when i knew #42.
by Michael King
“I don’t know where to start. I guess it’s worth saying that I’ve always known, in some way or another. When I was younger, my choices leaned toward the feminine: I liked pink cars, female video game characters, and imagining I was Kimberly from The Power Rangers. I settled into my maleness after my father broke down at Walmart over the Barbie doll I had begged him to buy me. When we got in the car, he asked me what he did wrong. I was nine.
“When I was fourteen, I was awkward and shy, but I helped with the stage crew after school. One day I stayed after and found out there was no practice, but it was too late to catch the bus. I hung out in the hallway, reading a book, and this guy from my grade finished up with basketball practice. He sat down next to me and joked with me. He told me we should meet more often.
“So we did. After the Autumn showcase, I neglected to tell my mom there was no more play practice. Each week, we met and we talked. One day, he said he wanted to show me something, and he walked me back to a locker room. It sounds like something out of porn, but it was sweet. He kissed me like people kiss each other in movies. It lasted for maybe ten minutes, and then we thought we heard a noise, and we got out of there.
“He was the first boy I loved. He’s married now, to a woman. She seems happy, and so does he. I would like to believe he loved me too, though. I’m just glad it happened. Whether he knows it or not, he showed me that there isn’t anything about me I need to run from.“