Date: 22nd January, 2019
Edited: 1st February, 2019
Written at the Writers Cafe meetup
Prompt: I am a zombie but I can still think.
The girl was born on Christmas Eve. It was decidedly not a “Very Merry Christmas” for her parents that year. Her mother spent 8 agonizing hours in labor while her father, late as always, spent 2 of those hours having the bones in his left hand ground to dust doing his job holding the mama-to-be’s hand.
People say the girl is a Christmas miracle but really, the real miracle was being able to pay the rent and bills on top of the expenses that come with having a newborn baby.
Faith’s life has always been defined by the mighty dollar. Mama and Papa made sure of that, dressing her in modest and neat skirts and blouses to always look presentable and putting books into her hands instead of toys.
“Be presentable and study hard. You’ll be a doctor one day and earn lots of money.”
The clothes, the books and the schooling seemed to be only luxuries this small family could afford. Everything else was minimal, cramped and frugal- fitting three generations of this family into a tiny apartment. Faith could see that and had been told so over and over again. She was an investment. It was clear and she understood. This was why as a child, Faith had no choice but to bury her hopes, her dreams, herself…and she died an obedient premature death.
A time for changes to happen.
The grave Faith had dug and so neatly covered up years ago had been disturbed by the unquestionable and inevitable force that was “puberty”.
She rose from that grave- awake for the first time in years.
Her rising wasn’t pretty.
She didn’t feel pretty.
And it hurt.
Being alive hurt.
Being awake hurt.
She was something grotesque, inside and out. Spending multiple years in a grave would do that to a person. The rot had spread everywhere. It was inescapable. Not one inch of her skin was spared. It had spread past her skin, seeped into her innards, coating tendons and muscles and nerves and her brain in this sickness only she could see and feel. (Or was it even a secret? Who else knew?)
She was in a manner of speaking, a social zombie- this outsider, outlier, this mistake of a human being, staggering through life at a snail’s pace in pursuit of the mighty dollar because that’s all she can do.
But this zombie could still think- “Please, please, end me.”
Faith was spending the night alone in her college dorm like she always does. She didn’t have much of a reason to go out and party. Much less, spend time with friends. She was here to fulfil her role after all. Even as a social zombie, she had successfully fooled the system, pretending to be the right kind of human, the human she was born to be- a put together elegant woman, quiet, reserved, but not so much to not be a doormat and to be pleasing to others on a surface level. She had years of practice after all with nothing else to take her attention.
But Faith had peeked past the veil during her travels to adulthood. She had seen what lies on the other side- or at least, a possibility of it. So Faith, very quietly, so as not to disturb or alert anyone- not her parents, not her siblings, not her acquaintances- and walked willingly back into the empty grave once more. And this time, Faith knew it would be the last time- she had faith in what comes after.
Today, he has a garden.
A magnificent one. In the middle of April, tulips of every color from the spectrum of the rainbow would bloom and spill out from behind the white picket fence and into his neighbors’ yards (they certainly don’t mind). The garden is the envy of the neighborhood. He deserves it. They deserve it. He never worked alone on his beloved plants. He was always with a friend, his partner, his children.
And together, they are happy.
6th February, 2019
Honestly, writing stories like this makes me nervous. I just have no confidence writing using the voices of other people- especially those from minority groups that I definitely do not belong to. Mainly because I don’t feel like I’m giving these voices justice. But I think, stories like this, especially those with happy endings, need to be told. I decided to write this piece because I personally have friends who are trans and from the LGBT community in general and quite a few of them can’t see themselves having happy futures.
In terms of writing… I’m not particularly happy with this piece. I think I can add more to it and describe the journey Faith has to being his true self in more detail but I ran out of time. Actually taking that leap of faith (ha, see what I did there) to making a change in your identity and in turn, your life, is a HUGE undertaking. It’s rife with perils and pitfalls and people WILL go against you, even people that you care about and have cared about you. It is the unfortunate truth. I wish to write more of this topic in the future AND give hope for a happy ending… but that would mean more confidence from me and a loooot more research and talking with people. Perhaps I’ll try again once I’ve done so.
Cheers to all you guys at the Writers’ Cafe that week. It had been a while since I last attended but I felt at ease and slid right back into the routine. Thank you all of you and it was really educational and amazing to hear your stories as well.
Until next time,
The Writing Borb