Today marks day 1098 since I had come out as transgender to my mother and father. While it didn’t go as I planned, I was happy that they decided to invite me home for the holidays. It means a lot to me that they still see me as their child. I am not their daughter anymore, but their son. I hope they can see that now. It took so long for me to accept this fact for myself, so I knew that it wasn’t going to be the easiest thing for them. But did it excuse them for kicking me out of the house? No. Did it excuse them for calling me names? No. Do I hate them for that? Honestly I don’t know what to feel. I am still really hurt. But they’re my parents... so I want to give them a second chance.
“This the place?” A voice tore through my thoughts as I was brought back to reality. I stopped writing in my journal and looked out the car’s window. My eyes scanned the building that I once called home. I took in every detail while inspecting the place before me. Nothing seemed to have changed since I was here last. ‘At least some things haven’t changed,’ I thought with a small smile. ‘If only that could be true with everything...’ My thoughts scattered once again as I was taken back to the real world. The cab driver had coughed loudly to get my attention. “I don’t have all day mister. Is this the place or not?”
My gaze shifted over to the driver as I mumbled quietly, “Yeah, this is it. Thank you.” I quickly gave him his payment and got out of the car. I held my journal tightly as I stared at the house before me intently. Memories of when I was younger flew into my mind the longer I gazed at it. A sad smile made its way to my face as I began to remember the fun times me and my siblings had.
It was a Sunday afternoon when he found out. We were playing around in the front yard. I was climbing up a big oak tree while my brother was cheering me on. “Come on Sarah, you can do it! You don't have to be such a girl you know!” A handsome 21 year old said with his blonde hair slicked backed into a nice tight bun. He was wearing his Sunday best.
“I am not a girl, Jadon. I am a boy! And stop calling me Sarah! I hate that name!” The young girl said falling out of the tree.
“Woah Sarah, what do you mean?” Jadon asked catching his little sister. “You’re not a girl?” He questioned, sitting down with his sister, who was crying. She wasn’t sure what to tell her brother. Her secret could ruin their relationship, and she didn’t want that.
With a sigh, she mumbled her biggest secret. “I am transgender… female to male. My name is Sunni...” He looked up at Jadon with red puffy eyes, scared to see the hatred that was sure to come.
“Sunni... I like it! Sunni Wolk has a nice ring to it… definitely will get all the boys and girls knocking down your door.” Jadon said smiling, wrapping his arms around his baby brother.
“Thanks Jadon” Sunni said softly as he leaned on his brother's shoulder.
“Hey is that who I think that is?” A voice called out, bringing me out of my train of thought. “Yeah it is! There’s my little Sunni!” The comforting voice of my brother, Jadon, called out to me. Soon I was wrapped up into his arms in a big bear hug.
“Hey Jadon, it's been awhile since we have seen each other,” I said as I held my brother close in my arms, scared to let go.
“Yeah, I think three years now. So any new girlfriend or boyfriend I should know about before we go deal with mom and dad?” He asked smiling. Jadon slowly let go of me as they started to head up the path to the house.
“No, not yet... And what do you mean deal with mom and dad? They invited me over for dinner… they will be happy to see their son home for the holidays...” I said completely confused as to what my brother meant by his comment.
“Well… not exactly…” Jadon replied while scratching the back of his head with a sheepish smile. “I may or may not have forged dad’s handwriting,” he explained with a slight shrug.
I gasped and hit Jadon on the shoulder. “Why the heck would you do that! Wait… do they even know I’m here?” My eyes widened at this realization.
“Um… no, they don’t know…” Jadon mumbled looking down at the ground. “I just wanted to see you… I know it’s selfish, but it’s been three years Sunni. And it’s about time our parents apologize to you. You didn’t deserve what they did.”
My eyes teared up as I said, “it doesn’t matter what you thought. I still wanted them to come to me on their own and apologize.”
“Well, sometimes people need a little push, Sunni.” Jadon grabbed my hand so I couldn’t pull away as he knocked on the door.
“Coming!” A female’s voice yelled. My hands began to sweat and become clammy as my nerves got the best of me. My brother noticed that I was shaking slightly, and he squeezed my hand in comfort.
He smiled softly at me and said, “I promise, nothing’s going to happen to you. Everything will be fine.”
Before I could reply back, the front door opened as my mom cried out. “Jarod, it’s so good to see you! And… Sarah?” Her eyes were in disbelief as she saw me. “I… I didn’t realize you were coming Sarah…”
By this time, my thoughts were jumbled and I could barely think. I wanted to correct my mom, but I was scared. “It’s Sunni, mom. My brother’s name is Sunni.”
My mother huffed, but she held her tongue. “Whatever, just come inside Jarod and Sunni.” She said my name with so much hatred, it hurt. It felt like a knife piercing my heart. My mother turned around and went to the kitchen.
Jarod pulled me into the house and shut the door, trapping me inside. ‘No escaping now…’ I thought with a gulp. I shuffled into the kitchen and saw the table loaded with food. There was a steaming, fresh turkey sitting in the center of the table. There was also corn, green beans, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, and rolls. I hummed at the different scents that filled my nose. They all smelled so good! I’ve forgotten how much I missed my mom’s cooking.
