This is the story of a boy from a town named Firefunk , truly a weird name for an equally obscene place. It’s a town which has not seen much improvement in its residential conditions because of all the violence that it involves itself in. This is sometimes visible in the form of children smoking right outside their schools but more often translates into a city where you drive past countless streets filled with strange graffiti and cars with broken windshields. Living in this town means watching it die over decades: when a new manufacturing factory moves in and fills the streets with smoke, or when the government stops talking about it, or when one realizes that the newly published maps have completely excluded it. This place is dead, though still vulnerable to drug lab explosions and an increasingly growing number of shops storing amenity that aid and abet luxury.
The boy is twelve. Untouched by typical masculine arrogance, he is sitting with a girl twice her age. She is called Sophia. In her dilapidated car driving to a place she speaks of as one where there is not much to worry about. As they reach their destination, she points towards a sole house slumped near the big industries that the city owns, nigh to its very end. The walls are broken, the place ill cared for, it smells of dead rats, and of a foggy weather, filled with the smoke coming from cigarettes.
As the automobile rolls past the place, there are men sitting on the steps, smoking and drinking bottles and bottles of beer from the brewery a few blocks away, in a part of downtown.
Sophia is 24 now, ferocious in her queerness. She is also the first of many to call the boy a a butch, a word which the boy isn’t quite familiar with, but with his short-but not so short hair is quite right but at the same time not so much.
The peeling strips of the unappealing house is dark grey in color, slowly fading to the color of the brick wall, nails peeking out of it. The porch has rotting planks of wood, which is all it is.
The men sitting at the pavement and the staircases shout of Sophia’s beauty, in a not so modest way, in response to which she simply flips them off while maintaining an odd grin on her face. The boy on the other hand jumps back to the front seat, glad to have escaped himself from the eyes of the odd men.
She asks him of why is he so afraid of them, “They are boys doing what boys do,” she says.
This is what the boy says when questioned about being trans, it’s like a veneer to the phrase he’s never liked. Though he has a self-made sustainability, more like he is a man of his own kind, unlike the usual bunch, but not so different.
Even before, while he was still young and frail, he wrote himself into existence in short notes and papers, filled with odd sketches and passages ending with questions that were quite like this, and sometimes not so similar: Who am I?…………..Gender-queer? In other pages, he can be seen fighting with his own existence as he forces himself to believe otherwise.
I want to comfort him, and write about what happens next: Speaking of how he leaves the town, and comes to peace with his existence. Just like he wrote himself into existence, I want to write him a happy ending. But I wonder how true that story would be.
“The only choice we have as we mature is how we inhabit our vulnerability, how we become larger and more courageous and more compassionate……….our choice is to inhabit vulnerability as generous citizens of loss, robustly and fully”.