"Call Me Stef" by Simone Kirkevold

I looked in my closet at the jeans and t-shirts. Nothing seemed right. Nothing seemed to fit. I left my room and entered my mom’s closet. I looked at her skirts and dresses and held them up to my body in the mirror. I felt real when looked I at myself holding up the pink skirt. I found one of my mom’s yellow dresses and put in on. I went downstairs with my palms sweating and heart racing. I entered the kitchen and my mom dropped her mug on the floor. I saw the coffee splash and the white mug shatter into pieces. Her mouth was left hanging. I looked at her eyes to see disappointment. I ran from the room with my eyes glassy. She didn’t need to say anything. I saw her disappointment.

I went to school as my same, fake self.

“Hey Desmond. How’d it go?” My friend Madeline asked me in her joyous voice. She and Joel were the only one’s who knew about my gender confusion.

“Not good.” I answered in my annoying voice.

“It’ll get better. That was only step one. Tonight you can come over to my house and I’ll teach you how to do simple makeup”

“Okay.” I said as the bell rang, signaling for period one.

The second I got home; I hide my face and smudged my makeup. I ran upstairs and didn’t even bother to grab a snack. I locked myself in there until it was time to go to bed.

The next morning, I didn’t even bother to get up. I waited in bed until I heard my mom’s red car door slam shut. I heard her and Dad arguing this morning. Probably about me. I got up and threw on the closest thing of clothing and snatched my wallet up from my nightstand. I took my bike and biked my way to the mall. I don’t care if my mom and dad weren’t ok with me. I was.

When I got to the mall and only went shopping at female clothing shops, I could feel the eyes staring at me. I could feel them burning into my skin. I bought as many dresses and skirts as I could with my money. At the end of the day, I had so many new clothes; I couldn’t count them all.

I entered my home with bags hanging off of my arms. My mom rushed towards the door and started screaming at me. I could see my dad in the kitchen sitting drinking his glass of beer. I could tell him and mom had been fighting. Mom’s eyes were stained with tears and I’m sure my dad was drunk. I ignored my mom’s yelling and walked up to my room.  When I went down for dinner, it was a deafening silence. My mom looked at me in the face and noticed something off. Something not right. We made eye contact. I wanted to look away but I couldn’t. 

“Why? Why are you wearing makeup? Your are a boy and boy’s shouldn’t wear makeup.” She said weakly. My father looked up from his plate and looked me in the eye. He scanned my face. He saw my eye shadow and long eyelashes. He walked away, not saying a word. 

When I woke up the next morning, I already knew what I was going to wear. I swept out of bed and went straight to my mirror to start my makeup. I chose a bright pink dress with lace all throughout it. I felt true and honest. I put on black tights and a pair of black high heels with a bow at the end of them. My brown, curly hair seemed just right with this outfit, even though it was short. 

I walked down the stairs to see my mom looming over the stove. I smelt food. I wasn’t sure what she was cooking. I stopped at the end of the stairs and took a deep breath. As I stepped onto the hardwood floor and my mother heard my heel hit the ground. She jerked her head towards the stairs and faked a smile.

“You look beautiful today.” She said, faking a bright pink smile. I could see her eyes turn to glass.

“Where’s dad?” I asked.

“He… left.” She said with a long sigh. She started to tear up. I gave her a hug. As I started to leave, I said goodbye.

“Desmond!” My mother yelled. I turned my head down the hall to where she stood.

“What should I call you now?” She asked. There was a long pause. I hadn’t considered this at all. I thought for a moment, and then it hit me.

“Call me Stephanie. Stef works too.” I said flashing her a smile. She smiled back at me.

“I like that name, Stef. It fits you.” I walked out the door and into the darkness of the real world. The sun hit my face and lit up my dress. I looked down at my outfit and it seemed brighter, more vibrant. 

I walked into the doors of Marina High School. I felt confident. I also felt a giant knot in my stomach. I saw eyes turn to me and people whisper. My father always said people starred because they were jealous. I saw Madeline walking down the hall and I grabbed her arm before she could go any further. She looked at me and grinned.

“You… Need to tell me where you got that dress. I’m absolutely in love with it.” She squealed loudly.

“Do I look good.” I asked with my words shaking.

“You look fabulous. I’m so proud of you for doing this.” She wrapped her arms around me and squeezed. I took a deep breathe in and out.

“Don’t be nervous,” She whispered in my ear. “What’s your name?” she asked, pulling away from me. I took a deep breathe.

“Call me Stef.”

“Stef… I like it.” She grinned wildly.

 

© Simone Kirkevold, Westview Middle School

 

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