There is a parallel universe I live beside. It is so close that it surrounds me, and yet I am not inside it.
I was looking through my spanish book, finding the answer to what the teacher was talking about. I wasn’t paying attention and longing for the clock hands to tick. I heard the teacher say something to one of the girls in the class. I got a nudge from the girl behind me and as i looked up i saw the teacher looking at me. “You, the new girl…” she said and continued to speak to me in spanish.
I listened, shrugging off my humiliation, ignoring how hot my face was getting. I gripped my hands to hide their sudden shaking as the insecurity and hurt set in. I will never understand why it always upsets me so much to get called out. To publicly not pass.
I reminded myself: No one else knows I’m not a girl. No one else understands that it’s wrong. To them, I’m just another female, probably one of those lesbian types. To them there is no discrepancy, no embarassment. They can’t really see me, only the distorted shell of me.
I got hit with a second shot at the end of class. The teacher said “I need the new girl to come up and give me her information.” I hate walks of shame.
When the room was empty I made an experiment. I told her “I’m not a girl, I’m a boy.” She apologized and said she wasn’t sure, but that I “had the face of a girl,” so she guessed I was a girl. She said she thought it was more likely I would be offended if I was a girl who got called a boy than if I were a boy who was called a girl. I didn’t see her logic. I explained how my name was different on the roster. She asked me why I didn’t go by the name on the roster. I’m not sure if she understood that my girl name was not a male name. I just said I prefered Jac and would rather not hassel with more than one name. She understood and started talking about cuba and her daughter. Apparently she had two names too. I think it all went over her head.
I walked out onto campus, still strange from the familiar experience. I felt as if I truely were walking along a one way mirror. My world was on my side, the rest was on the other. I told myself that someday there would be more vision, less confusion. People would see through the mirror and I would no longer be distorted. But today is not someday. Today is today.