"Look at Me with Fresh Eyes"
Aliyana's quinceañera was coming up,
and she still didn't know if she
wanted a party or not.
"Would you rather just wait
and come to my Sweet Sixteen?"
asked her friend Neela. "That might
take some of the pressure off."
"I thought about that," Aliyana said.
"It's just ... this will be my first birthday
with my real name, and I kind of wanted
to see it on a cake. I need people
to look at me with fresh eyes."
"Okay, so let's do that,"
Neela said, nodding so hard
that her aquamarine curls
swirled like a waterfall.
"I'm too scared," Aliyana said.
"What if nobody comes?
Or they're all awful?"
"Listen, I have my Bar Mitzvah
scheduled for the Saturday between
your birthdays," Shaul said. "Why don't
we just combine all of our celebrations
into one big bash? We can even do it as
a Sankofa thing, and my parents will
make sure everyone behaves."
"Oh, that's a great idea!"
Neela said. "I was worrying about
how to fit all the people I need to invite
into my family's tiny little house. I've
seen your synagogue, and it's huge."
"Plenty of room for all the friends
we want to invite," Shaul assured them.
"We can decorate the reception hall in
all different colors, and there's even
a dance square they can put down."
"But it's your special day,"
"Yeah, it is," said Shaul,
"and I want to share it with you."
"Well ..." Aliyana twisted a curl
of her hair around one finger,
a new nervous habit that she
had picked up in transition.
"... I think I'd like to try that."
"Yay!" said Neela. "We can do up
a cake in Home Economics, and
that way you won't have any hassles.
Once you've put your name on
a birthday cake, it's official!"
"Okay," Aliyana said,
imagining what a fun riot
it would be to decorate a cake
with sixteen girls and six guys.
"There's just one thing," Shaul said.
"What's that?" Aliyana asked,
worrying a little again.
"You have to give me
some dance lessons, or
find someone else who can,"
said Shaul. "Otherwise, I'll
probably kill myself trying
to do the tango thing."
"No problemo," she said.
"My uncle teaches at a dance club.
We can take a break after you do
your ceremony, then have activities
like dance lessons and games, then
the party with the cakes and the dances."
"Then it's a date," Shaul said,
and they all shook hands,
and so it was.
* * *
Aliyana Lorén -- She has caramel skin, brown eyes, and curly brown hair to her shoulders. She has wide shoulders, small breasts, and minimal hip development thus far. She is transgender and just turning 15. Aliyana is very new to her gender expression, and still unfamiliar with many feminine skills. A natural athlete, she enjoys track & field at high school and also participates in the Sankofa Club. Aliyana shares sympathy with Shaul Abrahamson for struggling with awkwardness, and she likes doing physical activities with Neela Merton.
Qualities: Good (+2) Athletic, Good (+2) Charming, Good (+2) Intrapersonal Intelligence, Good (+2) Sankofa Club Member
Poor (-2) New to This Whole Girl Thing
Neela Merton -- She has pale skin, iridescent aquamarine eyes, and long wavy hair streaked in shades of sky blue and apple green. Originally her hair was ash brown, and some of it is still changing. She looks beautiful, but feels self-conscious about her changing body. This has given her an early interest in existential issues that most teens don't understand or care about. She is close with Shaul Abrahamson who has been studying for his Bar Mitzvah, and she enjoys athletic pursuits with Aliyana Lorén.
Origin: At puberty, Neela developed a severe scalp problem. A medicated cream solved that problem, but then her hair grew back in vivid colors, and after that her eyes changed too.
Uniform: Funky girl clothes. She likes bright colors and geometric designs.
Qualities: Good (+2) Beautiful, Good (+2) Existential Intelligence, Good (+2) Sankofa Club Member, Good (+2) Swimmer
Poor (-2) Self-Conscious
Powers: Good (+2) Enhanced Vision, Good (+2) Watercolor Hair
Motivation: To understand.
Shaul Abrahamson -- He has fair skin, brown eyes, and short wavy brown hair. Tall and gawky, his body is growing faster than his brain can keep up, making him clumsy. Shaul has studied diligently for his Bar Mitzvah. Although he is only 13, he looks and acts older than his age. He took over leadership of the Sankofa Club after the previous leader graduated and nobody else wanted the responsibility. Shaul supports Aliyana Lorén in her transition and sympathizes with her feelings of awkwardness. He likes discussing deep philosophical topics with Neela Merton, who has helped him study for his Bar Mitzvah.
Qualities: Good (+2) Jew, Good (+2) Logical-Mathematical Intelligence, Good (+2) Sankofa Club Leader, Good (+2) Tall
Poor (-2) Clumsy
* * *
"Waltz With Me at My Quinceañera"
Waltz with me at my quinceañera,
Twirl with me around the dance floor.
Look at me with fresh eyes because,
I'm different than the girl you knew before.
"Baila Conmigo un Vals en Mis Quince Años"
Baila conmigo un vals en mis quince años,
Demos vueltas y vueltas por la pista de baile.
Mírame como si fuera la primera vez,
Ahora soy diferente a la niña de antes.
-- Quinceañera Quotes and Poems
Quinceañera is a big party thrown for a Hispanic girl on her fifteenth birthday, which signifies her entry into society as a young woman. Read about popular quinceañera themes and how to plan a quinceañera party.
Sweet sixteen is a similar celebration of a girl's sixteenth birthday, popular in the United States of America. Explore some sweet sixteen themes and how to plan a sweet sixteen party.
Bar mitzvah recognizes a Jewish boy's entry to manhood, customarily marked by reading from the Torah. Most people want to plan a party to celebrate this, but some feel that it is wrong. Shaul has neatly sidestepped this argument by throwing a party for his friends after the solemn religious ceremony. The generosity tells you what kind of a man he is, and the decorations tell you that he is completely secure in his masculinity. (Yes, the reference image comes from a real bar mitzvah.) I imagine the girls will all dance his feet off, even if he steps on theirs. Read some tips for bar mitzvah guests.
Home economics is a class that teaches household skills. It is more popular in Terramagne-America than in local-America. It also has more boys in it, although the gender balance is rarely anywhere near equal unless it's a required class, which it usually isn't. Some classes touch on cake decorating as a kitchen craft.
Cake decorating employs many different techniques to make pretty desserts. If you want to have a cake decorating party, it is easier to give each guest their own mini-cake to decorate. However, some people like to share one cake, which is often a madhouse, but it can actually work great if you have several friends each with a different skill (i.e. one person bakes the cake, another puts the base icing on, one does the art, and another does the writing).