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Funny Drama

It was the worst day of Joan’s life! And no, this wasn’t some premature expression of exaggerated teenage angst or blunder. This was the climax of Joan’s experience for the year because this was yet another thing she couldn’t control. But really, how much control can a sixteen year old really have on their life? Realistically, she had a lot of say, more say than she thought possible; but, today felt like all of her hard work had been thrown into an incinerator, and she could smell the ashes of her failure.

Joan was transgender. On her fifteenth birthday after blowing out the candles, she confessed to her loving parents that she wanted to celebrate her sweet sixteen as a girl. Naturally, this took her family by surprise. She wasn’t Joan then. Then, she was Jamal, a young basketball star for his high school team and the exact replica of his father, to whom he owed his name. 

Of course, Jamal’s mom was supportive, providing him with hormones and therapy sessions to make the transition as smooth as possible. Jamal’s father, on the other hand, left being unable to cope that his prince wanted to be a queen instead. That was the first blow. 

The second came when Jamal was called into the principal’s office after his fellow teammates claimed they felt “uncomfortable” having him in the locker room with them. Though they all had been teammates for two years, they now felt that he was “undressing them with his eyes” every time they showered or changed. Jamal couldn’t help but laugh! He wasn’t gay, he just wanted to be identified as female. Besides, he knew how those boys carried themselves on and off the court and he had absolutely no interest in them whatsoever. However, his teammates’ relentless complaints resulted with him being kicked off the team.

Jamal tried to find solace from his best friend Veronica. They had been friends and next door neighbours since they were in pampers. If anyone could cheer him up and make sense of things for him, it would’ve been her. Unfortunately, he was greeted by Ronnie’s father. Normally a big burly cheerful man, Veronica’s father had transformed into a menacing giant, something similar to the living embodiment of the Guan Yau statue. He had explained to Jamal that he felt “uncomfortable” with him and Ronnie hanging out together. He felt that the whole “gender thing” was a possible ruse to bed his daughter, and he would not allow it. He told Jamal that once his male parts were safely tucked away in a jar somewhere he could resume hanging out with Ronnie again.

Adding insult to injury, Veronica wasn’t even allowed to show up at his sweet sixteen/gender reveal party. In fact, not many people showed up. Most of his friends were never sure how to address him; and, it didn’t help that, at the time, Jamal didn’t have a new name for his new body. He had thrown a few names around but nothing had ever truly stuck. Yet, on his sixteenth birthday surrounded by his mother, his only supporter and attendee, he introduced himself as Joan. 

Jamal had chosen the name after the figure Joan of Arc; considering everything she had endured during her journey, the name was the most fitting. She would be like Joan of Arc, standing strong in her beliefs even if it cost her her life. However, she felt safe to admit that the name may have been a premature choice. She still had so much to learn about being a woman. It wasn’t as easy as she had dreamt or as television had broadcasted. Finding wardrobe that matched her personality was a hassle. Being confident to go into a female’s restroom was another issue. And sitting to pee had been an entirely new experience that she never knew possible! 

And then there was “Lil Jamal”. The last and biggest reminder of her former self. Her mother had made it clear that she was supportive of Joan’s change, but there simply wasn’t enough money for a corrective surgery, especially now that she was a single mother. Joan understood and never pushed the topic again; but, she hated how that part of her body always wanted to send reminders of her former self. It added to the weight of confusion she experienced walking through her school halls: face beat, clothes lit, and Jamal bulging. It was embarrassing!

When her mom suggested that she switch schools for senior year, Joan couldn’t be happier. At least she’d be in a different place where no one knew her situation. And, she had found ways to control the hormonal beast that always felt ready to rear his ugly head. 

The first day wasn’t so bad; the entire week seemed to go by smoothly. Joan stayed in her corner, silently focusing on how to present her new self to others. However, it was all a ruse to lull her into false security. Joan had worn a floral dress with a denim coat today. She had worn that dress a million times since her transformation. It was her favourite outfit because it always made her feel beautiful. She was always sure of who she was when she wore it, but today?! Today, “Jamal” seemed to be a force to be reckoned with. Today, Jamal wanted to make an appearance. After all, she still had the hormonal reactions of sixteen year old boy. She “responded” to things quite easily; and there were days where tape just wasn’t enough. 

