Although this prompt for today was already awaiting my words I wasn’t sure where it was going to go. That was until I chatted with Maritxell on Tuesday. From our conversation came the idea for this story…
Sam looked in the mirror. “Who are you really? Who am I?” he asked of himself.
The words that asked the question had recently been painted with sunset blush, the eyes mascaraed and lined with perfection and the hair styled gently around his soft face. There was no sign of stubble on his androgynous chin, and nothing to really give away his masculinity. The scarf hid his Adams apple, although it was hardly noticeable anyway.
Sam looked over his shoulder via the mirror at the dress he had chosen for tonight’s event. It was black and definitely understated for such an event, but it fitted him perfectly and made him feel ‘right’.
For a moment he slipped into a memory. He was about five and had been playing dress up in his mother’s wardrobe. He had done what he thought at the time as a good job of the make-up. His mum’s shoes were obviously way too big but wearing those and one of her floral prints he marched into the living room giggling.
“Who do you think you are?” his father barked at him. “They’re your mother’s clothes no get them off. You’re a boy, and by god I’m going to make sure you become a man every bit as good as me.”
His father’s sudden anger had confused and upset him. He was only wearing his mum’s clothes. He was still a boy. ‘Why was he so upset?’ the five year old Sam wondered as he turned round and headed to his bedroom in tears.
“Dave!” he heard his mum reprimand his dad behind him, missing the rest of the conversation as he closed his bedroom door and fell on the bed crying harder, pulling his best friend, Barbie, closer.
“He’s just a boy. A boy playing dress up. It’s normal.” His mum had continued.
“Not in this house it isn’t. Boys do not wear high heels and their mother’s dresses. You’re far too soft on him. We’ve got to toughen him up. You started this by giving in to him when he wanted the Barbie instead of the action man. If I’d been there I’d have nipped that in the bud straight away,” His dad was not giving way.
In his heels and new dress Sam looked himself up and down, liking what he saw. His nails weren’t perfect, but he couldn’t get the hang of painting one hand with the other.
He opened his bedroom door and stepped out into the hallway. He wasn’t used to the heels yet and tottered a little until he felt more comfortable.
Taking a deep breath Sam headed into the family room. He had no idea how his mum and sister would react. This would be their first meeting with this Sam. He would never have done this if his dad had still been alive.
As he rounded the corner in the hallway his sister glanced his way, shook her head and looked again. “Mum…” she said quietly.
Sam’s mum looked round from her place on the sofa. “Well just look at you,” she said, “You look stunning. What a beautiful, er, er … you are beautiful.” She wasn’t sure how to address this new version of her son.
“God I hate you,” his sister exclaimed standing up. “I’d look like a tramp on a bad night if I tried to dress like that.” She pounced at her brother and hugged him.
Sam started to gently cry.
“Hey, hey. Stop that your mascara will run. Haven’t you learnt that one?” his sister told him.
“Come here and sit beside me.” His mum patted the sofa beside her. “It’s just starting… or.. or were you going somewhere?”
“No, just here,” Sam replied and sat demurely beside his mother. Their reactions had taken a weight from him. He felt light.
Sam’s mother grabbed his hand. “Another year, another load of Oscars. I’m so glad we’re all here for this year’s. You, my darling, could walk that red carpet and turn everyone’s heads,” she told him turning up the volume as the presenter started to introduce the celebrities arriving at the Oscar ceremony. “but, just one thing. I’m not sure…er… quite…er… what to call you.”
“I’m Sam, mum. Any more than that I don’t know.”