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Author's Chapter Notes:

I'm really sorry it took so long to add a new chapter. I didn't have much time to write, lately. Plus, this one is divided in two, like the previous one. But this time I didn't want to post it incomplete, so it took even longer. Anyway, I really hope you enjoy it, and as always, comments are welcome. Thanks for reading and have fun!

City Tour (Part 1)

Thesis Project, Chapter 3: “Absolute and relative values”

We all know tall people, short people, strong people, weak people, fast people, slow people, etc. However, those adjectives only work when we talk about people the same size (or at least close enough). Biologically, men tend to be bigger and stronger than women; however, we can’t say that if we talk about Swedish women and Canadian men, for example.

Nevertheless, we can’t help but find it a little strange to say that a 10 year old girl is stronger than a 25 year old man who works out daily, even if she could easily pin him down under her thumb. We just know something doesn’t make any sense, but we’re not exactly sure what it is.

In my opinion, we already know how to deal with this dilemma, but we don’t exactly realize it. We forget that we have different sized people even in the same country. For instance, if we see a volleyball player standing next to a petite girl, and then we weigh them both, we won’t call the tall one “chubby” and the short one “skinny” only because one is much heavier than the other. We all understand that (considering both have an average build) their weight is proportional to their height, so we find it completely normal.

It’s the same with people from different countries. Using our previous example, even if the 10 year old girl could easily pin a grown man, we understand that the man is actually stronger, but only proportionally. But in order to avoid this explanation every time we talk, I suggest a couple of concepts: “absolute size” and “relative size”.

With these concepts, we can easily say that someone is “relatively tiny”, but “absolutely tall”. They might sound strange at first, but it’s better than saying “well, he’s tall compared to other men his size, but compared to people much larger than him, then he’s obviously very short.” Plus, this also helps the professional basketball team to feel better with themselves after being easily defeated in a match by an average teenager.

But we also must not forget that, even if each person can be tall, heavy or strong by themselves, or “absolutely tall, heavy or strong”, we still have to realize that this is only a way of speaking, or maybe a way to see ourselves without comparing our bodies to others; this is not how real life works.

Even if their absolute sizes say otherwise, there’s nothing stopping a feeble geek from single handedly defeating a jock in a wrestling match, if their sizes allow it. Nor could a male robber tell a woman twice his size: “I’m bigger and stronger absolutely speaking, so give me your purse!” Well, he could, but it wouldn’t be very smart.

My point here is that we have to understand that even if there are people 10 times our size, it  doesn’t make us short or weak, nor does the existence of people 1/10th of our size make us big or strong. We are how we are, no matter how big or small we are compared to others. But we also must remember that size does play a role in our lives, and we have to consider that before dealing with others, especially if they’re gigantic or diminutive compared to us…

I would like to thank Sarah Hayek for letting me use her original idea and concepts in this chapter.



The next few months went great with Daniel. I’m well aware that the first year is the easiest one in a relationship, but hey, I can still enjoy it, can’t I? But don’t worry; I’m not going to bore you with uneventful days. Let’s just say we’ve been staying out of trouble. Unfortunately, as you all know, boyfriend problems aren’t the only kind of trouble a girl can get into.

It was about 8:00 pm when the doorbell rang. I opened the door to see one of the persons I least expected to be there: my dad. But even more surprising was the girl with him. She had short blonde hair and blue eyes, and a cute facial expression. Almost child-like. But the most shocking characteristic of this girl was her height. To me, she was a just under 2.5 meters tall (about 8 feet).


“D…dad?”, I asked, surprised.

“Lena!”, he said, walking inside and hugging me. “Nice to see you! It’s been a long while.”

“Ummm…yeah…”, I said. I had a lot of things to ask, but I wanted to do that in private, so I played cool. “So, who’s your…friend?”

“Oh, hehe, she’s not my friend.”, he said, kind of proudly. “Her name is Svetlana. She’s my girlfriend.”

“Your…girlfriend?”, I said, trying not to sound too surprised. “But come in. Let’s talk inside.”


I walked back into the house, followed by my father. However, as Svetlana tried to do the same, she smacked her forehead against the doorframe, causing her to stumble a couple of steps back while rubbing her head with her hand.


“Ouch…”, she said. “I’m such a klutz.”

“Oh, my God!”, I said, walking outside. “Are you OK?”

“Yeah, I’m fine”, she answered. “Don’t worry”.

“Hehe, isn’t she adorable?”, my dad asked.


Svetlana hunched a little and walked through the doorframe. Fortunately, the ceiling inside was high enough so she could stand to full height. I then noticed that her blouse and her skirt were both stained with a red liquid, but I didn’t want to ask yet. I just met the girl, after all.


“Svetlana, this is my daughter, Lena.”, my dad said.

“Lena! It’s so nice to finally meet you!”, she said, giving me a tight hug.


