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Tara wasn’t the prettiest girl in Bend, but she was the most popular. She was always friendly to everyone and the boys clustered around her like fruit flies around an overripe plum. The other girls were jealous of course and bickered among themselves when she wasn’t with them, but Tara was so much fun to be with that when she was with them everyone was laughing.

No one knew Tara’s problem. It was her personal secret. It was the reason for her abnormal interest in keeping people occupied with her effusive behavior, and whistling was one of her ways of distracting them from IT.

IT was always there on her armpit! IT couldn’t be removed! IT was the ugliest thing she had ever seen. She had even gone to a dermatologist, secretly of course, when she was supposedly touring around universities searching for the right one for her. That gave her the excuse to be out of town for a couple of days so no one would know what she was up to.

There at the University of California in Berkeley she revealed IT to one of the top rated dermatologists in the world. She expected him to be horrified. She expected him to tell her to live life to the max for the next few months because her life was doomed to be short, painful and ugly! Doctor Horowitz looked at IT. He looked puzzled. He then looked deep into Tara’s eyes. His eyes filled with compassion, understanding, and sage-like love.

She instantly knew she was looking into the eyes of eternity, into the eyes of God. This was … was — THE END — for her! She fainted.

The bite of ammonia in her nose soon woke Tara. Dr. Horowitz was there wafting a little wad of cotton back and forth in front of her nose. “What’s happening?” “You fainted.” “Why did I faint?” “Oh, I don’t know. Teenage girls often faint when I look too deeply into their eyes.

Oh, doctor, … what’s wrong with me? Am I going to die?” “No, my dear, you have a good life expectancy before you.” “But, doctor what is that horrible stuff growing under my arms? It wasn’t there last month.” “It’s called hair, my dear, you are becoming an adult female, you are becoming a woman.

Back in Bend, back with her friends, she was hesitant to discuss her new problem, and instead she surreptitiously dabbed a little Nair hair remover under her arms and whistled comically a little Irish tune under her arm to help blow it dry. She thought her ditties distracted everyone, and that they all thought it was funny how comically she whistled under her arm. When Tara wasn’t there they laughed a lot about her “secret.”

Tara didn’t discover for months that her friends knew all along why she whistled under her arms.


Dudley’s writer’s prompt, December 5th 2016 – “She tried the next dab on her arm whistling her breath.”

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