Lauren doesn't have it easy. When she came out, she lost her friends, leaving her alone to face the teenage wasteland that is high school. If that wasn't enough she struggles to deal with her inhuman father's legacy.
Tired of it all, she decided to make the most stupid thing she could ever do...
Trigger Warning: Bullying, Transphobia, Homophobia, Graphic Violence, Sexual content, self-harm and much much more... Definately NOT an uplifting story.
Avoid eye contact. Get your lunch, go to Ms Snow’s classroom. Everyday, these words were like a mantra, I played them in in repeat in my head.
“Hey, John.” Someone whispered, I didn’t need to look to know it was Emma, her high-pitched voice and that godawful perfume had given it away. “Your adam’s apple showing.” Blondie’s tone was full of spite, the choice of words even more so.
I’m Lauren, I’ve always been called that… It’s just that when I was younger, it was meant to be boy-Lauren, not girl-Lauren… Since she couldn’t attack me with a dead name, she'd made a new one just to insult me. She was that petty and nasty. Hell, she'd actually waited for me to get in line just so she could say these things. I couldn’t help but repress a grunt.
No Eye contact. Lunch. Ms. Snow’s. I repeat the now abbreviated mantra in my head.
I tried my best to not hear her. The previous week I had my iPod, but someone “accidentally” stepped on it in class. As I take the plate of macaroni gratin, I saw Emma’s hand reach out for a bottle of grape juice, she had to go back to get it. I paid the cafeteria lady with cash, someone had stolen my meal card, and gave her a quiet thank you before moving on while dodging a few dirty glares and nasty words from Emma’s pals Zoe and Francine. Zoe was the token black girl in Emma’s clique while Francine was the redheaded bitch who’d once pretended to be my friend as some kind of sick joke.
Ms. Snow’s classroom wasn’t far from the cafeteria, she almost always kept it open during lunch for students who needed help with their French homework. I didn’t, but she would always let me in regardless.
“Hello miss Beaulieu.” The elderly teacher said, barely raising her eyes from her newspaper, making me feel a little happy. It was these little moment of not being called ‘he’ or ‘Mr’ that made me think maybe things weren’t so bad. Of course I was probably just deluding myself… It was more likely the teachers only used the right pronouns to avoid a discrimination lawsuit anyway...
I sat down in a corner of the room, which only contained five people; Kevin the boy with more pimples than skin, Marco the guy in my art class with dark skin and an unplaceable accent, Suzy the humongous girl that played on the school’s football team, Ms. Snow and me; the nerdy goth transgender girl.
I started showing food into my mouth, being cautious as to not annoy anyone who might be there for reasons other than bullying. Oceanside high was pretty serious about bullying which was why none of it happened when the faculty could see. In school, it was whispered insult, concern trolling or surprises left for me. Outside of school, they could do their worst. I could have always told on them, but I didn’t feel it would accomplish anything, especially as Zoe’s dad was a high profile criminal lawyer.
When I was finished, I pushed the tray over and picked my book from the heavy bag I always carried, it contained everything I’d need for the day as I didn’t trust my locker anymore after it had been broken in three times in the past year. It didn’t matter that they’d changed the lock, the combinations were held in the cafeteria attendant office in a big binder who had about four hundred students to watch all alone by herself.
The first bell rang, the five minute warning, and I picked my stuff, hurrying to the class I was supposed to be; Geography. Most of the seats were already taken by the time got there, but my favorite by the door remained free, I put my bag down on the desk, ignoring the brand new graffito someone had left for my eyes and sat down…
And immediately felt liquid soak the bottom of my skirt and leggings. I got up and saw the grape juice that had been poured in the depression on the plastic chair.
Emma and her friends were laughing, it didn’t take any brain to know they were the one behind it. I was about to burst… I felt my blood boiling, my whole body tense, my instinct going haywire, telling me to kill them, stop playing weak. Instead I left the room or rather, I ran. Tears began flowing out as I ran away, I wasn’t really aiming to go anywhere. When I reached the end of the corridor I leaned against a random locker, taking the time to collect my breath and my composure.
Well, I tried to anyway. Instead I slammed my fist down the locker, making a strong dent in it… Which had sounded more like a gunshot than a 130 pound girl hitting a locker.
Before people came to investigate the noise, I fled, taking the stairs down and leaving. I walked outside into the small grassy knoll and walked down the concrete path to the bus stop. Twenty minutes of waiting outside in the cold of mid-april with my bottom soaked and my mascara running, then another ten minutes of having people stare at me in the southbound bus. My brain imagining them thinking the most horrible things.
