Trigger Warning: Misgendering, deadnaming, family problems
“Here’s your order, mona,” The waitress said sweetly. “I’m jealous! It looks really good.”
I didn’t have the emotional energy to say anything, but I did look up and nod. I think I managed the slightest of grins. The waitress seemed to get it and gave me a sympathetic look. Even though I was very deep in my feelings, I did appreciate that the waitress used the correct gender suffix. Sometimes the little things can make the world of a difference.
I knew that I didn’t look my most feminine today. I had planned to spend the day at home catching up on some of my art projects. Once I realized that I had the ability to tap into transmutation magic, it made my art really come alive. Well, not really come alive. Figuratively come alive. I had to start specifying that after my friend Eliana started using creation magic. She can literally imbue an inanimate object with temporary life.
So I was in my room, trying to figure out the best way to attach a jar of sand to a slab of marble and my mom walked into my room.
“I made breakfast! Come down and join us,” she said.
That seemed strange, but I didn’t think much of it. My mom rarely cooked, but she was a very good cook. I wasn’t going to complain.
I walked into the kitchen and my dad was already sitting at the table.
“Good morning, Auron,” my dad said. I let out a sigh. I really didn’t want to have this conversation again, but they were making me.
“That’s not my name, dad,” I replied.
“Son, don’t start all this nonsense again,” he said.
“Dad, who I am is not nonsense. When are you going to understand that?” I yelled, louder than I intended. That tends to happen when you release five years of frustration with one statement.
“Juán, we said we were going to start with a friendly tone,” my mom scolded my dad.
“Started?” I repeated angrily. “Were you guys planning on telling me that I’m not trans again?”
“Mijo, we just want what’s best for you,” my mom told me, trying to sound loving. This conversation was anything but loving.
“At some point do I get to decide what’s best for me?!?” I screamed at them both.
“Maybe when you start acting normal,” my dad said under his breath.
“Sorry, dad. I don’t think I heard that. Think you could say that again?” I snapped at him.
“We just want you to stop being a freak,” my dad screamed, finally matching my level of anger.
“I don’t have to deal with this,” I said, throwing up my hands and walking out of the kitchen.
“If you’re not going to talk to us, you may as well not come back,” my dad said.
“That sounds wonderful,” I countered.
It wasn’t the smartest thing to say, since all of my stuff was still in my bedroom at their house. Which finally brings me back around to my clothes. I was wearing junk clothes to make art in and I was stuck in them since I stormed out of the house. I was wearing ragged, cut-off jean shorts and an old green t-shirt that was emblazoned with a bat, the mascot of my former secondary school. I managed to tie my long, dark hair in a top knot and I did have an old tube of lip gloss in the pocket of the jean shorts I could use to brighten up my lips. So it was a miracle that the waitress could tell that I was presenting feminine. At least someone affirmed my gender today.
As I went over all of this in my head, I stared blankly at the bowl of higos con queso and the cup of steaming hot milk I ordered. I needed to eat, I did skip out on breakfast after all, but I couldn’t bring myself to exert any energy. I wished I could cry, but it wasn’t really something I was sad about anymore. They’ve done this sort of thing so many times, it just made me mad and disappointed. They knew how it made me feel and they kept doing it.
As the milk continued to lose heat, a smile spread across my face when I saw my two best friends enter the café. Leandra, a reodor, looked absolutely fabulous, no surprise there. She had spread a red, sparkly shawl across her bright pink wings. Her long, blonde hair was wavy and draped over her shoulders. She wore a two-toned rose, pink and yellow, in her hair like a bow. Finally, she was draped in a flowy pink dress that ended right above her hips. Bright pink zircon earrings adorned her bat-like ears. Eliana, another human, conversely, wore more casual clothes. Her dark hair was pulled into a ponytail and she wore a loose plain white t-shirt. She covered all of it with a brown pair of overalls.
They spotted me in the back corner booth and rushed over to me. Without saying a word, they hopped in on both sides of me and sandwiched me in a hug.
“Did it happen again?” Leandra asked.
I meekly nodded.
“Those assholes,” Eliana cursed.
“I don’t know if I can hang out today, guys. I’m not really feeling like doing much of anything,” I admitted.
“Good news amiga! It’s the weekend, we can do nothing with you all day!” Eliana declared.
“I love doing nothing!” Leandra agreed.
I tried to slump out of their hug. The noticed and their heads drifted to the uneaten goat cheese and fig on the table. Eliana pulled the bowl of instant coffee to her and added a couple of scoops to the milk, stirring it well. Leandra picked up my spoon and carefully scooped up a bit of fig and cheese. She held it up to my mouth and I stubbornly kept my mouth closed.
“Come on, Aurelia! The dragon needs somewhere to land!” she said pleadingly. She began swooping the spoon around like how a dragon would fly, I presume, and started making growling sounds. I couldn’t help myself and I laughed out loud. She used the opportunity to slide the spoon in my mouth.
Admittedly, this was what I needed. The sweetness of the fig seemed to melt on my tongue as it mushed together with the cheese. I was starting to feel better, but I didn’t want it to show yet. I tried to force a grimace.
“You can’t fool us, babe. We can see the smile in your eyes,” Leandra challenged me.
I let the grimace turn up slightly. “You too good at that,” I told her.
“So it happened again?” Eliana asked me.
“Yeah, but it felt worse this time. My dad told me not to come home,” I said.
“That’s rough,” she replied.
“You know you can stay with either of us,” Leandra kindly reminded me. “But I do understand that having a place to stay isn’t really the issue.”
“You’re a genius!” I told Leandra.
“I know,” Leandra said. “Did you noticed the way my shaw plays off of the red in my earrings?”
“No,” I said. “About it not being a place to stay!” I said excitedly.
“What do you mean,” Eliana asked.
“We don’t need a place to stay! We can travel!” I explained.
“I still don’t get it,” Eliana said.
“Let’s leave Reyes,” I said. “All three of us. Together.”
These stories serve as inspiration for the upcoming short story collection, Tyranny of the Fey. The collection will be released in Fall 2023. You can get a $1 preview now!