The Language of Glass

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: August 07, 2019

A A A | A A A

Submitted: August 07, 2019



A silver gown used to hang in my closet; it was an A-line, strapless gown made of quicksilver satin. It was beautiful, like something out of a fairy tale. 

The day I’d come home with her in tow, I was beaming. I’d begged Mom to make the gown my early Christmas present. I had my heart set on her from the moment I’d seen it. My stepmother didn’t believe me when I gushed about the gown, but even she loved it, instantly dubbing it a classic. By all counts, the gown was almost magical, and the night I’d worn it should have held a bit of that magical glimmer in every moment. 

And I suppose it was, in the twisted way terrible moments bring out change where any potential slumbered, in that everything made sense only after the dust settled. I was miserable; my new acquaintance having disappeared when we walked in the doors. I floated about the edges of the cafeteria, a spectre searching for its severed head. When I wasn’t haunting the cafeteria, I was hyperventilating in the women’s bathroom, reliving the moments before death over, and over, again. However, I was careful to not spill a single tear on the satin, a fairytale curse for my fairytale gown. Instead, they crept between the bodice and my skin, underneath my skin around my chest and hips. 

When I shed the dress that night, I’d thought that I laid her to rest for good. Near dead, she stood vigil overnight, while the tears crystalized where they’d sunken into me. She sat next to me on the way home, settling in the back of my closet and murmuring softly when I shook the hangers for an answer to a new question. I pressed an ear to the door, listening for a pulse, she hid; others, shea came out to play. I’d dim the lights and search the radio for waltzes. She and I would spin each other around the bedroom-turned-ballroom into the early hours of the morning, and when the moon started setting on the ground above, we went our separate ways; myself, into my dreams and her into the quiet of the closet. 

She cried when I began shunning any and all skirts, and cowered when I tore them out like so many weeds, one, by one, by one, until she was the only one left. She watched, dry eyed, as those tears-turned-glass tore themselves out of my skin. In the nights after, we’d whisper to each other about how the duct tape I used on the make-shift kleenex bandages matched the satin I’d once tried to melt into. 

She stood, stupefied, when I drew myself up and came out again, and again, and again. 

I slowly stopped seeking her out, the tears she could elicit; my gaze started to cease catching on the few glimmers I caught of her. Newer, kinder garments cushioned the distance between us. My bedroom changed from a ballroom into a library, and that night was replaced by one spent under a starry sky, next to a girl that lent me her warmth. I’d never known that something so sharp and bright could be so beautiful before then, a few of my own glass shards tumbling out the patterns we traced above us and into the sky. 

I moved on. I was hanging up my first suit when she reached out again. It’d been a year since I’d even spared her a thought, a year since we donned each others skin in some kind of attempt at beauty. The newer occupants of the closet parted, as if they were giving her a breath of fresh air. I took her by the hand and helped her out. We faced each other for a moment, savoring the other’s company, unable and unwilling to acknowledge the black bag resting on my bed. 

We just… held each other. For a moment, we just held each other; we did not weep, tear at each other like two drowning souls. We let go and looked into the mirror, at what the glass beneath my skin had been screaming for a long, long time. 

Before us were two things never meant to be; she, a gown as lovely as the setting sun, and I, someone who grew between two sexes, all hard edges and thorns and waxy leaves that drew back to reveal night-scented blooms. 

She and I, two things toxic to the other, yet still grateful for having met and learned and grown.

As one last final gift, she pulled my tears from beneath my skin and wove them into her now starlight stitches. We moved apart, and she stepped into her coffin, glass threads tinkling. I carried her, a single pallbearer, and laid her to rest in the coat closet upstairs. 

One more time, I held my ear to the closet door and finally, finally, her pass. I drew back, and sigh loosed itself from my lips. I wished her the best, wherever she went after she passed, and thanked her for allowing me to step away from my femininity and into the right gender. 

When I drew back, I did so as a man made whole. 


© Copyright 2019 Jack Crowley. All rights reserved.

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