I eventually reached my home; A tenement apartment that stood near the southern edge of the oceanside district of Emerald Bay, relatively close to chinatown (which was a misnomer as it was primarily japanese and korean in ethnicity, not that people cared) but sufficiently far away from tourist spots like Jade street or the boardwalk.
“Hey mom.” I muttered when I came in on the fourth floor apartment after ascending the graffiti laden staircase. No answer come back and it took me a moment to remember: it was tuesday, she wouldn’t be back until seven.
The place wasn’t very big, three rooms --four if you counted the bathroom -- two of which were bedrooms, the third was a kitchenette and living room mixed together, only holding a lunch counter and a small couch with a tv squeezed into its tiny floor plan.
I went into my room, which had the merit of being the biggest, not that it was that much bigger than the other one. It didn’t contain much either, a small bed, a pair of dressers and a desk which didn’t leave much space open. The walls on the other hand were covered in posters, drawing and whatever else I had gotten my hand on to fill an almost pathological need to hide the wall’s dull beige color.
From my drawer I retrieved a new set of clothes, simple jeans and panties to replace my soaked one before stepping into the shower, doing my best to not look into the mirror. I came out when the water turns cold, which never took long in that house. The mirror was already full of steam, which spared me from the dreaded mirror. Instead I just wiped my make-up, leaving my ghastly skin bare. Unholy pallor was the only shade my skin would ever settle on, even when I’d spent the summer in the sun. I got dressed, keeping my blouse and mesh shirt.
I could have stayed home, but I decided against it. I already felt confined enough within my own mind, didn’t want to stay within a concrete box supposed to be a home. Rather than go back home, I head to the boardwalk.I’d always loved the place, even though going there from my house was an annoying two bus process. The Emerald Transit Authority’s monorail system seemed to cover all corners of the city except my own little backward corner of Oceanside.
The boardwalk covered a three miles long stretch of wooden piers that faced the pacific ocean located on the north-western side of Oceanside. When the industrial complex on the northern shore of the bay had begun dying, tourism had become the bread and butter of the city’s economy alongside high-tech development.
Although The boardwalk it was fairly long, it was never a pain to navigate, with long open pedestrian streets with the only vehicle allowed being the security golf cabs and the shuttle busses that served tourists and locals alike for free.
I spent time wandering aimlessly, although it wasn’t the in season, there were a fair number of people wandering about along with a food cart every so often. The boardwalk was mainly a shopping plaza geared toward tourists and I didn’t have much money left so instead I wandered from shop to shop, just looking, killing time more than thinking about saving up to buy anything. Sometimes one of the security guards glared at me, I wasn’t sure if it was because my ability to pass was less than stellar or because they thought I could be shoplifting. But before they did anything, I’d move on to another shop.
Walking on the boardwalk, one could see the diversity of Emerald Bay; it wasn’t just white people but plenty of latinos, african-americans and even more asians folks. When you were like me, you also got to see people who didn’t fit that word; People... When I was younger I’d often ask my mother, but with the time I’d learned it was best pretend I hadn’t seen anything and not to get involved.
After about an hour, I started feeling like I was starving. Bad mood always made me hungry… Food in Emerald Bay was great. If you loved seafood that was, if you didn’t you’d likely want to burn the boardwalk down… I wandered a bit before finding a stall where an elderly japanese man and what looked like his daughter were selling tempura shrimp on a skewer. It was a little expensive, but I grabbed some, sitting down at a bench by the water side.
I ate slowly, trying to make the half-dozen last as I was now out of cash and wouldn’t be able to buy anything more. I stared at the water for a moment, the sun wasn’t quite setting yet and so all I had to gaze at was the empty horizon.
“Why the long face?” Some guy asked in a nice and cheerful tone.
“Go fuck yourself…” I grunted without even looking at him. I wasn’t feeling like being told to smile.
“With pleasure. Want some bubble tea?” He answered humorously rather than being offended that I wasn’t playing into his little thing, lowering a plastic cup into my field of view.
I turned my head up and to the left and saw him. He wasn’t bad looking, maybe a little older than me. Like me, he went for a goth look, but his screamed more “perky” than the “I hate everyone” I went for. He had crimson dyed hair worn in short spikes and his lips, eyebrows, nose and ears were dressed in enough silver to chase away werewolves. But the most important thing I could tell about him wasn’t from my eyes but from my gut.
He wasn’t human.