On a Summer Night
Gabriel D. Vidrine © 2018
All Rights Reserved
“Do you have your socks?” my mother called up the stairs.
“Yes, mother!” I shouted back down at her. Of course I had socks. But I double-checked the large footlocker anyway, scrabbling through it until I found them. They were buried under my binders, but there they were.
“Don’t forget towels!” came another shout up the stairs.
She knew me well. I always forgot something. I went back to my bathroom and rummaged around in the linen closet until I found enough towels for the trip.
When I got back to my room, Mom was staring down into my trunk, her hands on her hips. “Anything else?” she asked, eyeing how much was in it.
“I hope not.”
I tossed the towels in the trunk, only to be crushed into a hug from her. “I’m going to miss you Casey,” she said into my hair.
I patted her awkwardly. She meant well, but ever since I announced my desire to transition two years ago when I turned twelve, she’d gotten super overprotective and clingy. “I’ll miss you too, Mom.” I did mean it, but it was going to be a relief to be away from her for almost two weeks. Even though I’d never been away from my parents that long before, not even at trans camp.
She squeezed me harder until I gasped and then let me go. “Are you sure you want to do this?”
“For the millionth time, yes,” I said, rolling my eyes.
“Okay. I’ll get your dad to get this down the stairs,” she said, and then she was gone in a whirl of brown hair and scarves.
I shook my head at her back and pulled out my phone to text my best friend, Ella.
Me: Almost ready. U?
I knew she wouldn’t answer right away (she actually hated her phone, the weirdo), so I nervously went through my list again to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything. I needed a distraction.
While I was rummaging, my dad, a big guy who had prematurely gone bald so he always wore an ugly hat, had lumbered up the stairs and was frowning down at my trunk. “Are you sure you need all that?” His voice was very deep.
“Yeah, Dad.” My phone buzzed in my pocket, but I ignored it. “It’s almost two weeks.”
“Twelve days,” he said.
“Yeah, I know.” I scratched at my head, slightly embarrassed to talk about my transition stuff with my dad. “I, you know, need some extra stuff.” I thought of the binders lying next to my socks.
He glanced at me and nodded, and then looked quickly away. He hadn’t been as supportive of my transition as my mom. When I first told him, he blurted, “But you’re a girl.”
We stood there in awkward silence for a moment as I wondered what I should say to him, father to son. But he hadn’t yet called me his son.
He cleared his throat, still not looking at me, and then crouched and heaved up the trunk onto a roller cart he’d carried up the stairs. It was going to be a pain getting it down on the cart, but at least he wouldn’t kill his back picking it up this way.
I helped him maneuver it down the stairs, wishing not for the first time I could start hormones. I wanted to be as strong as my dad, but I wasn’t old enough yet. Well, I was, but my parents wouldn’t approve it until I was sixteen. I figured Dad was the one holding out, because Mom would give me whatever I wanted.
Two more years.
When we finally got the trunk down the stairs, I pulled my phone out. Ella had texted back.
Ella: Yeah, loading the car. Are you ready?
Me: Yes! Just gotta say bye.
Ella: We’ll be there soon.
“Ella and her parents are going to be here soon,” I told my parents.
Mom had argued long and hard about how I was getting to camp. She wanted to take me, but I wanted to go with Ella and her parents. My friend and her brother had been going to this camp for years, and her parents knew exactly how to get there. Mom pursed her lips and crossed her arms over her chest. “Okay. Are you sure you have it all?”
Annoyance flared up. “Yes!” I said.
“Don’t take that tone with your mother,” Dad warned.
I closed my mouth and let the anger subside. It wouldn’t do to get into an argument with them now. They’d probably not let me go, whether or not they had already paid for my spot. And summer camp wasn’t cheap; I’d seen prices on the website.
“Sorry,” I mumbled, and Mom pulled me into another hug.
“Be safe, okay?” she said. “I wish you wanted to go to the trans camp instead.”
“Okay, okay, I know. You want to go to regular camp like any regular boy.”
“I went to trans camp last year,” I said.
“I know, and you loved it. That’s why I wish you’d go again.”
“Stop worrying so much, Mom,” I told her. “The kids won’t hurt me.”
She didn’t look convinced when she finally let me go. It was true; trans camp had been fantastic. But everyone there knew I was trans. I wanted to go someplace where I didn’t always feel trans. I knew it was impossible, but I wanted a shot at it. All the other kids at trans camp had loved it, because they’d said they could shed their trans identity there. Since everyone was trans, we got to talk about other things. It made it less special, which was, in reality, a relief.
And that was the problem for me. I just wanted to be like any other boy. And all the other boys went to summer camp like the one I was going to, not to trans camp. I wanted to be a boy with the other boys.