Rafter Fiction is short stories based on songs by Rafter. I am starting the series with the songs from album, “Terrestrial Extras”. This is the track, “Izzy Bizzy.” Buy it here
Some of the things about moving to a new neighborhood are good, like the prospect of meeting new friends, like having a new start, like nobody knowing about my mom and dad, like nobody knowing the way they fight, like how my dad says he is done drinking, and like how this was going to be the new start that our family needs even if my mom is always skeptical of this proclamation and always asked my opinion on the subject, and my only answer is that my only job is to adjust and adapt.
I do not like my father much or my mother’s decisions much.
I spent a great deal of my time either in my room or on the street, walking around the neighborhood, cringing every time that I hear a couple yelling at each other, thinking that it might be my parents finally losing their shit and showing everyone how they really interact, wondering if the fight is about me again because I don’t like them but they also don’t care much for me either.
This is a new start.
Since I am attending a new school, a new neighborhood, and since my parents don’t give a shit anyway, I start to become the person I am on the inside, cutting off all of my hair, getting rid of every piece of clothing that does not fit my true self, going to the Goodwill and buying t-shirts and flannel shirts and pair of men’s work boots that were a little too big for me, but when I look at my new self in the mirror, this is who I am, and I’m more comfortable like this than I have ever been.
I am already invisible.
I want to show mom the decisions that I have made, that I really feel like wearing a binder is liberating, and that I am done trying to be a pretty girl because I still want her approval, but I also am aware that that there is not much that she can see passed her nose.
I’m now Izzy.
When I attend school, it is time to become this new identity, and before long, Izzy is what everyone calls me, nobody questions me, and my classmates are mostly accepting of me the way that I was.
The tension in my house gets higher and higher.
I spent most of my time not sticking out, and when I do have a moment to talk to mom about what I am feeling, she is having a bad day and she is trying to make sure that my dad is not drinking at the bar and drinking, so when I am at school I spend most of my time trying to stay under the radar as well, not really talking to anyone or socializing so the first time I venture out, it is because I Antwan is in study hall, reading a graphic novel.
“Spiderman?” I ask.
He was a mumbler with a jagged body, skinny limbs, and a head that looks too big for his body, but this might have been because his unkempt afro making his head look bigger.
I said, “I really like all of the Marvel stuff better than the DC stuff, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few things from DC that are pretty good.”
“Batman,” he said.
“Batman, but honestly I think they spend too much energy hanging their brand on Batman and Superman instead of developing and entire world of greatness because, I mean, the Justice League characters outside of Batman and Superman have potential, but they haven’t spent the real time and energy it takes to build the universe like Marvel.”
“I agree.” Antwan said.
From then on, we talk about comics and video games and movies that we have seen on Netflix, and I really enjoy being close to him, talking about the things we have in common, all of the opinions that we share, and it is not long before I really want to hang out with him outside of school, but by the time I am ready to ask him to come over and hang out, the tension in my house finally explode.
We are all dying inside.
Mom and Dad are at each other’s throats, fighting about the things they always fight about, whether she is cheating on him, whether he is drinking up the rent money, whether he is going to kill her this time or not, and I have to steer clear of all of it, and so I want Antwan to invite me to his house, but I don’t want his Mom or Grandma taking one look at me and telling him that I am obviously a girl trying to be a boy, not that I think he is going to care, but I also don’t want to have to explain to his family that I am not trying to be a boy but that I am a boy, and I can no longer try to be a girl.
This is all too much.
A few weeks into hanging out with Antwan at school, I want to tell him everything, about me and my home life, but I like him because he is my only friend and I don’t want to lose him, so I decide to wait until the right time, and even though I know that he will understand completely, I walk halfway home with him every day, look him in the eye for a second, getting ready to tell him, and chicken out, assuring myself I will tell him in the morning.
Until mom has all of our stuff packed when I get home from school.
She says, “We are going. We are leaving for good.”
“But I don’t want to leave. I want to stay here.”
“We are leaving your father for good. Just listen to me.”
I start to cry, tears of sadness and rage. “We can’t go. Where are we going?”
“Milwaukee. To live with your Grandma.”
“I don’t want to.”
“I’m not going to be this strong tomorrow. We have to go now.”
“This isn’t happening.”
“And why are you dressed like that? Where are your good clothes?”