|Fill In The Blanks
Author: Sarashina PM
Every year, Sam has to put up with the family New Year's party. The constant whispers, giggles, and innapropriate stares and questions could drive an 18 year old insane. But why is it such a big deal that a pretty girl like Sam wants to wear a dress?Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Angst - Words: 1,102 - Reviews: 5 - Published: 12-23-03 - Status: Complete - id: 1478846
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Fill In The Blanks"
"You still…" Kyle looked me up and down, frowning as he searched for the right words. His face twitched as his eyes reached my face. "Haven't gotten over the dress thing, have you?" he finally spat out.
I stared at the floor, cheeks burning, smoothing out my skirt nervously. "No?" I offered.
Kyle shifted his weight uncomfortably. "Sam," he began, his tone brimming with scorn.
"Dammit," I sighed, cutting him off, "wouldn't you know it? I left everyone's presents out in the car." I clapped a hand to my forehead with a painful grin. "Stupid of me, huh? Be back in a sec!" I backed away, eyes still fixed on the linoleum, and broke into a sprint towards my car. The hem of my dress twisted as I stumbled into the door, and I lifted my skirt and lurched into the driveway.
'It's like this every New Year's,' I told myself firmly. 'Don't be so surprised.' Every year, my arrival is met with the stares and nervous questions, the whispers and giggles, and the outright lectures. Of course, there's always that one clueless family member who asks why it's such a big deal that a sweet, pretty girl like me wants to wear a dress to the party. For a moment, the stares turn to them, until someone is forced to break it to them that I am not, in fact, a girl.
I opened the trunk of my rusty Cabriolet, and glanced at the one on top. "Happy New Year, Kyle! From Sam." For a moment, I considered throwing it into the wet street, hopefully to be crushed by some plastered holiday driver. But the temptation flitted away, and I hefted it back to the top of the pile.
I walked back into the house, and no sooner was I halfway through the doorway before the too-loud, drunken laughter assaulted my ears. I recognized the snorting and gasping right away; my Uncle Geoffrey stood by the punch bowl, entertaining a small knot of relatives with a tirade about my hopelessness.
"Honestly, it's bad enough that he's so damned girly," shouted Geoffrey over the laughter, lighting a cigarette. "But wearin' a dress to boot? When I was in high school, a kid like that'd get his ass kicked!"
My fists clenched, but I willed my expression to stay pleasant. Shuffling over to the punch bowl, I smiled painfully at my relatives. "You don't have to worry about me, Uncle Geoffrey!" I chirped. "I've been taking karate since I was six, I think I can take care of myself."
I looked around at my family, who, in turn, looked at the floor, the ceiling, their wineglasses, anything that wasn't me. Finally, Geoffrey burst into laughter again.
"That's my little trooper!" He clapped me on the back, catching his class ring in my long hair and sending me stumbling forward. "I know y' can fend for yourself, Sammy. But I worry 'bout y' sometimes, y'know?" he said thickly.
"I'm sure you do," I replied with a placid smile.
"And that's why y' need to assert yourself as a man, Sammy-boy!" Geoffrey put an arm around me. "Get yourself a nice girl! What about that friend of yours, the German one?"
"Stella's Dutch, Uncle." Irritation crept into my voice. "And we aren't dating."
"Then what the hell are y' waiting for, boy?" Geoffrey shook me a bit. "That Stella girl's a fox." He whistled. "Grade A, first class fox. Think she's sweet on you, too."
The urge to punch Geoffrey right on his drunken nose bubbled in my stomach, but I pushed it down again. "It's not like that," I said, shrugging.
"What happened to Linda, Sam?" asked Kyle. I nearly winced out loud; Kyle knew fully well what "happened" to her.
"I told you, Kyle. Linda… discovered her sexuality," I said delicately. Everyone blinked, trying to process what I'd said through all the Courvoisier. Then Geoffrey guffawed.
"Oh! I got it!" he shouted, loud enough for the whole house to hear. "She's one of those lesbians!" All the awkward silences tonight were nothing compared to this. Even my uncles who went out for a smoke heard it, and poked their heads back through the door to see exactly who was a lesbian. "That's just priceless… musta made you feel like an idiot, eh Sammy?"
"Yeah, idiot," I weakly repeated, rubbing my scalp. Kyle fidgeted and bit his lip, and I knew I was in trouble. He only did that when she was about to ask me an exceedingly stupid question.
"Are you one, Sam?" Kyle slowly asked.
"One what?" I asked, forcing yet another smile. My cheeks were beginning to ache.
"Y'know," Kyle laughed. "One of those… homosexuals."
It was my turn to be caught off guard. I mouthed silently for a few minutes before being able to whisper, "Well, it's irrelevant really, isn't it? I like women just fine—"
"…You just like wearing their clothes!" roared Geoffrey. Everyone giggled behind their hands, and the less tactful burst into raucous laughter. I tried to laugh harder and louder than all of them.
"Heh heh, that's a good one!" I chuckled. "Um, excuse me for a moment." I stepped back outside into the cold, damp air. The red bows in my hair were starting to come undone, and hung around my face. As it began to drizzle, I imagined now would be the time to ask the gods, goddesses, and Buddha why no one understood me. I'd curse my faulty genes, my flighty girlfriends, and my inconvenient figure, and throw myself into the mud and bemoan my misfortune, like I'd been doing for years.
But I didn't. I just wondered why I was stupid enough to wander outside when I knew it was about to rain. I stepped back under the canopy and fingered the fabric of my dress protectively. I wouldn't dream of ruining my clothes.