Casey is an average fifteen year old about to enter into the first year of high school. With an extremely Christian dad, and a deceased mom, Casey has more than academics on mind. Making new friends, creating bonds, but keeping a large secret is all in a day’s work.
Warning: This is rated M (meaning MATURE ADULT), and for a reason. Some of the chapters may seem tame, but it will get into sexual and adult situations. Please be aware. Do not read if these things may upset you.
The mall was bustling about; maybe a bit more than usual even for a Saturday. Old men walked by trailing along behind their old wives. Children yelled out and begged for things from the center sellers. Items were shining in the windows for each of the stores. I didn’t bother much with looking at the things, though. I watched the people. There were teenagers who wore their skin tight clothes or the goths who were heading down the way toward the food court. I loved to watch everyone. I studied their gait and saw how different the girls were from the guys. It was a busy Saturday, but I really loved the noise.
“Casey!” I heard someone yell out. I turned my head quickly, my long auburn braid swung against my back, as my friend Mary came running toward me. Her long knee length skirt had a pattern of roses on it, and her blush colored shirt covered from her elbows, up to her neck length and down the torso completely. I knew that even if she reached above her head for something skin would not show on her belly. She stopped and panted beside the bench I was sitting on. Some people stared at us as she caught her breath, but we didn’t pay them any heed. “What in God’s name are you wearing, Casey McPherson!”
I looked down at my Metalica short sleeved T-shirt, basic baggy jeans and tennis shoes and then looked at her with a raised brow, “Clothing.” She rolled her eyes as I smiled as innocently as I could.
“Your father will kill you if he saw those clothes,” she said and then looked around as if my old man was going to pop up suddenly and smite us both. “Where did you even get them?!” She suddenly waved her arms and I had to lean back to avoid being hit by her enthusiasm.
“A store,” I answered simply. I stood up and she gasped again. “What now?”
“Where are your… uh… where are your…” and she gestured to my chest.
“Boobs,” I answered for her. She nodded and then started biting her thumb nail in nervousness. “Walk with me, Mary. I will let you in on my little confession.” I gathered up my three plastic shopping bags from the various stores. For a minute I didn’t think she was going to follow as I turned to join the throng of people.
She quickly gained her steps and slid in beside me. I had been practicing my walk and now it seemed I was doing well. I mimicked the boys from the people watching as we made our way to the other side of the large city mall.
She waited for a few strides before looking over at me anxiously. “I’m going to cut my hair,” I announced to her. I waited for her to gasp again, but she just looked shocked. “You have known me since I was three, right?” She nodded and I continued, “I have always been the odd one in our little band of Christian martyrs. Mary,” I stopped and turned toward her, “I’m not really a girl.”
She looked confused. “I’m pretty sure you are a girl. We used to take baths together, remember? I mean, we went to camp together last year, too, and I remember you changing. You’re definitely a girl.”
I sighed and turned to were the hair style shop sat across from where we were standing. I pulled on her gently to make sure we weren’t in the way of traffic. Leaning against the wall of a punk rock shop, “I’m in the wrong body. I always have been. Your memory is great, so answer this: Why is it that I am always uncomfortable in the mandated clothes of church? Why is it that I demanded to know why I wasn’t a boy, when we were younger? Do you remember that time that I got the spanking for asking for a boy shirt from the store? I always snuck off to try and get the boy’s toys from the nursery in the church, or how I wanted to be put into the boy’s section at school? Mary, I am a boy. I am inside a boy. I feel like someone is forcing me to be this clown and perform in this circus I never signed up for.” She looked me up and down and then reached around for my braid. She didn’t say anything as her fingers ran along the pleats. “It has to go, too. I can’t continue to be what they want me to be constantly. I am going to scream if I have to enter another school, high school even, and pretend to be something I’m not.”
She contemplated something and then nodded, “What about your dad? Does he know?”
I shook my head quickly forcing the braid from her hand. It fell neatly down to rest along my front. The end beat against my knee as I continued to shake my head, “No, but he doesn’t need to.”
We didn’t move for a few breaths as we both envisioned the outcome of him finding out my revelations. He was a strict man and a very devout Christian. We read the Bible every night and he would quiz me on whole passages when he had the time. Yes, Joseph McPherson was the most pious man in our church currently, besides the pastor himself. Just this last Sunday the men of the church had passed around a petition and my father had been the largest most vocal signer against the gay rights movement of allowing marriage in the country. As a child and female I was to be quiet during the entire service and later we sat in our religious group, preteens and teens separated by gender, and learned why homosexuality was wrong according to God. On the ride home Mary’s family and mine shared their fifteen passenger van to be dropped off at our house. Our fathers talked about the days of Jesus’ time and how stoning and flogging should be brought back for the sinners against God. How Jesus himself had gone into a temple and destroyed it for their heresy and now our government had turned into that temple.
Mary spoke and brought me from my memories, “How will you hide this from him?” Her voice trembled as I’m sure she worried about her own punishment if they found out she was helping me.
I sighed, smiled again, and brought my hand to dig into one of the bags. My bright blue eyes met her dark brown ones as I dragged out another plastic bag. This one was clear. Holding it up for her to see; she looked confused again. I smirked again and handed it to her. Gently her hands pulled out the contents from the bag. A length of brown locks flowed down her fingers. Not as long as my hair, this one would only reach my middle back, but it was done beautifully. “A wig?” she asked. She looked up at me with a new look of terror.
“I thought it was clever,” I shrugged. “C’mon, I have an appointment to keep with destiny.” I grabbed her left hand and pulled her, with the wig still in her right hand, into the salon.
“I think I am going to be sick,” she said. She did look pale as I sat her down in a waiting chair. The magazines were enticing. They had glossy pages full of styles and I needed one that suited my desire. I held up the page I had been thinking about to my friend. She shook her head, pale now and maybe a bit green, she had tears in her eyes. “Please don’t,” she begged me.
“Mary, I know you’re scared, but I need to do this. No one will ever know. I promise to everything and swear on my soul that I will never let anyone know you came with me. I just need your help right now,” the tear fell down from her left eye. She used her half sleeve to wipe her face and nodded. “Good, now, which one?” I showed her two styles I was thinking about. “I need a bit of hair so I can use the bobby pins to attach the wig on, but I need the short hair to really make me who I am.”
She shuddered in a breath and pointed to the style she liked best, “Johnathon has that hair style.”
I smiled, “Are you ever going to tell your mom you like Johnathon so that she can speak with his mom?” Dating was prohibited within our church, but it was an unspoken rule that kids petitioned their parents to talk with the other parents and hook the couples up. “The fall social is coming up, and now that we are going into high school we can go.”
It brought her out of the shell she had slunk into about my change of style. She blushed, “I told her yesterday while we were doing dishes. She said he is a sweet boy. I think that means she will talk to his mom tomorrow during Woman’s studies.”
One of the ladies finished her customer and called me over to see what I needed done. She had bright green eyes and strawberry blond hair. I wondered if she was much older than a high schooler, honestly. I saw Mary biting her thumb again as I showed the picture to the lady. Her careful hands pulled out my braid as she said, “You’re cutting the entire length? That is a drastic change. Are you sure you want to do this?”
I nodded sharply with a smile on my face, “I have wanted this since I was six. Keep it in the braid and start by cutting the base off. I want to donate it to a charity.” She nodded as she reached for the scissors.
“Oh God,” Mary wept as the first cut went through and the braid came clean off.
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Copyright: 2015 France Gamble
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