This was triggered by Leonard Cohen’s song. There are overtones of The Beatles’ She’s leaving home’.
Another AP-500. Well, first a whole bunch of AP-500 ‘starters’ for other people …. Then I write a couple of follow-ons myself. Now another few ‘500-worders’ to come.
Alexandra leant across the bed to kiss her mother. Gentle as a feather so as not to wake her. As she turned to leave, her hand brushed for a last time across the fold of satin nightdress peeping out from under the bedclothes.
It was satin that first attracted Alexandra. The feel, the touch, the smoothness, the pleasure. Other materials were almost as good. Silk especially. Jersey too, with the way it clung to the curve of leg and hip and body. That first time of nylon sliding on shaven leg. Wow.
Then that first bra. Like almost everyone else except the most tomboy tomboy – there was as yet no need for Alexandra to need a bra. But the desire was there. The acceptance of that ultra-feminine only-for-females garment. It felt so good.
As time passed, as she grew from child to tween to teen, Alexandra grew more skilled at all the behaviours and attitudes that made girls different from boys. Or rather, made the typical girl different from the typical boy. Or almost every girl from almost every boy.
Alexandra knew all the hurtful words, all the nasty unkindnesses that some people launched at others. Usually, the majority bullying the minority. But many a minority now had a loud, shouty voice which could even outweigh the all-too-silent majority.
Even by the age of ten, Alexandra knew some of the minority boxes she ticked. Redhead. Short, Clever, Skinny, Divorced-Parents, Poor, Bus-User.
By her mid-teens, other terms had begun to stick. Tomboy. Lesbian. Cold. Stand-offish.
Some of the ugly-labels she accepted. Lesbian and Tomboy especially. Mostly because she wasn’t either of those – but ….. the wrong label was strangely satisfying to her./
Time passed. Alexandra made friends – slowly but good quality. A bit like her wardrobe.
Alexandra was very careful about who knew about her. Secrecy is a vital lesson for some – especially for members of persecuted or abused minorities. And as Benjamin Franklin said ‘secrets are only kept if just three people know and two of them are dead!’
Gradually more people knew – Alexandra’s hairdresser. The staff at several local shops. Her best friends of course. But Alexandra worried who else might know.
Nothing was ever said by those most important to her. Coldness grew like an emotional cancer. Sucking the life out of her new-found determination to be happy. To be the person inside. She giggled at the old rhyme ‘put the inside skinside, make the outside herside’.
As she left the house, the girl sang gently to herself the words she’d adapted for the new, cold, grey dawn. “As someone long prepared for each occasion, in full command of every plan that you have wrecked. Here’s one more to fit the music – do not hide behind the cause and your effect. So, say goodbye to Alexandra leaving, say goodbye to Alexandra lost. “
Awaking to the fading waft of unfamiliar perfume - she did not know what had gone. But she knew the house was empty. Would she weep?
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