There are a lot of things my parents don't know about me.
First of all, my real major.
They - and not to mention my dear younger sister - think that I'm double-majoring in quantum physics and applied mathematics. If they simply had accepted my choice of psychology as a career option, they wouldn't have to endure such deception, but no, they chose to be stubborn. So I guess that it's my little secret that these papers of mine are named "A Cross-Cultural Study on Language and Reasoning" rather than...say, "What the hell I think relativity will mean for us in 20000000 years."
Secondly, that I stopped singing and picked up the piano. Singing makes me sound masculine, which I'll get to later. And piano, after all, is such a beautiful and elegant instrument. Sometimes I go in for contests and auditions and such things - they make money, which I really do need if I am to continue forging all these documents detailing my great achievements in mathematics...
Thirdly, I wear make-up. It's not much at all, but it's a lot more than what I think they'd permit me to wear - which is none at all.
And fourth - the reason why I always sneak around my parents' backs. I'm a girl. I don't mean that the hospital made a mistake or anything, I suppose they did the best they could. After all, it wasn't as though they could open me up and take a good look at the bottom of my heart and proclaim me female.
Though I do wish they could.
It is for all of these reasons that I'm feel awkward at dinner tonight, with my naked face and baggy T-shirt and the male wig. I'm not used to being "at home," seeing as I come back for about three nights a year.
"What is it?"
My mother walks over to my deeply chortling father and takes the letter from his hand as I snap out of my own introspective.
"Tanya Hess?" His belly rumbles when he laughs. I'm glad I inherited my mother's weight. "It's another one. Ha! Michelle, you didn't change your name to 'Tanya,' did you?"
My sister, pretending to chuckle in the most bored and unconvincing way, shakes her head no. And I try not to look surprised. It's pretty easy, seeing as I am a psychology student. But I want that letter.
"It's not the first time, either," Michelle explains, misinterpreting my staring. "They keep sending letters to some 'Tanya' girl. Maybe they just look up 'Hess' in the phonebook and send stuff to us? There probably aren't many other Hess families..."
"I see." The image of a music note on the letter catches my eye, but I redirect my attention to Michelle. She's fifteen years old now, and in her summer dress that I would have loved to wear. "How has school been?"
She doesn't reply, so I lean in a bit closer to tease her.
"Got a boy...friend...?" Michelle jumps back as I grab her hair, and I force a laugh. For a brief moment, she is distracted, and as our dear Daddy glances up to see what I've done, I stare back and memorize the address on the sheet.
It's hard to read, but I've seen it before. And I don't know if their answer to me was a "yes" or a "no," but I supposed I would have to find out myself.
"I'm leaving. Good luck with this Tanya person."
I wonder how far a taxi can take me.
And with that, I'm out, maybe dancing into the streets just for the heck of it. In the way that a girl would, in a guy's clothing. Then the wig comes off, I put my real hair back on, and I'm Tanya Hess again, just some pianist searching for her soul.