I Am Rosemary's Granddaughter Chapter 11: Close to You

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Our senior year was difficult for the both of us. From day one, Highland Academy was against us from spending any time together and my parents made it a rule that we were to study in the kitchen, den or living room. Oh, and yes, mom was able to force the pill on me; not by threatening to tell my dad but by clearly stating it would be disastrous to everyone involved—especially if I wanted to make something of myself in the theatre and if I wanted Micheal to succeed.

Yes, she played the guilt trip card to make me take something to avoid something else that hat I was no longer able to even try to risk—and yes, that sucked. Fortunately, my parents did not discuss these issues with Mike’s uncle who didn't care at all, any way or how. There were times when I was angry at my parents for chaining me down—and it was all a lie form my mom as she told my dad that she caught me smoking in my room—anything to avoid telling him that ‘his son’ was sexually active.
My parents were unaware that the drugs they had me on would be fatal if I huffed and puffed on any type of cigarette. Thankfully, the conversation never came up to any of the doctors and my father wasn’t exactly disappointed that I was smoking; nor did he blame it on Micheal.

“Everyone tries it, Elizabeth,” he said one night at dinner.
Micheal sat across from me and avoided confirming or denying my father’s observation.
We also swore that we would never mention our attempts at actually trying chewing tobacco.
“I still don’t think it’s right. Very unhealthy. It makes you think you can move onto other adult things that cause distress to your heart and lungs.” Mom looked at me and then turned back to dad.
“Of course, dear, it’s a terrible habit. Very unbecoming and leaves your clothes a mess. The proper gentlemen won’y smoke or chew, not even gum. You handle yourself in a calm manner. Groomed well, and reserved to hear what the next man has to say.” Dad looked at Michael. “Do you agree, Mr. Nelson?”
“Yes, sir,” Micheal replied.
“Kristopher?”
“Yes, sir,” I replied. My hair was cut and looking ‘boyish’ at that time. I had not drank the kook-aid or been brain-washed it was just that if I kept up the appearance and played my part as expected then I could look forward to the days when I left the house, either by going to college, catching a plane to California or eloping with Michael to some undisclosed place. My mind was always on the third option.

“I’m thinking of going to Mississippi State” Mike said one day while we sat in the living room. “My parents went there…grandparents too.”
He had a large envelope in his hand from the college filled with cards, pamphlets and a book that screamed out “come to our school now!”
“Your uncle?”
“No, he never cared about college. Said he didn't need it: ‘show me a teacher who can load a shotgun and land a ten point buck and I’ll think about it.’ Dad fight ‘em back so…”
I nodded as Micheal leafed through the book.
“I don’t know if I’ll go to school.” I said as I looked at the floor.
“Why not?”
“Well, if I do then the fun gets to start all over again. The social awkwardness…Which restroom will I get to use? What dorm do I stay in?”
“We should get a dorm room together, wherever we go.”
“Do I really want to be in a guys dorm?“
“A room for two?”
“I love how you think.” I said with a slight smile.

We agreed that we old both attend the first school that accepted one of us. The issue of me going to school was paying for it: I never submitted scholarship applications nor did I ever do extra work to embellish my academic resume. It didn’t really matter to me if I went because I knew I wouldn’t be able to go for the major I wanted.

In the spring of my senior year, a big envelope came back stating that The University of Tennessee has accepted me. I submitted requested applications to various schools across the country: UCLA, Gonzaga, MSU and the University of Tennessee. I hoped for UCLA.
"Theatre? You will major in business and you can’t do that at a school in California."
"I don't want to work in a cubicle."
I hated working at desks and classrooms so going to go it for four more years just to sit in an office or a boardroom all day made me want to take a running leap out a window. Also, Micheal would never wear a three-piece suit to any meetings.
"Business is not about where you work, it's what you do to support your family."
"Like I can have one in Tennessee," I muttered.
"What about that girl you went to school with? You should get in touch with her."
"Karen Anne?"
"Yes."
I shook my head.
"Even better. You'll be able to keep your mind on your studies without any distractions."
Oh, there would be a distraction.

***

I woke up with Micheal’s arm draped over my head.
Not exactly the most fragrant wake up call but still felt safe.
I moved his arm out of the way and got out of bed to take a shower.
I already had my wardrobe set it for the day, knowing full well that while Monday could be seen to others as a fluke, a nice joke, or an interesting nod to Tim Curry; a second day would cause a few eyebrows to go up, the ice caps to melt and the seas to boil. Good.
It would cause more whispering amongst the crowds. Bring it on
Mrs Peterson would have a conniption fit. Let's get ready to rumble!

“Micheal, wake up.”
“Prefer to sleep” he moaned.
“There are some things I'd prefer to do this morning too.”
“I'm open to that,” he replied with his eyes closed.
“Come on, time to wake up. You have an algebra test today.”
“Tell me when I will ever use algebra in real life?”
“When you have to get down and dirty with the numbers in Windows or something.”
“Is that Youth-anism?”
“No, its not a euphemism, but again, I do like how you think when you’re half asleep.” I leaned over and kissed him on the lips. “Feel free to grab a hold me, we can skip breakfast if you like.”
“Agreed” he replied with a pull on my arm.

