by Melanie Brown
Copyright © 2016 Melanie Brown
Something caught his eye...
“Mind if I join you?”
Great. I wanted to be alone. This was private business after all. But I said, “It’s a free country. Just don’t come any closer.”
“I was driving by and just happened to glance over and saw you sitting here,” said the guy who had climbed over the railing to sit next to me.
“I guess this wasn’t as good a spot as I thought,” I said with obvious disappointment in my voice.
“I have to admit to see such a pretty girl sitting here in this awful weather on the edge of the city bridge attracted my attention,” said the guy as he settled himself a few feet from me.
I laughed without humor. I said, “I think you just discovered the problem. I’m not a girl. I’m sure you want to leave now.”
He leaned around the concrete support that separated us. He lifted his glasses to look at me directly. He said, “You’re not a girl? Are you sure?”
I gave him a ‘are you for real?’ expression and said, “I think I would know.”
“I guess I’m confused,” he said.
I laughed. “You’re not the first one.” I looked at him more closely. I recognized him from school. Byron Thompson. He’s a tall, lanky kid on the basketball team. Definitely a nerd. I’m surprised he had enough nerve to bother checking out someone sitting on the framework of the city bridge. I said, “You’re Byron, right?”
He looked surprised and said, “That’s right! How do you know me?”
I said, “We go to the same school. I’m Alex Fields.” I figured there was no problem telling him my name as I was about to jump down into the icy water running under the bridge.
“Alex…Alex…oh! I know you. You’re in my biology class,” said Byron. “You’re gay, right?”
“I’m not gay,” I said.
Byron pulled his coat tighter around him and shivered. He said, “I heard you came on to Nelson, who is definitely not gay.”
“That’s a lie!” I exclaimed as tears welled up in my eyes. “That’s not what happened. I’m a transgirl.”
“Oh. Sorry,” said Nelson as he laughed sheepishly.
“Why are you in my closet?” I asked after returning with a couple cans of sodas. Nelson had come over to my house for some math tutoring as he’s been doing for a few weeks. I didn’t mind tutoring him. In fact, I had a bit of a crush on him.
Nelson shrugged and said, “You know how you get curious about what some people have in their closets. And I’m curious though. W…why… uh why do you have dresses and girls clothes in your closet? You have bras and panties in your dresser.”
Adrenaline flushed through me. Shocked at being discovered, I said, “Why are you getting into my things? You have no right!”
Nelson removed my favorite black dress from my closet and said, “Look. I kinda figured you for a sissy. But I didn’t know you wanted to be a girl.”
Stunned, I said, “Please don’t say anything to anyone at school!”
Nelson smiled and said, “And have my best tutor get beaten up? I won’t say anything.” He looked at the dress, then to me and said, “Now that I think of it, you’re pretty cute. Just like a girl. What do you look like when you’re dressed up?”
Feeling more at ease, I said, “Would you like to see?”
Nelson grinned and said, “Yes I would.”
“I’ll be right back!” I giggled as I ran quickly to the bathroom. I figured I wouldn’t have a lot of time to do it up right, so I quickly applied foundation, mascara, some eye shadow and lipstick. I looked in the mirror and smiled. Not too bad for such a quick job. I tousled my hair and went back into my room.
“Holy shit!” exclaimed Nelson when I entered the room. “You look just like a girl! Amazing!”
“Thanks,” I said.
He pulled out his phone and took a picture.
Shocked again, I quickly said, “Oh please! Don’t take a picture of me like this!”
Nelson looked apologetic and said, “Sorry. I just wanted a picture of you looking like this. There. I deleted it.”
I said, “Hey. I’m pretty tired. Maybe we should call this tutoring session early.”
Shrugging, Nelson said, “Fine by me, Al.” He picked up his books and started to leave my room. He paused a moment, turned around and said, “I know this sounds a bit crazy, but I wanted to see if you wanted to go to a movie this Friday. Kind of a way to say thanks for tutoring.”
Nervously, I said, “Oh, I don’t know. Too risky for me.”
Nelson said, “Oh come on. It could be fun. It’s not a real date. Wear this dress! Hey I won’t tell if you don’t.”
He was very nice. He met me at my door. Led me to his car and opened the door for me. It was all like a dream come true. I was out in public on a date with a cute guy. He parked his car and while he didn’t hold my hand, he walked right next to me up to the theater entrance at the mall.
I thought nothing of the large group of kids hanging around outside the mall. On a Friday night, there usually is.
As we stepped up to the entrance, Nelson grinned and said, “Hey guys!”
Several dozen kids from school turned around to greet him. There were his fellow football teammates, cheerleaders, and other popular kids from school. They all turned and looked at me. And laughed. Pointed at me and laughed.