Considering our height difference, my head was squeezed right between her breasts. As embarrassing as that was, I didn’t want to seem rude, so I didn’t say anything. Fortunately, though, the hug didn’t last long.


“I’m Svetlana, by the way”, she said, shaking my hand. “Oh! He already told you my name, hehe. Sorry, I forgot.”

“It’s OK. Nice to meet you, Svetlana.”

“Oh, and don’t feel intimidated by my height.”, she said, trying to sound reassuring. “Even in Russia I tower over most people. You see, I’m 1.88 m tall (6’1’’)”

“No kidding”, I said. “So you’re Russian.”

“Yes, I am. From Moscow, to be specific. And by the way, you’re free to call me 'mom' or 'mommy'. Plus, a mother is supposed to be taller than her daughter, so it even makes sense.”, she said, smiling.

“S…sure.”, I said, now a little uncomfortable. “So…what happened to your clothes?”, I asked, trying to change the subject.

“Oh, this…”, she said, blushing. “A little accident with the wine.”

“I see. Well, do you want to change? You can use my bedroom.”

“Well, unfortunately, they lost Svetlana’s luggage in the airport.”, my dad said.

“I see”, I said. “If you want, I can wash those for you. You know, while you take a shower or something.”

“That’d be great!”, she said, immediately taking off her clothes. She even took her undies off! “Where’s your shower?”

“Ummm…it’s…across the hall, the left door.”, I answered, trying not to look at her body.

“Thank you”, she said, giving me her clothes and walking to the hall.


As soon as she disappeared from sight, I grabbed my dad’s hand and pulled him to the couch, sitting him down. I then sat next to him.


“OK, what the Hell is going on?”, I asked him, crossing my arms.

“What?”, he said, obviously playing dumb. “Don’t you like Svetlana?”

“You know what I mean. How old is she?”

“Hey, hey, calm down, Lena. I’m not doing anything illegal here. She just turned 18.”

“18! Oh, my God. She’s 6 years younger than me, and I’m your daughter. What does that say to you?”

“I know she’s younger, but so what?”

“But this is a lot younger. You’re exactly 3 times her age.”

“Oh, so are you one of those? I didn’t think you’d care about age.”

“It’s not that, dad. It’s just…she seems really inexperienced, naïve and gullible. Is this serious? How long have you two been together?”

“A few days.”, he said, sounding a little embarrassed.

“Oh, boy… Listen, dad. This girl has the mental maturity of a 10 year old. I just want to make sure that you know what you’re doing. Don’t you dare hurt this girl like you hurt mom.”

“That was cheap, Lena.”

“I know, I’m sorry. I just want you to think about it. If she agreed to travel with you and come meet your daughter after just a few days of knowing you, it means she’s really into you. And probably very vulnerable. Just be careful, OK dad?”

“It’s OK, Lena.”, he said, standing up. “I’ll think about it. Thanks again for letting us stay here with you.”

“You’re welcome, dad.”


Just then, Sarah appeared from the hall.


“Ummm…why is there a wet, naked amazon in my room?”

“Long story”, I said, as dad and I chuckled.




We decided that dad would sleep on the couch, me and Sarah would sleep in her room, and Svetlana would stay in mine.


“Are you sure you want to sleep naked?”, I asked her. “I can at least give you some extra blankets, so you don’t freeze during the night.”

“Thanks, but you don’t have to worry. I’m from Russia. This is actually warm to me.”

“Hehe, I see. Well, if you need anything, I’ll be just across the hall, OK?”

“OK, thanks.”, she said, getting into bed. Her feet, ankles, and even part of her calves were sticking out from under the blanket. “Good night, little Lena”

“Good night…mommy…”, I said, biting my tongue. I felt super awkward saying that, but I wanted to make her feel welcome and happy. Ironically, I started seeing her as my daughter. As if had to make sure she was OK and stayed out of trouble.


I turned out the lights and walked out of my room, closing the door behind me.


“Could you leave the door open?”, she said from the bed.

“Awww…afraid of the dark?”

“A little…”, she said. “We watched a horror film in the plane.”

“OK, sure. I’ll leave the hall light on, OK?”

“Thanks.”, she said, smiling.


So I left the door open and the hall light on.




Next morning, I was woken up by a knock on the door. I opened it, still rubbing my eyes. It was my dad.


“What is it, dad?”

“Sorry to wake you up, Lena. I need to ask you a favor.”

“Ummm…sure, what is it?”

“Well, Svetlana wants to take a tour around the city, and I don’t even know where to go. So, I was wondering…could you show her around?”

“I…I guess. Are you coming with?”

“Oh, I better not. I’m not as interested in a tiny city. Plus, it’s 8:00 am. I’m not as young as you two. I need to sleep more.”

“It’s 8:00 am! But it’s Saturday…”

“Please…don’t do it for me, do it for her.”

“OK, OK, fine. I’ll go.”