We did miss breakfast, so it was a pop-tart moment as we walked out of our room and walked down the stairs. As promised, I wore the camisole and skirt, but with a blouse over it—at least until Mrs. Peterson’s class.
“I forgot to tell you that I talked with Amanda Marks yesterday.”
“Who?”
“She’s in my math class.”
We walked into the stairwell.
“Okay, so what did you talk about?”
“Well, she said I was being brave for dressing like this and I just said I was being truthful to myself. But then, she’s in the auditorium watching us perform. Oh and I got to be on stage, Micheal. Heather wasn’t there and—“
“Heather as in ‘yo baby’ Heather?”
“Yeah, so I was playing her part and—“
“Is this a permanent thing? Are you going to be in the show?”
“I don’t know, I mean—“
“Your parents are coming to see the play.”
“Oh crap, you're right, I-“ I stopped and turned to face Mike; my face filled with dread. He picked up on it.
“It’s a good way to come out to them. It’s a big deal, you might as well be on-stage to show it.”
“You’re right and why should I be afraid of what they say? I mean I told Amanda to not be afraid of her boyfriend.”
“Why would she be afraid?”
“He beats her up, a least that’s what she told me”
“Sounds like a coward.” Micheal snorted. “A little sniveling coward.”
“I know, right? So I told her to picture him across the room and yell at him. To tell him Jacob Aldersen.”
“Wait a second. She said Jacob Aldersen?” We stopped shy of the door leading to the first floor.
“Maybe Anderson. I’m not sure, why?”
“Jacob Aldersen is a running back on the football team.”
“Okay.” I was waiting to hear if his uncle was a local mafia boss or something.
“He stands about six foot six.”
“Probably has a puny brain.”
“Weighs about 280-mostly muscle.”
“Hmm, small penis too, most likely.”
“What did you tell her to do?”
“To tell him to get our of her life. I didn't tell her to bash his semi-small manhood-“
“-Kristi-”
“-No, I mean said jut that. No sarcasm, just helpful advice like how she should get away from people who hurt her. I could see the hurt there Micheal. I didn't see any physical scars but she had a lot of mental anguish.”
“Okay,” Micheal replied with a sigh, “I’m thinking you may want t change your major to psychology or something.”
“That has been on my mind,” I replied as I opened the door into the main hall.

We turned the corner into the main area to see, like clockwork, Richard’s face looking at us for a brief moment.
“I’ve received another complaint about the two of you.”
“What about?” Michael asked.
“Some loud activity from your room?”
“Yet, no one ever hears the heavy music coming from the end of the hall.” I said without looking at Rick.
“I’m aware of the music and it’s being dealt with. But now, we need to deal with this situation.” Dick pointed directly at me, but he still didn't have my attention. “Here is the summons to a dorm disciplinary meeting. It is scheduled for today at three PM.”

The Prick…I mean, Richard held out two envelopes. I took both of them.
“I love the short notice, Richard,” I said with dripping sarcasm, “but we all know that there cannot be a disciplinary hearing until we know what we’ve been accused of and then there is the meeting of the floor guard monitors who would then speak to you. So, unless the rules have changed since we paid our tuition or they revised the handbook after the fact, you know where you can stick these.”
I slammed the envelopes on the counter, took Micheal's hand and we walked out.
“I’ll see the two of you later then. Three o’clock.”
I really wanted to give him the finger.

My first class was uneventful with Mr. Andrews nodding in my general direction instead of calling out my name. It was okay, I didn't care too much. I also didn't mind the whispering around me-I didn't ask if it was about me and no one pointed at me in particular so I thought it was a win-win situation for my mental health.

My math class was much like the day before with some people eying me but not the instructor. I looked to see if Amanda would show up but she never did and that worried me. I wanted to believe that she broke ties with Jacob but that would mean that she would be in class the next day, not absent. Perhaps she was sick or upset from having to break up with him knowing full well that he wouldn't change--as sad as it is to think about.

I had to come to the same conclusion about my dad. He would never accept me for who I really was and I had the genetic markers to prove it if I could afford to have them gone over and corrected on every single document. If they could overrule every doctor that wrote "boy" or "gender male" on everything then everything would fine; well, after I had a certain something removed because, well, I didn't want it there. Hopefully, Andrea was able to get rid of hers too and she was just absent and something had not happened to her.

I jogged across campus to one of the girls' dorm and walked up to the, I hope, was not the exact equivalent to Richard, manager.
"Excuse me?"
"Hello."
"Is Amanda Marks in this dorm? If you can't tell me because of security, I understand."
"She's here, I think. Let me buzz her room."
She was not like Richard. For one, she didn't stare at me or answer my questions with more questions.
"Amanda, you have a visitor." She turned to me "Name?"
"Kristi."
"Kristi," said into the phone. "I'll send her up. Thank you." She hung the phone up and then looked at me.
"May I see you ID, please?"
"Sure."
I handed my ID over and she looked at it for a moment, blinked, and then looked at me. "It says your name is Kristopher."
"We're working on getting that changed. One day at a time, you know?"
"Yeah, okay," she replied as she handed my ID back to me. She was becoming more like Richard as the seconds went by. "I can't let you go in."
"Why is that?"
"Frankly, I think it would be a risk. Now, please leave."
I bit my lip, shook my head and walked out of the dormitory.

I really wanted to tell her off but how would that have helped me. I looked at my ID and wondered if I could damage the area around "sex" just to the point that it would be hard to tell what it was and then they would just accept me for how I looked. I found it irritating that while in high school I wasn't considered "boy enough" and in college I wasn't considered girl enough--I mean would actually have to succumb to wearing a two-piece thong bikini to prove what I had?

I sat on the bench in the quad area and, once again pondered my existence. The two-fold way of it. I existed, me, Kristi, in body, mind and spirit but Kris was the one that everyone knew. I didn't matter about my hair or make-up--most people saw the boy and my ID and registration paperwork didn't help. Mrs. Peterson, 'Richardette' and Dick at the dorms--even my parents for the love of God!

I was already fighting a losing battle but I had a few people in my corner. It would be a losing battle, at least at the college, but I was not going to let people give me the proverbial gun and tell me to shoot myself. I stood up from the bench and took off my outer shirt to reveal the camisole. It was time to go to Mrs Peterson's class.



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