One of the cheerleaders shouted, “You’re right! He looks just like a girl!”
“What a fag!”
“Hey fag! Suck my cock! You want it, right?”
It didn’t end there, but I just stood there frozen with fear and humiliation. How could he do this to me? I wanted to die right then and there. When I started to cry, they just laughed harder.
I looked over at Nelson and shouted, “How could you do this?” I was at a complete loss for words.
Nelson said, “You didn’t actually think I’d take you on a date! I’m not a twink like you!” He put his arm around one of the laughing cheerleaders and said, “This is what a real girl looks like!” He slapped her on the ass and she giggled.
Through gritted teeth, I said, “Take me home. Now.”
Nelson laughed and said, “You’re never riding in my car again you little fudgepacker! Get lost! You might want to change schools!”
I just stood there shaking. I thought I might pass out, which would be really bad. I just looked from face to laughing face. As tears streamed down my cheeks, I was sure I was leaving black streaks.
“Aw, I think the little fruit is upset!”
I yelled, “Fuck you! Fuck all of you!”
As I turned to run out into the parking lot, someone said, “Great idea honey! I have something for you!” There was a roar of laughter.
I thought of stepping in front of a truck, but I called my mom instead. Mom called the police, but they told her embarrassing someone isn’t a crime.
Shrugging, Byron said, “Well, that’s what I heard.” He paused a moment and then said, “I noticed you haven’t been to school all week. Are you okay?”
I laughed and Byron winced. I said, “I’m sorry man, but that has to be the dumbest question in the world. I’m about to jump off a bridge and you ask if I’m okay? Really? No! I’m not fucking okay!”
“I’m sorry,” said Byron. “I meant if you were sick or something.” He reached a hand around the concrete barrier.
“Don’t try to touch me!” I shouted. “I’ll jump right now. I swear.”
Byron shivered and looked at the sleet falling from the sky and peppering us. He said, “Look. It’s such a cold, miserable depressing day. The sun’s supposed to come out in two days. It’ll be a lot nicer day for a jump. Why don’t we just go over to the café and have some hot chocolate? You can jump later. I want to learn more about this trans stuff.”
“You’re just trying to keep me from jumping so you can get a merit badge or something,” I said. “I need that water to be as icy as possible so I’ll drown faster. That’s why I waited until it was getting dark.”
Byron shivered again and said, “I almost didn’t see you in this dark. But hey, look. The water under this bridge this time of year is only about three feet deep. You’ll just break your legs if you jump now. In the spring, it’s about ten feet deep.”
I looked down into the black water of the river. I said, “I’ll still drown right? Even if I break my legs?”
Byron nodded and said, “Yeah. But you’ll be in pain while you drown.”
“Let me worry about that,” I said, looking again at the black, icy water below. “I’ve waited long enough. Thanks for caring. I’m sure you feel like an ass now because you thought you trying to save a girl.”
The icy wind off the river sliced through our coats. Byron said, “Can I ask a question before you jump? I’m just curious.”
Really? More questions from this guy? I was freezing and wanted to finish this. I said, “Okay. Make it quick.”
“You’re going to jump off a bridge into freezing water,” said Byron. “Why are you dressed as a girl and wearing make-up? Seems like wasted effort.”
I started to cry again. I said, “I want to leave this world as the person the world wants to deny! My way of saying fuck you world! This is who I really am!”
Byron shook his head and said, “It all seems like such a huge waste. You’re such a beautiful girl.”
My teeth were chattering now. My hair was soaked with the unrelenting sleet. I frowned and said, “I’m not a girl, remember? I’m a transgirl. Someone you’d be ashamed to be seen with.”
Byron said, “Trans or not, all I see is a beautiful girl who is about to disappear forever from this world. And if I would be ashamed to be seen with you, I would never have invited you to get hot chocolate with me. What do you say? Let’s go somewhere warm. I want to learn more about you.”
I was growing numb from the freezing cold. I was sure I’d be soon sliding off the bridge whether I acted or not. I closed my eyes and shouted, “Bullshit! You don’t care about me! Would you have stopped if you had known it was me and not your pretty girl? If you’d known I was a tgirl?” I closed my eyes tighter as I felt cold tears running down my face.
I felt his hand touch my arm. Byron said, “Yes. Yes I would have. Let me help you up.”
“No!” I cried. “I can’t take this world any longer!”
“Come with me, please!” said Byron with desperation in his voice.
“I can’t.” I felt myself slip.
“You’re right,” I said. “This is really good hot chocolate.” I looked up at Byron sitting across from me in the warm, dry café, and smiled.
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