Excerpt from my novel in progress, Guys Like Us
A couple of mornings later, I pulled on the boots Iâ€™d gotten at the thrift store, along with a button down shirt that my brother had left behind and the Carhart jacket and went to school. On my left wrist I wore an old watch of my Dadâ€™s. Â It didnâ€™t work anymore, Iâ€™d fished it out of the garbage. Â It was big and chunky and I loved the weight of it on my wrist. Â Iâ€™d also found a thick leather belt in a box of my brotherâ€™s things and pulled it through the belt loops of my Levis.
I left a little earlier than usual, walking down the sidewalk in ever longer strides. Â It reminded me of when I was younger, when Iâ€™d been confident of my abilities. Â When Iâ€™d been a boy among boys, and able to woop any of them if I chose to. Â Iâ€™d been thinking about what Jared said about confidence and faking it if I had to. Â Iâ€™d been thinking back to when Iâ€™d last felt completely good and solid and in charge of my destiny. Â Iâ€™d decided I needed to channel some of Past Me, some of that cockiness Iâ€™d had once, the assuredness. Â OK, I thought to myself, they call me lezzy. Â Thatâ€™s what I am. Â Iâ€™m a girl who likes girls. Â My mental lip curled a little at calling myself a â€˜girlâ€™ but I pushed that objection aside. Â There were bigger fish to fry. Â I was going to meet the jeers head on. Â If I owned the lesbian label, if I said â€˜yeah, I like girls, what about it?â€™ wouldnâ€™t that take some of the sting out of it? Â Maybe theyâ€™d get bored with it all. Â This had already gone on for a couple of months, it was time for them all to move on to the next victim, the next rumor starting drama.
I held my head high and thrust my hands into my pockets. Â My boots made a satisfying clumping sound as I strode along. Â I thought about Jaime calling me butch and dyke. Â Thatâ€™s who I was, I thought. Â I just needed to accept that, embrace the masculine in me. Â If I was harder and cared less, I could coast through this bullshit until I graduated leave this two traffic light podunk town behind.
I came around a corner and there was the front door, clumps of people gathered briefly before heading through the doors. Â There was Tommy, with his gang of jocks in their letter jackets. Â I chuckled to myself as I remembered the vision Iâ€™d had while smoking pot with Jared in the van across from the diner. Â They were like any pack of male animals, desperate to show their colored plumage and impress the females. Â Alright, Tommy, you dumb fuck, I thought, meet Buddy the butch. Â Fuck you, very much.
Tommy stepped in front of me as I stepped toward one of the doors, snickering, his cronies edging forward eagerly.
â€œWell, good morning Barbara.â€ Â He said brightly. Â â€œHowâ€™s our resident bush licker doing this morning?â€
â€œGood morning, Tommy.â€ I answered just as brightly. Â He looked taken aback. Â â€œIâ€™m doing just fine thank you. Â So you donâ€™t lick bush, Tommy? Â You should really try it sometime, you know, when you get a girlfriend of your own.â€
Tommy was looking positively dumbfounded, mouth open and jaw dropped. Â I stepped past him and through the doors before he could come up with a response.
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