I’m Tatiana Thibodeaux. An odd pairing, I know. My ancestors on my dad’s side are from Louisiana and from Russia on my mom’s side, so I’m what you get; a Russo-Cajun mutt living in what used to be northern New Mexico at the edge of the high desert and the Rocky Mountains.
Everyone calls me Tat. Almost everyone, anyway. Sometimes Tat gets turned into Tit by a few of the brattier more immature guys I know. Tit for Tat doesn’t take a big stretch of the imagination when you’re looking for ways to get under the skin of a girl like me with very little to show in that area.
Timmy Stafford even called me Skeeter Bite the day after I foolishly let a boy with a mouth as big as his stick his dirty hand under my shirt. I beaned him on his temple with a clod of hard dry clay while he was still laughing about it with our friends, though. While he was holding the side of his head I told him I’d break his pinky and whatever else he had of a similar size if he ever said anything like that again. I got the bigger laugh.
I get it. I’ve been playing ball, racing, wrestling and just generally been one of the guys since we were little kids. I’m still the best shortstop under eighteen around, but things are getting weird just like everybody said they would.
I get more attention now because I’m cute than because I can out play any other infielder around my age in town. And I am. Cute, I mean. Not being stuck up or anything, but I am. I don’t mean beauty pageant gorgeous or anything like that, but I can hold my own in a crowd.
I also understand all about boys being all awkward about girls and vice versa at our age and how they say the wrong or inappropriate things sometimes without really meaning to. Maybe they’re just not grown up enough to know better or stop themselves from running their mouths. I watched two older brothers figure it out, after all. Plus, between my dad and my mom before she went outside the fence the last time I’ve had at least pieces of “the talk” a hundred times.