13 – Preperation
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13
Preparation

“Jacob,” my mom said, gently opening the door to my room. “Is it okay if I come in?”

“Oh, yeah, sure,” I said, nodding.

“Good, let’s talk,” she said, walking inside. She gently closed the door behind her, leaning against it. “I’m glad you’ve been making friends, but you’ve been spending an awful lot of time with them lately.”

“I guess I have,” I said, tilting my head. It had been nice having friends to hang out with, I didn’t realize how good it was to spend time with others until now.

“I just wanted to make sure you’re hanging around with the right people,” she said. “Do you mind telling me a little more about them?”

“I’ve mostly been hanging out with a small group of people from the club,” I said. “I think I already introduced you to most of them before.”

“Do it again,” she said. “Remind me who all your club friends are.”

“Okay, so you have six people including me,” I said. “Alex, Ryan, Jasmine, Zoe, and Thomas.”

“That’s quite the group of friends,” she said. “Go on.”

“Alex is non-binary, I think,” I said. “They’re a little unsure about their gender, but for now they seem to be happy as they are.”

“That’s fine,” she said. “I remember you talking about them, it’s a little confusing but fine.”

“That’s great,” I said, smiling. I was glad she was at least accepting of people who didn’t conform to gender norms. “Ryan is, well Ryan is really great.”

“Yes?” she asked, looking at me interestedly. “I’ve met him a few times when he came over..”

“I don’t know,” I said, looking away. “He’s really sweet and kind, he cares about me tons, he’s just a really nice person. He makes me happy.”

“Do you like Ryan?” she asked, gently probing at me.

“I might,” I said, embarrassed. I guess even that short description of Ryan had me gushing enough that she noticed.

“Oh dear,” she said, rubbing the bridge of her nose. “Do you think you’re bisexual, gay, or something else I don’t know about?”

“I only like guys,” I said, trying to avoid the tag of being gay. I wasn't, after all - I was straight.

“Okay,” Mom said, her face showing that she was focusing hard. “Can’t say I wasn’t prepared for this a little, but it’s a whole different thing to actually hear it.”

“What do you mean you were prepared for this?” I asked, tilting my head.

“I mean, you showed some signs of being a little different,” she said. “Like, as a kid, you always talked about the guys in your class, and how awesome they were, but you never even once mentioned a girl. There were signs, they were small but I’m your mother, it’s my job to know this kind of thing.”

“Oh,” I said. That coming out was a lot easier than I had expected, and I didn’t know what to say.

“Now go on, I want to hear about the rest of this bunch,” she said, smiling gently.

“Jasmine and Zoe are a couple, I mentioned them before. They’re both nice, Jasmine’s really energetic and Zoe loves animals. Thomas is into guys. I don’t know him that well, but he seems super nice from what I’ve seen.”

“Sounds more like you’re in the GSA than the literary club,” she said, laughing. “How did you manage to find such a gay bunch?”

“About that,” I said, freezing up. I guess I shouldn’t have mentioned Thomas’ sexuality, it made it too obvious that all of them were part of the LGBT community.

“Oh,” she said, a look of realization coming across her face. “You are in the GSA, aren’t you?”

“Yes,” I said, looking down. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you, I wasn’t ready to come out yet.”

“That’s okay,” she said, sighing. “I understand you need to have your secrets too, and it must’ve been hard to come out to me today.”

“A little, but I’m thankful you’re accepting,” I said.

“Come here,” she said, opening her arms wide. I followed, getting up to hug her and letting my chin rest on her shoulder. “Don’t worry, no matter what, you’ll always be my son.”

“Yeah,” I said sadly, a pang hitting my heart. A few tears began to come out of my eyes, overwhelmed by the emotions I was feeling.

“Oh dear, it’s okay,” Mom said, coming close to me and hugging me. “It’s okay, shh, you don’t have to cry.”

I cried into her shoulders, a mix of relief and sadness keeping the tears flowing. I let it all out, holding on tight to Mom. I didn’t want to be her son forever, I wanted her to accept me as her daughter. But I knew that coming out as transgender was something that was going to take a little more time.

***

“Daniel, are you busy?” I asked, slightly creaking open his bedroom door.

“No, I’m free,” he said, turning his chair to face me and nodding. “What is it?”

“I don’t know, it’s just been a while since we talked,” I said, walking inside.

“Oh, yeah,” he said, frowning. “So, how’s things with Ryan going?”

“Is that really your first question?” I asked, blushing. “But they’re going well, I think. I’m pretty sure he likes me.”

“You’re pretty sure?” he asked, rolling his eyes. “He always asks about you, like constantly.”

“He does?” I asked, feeling warmer inside that he thought about me.

“Yes,” Daniel said, nodding. “I’m sure he likes you.”

“That’s good,” I said, as a smile involuntarily grew on my face. “I’m glad.”

“Yeah, I guess it’s just a matter of time now, huh,” he said, also smiling. “I’m sure something will happen sooner than later, don’t worry.”

“I hope so,” I said. “I thought something was going to happen yesterday, but it didn’t. It left me kind of frustrated.”

