Shimmer #08 – “Starlight, Star Bright…” (Part 8)

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Mom drove me home the next morning. The staffer had told her how I was dressed, so she brought a change of clothes; you know, guy clothes. Putting them on felt sick, but I was too tired to refuse them.

I wanted to explain why they found me in a skirt, but she was quick to excuse it away. “You’ve always been flamboyant, and that’s okay,” she’d said, smiling, as though I were a drag queen in the making. Was that really what she thought? Had she not been paying attention at all?

In the days that followed any time I tried to bring up the subject she’d rant about Adrian instead; about how the school was letting our family down and how thugs like that deserved more than suspension, but prison to boot. Even if I agreed with her I couldn’t bring myself to care; there were more important things than anger.

“I guess nothing’s changed at all,” I sighed, and took a bite of the most depressing egg salad sandwich I’d ever tasted (although it may not have been the sandwich that was depressed.)

As it turns out I was relieved to get back to school; recovery was boring, and knowing that Adrian was on suspension made the next ten days seem brighter. It didn’t matter that I was the subject of gossip, or that every second person had taken to calling me ‘princess’; there was nobody threatening to kick the crap out of me, and that was a step up.

“Look on the bright side,” Tanya shrugged; “at least she didn’t freak at you in a dress. I mean, that’s halfway to acceptance, isn’t it?” She took a bite of her own sandwich; she didn’t look happy with it, either.

The thought rolled a bit, but still didn’t seem comfortable. “She thinks I’m gay,” I decided. “I’m pretty sure she’s thought that since pre-school. She’s probably built me up as this fruity guy without knowing there are other options. I don’t think she’s going to take to having a daughter that easily.”

Tanya huffed and stared over the houses. “That’s your Mom, though. When she’s right, she’s right; even when she’s totally wrong, she’s still right.”

“Gods help me.”

She asked me again if I was okay, and I defaulted to “yeah.” Even if it was annoying it was better she ask than not; if not for her I doubt anyone would.

The day played out like it usually did. There were some looks, but that wasn’t out of the ordinary. Things were the same as they were before. That was a good thing, right?

I sat in history class and silenced the tapping of my pen against my knuckle. To imagine that just three days earlier I went to my first support meeting, was yelled at, then chased down, only to wake up in a hospital bed where my Mom had seen me dressed like a girl; something should have changed, surely, but everyone wanted to get along like nothing happened. The thought made my stomach turn.

Tanya offered to drive me home after school, but I opted to walk. “I need to clear my head,” I told her. She understood, but didn’t seem to like the idea; probably because she was feeling guilty about the other night. She went out of her way to be my protector, after all, and the one time she wasn’t there it all went to hell.

For the next two blocks I was lost in my own thoughts and not really watching where I was going. The traffic was quiet enough that I didn’t bother to look before crossing. Stupid, right? Stupider still was the way that I didn’t notice him until it was too late.

The engine roared soon enough for me to turn and see his face behind the wheel; his face, from thug to Death. I wish I could say I was surprised, but I knew what he was capable of more than anyone else. This wasn’t one of his scare games; no, the hate flavored spittle that flew from his scowl said that he was out to finish this once and for all.

Fear hadn’t set in that split second I reacted, but took a solid grip when I saw what that front grill was aiming for. Before it even struck I played it all in my head; the bar shattering my legs, my body rolling onto the hood and flying off the windshield, then colliding with the pavement with the force collected from the crash. The chances of my surviving were not high; no, I wanted to live!

I closed my eyes and braced myself, praying that it wasn’t as painful as it was going to be. Then, as the engine growled there was warmness, and a light so intense that it beamed through my eyelids. As fast as it happened it was gone, and with it the fury of the motor as it sputtered out.

I turned to look. Adrian was bashing the wheel and idling the vehicle to the side of the road. I didn’t understand; I’d closed my eyes for a second and he was somewhere else, his beast suddenly neutered. Was it something that I’d done? Was it the light?

That’s when I noticed my hands; they were glowing. How or why I had no clue, but by some miracle it had saved me. I couldn’t explain it, and for a moment was so taken that I forgot about the bully climbing out of the driver’s seat.

“What the hell did you do to my car?” Adrian bellowed.

I ran like crazy to the main street, then looked back to make sure he wasn’t following. I was alone; he wasn’t going to leave his car, not even to case me. Good. I looked to my hands as the glow started to fade; I had other things to worry about.

To be continued…

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