Just a little short story I wrote a few weeks ago. Enjoy!
By Marcelle Liemant
I made a mistake. I cut off all of my hair and I’m a girl. So now I’m alone in a forest, with a big old furry log and blue green everything. And not so clear water, dead in the river bed. I’m here and I’m alone, laying in the damn grass because it’s not safe anywhere else.
Well, it’s not safe here either. I suspect black panthers hide behind the taller bushes, and snakes slither under every leaf.
No, I’m not being dramatic. Life is a dangerous thing. 100% chance of death, you know. 110% if I ever go back to school.
So, I cut my hair. Big deal right? It is though. I shouldn’t have. I only did it because I was seeing red, red, red. The girls at school keep saying I’m a boy. They’ve been saying it since the year started. But I’m not a boy, I’m a girl.
They pushed it too far today and I got mad and cut off my hair and now they are right. And it won’t just be them anymore. Now everyone I meet is going to know a part of me that is mine. They’re all going to know that I’m a girl who acts like a boy.
That I’m a girl who likes girls.
What was I even thinking? Ah shit. I’m going to have to move and wear big shirts to hide the small whatever breasts I have. I’ll be a real boy in stranger land and nobody will recognise me. I could work doing like labour or something, out in a dusty field. Everyone will leave me alone then because I’m fitting in. A boy in the dust, that’s just dandy, that’s just normal.
Or I could probably just stay here. In this little, weird bubble of the forest. It’s stupidly beautiful. Idealistic and all that. It’s got that afternoon light that just hits nature in the way you know it has been forever. In that way that’s just better than anything we’ve ever done. It’s all like that right now, every inch of this spot. I can’t work out what to do with the beauty. It’s filling me up and it’s just so damn distracting. And there’s nobody here with me, there’s nobody to turn to, all wide eyed and in awe. To mouth wow at.
Wow. Wow. Wow.
Look at that perfect bird, pulling that perfect insect, out of that perfect log! Wow.
That bird doesn’t care if I cut my hair. The log doesn’t care that I’m a bit boyish. People are the problem. People with their fists and their words. Their damn rules about things. How was I supposed to know that girls don’t get to like girls? Nobody told me when I came out this way. I jumped into the world as me, the tomboy….the lesbian, I guess. Don’t worry, I realised pretty soon that I had to hide and hide and learn to act. I’m the best goddamn actress in the world you know. You’d pay to see me at a show, I tell you. The role of straight has been mine for 16 years. Nothing here in the forest pretends anything. A tree, is a tree, is a tree.
Now I can’t pretend anything either. Now I’ve gone and put it on top of my head. I may as well have written dyke on my forehead, scrawled in black permanent marker like the girls at school did to my locker.
What a rotten word. What rotten luck. I didn’t ask for this.
I shouldn’t have cut my hair. Now I am asking for it. It won’t be just me either, my best friend is going through enough just knowing me.
My best friend didn’t care when I told her. I think she cared a bit when I kissed her after though. She just said, oh Harry no. And patted my hand and smiled. (Yeah, I have a boy nickname too. Harry from Harriet. That wasn’t my choice either!)
When we get coffee after school, sometimes she will nod her head at a girl and say she is pretty and that I should talk to her. And it’s so nice I could cry, but instead I just think how unlucky she is to be stuck with me. Because the girls are already whispering about her. It’ll only get worse I bet.
It’s not even fair because it isn’t her fault. I guess it isn’t my fault either, even though they’re trying to convince me it is. But I know it isn’t, because on TV shows being gay isn’t a choice. TV shows are always on about that. It isn’t my fault or even a fault at all. The girls see that on TV too but I guess they ignore it. I guess they’re having too much fun.
I’ve only told my best friend, I don’t know how the others guessed. Well I did tell this one guy at a party, because he wouldn’t leave me alone. When I told him he asked what guys ever did to me. And I said nothing and he said so why do you hate them and I said I don’t I just don’t want to kiss them and that’s not hating. But I don’t think he knows anyone at school anyway.
Ah, I’ve laid so long in this grass bugs are starting to crawl into my ears. They’re definitely not afraid to touch me, like the girls at school are. Like I’ve got a buffer zone a meter wide around me. It’s dumb. I’m not going to infect them.
I think this hair cut might have expanded the zone to two meters now. Haha. Good riddance then! What idiots.
So what? What can I do?
I’m on my feet now on the log that crosses the stream. Stamping my feet as I go. But it’s not the logs fault so I stop stamping and tip toe the rest of the way. With my very short boy hair and my grass stained school dress. You know, I can never quite hate myself the way they want me to.
And the light is still doing that perfect dappling thing. It’s so pretty. Why is it so pretty? I could live here. I really could. The little bird is back and it’s eyeing me off. I’m not going to steal your insects little one, don’t worry. If I stay, I’ll just sneak food from home when my parents are at work.
And it’s gone.
My voice out loud here, it’s so wrong in the forest on my own. This isn’t the place for human voices. It’s the place for human silent worship only. Because it’s so beautiful and I like it a lot and people spoil things.
I could live here, I would but…but there’s nobody to mouth wow to. And the birds gone. So maybe I won’t live here.
Maybe I won’t run away at all. I mean, the log isn’t embarrassed to have fallen.
Maybe instead I’ll march into school tomorrow.
The girls will say;
Omg your hair.
Ew, you’re a boy.
You’re a lesbian. Ha, ha. Gross, gross.
But I’ll bang my chest and yell so what! And sit down in my seat. I’ll gel my hair like I’ve always wanted and I’ll be me on the outside just like on the inside. I’ll have coffee with my best friend and she’ll point out girls and we will both protect each other forever.
I’ll get to work and get better marks then all of them. No, I don’t need to get better marks. I don’t need to be better and above. You don’t see the light in the forest envying the light on the road. I’ll just get my best marks and not worry about anyone. I don’t want to beat them down, as they beat me down, so we all fall like the log and rot together.
That’s senseless human nonsense that is. It’s the only ugliness in the world. I can be brave, I can be more.
Ok yeah, I can’t hide anymore, so I won’t.