“Thanks. Oh, one more thing. Can I sleep in your room once you leave?”

“Sure, dad. Suit yourself.”

“Thanks again, Lena.”

“Anytime, dad.”


So I walked into my room, as all my clothes where in there.


“Svetlana? Are you up yet…?”


But when I walked in, I noticed she was not only up, but dressed to. And since she had no clothes of hers, guess whose clothes she was wearing. My red blouse looked almost like a sleeveless, crop top on her. My pants, which usually are a bit loose, looked like close fit knee-high jeans. But the worst part was the footwear. Since her feet were obviously too big to fit into most of my shoes, she was wearing my bunny slippers! Makes sense, I guess, being the shoes with more room for feet inside them. But even so, her feet were too big to completely slip them in. Her whole heel and the back half of her foot stuck out of the slipper. And even the front part of her foot was pressing inside out, deforming the facial expressions of the “bunnies”. The poor things seemed to be suffering, as if trying to avoid bursting because of the oversized-feet pressure.


“Hi, Lena!”, she said, cheerfully. “I hope you don’t mind me borrowing some of your stuff. Your father told me it was OK.”

“Of course he did…”, I said, sighing. “Yes, it’s OK, no worries. You can take them. So, ready to go?”

“Super ready!”, she said, walking out of the bedroom. “Mexico City, here I come!”


I put on a colorful, loose summer top, a pair of shorts and flip-flops. I didn’t mind seeming too casual, and I knew I’d be walking a lot, so I tried to feel comfortable. I tied my hair back in a ponytail and followed Svetlana.

Our first stop was the archeological area of Teotihuacán. It was near the outskirts of the city, but it didn’t take long to get there by bus. That is, when the bus is our scale. Once there, we noticed that the place was a bit crowded with tourists, although most of them were either Mexicans or around the same size. We made our way to the tallest pyramid, although it was about as tall as Svetlana.


“Is this it?”, Svetlana asked, sounding a little disappointed. “Is this the Sun Pyramid?”

“Well, yeah.”, I answered, standing on my tips, trying to get a closer look to the pyramid’s top. “But don’t judge it by its size. It took a massive effort to the Aztecs to build it.”


Svetlana looked at the tiny people in front of her blue eyes, smiling. She probably was somewhat bored, and not interested in what I was saying, but I didn’t notice right away, so I just kept talking. She waved down at the tourists, and they cheerfully waved back. Most Mexicans tend to be very friendly towards what they call “güeritas”, which translates more or less as “blondies”, so it makes sense that the enormous Russian was the center of attention.

However, none of them knew what was about to happen, or they wouldn’t have stayed there for long. Without even warning, Svetlana placed both hands on the pyramid’s flat top. Fortunately, no one got caught under her palms, but it didn’t end there. Using her arms’ strength, she pushed herself up, trying to join the rest of the tourists. Most backed away, scared, but some just stared up in awe at her bulging biceps as they pushed her huge body higher and higher.

Using the sloped sides of the pyramid as steps, she added her legs’ might to the motion. In a few more seconds, she was already there. Her bunny slipper-clad feet took most of the space, causing the rest of the tourists to back away from them, and even start climbing down the pyramid. Needless to say that, when I noticed, I started to freak out.


“Svetlana!”, I shouted. “What are you doing up there?! Get down right now!”

“Don’t worry, Lena. I’m not going to fall down.”, she said, as if trying to reassure me.

“I mean it. That pyramid is thousands of years old. You can’t step on it!”

“It’s OK. I saw other tourists step on it, too. It’s not forbidden.”

“It’s not forbidden for tourists their size. You’re too big! Please, just get back here.”

“But Lena…”


Before we could continue arguing, the local security showed up, gathering by my feet. As soon as I saw them I knew we’d be in trouble. I crouched to be able to hear them better.


“Miss, we’re gonna have to ask you to tell your friend to get down and leave the area.”, one of them said in a commanding voice.

“Of course, officer.”, I said, not wanting any problems. “Svetlana! Get down here! The police are here!”


They weren’t really the police, but I knew that’d make her obey. Without losing another second, she jumped down onto the ground, her feet causing a tremor as they landed, strong enough to knock all the officers and every tourist nearby off their feet. She also left a pair of 30’x10’ footprints on the spot.


“OK, let’s go, girl!”, I said, grabbing her hand and dragging her away from there. When we were far enough, we stopped.

“What’s wrong, Lena?”, she asked, confused.

“They got kind of angry”, I said. “You can’t behave as you did in Russia. People here are much smaller. You have to be very careful, or you could break something, or even hurt someone.”

“Oh…right”, she said, obviously sad. “I’m sorry, Lena. I’m not used to being in tiny cities.”

“Hey, don’t worry. I’ll make sure to keep you out of trouble. Just ask me before doing something. Deal?”

“Deal”, she said, smiling, as we made our way back to the city.

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