Short Story: Serena

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Here’s a short story I wrote about a 13-year-old Transgender girl. I based it off a writing prompt; please tell me in the comments what you think!

I brushed my dark blonde hair out of my face and looked intensely into the bathroom mirror. My eyebrows always kind of scrunched up when I did that and I forced them to relax. It was one in the morning and my mom was asleep. I could hear our beagle mix Lou walking up and down the hallway, his claws clacking annoyingly against the hardwood floor.

I wanted to yell at him to shut up and lie down somewhere (pick a spot, seriously, any spot) but I didn’t want to wake Mom up. She had been at work all day waitressing and she always got really pissed off when I made too much noise. “You’re being selfish, Kyle.” That’s what she always said. It always made me feel terrible and I would usually start crying, and SHE’D be the one to apologize to ME. It was stupid. I was so dramatic sometimes. I knew some things, though. I think at thirteen I knew more about myself than a lot of people did.

“Mom, I…” I began. My voice cracked. I hated when it did that.

She thought I was gay. She was okay with that, mostly. She said I was so obvious that she had been expecting it for a long time. Mom had a way of sort-of insulting you like that. It was more the implication that was hurtful.

I thought about my friends at school, all girls. When I told them to start calling me Serena last year in the seventh grade, they’d been okay with it. They called me Kyle over at my house when my mom was there, and it always gave me a hollow feeling in my chest. It sounded so wrong but the truth was I wasn’t sure how my mom would react to any of this.

I could picture her pressing her fingers to her temple like she had a headache. ‘You’re too young to know what you are, Kyle.’ But she would be wrong. I’d known, all right. I’d known ever since I read a book that had the word ‘Transgender’ in it when I was in the third grade. It felt like somebody had created a term just for me, something I finally fit into.

“Mom, I have to tell you something about myself. You might not like it. I’ve known this about myself for a long time. I’m still the same person… but you might see me differently.”

I’m not your son. I’m not your son.

“I’m a girl,” I said. “I’m Transgender and my name is Serena. I came up with it last year when I was… reading up on some things. I read books. A lot of books. I looked stuff up online and deleted my search history.”

I heard a creak outside the bathroom door and I jumped and let out a little gasp, knocking a thing of purple nail polish I had been using onto the floor. “Hello?” I said, my stomach doing a horrible flip-flop that made me feel like I was going to hurl.

“It’s me.” It was Mom’s voice. My stomach did this crazy thing that made me feel like I was on a roller coaster, and I felt like I wanted to sink into the dirty tiled floor and disappear.

I opened the door a crack. “Mom, I…”

She came into the bathroom and looked at me for a moment, not saying anything. Then she hugged me. Lou went crazy and jumped on us, wagging his tail. She started laughing and I laughed too.

“I love you,” she said. “I’m sorry I listened in but I had to go to the toilet, and I heard you in here, talking to yourself. I thought you were talking to one of your friends on the phone, and I was a little worried because it’s so late. I love you no matter what. I’ll call you whatever you want to be called and I don’t care whether I have a son or a daughter. I just want you to know you can come to me no matter what, and I’ll always love you.”

I started happy-crying and buried my face in her shoulder. Lou barked and scratched my leg. He was such an attention whore.

“So, Serena, huh?”

I pulled away from her and nodded.

“I like it.”

“Me too.”

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