“Well, well. If it isn’t Sarah joining us for Thanksgiving. Have you finally changed your mind about all this being a boy crap?” My father asked. He gave me a cold, menacing stare.
“N-no, I haven’t. My name’s not Sarah… it’s Sunni…” I whispered, looking at the ground. I was too scared to look my father in the eyes.
“I’m sorry… What was that? Could you speak a little louder? I could’ve sworn you said no. Could you talk a little louder this time?” My dad sneered. I was shaking violently from the rising tension in the room. I felt hands on my shoulders and heard my savior’s voice.
“He said no and that he would like you to call him Sunni from now on.” Jarod spoke out to my father. I calmed down a little bit and my shaking became less noticeable.
Before my dad could reply back, my mother walked into the room with her famous cherry pie in her hands. “Everyone, sit down. Food is ready and I’d like to eat before it gets ruined from a fight.”
My father grumbled under his breath and didn’t say anything else. I took the seat across from my mother, while my brother sat across from my father. My family bowed their heads and said grace before passing the food around. ”Did you forget the butter?” My father asked my mother as he grabbed a roll from a basket.
My mother looked around the table and her face reddened, “I guess I did. I’ll go get it.”
I quickly stood up and said, “I’ll get it, it’s the least I can do for showing up unexpected.”
“Um… ok.” My mother replied, surprised.
I left the dining room and headed straight to the kitchen. When I got there, I opened the fridge door and looked for the butter. I gasped in shock as I noticed a two liter of Cherry Coke sitting in the fridge next to the butter. “That’s strange… I’m the only one in this family who likes Cherry Coke…” I grabbed the Cherry Coke and the butter before closing the fridge.
As I walked into the dining room, I noticed my father and brother standing. I guess I was in too much shock from finding the soda, I didn’t hear all the yelling.
“Why in the heck would you invite her, Jarod! She isn’t part of this family until she accepts that she’s not a boy!” My father screamed.
“Can’t you see how much this is hurting Sunni and yourselves? Are your political views really more important than your own flesh and blood?” My brother retorted back.
My father slammed his fists on the table and furiously screamed. “I RAISED HER TO BE THE PERFECT DAUGHTER! NOT A QUEER!”
‘Raised her to be the perfect daughter, not a queer… perfect daughter…’ Those words kept playing over and over in my head. I started to breath heavily as my heart race quickened. The soda and butter fell my hands. My vision started to blur as the objects and colors merged together in a never-ending spiral. I could hear people screaming my name over and over, but I couldn’t say anything back.
“I raised you to be the perfect daughter and this is how you repay us?! You’re a disgrace!” My father screamed at a younger version of me. His face was red with anger and it was all because of me. Tears welled up in my eyes and my lips quivered in both fear and sorrow as I tried to form the simple words at the time. All I wanted was to say ‘I am sorry dad.’ The anger he had for me was so much. And all because I held my pride flag way to close to my heart.
I stood in silence watching the younger me hear those words. “I raised you to be the perfect daughter! Not some boy! That's why we had your brother! He is the other man of the house not you!” My father yelled at the younger me, making me shake in fear. “JUST GET OUT AND NEVER RETURN TILL YOU GET THIS STUPID IDEA OUT OF YOUR HEAD!”
“Sunni… Sunni… SUNNI!”
I gasped loudly as I shot up from where I was laying. I was breathing heavily and I felt sweaty. My vision was still a little blurry, but I could make out my brother in front of me. “What… what happened?” I asked groggily.
Jarod let out a sigh and pulled me into a tight hug. I felt tears dripped onto my shoulder as I noticed he was crying. I also saw my parents behind him. They also had scared expressions and tears in their eyes.
“Why is everyone crying?” I managed to ask.
My brother pulled back from his hug and replied, “you were having a panic attack. It scared all of us.”
My eyes widened with what he said. ‘I haven’t had one of those since I got kicked out…’
“Are you ok?” My mother asked, looking at me with sad eyes.
“Yeah… I’m fine…” I mumbled, moving my gaze to look at the ground.
“Hey, um… Sunni…?” My father said unsuringly. My eyes widened when I heard him use my real name. I looked up at him and saw tears streaming down his face. “I-I’m sorry for the way I acted… I should’ve realized how much my actions would hurt you. Your brother is right. My political views shouldn’t interfere with family. I hope you can forgive me someday.”
“I am sorry too.” My mother said while getting down on her hands and knees. She hugged me as she cried, “I should’ve been there when my baby needed me most. I’m so sorry Sunni.”
Tears rushed down my face as I smiled. I hugged my mother back and mumbled, “I forgive you both. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to hear you two say.” My brother smiled at me and I pulled him into the hug.
After the crying ended, me and my family made our way back to the table. We continued eating the Thanksgiving meal like nothing ever happened three years ago.
“So, is there anything else I should know?” My father asked, setting his fork down after he finished eating.
“Well… I’m also bisexual…” I said looking down.
My father sighed, but didn’t say anything negative. “I… I can learn to live with that…”
“I’m gay!” Jarod yelled, doing jazz hands as he stood up.