Kris sat at the edge of the bare bed. The room was mostly empty, except for a few boxes of old toys and special keepsakes from her childhood. The scent of fresh paint and the sound of her breathing filled the remainder of the space. She thought herself an emotional wreck lately, as if any moment, her emotions just behind her skin were ready to leap out and either paint her face with tears or crease it with laughter. Whatever the reasons for the outbursts were, she no longer cared. She gave up trying to control them.
Her head sunk onto her hand and tears welled into her bright blue eyes. She stared blankly at her shoes against the oak floor. The scene before her dissolved. Alone in an empty room with nothing familiar from the past to root her, she let herself cry. She cried for time lost to despair and her drifting away from loved ones. She cried for the circumstances that led to this single, stark moment in her life.
Kris sits now miles and years away from where she began. It had been a struggle just to begin the journey. A struggle that started long before this move and years before she was able to call herself Kristine openly. The point in her journey now is really the beginning of another’s ending. In her new room, with her new name established she is ready to move forward into her adult life starting with her final year in high school.
She tried to find something tangible to anchor herself but she only found the unknown of the coming summer and her new identity at school in the fall. She felt that familiar spiral of doubt but now there is a voice that stops the plunge. Her mother’s words fresh in her mind—I love you my daughter and I will always be there for you. Her mother rescued Kris by casting aside her own fears and doubt by simply accepting Kris as her daughter.
She had been waiting for this day to come. It was a year ago that her father came home with news that responsibilities at work would require a move at the end of her Junior year in high school. The move would take them to a new house, city and school. He said it was what he was working for and would ultimately make their lives better. Kris thought that wasn’t the full reason why they are moving. She knew her parents would do anything to support her after their community failed her. They turned their backs on her family because of Kris, so they did as people have done throughout time, they sought a better life elsewhere.
“We will have a bigger house, maybe even a pool and a big backyard in a quiet street near a park. Just like your mom has always talked about,” he told Kris, “Big changes are coming, we all need to be prepared.”
Kris ran this through her mind repeatedly, it was true—big changes were coming.
Moving is always difficult at any age but more so when your world is small. Left behind was the only person that understood her. Her best and only friend Samantha who was one of three people who stuck with her as her life unraveled in particularly grand fashion.
After a few minutes of clearing her mind of the past, her present surroundings came into focus. The tears had stopped. Her wet nose was drying and feeling cold. She raised her gaze from her wet shoes and scanned her new room. She wiped her face with both hands and finally noticed the details. This room is larger than her old one and has windows facing a backyard that sloped down to the trees and park beyond. The two doors on the wall, both closed, balanced the exit door to the right and the windows opposite. The wood floor and trim were varnished to a golden brown and the walls were bare but for a few nail holes, a clue that someone had occupied the room before her. She stared at the doors in the wall for some time as her mind started reconnecting her to the present.
Slowly she rose and went to one of the doors. She opened it and found a large walk-in closet. It was lined with shelves across the top with a U-shaped rod under the shelves to hang clothing. A white metal rack created an organizer for shoes on the back wall. The closet had a full length mirror on the inside of the door. She looked into it as she opened it wide; displaying the sweep of the room as the door swung. The natural light coming through the naked windows created the perfect illumination as she stood in front of the mirror. She backed up slightly until her reflection was fully in view. Her old, purple tennis shoes, tattered and worn were fitted to the tight fitting skinny jeans that hugged her hips and legs. She looked at the v-neck tee shirt topped with a black vest, her arms looked long and thin as they emerged from the vest and hung at her sides. She rubbed one of her arms and turned them around looking at the shape.
“Girl arms,” Kris mumbled with a quirky smile.
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