My stepfather bought us an iMac G3, the Bondi Blue version, in the late 90s. He was a self-effacing person who gave my mother elaborate presents, perhaps to make up for his long absences: the new computer, compact, flashy, anodyne as a cartoon robot. A vacation to Disney World. Our house.

In the furnished basement, my mom wrote law school essays and my sister, I imagine, learned to flirt via AIM. I was a reluctant, anxious instant-messenger—I had trouble self-defining clearly enough to choose a screen name—but sometimes I went on to pay my middle school social dues. Once, in a week of IMing, I pushed a thickset, basketball shorts-wearing classmate into typing out that she liked me liked me. I was victorious and disgusted. I printed out the chat logs as evidence.

I didn’t wear color, then, and especially not pink. Mom liked my short hair, the way I eschewed girly things, but was nevertheless surprised to find herself with a little lesbian.

When I crawled into my body at adolescence’s end, I found I didn’t have to choose pink. Ready or not, here it was: pink tongue, pink nipples, pink cunt.

Sally Howe is a writer and editorial assistant.