“Are you boys or girls?” the lady behind the sweet shop counter asked.
“Boys,” we said in unison, grins creeping across our faces like spiders.
We had cropped hair and skin recently coloured by the Fijian sun.
Mum said nothing.
We came to equate her stiff expression with a stick—and not the kind we’d used, until recently, half naked, to poke wildlife in tropical undergrowth.
Our hair grew out within a year; mine so thin it made a single coil; my sister’s, thick, was cut in a blunt bob.
Mum stitched us woollen dresses and we learnt to be girls.