A is for Andy
(© Sebastian Bendix)
On his eighteenth birthday, he decided to kill mother.
Enough was enough. He didn’t want to wear the clothes she laid out for him
anymore; the dresses, the blouses, the frilly socks. The panties. For eighteen
years he had lived under her roof and abided by her rules, but he was a big boy
now. A man. It was time for him to make his mark on the world, and he started
by jamming a screwdriver into the back of mother's neck.
Once the deed was done, he found himself at
crossroads. Like a farm animal suddenly liberated from its cage, he was
flummoxed by freedom. Where would he go? What would he do? What would he wear? As
these questions plagued him, he began to feel his first pangs of regret. Maybe
he had been too hasty to kill mother. Maybe he needed her guidance after all.
His dreams of independence seemed to slip through the cracks, like mother’s
blood through the weathered floorboards, retreating into the dark unknown.
But it was too early along life’s great journey
to submit to despair! Mother had a saying, "First things first." It was a
saying he loathed – it always came up when Mother saw fit to wash his private
areas raw in the tub. But now he understood its value; he must face these
challenges one at a time. And as he stood there naked and soaked in blood, he
resolved that the first thing to do was to fashion some proper clothing for
himself. "Clothes make the man," someone said to him once. Not mother of
course, and not father – he had abandoned them long ago. No, the person who had
given him this timeworn advice had been one of his teachers at school.
School. Now there was a place he truly despised.
That six room schoolhouse on Old Mill Road had
been, for him, a place of never-ending ridicule and torment. And this was
largely thanks to mother. Her penchant for dressing him as a girl brought an
endless torrent of jeers and bullying, mostly from his male classmates. The
teachers did what they were obligated to do, but he could tell that most of
them would have been happy to turn another cheek. But as the years went on his
appearance became old hat, and eventually the boys stopped their tormenting.
Then Sally Myers came along.
Sally Myers was a pigtailed monster in
patent leather shoes and baby doll dresses. On her first day of school (she had
been a transfer student) he walked right up to her in the playground and held
out his hand in friendship. Sally Myers looked aghast, mortified, and slapped
his hand away. The other girls laughed and scooped up fistfuls of dirt,
throwing them at him as they were prone to doing. But Sally took it a step
further. She pushed him over, right into the dirt, and ground a patent leather
shoe into the back of his head.
"Don't ever come near me again, Tranny
Annie!" she said.
"Tranny Annie! Tranny Annie!"
the other girls repeated in a chorus. And from then on, that was how he was
known. Not just from Sally, but everyone. He had even heard some of the
teachers whisper it as he passed, giggling amongst themselves.
One night, at the supper table, he asked
mother what "Tranny" meant. She slapped him for it and sent him to
his room without dessert.
He understood the "Annie" part of
the taunt the clothes he wore were fashioned to look like a Raggedy Ann doll, like the many
mother kept around the house. Blue skirt, white apron, red and white striped
socks. Mother even had him grow his hair out into pigtails, though his thin
mousy locks were never red enough for her liking. He often begged her to dress
him like Andy, Ann’s brother (or was it lover?), but mother wouldn’t have it.
In her mind, the question of his gender had been settled, nature be damned.
Raggedy Ann it was and forever shall be.
Until now. Now he had the freedom to dress
however he pleased. If he wished to dress like Raggedy Andy, who would stop him?
The very idea made him tingle. Why that’s exactly what he’d do! Dizzy with
excitement, his path now laid out for him, he grabbed the nearest Andy doll and
sat down at mother’s old sewing machine. He had spent many hours tethered to
her side, watching her create his clothing, and had a pretty good understanding
of how it all worked. Disrobing the doll, he studied its clothing like a
builder going over blueprints.
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