Today was one of those days. Joan was running late and was trying her best to rummage through her locker for her necessary books. Slamming the door and turning suddenly, she was caught up in the current of students herding themselves to class. Then it happened! Morgan, the most popular and most beautiful girl in the school brushed into her and, there went Jamal! Joan’s face flushed as she felt her appendage meet Morgan’s hips. Rushing to the nearest bathroom, Joan felt that she had poked her way through the crowd, making her more and more mortified. People knew. And, she knew they knew. They felt it. They had to have felt it. She sure felt them. 

Sitting in the bathroom stall, she wondered if it wasn’t too late to switch schools again, but this time to another city. In fact, she and her mom could move. Why not? Her mom was still young and beautiful. She’d find a new boyfriend and Joan could get her second chance. They both deserved it. But how would she sell it…

******

Morgan had spent years perfecting her brand. A Caribbean child by birth, Morgan was thrown into the American high school system suddenly when her dad had found work in the US. She wasn’t opposed to the move. She was a plain Jane back home; her hips were not as thick or hair as tamed. She just blended in with the other uniformed students. 

However, in America, Morgan was exotic. Her accent was a ripple of delight for all who heard it; her body was coined as “slim thick” magnetically drawing both males and females alike. In her old life, she was poor; but, over here, her style choices were considered revolutionary! No matter what she wore she could masquerade it as Caribbean chic and her peers ate it up. 

The only thing she couldn’t seem to control was her skin. She didn’t prescribe to the signature art form of “bleaching”, using chemicals to lighten the pigments of the skin. Her issue was more of the acne variety. Her skin had always been an oil mill; and now because of the difference in humidity, her body had now become a gold mine for acne, zits and blackheads. Her aunt Titi’s homemade remedies managed to control her outbreaks; but there were some things even her aunt couldn’t beat into submission and today was one of those days where her stubborn pores had formed a coup against her face. 

There it was. The Mount Everest of zits protruding from the middle of her head like some defected unicorn. It took forever to MacGyver a look that concealed the Mount Vesuvius on her face. She was sure that it would unexpectedly erupt and destroy all traces of her coolness and popularity in one great inferno. Maybe she was exaggerating. Maybe it wasn’t another wonder of the world. But for Morgan, it would be the end of her world; a world she desperately wanted to cling to, for as long as she could. 

Walking through the hallway she had felt eyes peering at her and imagined snickers behind her back. It was as if everyone knew what was going on with her face. Had more bumps suddenly surfaced? Was she going to be the next target for teenage bullying and pranks? She vividly remembered how the previous “It Girl” Mary had been shamed for weeks because of a simple female leak. You can only imagine the very inappropriate nickname the girls sang in the halls when she walked by. Although, the incident gave Morgan a chance at the throne, it also meant that she could be taken down at any time for the smallest of incidents, with no remorse. 

With these thoughts walking along side her, she picked up her pace and went storming into the bathroom to see if her hideous secret had reared its ugly head. As she began to check, a group of females came charging in, leaving Morgan to take refuge in a nearby stall. She waited for what felt like hours before she heard the bathroom door close. 

“I thought they would never leave,” she groaned to herself. 

“You better leave now before another flock comes through,” a voice replied. Morgan wasn’t sure where the next voice came from. She peeked her head down but saw no feet in the other stalls. 

“Hello,” she questioned. Was there really someone there or was it just her imagination? Her voice seemed to echo within the still stalls and Morgan exhaled deeply, her nerves restored. 

“Ever had one of those days when it feels like it’s the worst day in your life,” Joan grimaced to a confused Morgan. 

“Yeah. Today is that kind of day for me,” Morgan replied after a brief pause. She was hoping that no one knew it was her in the bathroom. Maybe this was her chance to vent a bit, let out her frustration and let down her guard. Besides, if this person did know her personally and she’d deny everything. 

“Trust me, it doubt it’s worse than mine,” Joan remarked.

“Well, lay it on me and we’ll see.”

Joan was reluctant. No one in the school knew she was transgender besides a few selected teachers and administration. Could she really trust opening herself to a stranger; especially to someone with no loyalty to her whatsoever? 

