Then I said I wanted him to take me home, but instead he took me to talk to these other girls.

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These girls said everything was going to be okay but I was still upset. They said they would protect me but I don't think I knew them very well. One was a girl who looked like someone you see on TV, she was black and really pretty and she said I should call a cab and just go home.

I think I was crying but I think I was more mad than scared.

"Guys," one of the other girls said. "Screw'em." And all the other girls laughed and said that was the problem, I didn't want to. I understood that and it made me blush.

We were in a bedroom in a house I think and the party was going on outside and inside the house. This wasn't the party we were supposed to have gone to, so I wanted to call home.

They gave me a phone and I tried to dial but things kept going wrong. You know how it is in a dream. Someone gave me another coke and it tasted like medicine.

I started getting really scared, I'm getting scared sitting here in my room writing this down. I'm pretty sure it really happened but I don't remember much more about the dream. Just flashes of light and music and somebody wanting me to kiss him and I didn't want to do that.

So I ran and somebody chased me. It seemed to take forever, how dreams are. But I ran and I ran and a big bright light hit me and I fell into a place where it was very dark.

One thing I do know, that lavender dress was the one they found me in when they took me to the hospital and I woke up and thought I was a boy named Sam.

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I'm back in my room now, it's been a weird morning so far so I thought I would write a little more. I'm not sure we're going to go shopping later after all. I'm going to write this down to help me think about it. It really seems to help.

Mom called me out to breakfast after I had written my earlier dream down. At first I didn't want to go cause I felt really bad about the dream. Then I realized what kind of bad I felt--I was scared so talking to Mom seemed like a good idea.

I didn't know what to say though and Gary was there and he's a cool kid but he's only eight and I didn't want to scare him, too. But Mom just looked at me and she said, "Nightmares?"

I nodded. I'd had them before since I got out of the hospital and sometimes Mom had come down to stay in my room with me or let me go to her room since her bed is bigger.

"You know you can call me," she said.

"I know, but I woke up and it was almost morning cause it was already light so I just sat in bed for awhile."

I don't know what I looked like right then but Mom put a hand on my shoulder and Gary grabbed my other hand and squeezed. I know they love me and that feels good though it kind of makes me feel guilty because I'm really Sam, not Sheri. Well, I guess mostly I'm Sheri but the part of me that's Sam feels guilty.

"It's okay, honey," Mom said. "Everything's fine now."

"You're safe," said Gary. And he looked so fierce that I almost wanted to laugh. I squeezed his hand back and we smiled at each other.

"Do you want to tell us about it?" Mom asked.

"It was pretty scary. And I'm not sure all of it was a dream," I finally said. I think if I hadn't already written it down I would have just cried instead of being able to talk.

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"You think you might have remembered something?" I could tell Mom was pretty anxious to know but didn't want to worry me.

"Uh huh," I said. "But it's all mixed up with stuff that might just be a dream."

"Even if it's just a dream, we want to know," Gary said. "And talking about it might help you remember?"

"How did he get so smart when I'm so dumb?" I asked Mom and we all laughed a bit. I messed Gary's hair up and he grinned at me.

"We're here in the kitchen," Mom said. "You're safe, it's daylight and we love you. Nothing bad can happen." When she said that, I wanted to cry. Dulcetta, the woman who comes twice a week to help Mom with housework, was doing the laundry in the utility room and it did feel peaceful and safe.

I took a deep breath and told them what I remembered about the dream. I already wrote that down so I'm not going to write it down again. I told them just about eveerything I could remember.

Mom glanced at Gary a few times when I danced around what it was the guy at the party wanted me to do but Gary didn't flinch and you could tell he knew what I meant. I mean, with TV and movies and even comic books, it's not that hard for a smart kid to figure out what dating and sex are about. And Gary really is smarter than me or even Sam.

In fact, it was Gary that asked questions. "This guy at the party, is he the one that picked you up at the house?"

"I think so," I said. "But I don't remember for sure. Who picked me up? Where were we going?"

"That was Paul Tremayne..." Mom began.

"I had a date with Paul Tremayne?" I said. I knew the name somehow but it took me a moment to remember where from.

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"Tall mook with a stupid grin," said Gary. "He was on that TV show where the old guy had a bunch of orphan kids to take care of, 'Father Goose', based on some old movie. Tremayne played 'Tommy'. They didn't get renewed." Gary knows everything about television.

I nodded. Some of my magazines, Sheri's magazines, had pictures of him. Dark hair, kind of a sweet face with the saddest eyes; in two of the magazines, Sheri had drawn heart-shapes around him. But she did that a lot.

And I remembered something else. "Someone called him 'Tommy,' and he said, 'I'm not Tommy.' Like he was all annoyed?"

Mom suddenly looked mad enough to bite someone. "He told the police that you disappeared at the dance."

"The dance?" I said. "Where were we supposed to be going?"

"The Spring Formal at his private high school, Westron Academy." She looked really unhappy. "We thought you'd be safe, honey. He's sixteen and the school isn't more than two miles from here."

