It was a typical Saturday afternoon for Abby and her three best friends. After going to the theater, they went to their favorite coffee shop to gossip about any attractive moviegoers of the opposite gender. This time it was Clark and Ben, two seniors from their high school.
Mid conversation, Abby pushed her chair away from the table, standing up with a weak smile and an underlying sadness that her friends chose to ignore. Chelsea just kept on chatting about how she thought Ben was the hottest boy she’d ever seen. Just as Abby walked away she heard Chelsea exclaim, “If he asked me out, I’d totally do it with him!” Followed by a crescendo of giggles and Oh My Gosh’s from Kate and Sophie.
It wasn’t that Abby didn’t agree that Ben was the hottest, most popular boy in school; it was just that they had a different history. The last time she’d had direct contact with him had been four years ago, one year after she’d begun transitioning, and long before anyone besides her family and three best friends had accepted her. On a typical day filled with teen angst, pain and embarrassment, Abby had walked down the history-building hallway and crossed paths with Ben’s group of friends standing by his locker. As soon as she had passed them, Ben exclaimed, “Hey, Andrew!” then burst into knee-slapping laughter with the rest of the guys.
He had used her dead name. The first time someone had in months. It was all she could do to hasten her pace to get out of the building before bursting into tears. She never told her friends, so she couldn’t blame them for thinking Ben was a great guy.
The memory swirled through her mind as she made her way through the coffee shop alive with the whirring of espresso machines and the chitter-chatter of baristas. While walking, she side glanced at an elderly couple whispering at their table. Whether or not she was correct didn’t matter, her heart started to race and her cheeks flushed as she imagined them discussing her uncertain appearance.
She swept her long brown and purple highlighted hair behind her ear and looked at her feet, focusing on the tile floor as she walked the rest of the distance to the bathroom. Now came her most difficult decision of the day. To reject the person she knows she is deep within her soul or to chance being rejected for using the ‘wrong’ bathroom.
Abby took a deep breath, looked at the silly blue sign with the triangle person on it and pushed open the door, seriously hoping that no one else was in the bathroom today.