“You know when have a part of your past, a part of yourself that you wish you could change but no matter how hard you try you just can’t!” Joan chose her words very carefully. She desperately wanted someone to talk to but she also didn’t want to jeopardise her potential future at her new school. She waited for a response from the other stall and sighed in despair as the silence grew. She didn’t know what she had expected to happen; so, she flushed the toilet and prepared to face the cruel societal jungle that was high school. Suddenly laughter erupted. 

“Gyal, I know ‘ow yuh feel all too well,” Morgan’s dialect was a surprise to them both. She couldn’t remember the last time she let the loose articulation slipped, but she admitted to herself that it was as refreshing as confiding in her new strange friend. She doubt her practicing pope would understand her Caribbean creole so she reined it in a bit before sharing more. 

“I have an extra appendage it feels like everyone can see it. It used to be worse at my old school; and I thought I had a handle on it but today it decided to—”

“Do its own thing,” they said in unison followed by a chorus of laughter. 

“You know, I lost friends because of mine,” Joan chuckled.

“Well I barely had any friends because of mine. Especially when the white part was showing.”

“Oh gosh I hate that,” Joan chuckled. She finally met someone who understood her situation. “Wait, have you shown yourself to people before?!”

“Yeah once or twice. It really couldn’t be helped. I swear it has a mind of its own,” Morgan said while poking the bump on her forehead, “I could feel it throbbing now but that’s only because I’m touching it.” 

“You’re brave. Some days I can’t even look at mine,” Joan looked down at her lap. Jamal was quite submissive at this point but it didn’t change the fact that it was the source of so much trouble. “I begged my mom to let me get the surgery to remove it but she wants me to wait until I’m eighteen.”

“That’s not a bad idea you know. I have a cousin who rushed to get the surgery done and went to a local doctor in the area. He gave her medicine that caused an allergic reaction. Her entire body broke out in a rash.” Morgan reminisced about her cousin Shelly who went to a dermatologist that gave her a bleaching cream remedy. “Shelly had to stay indoors for weeks before that cleared up. Sometimes it’s best to wait so you could get it done right. That’s what I plan to do after graduation.”

“Well, I guess I can wait too. Jamal isn’t worth a rash.”

“Jamal?”

“That’s my name for it.”

“You know I don’t have a name for mine,” Morgan reflected while poking her bump, “but if I did, I’d call it Karen. Nobody likes a Karen right?”

Laughter erupted the stalls once more. Both girls felt relaxed; their fears of social demise diminished and they actually felt as if they had found a friend in each other. 

“Hey,” Morgan started, “I know I don’t know your name but why don’t you show me yours and I’ll show you mine? I promise I won’t judge you. We’ll show each other, introduce ourselves and then have lunch! What’d you say?”

Joan was reluctant. She wasn’t sure if this was the right idea. 

“Oh, come on, I doubt yours is bigger than mine,” Morgan pushed. Morgan had a skyscraper on her forehead after all. 

Between disbelief and laughter Joan accepted. “I doubt it, but okay. On the count of three we’ll show ourselves and then head for lunch. One…two…three…”

  Morgan walked out the stall, her oily zit in full view and well Joan? She had her dress hoisted up a bit over her waist, revealing black silk panties and Lil Jamal. They looked at each other, embarrassed, mortified and waiting for the ground to swallow them both up. When Joan had realised that she was practically flashing the most popular girl in school, she dropped her dress, followed by her head. 

Morgan had no idea that she was talking to a transgender student. All this time Morgan had been lamenting about a pimple when there was another student with more issues than she could fathom. She covered up “Karen”; she wasn’t needed here. 

“Well, you’re right. Yours is bigger. I’m Morgan by the way.”

“I’m Joan,” she stuttered. 

“Okay, Joan. See you at lunch,” she blushed before running out of the bathroom. Joan looked at the mirror and realised that she was also blushing. The week hadn’t started the way she had expected but maybe, just maybe thanks to Jamal, she had made a possible friend. She freshened up her face and left the bathroom thinking that there may still be hope for high school just yet. 

August 29, 2020 02:03

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