It was only my second day, but it seemed as if everyone already knew. I caught hints of whispers, all saying something along the lines of "She's that lesbian girl that moved here from Westbrook". It was as if there was a neon sign above my head that flashed, "Hello, I'm Jenna, I'm a LESBIAN!" But then again, what else would you expect when your parents just transferred you halfway through the year to a Catholic school.
At 3:45 I got inside my mom's car to go home. If her cold stare was any indication, she was still mad about my relationship with Carrie. My coming out hadn't gone over too well with my ultra-conservative parents. She pursed her lips and evil-eyed me. I slipped carefully into the back seat, knowing that one wrong word could trigger a verbal explosion. Her lips were beginning to turn white. Finally, she spoke.
"How was your day, Jenna?" She snapped.
I decided that a generic "Fine" would be the best way to go. She zipped out of the parking lot and her white-knuckled hands steered us home. I wanted to say how I really felt. I wanted to tell her so badly that it hurt. After all, she is my mother. I loved Carrie, more than I loved anyone in the world. Why should my mother have to take that away from me? I wanted to say that my day was horrid, that everyone was biased, that I had already been cast out, voted off the social island of high school. I wanted to tell her how much I hurt, how even at a school devoted to God and being holy, I could never fit in. I was a sin.
That night Carrie called me. I picked up the phone before my mother could intercept it. I told her everything I couldn't say to my mother, and suddenly a wave of tears fell through the barrier that had been keeping them in all day. I fell asleep with the phone to my ear, the muted sounds of Carrie's voice telling me how she would always love me gently rocking me to sleep.
The next day was the first time anyone had ever confronted me about who I am. "So you're a lesbian, right?" She said, in a conversational yet menacing tone. There was no use denying the truth. I wasn't scared of her; why should I be? It's not worth the pain of holding all your secrets in. I took a deep breath.
"Yeah, so…" I breathed. On second thought, I was scared of her. What would these ignorant people do to me?
Her cold voice interrupted my thoughts.
"Well, I hope you enjoy your stay in hell." A sick feeling flooded my stomach. She turned on her heel and stalked away.
The rest of the day I hid beneath my books, ashamed and afraid. After all, I was going to a Catholic school. I had to hide who I am here. I couldn't just be myself. I was terrified, ashamed, and more alone than I had ever been in my entire life.
I lay awake that night.
The very next day I decided that acceptance wasn't worth the pain. I dug through my closet to find every scrap of rainbow or purple clothing I could find. I became a silent storm. Why should I let one person put me to shame? I walked proudly through the halls, ignoring the eyes, all fixated on me. Why should I hide? Why should I let my fear control me? After all, it's a part of who I am.