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Guest Liam H

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Guest Liam H

[ Not strictly a poem, but I didn't know where else to post it. A short story for my literature class. First draft, feedback appreciated.]

STUDENT FILE No. 8462

MISS ALEXANDRA MOORE

THIS FILE IS PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL

11th of January, 2003 – Entrance interview with Headmaster.

“Miss Moore is a troubled young lady, she is very shy, but polite and intelligent. The majority of the interview was standard, but a few answers stood out. When asked what she thought the school could help her to achieve, she said that she could not provide an answer. When further prompted, and asked what she wanted from the future, she replied – politely enough – that she was sorry, but she really couldn't see herself in it. She seemed uncomfortable and even a little distressed throughout, which is somewhat strange in an eleven year old. She avoided eye contact and often we sat in silence for long moments. She seemed uncomfortable at being addressed, no matter what question followed. However, I believe these issues are a consequence of shyness, and will be resolved as she finds herself in the coming year within our school.”

ACTION SUGGESTED: None.

“Year sixes, line up please!”

Two lines of students, one of boys and one of girls, assembled outside the classroom for roll call. The first school day of the year, and they buzzed with gossip and laughter, and openly stared at the new students. Clean and awkward, Alex stood in the despised blue and white dress and shiny black shoes of the new uniform. The lines of children broke ranks, and Alex disappeared in the fray of moving pupils, trying to hide amidst the throng of bodies, feeling out of place. The roll had been marked, and the thought of seven years in this place felt like a prison sentence.

Physical Education class would prove to be the best and worst that the school could offer. Standing outside the change-rooms, staring between the two doors opposite each other, Alex was struck with indecision. The thought of changing was uncomfortable, but a teacher looked on.

“Quickly please, Alexandra.”

Skittish and shy, Alex fled in shock through one of the doors, and passed the pair of girls plaiting their hair in front of the mirrors. Stopping just ahead of the door to the main changing area, Alex turned and went instead into a bathroom stall. Changing here would be more comfortable. After all, the tracksuit pants and loose red sports shirt was much better than that dress. It would be changing back that was difficult.

The class made their way down to the oval, running and laughing. Feeling less trapped, Alex joined in an impromptu game of tag with the boys, sprinting back and forth until they were called to order. Perhaps things mattered less when you were allowed to run. With that in mind, when they were told to run laps for warm up, Alex sped ahead and led the pack, free as the others tried to keep pace. Perhaps things would be okay here. But the lesson ended, and the sense of freedom went away. The blue and white dress and shiny black shoes demanded their place, and the roll would be called again. The days would blend together, divided between the dress and the tracksuit; between being carefree and being caged.

Months went by, and the feelings only got more extreme. Undercurrents of doubt twisting through the shy half smile and constant silence. It never slowed Alex down, it simply gave rise to the irreconcilable sense that something was deeply wrong. But without any sense of what that could be, the only solution was to keep moving.

By October, Alex was twelve years old. The school was preparing the class for their graduation to high school, to their indoctrination to the world of the teenager. In honouring this stage in their lives, the school arranged personal development classes; classes on drugs and alcohol, on cigarettes, on sex. As one teacher led the boys from the class away, Alex's throat felt tighter and tighter. As they explained the rights and wrongs of puberty and human physicality, the pressure only became worse. At morning break, there was only one thing to do. Alex went to the change-rooms, pulled on the loose red shirt and the tracksuit pants, and traded the shiny black shoes for battered old runners. Rain was pouring hard outside, and thunder scared most of the students to stay indoors. That only made things more simple. By the time the bell sounded for class to resume, Alex was gone.

STUDENT FILE No. 8462

MISS ALEXANDRA MOORE

THIS FILE IS PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL

11th of October, 2003: Disciplinary Meeting.

“On the ninth of this month at around 10 AM, Miss Moore ran away from school, and was found several hours later at a playground. She had mild hypothermia due to the extreme weather, but still resisted attempts to be taken either home, to school, or to the hospital. This is a disturbing event, as she is not normally a difficult student, and has no record of skipping class. She was highly distressed, even to the point of illness. While I believe it is unnecessary to punish her this time, I have scheduled time for her each week with the school councilor. It seems she has issues which are affecting her ability to happily attend school. Ideally, I would hope that it can be resolved before she moves on into high school.”

ACTION SUGGESTED: Appointments with school councilor.

Alex lay in bed, staring through tear stained eyes at the blue slip of paper resting on the chest of drawers. Picking it up and stumbling towards the mirror, Alex read the time and date on it and felt the unease stirring. Tomorrow morning. Glancing from the paper to the mirror, the feeling only deepened. They would want explanations of things that there were simply no words for. Critical eyes observed the too-long hair, the blue and white dress, the black shoes which now were scuffed and worn. The cheekbones which were too high, the hands which were too soft. The frightening new contours forming across the chest.

The horrible feeling became a physical kind of pain. A kind of sickness – the hidden anguish of a beaten, trapped creature. Losing the battle again, Alex cried. Silently, because there was simply nothing to say. How can a frightened twelve year old explain having no idea what was happening to him?

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Guest CariadsCarrot

Awesome piece of writing Liam. I can so identify with Alex even though I wasn't consciously acknowledging my gender issues at that age. I especially love the way you've avoided all gender pronouns in the descriptive parts until right at the end which gives the 'him' more of a punch even though you suspect it's coming.

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Guest miss kindheart

Call it what you like Liam :)

It was nice

<<< hug >>>

:wub: vanna

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Guest Sotha

Very well written. I can also identify with his feelings, even though it was the opposite for me. I couldn't stand P.E.

I really liked the segments of changed perspective, the Administrative notes. They did well to break up the story, and show the ignorance of the outer world.

Katie

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Guest Avery F

WOW. Fantastic story, man. Not only are your spelling and grammar actually good (which is fairly unusual in this day and age), but the way you didn't use pronouns to describe Alex until the end, not counting the 'student file' notes, really added to the impact. Do you post writing on any websites or in magazines?

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