Like a Girl: Chapter four

We walked for several hours and the Sun came up just as we made it to what you told me was Central Park. It was huge and beautiful and I wanted to walk through it, but you insisted against it.
“Keep walking,” you said. “We’re almost there.”
And we kept walking. And less than an hour later, my dream came true. Just a few blocks south of Central Park, we came up to an apartment building at an intersection where several beings were standing, laughing at the bottom of the stairs. They had long flowing hair of different colors: black, brown, gold, and red. They all had bronze skin and not the pasty white skin I’d seen in the store, and they were all wearing clothes that I’d never seen before. Their pants weren’t covering their legs and instead they were just long enough to cover some of their thighs.
They were people.
These were girls! Like me! Like us! My heart leapt in my chest and I heard you breathe a giant sigh of relief next to me. You dropped to your knees and I heard you heaving, like you were crying. I couldn’t help myself and I ran over while you were still getting over your emotions at seeing another person after so long.
“You’re girls!” I shouted as I made it to the steps.
The group turned and looked at me and the laughter suddenly stopped. There was silence as they all stared at me briefly, looking me up and down and examining me. That’s when I realized how strange this must have been for them, with me coming onto their territory. They were probably sizing me up to see if I was a threat, the way we did whenever we noticed a beast in the distance. I was sure they’d figure out soon that I was harmless. But that’s when I noticed how different they actually looked from me. Even though their skin and their hair were like mine, their bodies looked more like the mannequins. Their arms were slim and lanky instead of muscular. Their legs were long and smooth instead of calloused and scarred. And their hair was thick and almost shimmering, as if they’d washed it their whole lives. Why were they so clean?
“Is this the colony?” you asked, catching up to me.
The girls looked at you and grins came over them all suddenly. Apparently, you were no threat whatsoever. One of them stepped forward from the group and nodded to you.
“Yes,” she said. “Welcome.”
“My name is Marcus. And this is my daughter Alex.”
“Daisy,” the girl replied. “It’s a pleasure to meet you. You must be exhausted. How far have you come?”
“The Bronx,” you replied.
Daisy made a face. “You must be hungry.”
I nodded ecstatically. “We are!”
“Please,” you said, with much more self-control. “Do you have any food?”
“Come on in,” Daisy said, waving us up the stairs.
And before we knew it, we were walking inside the building, being led through rooms filled with things I’d never seen before and had only heard stories about from you: couches and ottomans; chandeliers and tables with fine china; elevators and escalators; and marble tiles and mirrors on the walls. Everything inside this building seemed like it was coming from a dream. Then Daisy brought us to a room where someone was sitting at a desk, holding a glass of a brown liquid in her hand. This girl’s skin was much whiter than ours and looked like the mannequins I’d seen. And for a second I thought it actually was a mannequin until she moved and smiled at us. Another girl was standing next to her and Daisy waved her hand back at us.
“Drexl,” she said. “We have visitors.”
Drexl set her glass on the table and stood to greet us. She looked less like the girls we’d seen and more like you. She must have been one of the few girls who had beards that you had told me about.
“Welcome,” Drexl said. “You must be famished. Come. You’re just in time for lunch.”

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