*Trigger warning: transphobic remarks.*
Mondays were the bane of my existence, I had decided at the age of eleven and three quarters, for bringing the living hell masquerading as school after two days of peace. Later, when I understood the world better, the erasure of non-binary identities formed a joint first. For the last five years they had been my two worst enemies, with Mondays only slipping down to second place for three months. Three months with her making school life a little more bearable.
Now I had both enemies back in full force, conspiring together. Ignoring those emails was only so good-whoever had sent them was at school. Of that I was certain. The fatalistic presence was heavier upon my shoulders than I remembered as I procrastinated away the minutes to leaving home. When Amanda commented on my sloth-like appearance and movement, I shrugged and muttered something about exams.
As my feet begrudgingly circled around, and I begrudgingly steered my bike towards school, only the music streaming from my iPod could keep the tension in my chest from getting too tight.
'People suck, so what? It's not like you didn't already know that. You just had to let yourself see if the pattern could be broken, didn't you? But hey, guess my pessimism can now be considered self-preservation.'
The courtyard was busier than usual; a glance at my watch confirmed I was later arriving too. A clump of year sevens has clustered around the bike shed, trading what looked like Pokemon cards inside their tiny hands.
As the little squirts shuffled away, oversized bags swaying against their baggy blazers, I was struck by the remembrance that I used to be one of those kids. Once upon a time my own eyes had been wide with excitement and an actual love of school. How long before their own shields of naivety would be burst with knowledge of the big bad world?
Someone, probably the caretaker over Christmas, had removed the battered lock from the equally battered bike shed. Even if nobody else used the storage space, I wasn't taking any risks, doing up the chain around my bike. No matter how much paint I used, the scarred scratches along the body were still visible to me, but hidden to everyone else.
I contemplated going to the library for a last-ditch attempt at revision; passing back by the year sevens ruled that one out. Anyway, avoiding the inevitable crossing of paths with Lily would only serve to prolong the dread.
Although my feet had the destination of form to guide them, my mind wandered as aimlessly, trying to distract me from her. Her slight smiles that warmed every corner of the world, the way her eyes light up when you made a Dr Who reference, the mask slipping to reveal-a lie. The kindness, friendliness, this secret side of her, the sweetness bitter and sour in reality.
The agonising cloud that been hanging over me all Christmas wasn't just the usual prospect of school, or even the threat of someone knowing my secrets. It was her betrayal. Not the fact that she had freaked out exactly- that's something I was all too used to.
No, it's that Lily freaked out. The last person I could ever have imagined to be anything like me. The last person I could have expected to manage to chip their way past guards strengthened from years of bullies and bigots; to fit herself into my life so simply, without me even realising. And now I was nothing to her. That was what hurt the most.
'But she's not like you,' I reminded myself, 'you should've just trusted your gut instinct that she was just a real life Barbie. Maybe it was all some elaborate joke, pretending that she liked the things that I did to immediately bitch and laugh about me with her friends. She probably gave my email to Dan or another member of bitch society to send those emails-but then how did they find out about-'
YOU ARE READING
"If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, then it is a duck." Taylor Adams and Lily Baker: complete opposites in almost every sense. Taylor Adams: completely themselves when appearing and acting as androgynously as their name suggests, even if i...