“Do tell,” he said, motioning for me to continue.

“We were at a bus stop and both of our faces were super close to each other, but nothing happened,” I said, frowning. “The bus came all of a sudden and ruined things.”

“Look, give it some more time,” he said. “You two have only really known each other for like, what, three weeks now?”

“But still,” I said, making a frustrated noise. “I guess I just want things to move along faster, I’m impatient.”

“Yeah, I can tell,” he said, laughing. “But don’t worry, I’m sure something will happen soon.”

“Thanks,” I said, looking down.

“So, how’s everything else going along?” he asked. “Made any progress on telling Mom and Dad?”

“Well, I made some progress with Mom today,” I said. “I told her I like guys and that I’m in the GSA, and she seems to have accepted it pretty well.”

“Oh, that’s good,” he said, nodding. “She’s going to be a lot easier to come out to than Dad.”

“Yeah, I’ve been thinking of different ways to come out to Dad for a while now, but I get too scared to actually do it,” I said.

“That’s okay,” he said. “I don’t want to imagine that either, Dad might just go ballistic.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence,” I said, sighing. “But yeah, he just might. Ugh, this is all so difficult.” I flopped down on Daniel’s bed, tired of everything.

“Look, it is difficult but at least some things are going well, right,” he said, lying down next to me. “You look like a girl even without any hormones, and you’ve got Ryan.”

“Yeah, I guess,” I said. “Things aren’t so bad.”

“Kids, am I interrupting something between you two?” Mom said, popping her head in.

“No,” Daniel said. “What is it?”

“I’m a little tired to cook today,” Mom said, rubbing her eyes. “Is some pizza okay?”

“Yeah, of course,” Daniel said, sitting up. “That sounds really good.”

“That does sound nice, yeah,” I responded, getting up as well.

“Great, pizza it is,” Mom said. She picked up her phone and started tapping away at it. “It’ll be here in like thirty to forty minutes, I’ll call you down then.”

***

“Nothing like a beer with some pizza,” Dad said, gulping down another can.

“Shouldn’t you stop there, dear,” Mom said, looking at the many discarded beer cans. Dad had a high alcohol tolerance, but he must be getting pretty drunk at this point.

”One more,” he said, raising up a finger. “Then I’ll be done.”

“Okay,” Mom said, looking concerned. “But no more after that.”

“Yeah, yeah,” his gruff voice sounded from under his beard. “I’ll be done after this one.”

We always got the all-meat pizza, Dad’s favorite. I didn’t mind it at all, it was good, but I did wish for some combination or other toppings occasionally. Nonetheless, I nibbled away at my slice of pizza, hoping for no comments from Dad tonight.

“Jacob, have you thought of what I said last week?” he asked, chugging another beer. “Both my sons being on the football team would be great.”

Damn it, it seems like my hopes wouldn’t be realized tonight. “I told you that’s not something I want to do, Dad,” I said, sighing.

“Look, I’m just tired of this,” he said, his words slurred. “A man needs to be a man.”

“Dad, come on,” Daniel interjected. “Let’s leave Jacob alone.”

“No,” he said, almost shouting. I jumped in my seat, I wasn’t used to him being like this, ever since he had cut down on his drinking. “I just want what’s best for my son.”

I gritted my teeth, I really couldn’t handle more of this happening every week. I was going to come out to my Dad soon. I promised myself that.

***

“Julie, are you okay?” Daniel asked, coming into my room. I was lying down on my bed, exhausted after Dad’s speech. He got too drunk and complained about me for ages, before praising Daniel and going straight to bed. No one stood up for me afterward since we all knew Dad wouldn’t stop when he was drunk. I wished Mom or Daniel stood up for me more, but I couldn’t blame them.

“No,” I said. “I’m tired of this, I want it to stop.”

“Yeah, I was able to stop him last time after the football game,” Daniel said, sighing. “But tonight he really went too far, I’m sorry..”

“That’s fine, you did your best,” I said, rubbing my temple. “But I am going to come out to him soon, I have to.”

“Do you want me to be there with you when you come out?” Daniel asked. “It might help calm him down if I’m there.”

“Yeah, I would appreciate that,” I said.

“When are you planning to come out?” he asked, sitting down in my chair.

“Sooner than later, I don’t want to masculinize further,” I said, shaking my head. “I’ve been thinking of ways to do it, and I think I’ll come out this weekend. I can’t hear any more of Dad’s talk, it makes me dysphoric and sad.”

“Just let me know when,” he said. “I’ll be there for you.”

“Thank you,” I said, turning my head to him. “You have no idea how much that means to me.”

***

“Okay everybody, are we all prepared?” Alex asked.

It was Thursday now, and it was finally time to present our group presentation on the Stonewall Riots. I did my best on the project and PowerPoint, fancying it up as much as possible, but I was still concerned about how the project would go.

“Yeah, I’m ready,” I said, pulling up the PowerPoint on Stonewall that we had prepared.

“Okay, great,” Alex said, nodding. “I volunteered for us to go first, so I hope you all are prepared.”

“Why are we first?” Jasmine asked, groaning.

