For once, I did not write horror.

Basile Lebret
3 min readFeb 24, 2022


An engineer ruler in both centimeters and inches.
Courtesy of Freeby Photography

Elena grew up surrounded by nefarious kids who always wondered why the doctors claimed they were shorter then they really were. They really were because it were their parents who had measured them, and there existed a proof, more often than not on the doorframe leading to their bedroom which proved the kids were the height they claimed.

Still those sort of mysteries tend to be devoured by the responsibility of adult life. When one really worries about living to paycheck to pacheck or planning their next vacation. No in-between. Height becomes an issue in public space such as shop, but if you have problem grabbing stuff off of that last shelf, spend ten years having the same problem and you’ll eventually normalize it.

Mainly because you’re starting to put the problem you want to deal with in order.

So it comes that Elena hadn’t thought of her height for quite sometimes, being 5'5".

It’s when she decided she could ride to work that the problem, erm, the thought came back. First was her friend Robert who had just lost his driver’s licence and having to resort to bike everywhere claimed almost every day that he never knew how much he missed that in his “boy’s life”. Elena never knew why being a boy played a part in any of it, she would bike as a kid, she liked it, she just lost the habit as she was trying to obtain her doctorate and once she settled in a comfy appartment trying to feed her mate and organizing the day-to-day bullshit, she just stopped. Just like she stopped walking to every point she had to be since she now had a car. She lost the habit, what stood in between her legs, now or before, played no part in all of this.

Nonetheless, those bike rides she took certainly brought her closer to Robert and it was him, one day who exclaimed: “No surprise you couldn’t bike real well with this bike, damn thing is for kiddey.”

For a second, Elena eyed her vehicle before returning her attnetion towards her pal. “It’s too short.”

Elena doubted this, this was a gift from her father. I knew he had searched everywhere to buy her a bike made in the States. Behind her mother’s back. Still, she wondered if Robert’s claim was male asserted dominance or a real issue.

She would reflect upon this from time to time, slowly growing used to the bike she got, she treasured. After a while, she got the habit of mainting it in working order. Sometimes still wondering if Robert was right.

And one day it hit her. She was coming back home. Entering her empty flat after Ashley had deserted and reflecting upon what stood in the fridge when she wondered, really wondered how tall her father thought she was. She was 5'55" for sure, at her best. Meaning waking up.

Through the day, she would lose maybe one or two inches, as gravity pulled her closer to Earth. This she learned from a video on graviy explained through five levels of difficulty — Elena could never thank the internet enough. This was why adults prefered to measure their child as they grew up.

And she remembered.

Baffled, of kids in a playground arguing about their heights. Yellow parka, white sneakers, faded bleu jogging. Hands that are dirty but noone really cares about grabbing one another. Exclamation going: “Am 3'2” “Na, you’re NAT.”

A more vivd memory, Charles, with his red sweater, young at the time, before he was gon’, through this era when everyone wore baggy jeans. “DK why the doctors say am 5'6” when am really 5'7, almost eight really. Dumb motherfucker!”

As the smell of her house enthralled her, Elena wondered how many children grew up with a grudge against their doctors that claimed they were shorter than they really were. When all it was was a physics problem.




Basile Lebret

I write about the history of artmaking, I don’t do reviews.