I shook my head. "I don't think we ended up at a high school dance. All the kids looked older and I..." I stammered a bit, my throat felt all tight and the pancakes I had eaten didn't seem happy. "I was the only girl in a long dress?"

"He looked so upset about what happened," Mom said.

"He's an actor," said Gary.

"People at the formal remembered him and you being there..."

"Maybe we went there for a little bit," I said. My eyes were stinging.

"And maybe he went back after what happened," said Gary. Then Gary said some bad words but Mom didn't even scold him.

She said that maybe she should tell the police what else I had remembered. I didn't really want her to. When I was in the hospital, the police kept trying to get me to remember things and it made me feel sick and crazy that I couldn't. Daddy made them stop. I guess I looked all nervous and upset cause Mom said, "I'll talk to your father first, would that be okay?"

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I nodded. Daddy wouldn't let the police talk to me alone anymore, he said that.

"We've got to tell him, anyway," said Gary. "If this guy Paul hurt you or let someone hurt you, Daddy will want to know."

Mom looked worried. "We haven't talked about this as much as maybe we should. But you've been so upset," she said.

"Cause I can't remember, I know. Daddy will know what to do."

Mom looked a bit sad for some reason when I said that but Gary just nodded. I know that Gary and I wanted Daddy to help us make up our minds about what to tell the police. Mom and Daddy still love each other, they just can't live together and sometimes that makes them both sad. That must really hurt.

Okay, so Mom called Daddy and I went to my room to write and think.

I think this guy Paul lied to Mom and Daddy and the police. Maybe we went to that party at his school but then we left and went somewhere else. Well, he took Sheri somewhere else. Don't you think she should have had brains enough not to go with him? I know I'm dumb but that's just stupid.

So we go to another party and someone gave Sheri some drugs maybe but she didn't know it. Then somebody tried something and Sheri didn't want to do it. So she ran away and she got hurt and maybe she should have died but instead I'm here.

I'm Sam cause being Sheri hurts too much.

@ @ @ @@ @@@ @

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I've been thinking some more. Gary says that's dangerous for a girl to be thinking too much but I just stick my tongue out at him and we both laugh.

My name is Sherilynne Amber MacDonald. My initials are S.A.M. Sam.

Did I just make up a boy named Sam as a place to hide while I was so scared of being me? Maybe I've had too much therapy to even think of something like that but it kind of makes sense.

Especially after I asked my Mom, "Did anyone ever call me Sam?"

She laughed. "You don't remember?"

I shook my head, kind of scared of what she might say. We were cleaning the kitchen up after the police came and interviewed me again and drank a lot of coffee. The police did, not me, I hate coffee.

Mom smiled. "You used to insist that you were Sam."

"I did?" I said, like I'm just too stupid to live.

Mom nodded. "Yes, back before Gary was born, after you started school and found out your initials spelled SAM. When you wanted to play at being a boy, sort of a game with your father?" She looked at me real careful, I don't know what my face looked like but I think it worried her. "Do you remember that?"

"Kind of," I said.

"The doctors said you might begin to remember more, but don't force it, honey."

"I won't--but when did I stop that-that game?" I asked.

"I'm not sure," she said. "But after Gary was born...well, you had a little brother, I guess you didn't want to play at being a boy? Do you remember Gary being born?"

"I'm not sure," I said but I thought of something. "Was your hair brown back then?"

"Yes, it was," she said, a little surprised, a little pleased and maybe embarrassed.

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I must have made a funny noise cause my breath seemed to catch in my throat. "I remember being scared," I said.

Mom nodded. "You rode to the hospital with your father and me; you fell asleep in the back of the van and we forgot about you." She rolled her eyes. "Well, I thought you were with us but your dad forgot to wake you up."

Okay, then I nodded at her, I think. "An ambulance came up with lights and a horn and woke me up. The big lights blinked on and off and made it bright as day inside the van and the horn went, HOOOG! HOOOG!"

"Something like that," she agreed. "It must have terrified you; it took the hospital staff ten minutes to catch you and find your father."

Now that's kind of a funny story if you're not the eight-year-old kid in pajamas running around the hospital with everyone chasing you. I kind of giggled and Mom laughed, too.

"They said you were yelling Dr. Seuss rhymes," she said.

"Sam I am?" I guessed.

"That was your favorite book, of course. You knew it by heart. Green Eggs and Ham."

"I am Sam," I said and we both laughed a little more.

And I guess that explains it. When I got hurt really bad, I went back to another time I was in a hospital and scared. Too scared to be Sheri, so I had to be Sam.

I think I'll be able to remember more now, maybe even remember all my friends at school and things Sheri did, I did, between those two trips to the hospital. It's just a relief to know that even if I am a little crazy it kind of makes sense.

Or maybe Sam really did exist, a little boy who died and part of him came to be part of me when I almost died. Whatever, I'll probably never know for sure. It's like God, somethings you just have to believe.

I am Sheri and Sheri is Sam. And Sam I am, too.

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The End. (Complete)
Erin Halfelven is the author of 2 other stories.

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