“Look, going first means there are no expectations placed on us since nobody else has gone yet,” Alex said.

“Fine, I guess that makes sense,” Jasmine said, relenting.

“Okay,” Mr. Lee said, clapping his hands together. “Today, as you all know, is presentation day. Our first group consists of Alex, Zoe, Jasmine, and Jacob. Come on up.”

I walked to the front of the room, opening the presentation on my laptop, and connecting it to the monitor in the front of the room.

“Hello everybody,” Alex said, gesturing at the monitor. “Our presentation today is on the Stonewall Riots, as it’s very important to us. Several of us are members of the LGBT community, so we wanted to show how LGBT rights developed in the United States.”

“In the 1950s and 1960s, gay marriage was illegal in the United States,” Jasmine said, as we crossed over to the next slide. “Many members of the LGBT community were subject to violence and discrimination. Many people took refuge in gay bars throughout the city, one of them being the Stonewall Inn.”

“The Stonewall Inn was owned by the mafia, and was oftentimes raided by police,” Zoe continued. “On June 28, 1969, policemen entered the Stonewall Inn and arrested many people for not wearing at least three articles of gender-appropriate clothing. Of course, this was targeted at transgender and gender nonconforming patrons.”

“As many patrons of the Stonewall Inn were fed up with the police harassment and discrimination, they hung around outside the bar,” I said, clicking over to the next slide. ”An officer hit a lesbian over the head as they forced her into a police van, something that started a riot. More than 400 people rioted, and the police eventually barricaded themselves inside the bar. Although this barricade was breached multiple times, and eventually the bar was set on fire.”

“Even though the rioters were eventually dispersed,” Alex said. “The Stonewall Riots still continued for the next few days. Stonewall became a symbol of resistance to the discrimination that gay and transgender people faced. Many gay rights organizations popped up after the uprising, and a year after the riots, thousands of people marched from Manhattan to Stonewall. This was America’s very first pride parade.”

We continued on about some of the effects that Stonewall had on LGBT rights as a whole, before finishing up the presentation. “Thank you all for listening to our presentation,” I said, as we wrapped it up and returned to our seats.

“Thank you, you four,” Mr. Lee said. “That was fantastic.”

“I think we did pretty well,” Zoe said as we sat down. “I can’t believe I didn’t forget anything.”

“Yeah, we did do well,” Alex said, smiling.

***

“What can I get for you three young ladies,” the old man working at the ice cream shop said, smiling. Jasmine had made the idea to go to an ice cream shop afterward to celebrate the project well done. Alex had to dip out due to being busy, but Jasmine, Zoe, and I were able to go. We went to a small local shop near the school, and it was mostly empty.

“I’ll get vanilla,” I said. I smiled a little, happy that I was recognized as a girl. I had let my hair down after we left the school. I always liked long hair, and I hoped to have it myself soon. I frowned, a little disappointed by the length of my hair. Whatever, I’m sure it would grow soon.

“Both of us will get chocolate,” Jasmine said.

The man scooped the ice cream for us, and we took a seat after we paid. Jasmine and Zoe sat on one end of the table together, leaving me alone on the other.

“Good job on the project, Julie,” Jasmine said, smiling. “You did a really good job on the slides, they looked great.

“Thanks,” I said, happy to get a compliment. “I appreciate it, I did do my best.”

“Of course,” Jasmine said. She hugged Zoe before continuing her sentence. “And Zoe, you did such a good job remembering everything and speaking out!”

“I’m really the third wheel here, huh?” I said, gently laughing. “Wish I had Alex here.”

“Oh, sorry about that,” Zoe said, as she finally got released from Zoe’s tight hug. “So, how’s things going? I didn’t expect everything that’s gone on with you to happen.”

“What do you mean?” I asked, tilting my head. “What’s happened to me?”

“Well, the trans thing and the Ryan thing,” she responded. “You were always so quiet in class, so it was really surprising when you joined the GSA and then came out. I’ve never seen Ryan interested in someone before either. So you must be really special to him.”

“Am I?” I asked, blushing. “I wasn’t sure he liked me back.”

“Come on,” Jasmine said, sounding exasperated. “It’s clear as day that the two of you are into each other.”

“Look at her blushing,” Zoe said. “She’s happy.”

“Aww she is,” Jasmine said. “That’s very cute.”

“You guys,” I said. “You can’t just tease me and not expect me to react.”

“We’re not teasing you,” Jasmine said, coyly smiling. “All we did was mention him and now you’re as red as a tomato.”

“First, tomatoes suck,” I said, raising a finger. “Second, let’s move on to another topic.”

“Fine,” Jasmine said, dragging out the e. “We’ll talk about something other than your deep love for Ryan.”

“Hey!” I said. “Don’t be saying stuff like that.”

Jasmine and Zoe laughed together as I smiled. Despite the constant teasing, being a part of this group made me very happy.

 

This chapter was one I struggled to write and don't see as a particularly good one, probably one of the worst I've written. Yet, I already had it looked over by three different people and edited it countless times, so I'm not sure what more I can do to improve it. I know it's not the best chapter and is fillery, but I hope you enjoy it anyways.

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