Emily sat in front of his MacBook, staring at yet another baby naming website. After a hard back and forth with himself, and seeing at least a dozen different therapists, Emily was finally able to look at himself in the mirror and say the words; ‘I’m transgender’. The first time he said it out loud he’d made it through the worst five days of the month.
Sitting on the toilet, he tossed the last bloody pad into the trash and stood up. Taking a deep breath, he held it as he turned to look at himself in the mirror.
“I’m transgender.” He said to his reflection.
The words were a knife being slashed across the bubble wrap he’d wrapped himself in years ago. For as long as he could remember he’d hidden from it; doing everything in his power to ignore the truth that was staring at him day in and day out. But then one day something snapped. The hatred Emily felt being trapped in his ‘feminine cage’ was hell on earth. His hatred came out in the form of cutting and peeling away at his skin; anything to escape the cell that was supposed to be his body.
“I’m transgender.” He said again.
The words were like waves crashing over him.
Looking at his reflection he smiled, happy that he’d finally had a piece of the puzzle that was him. Taking a deep breath, he held it for a minute before exhaling.
“I’m transgender.” He said for a third time.
“Mazel tov!” Said a voice from behind him.
Emily’s heart nearly jumped out of his chest as he whipped around coming face to face with his father.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have done that.” His father said as he held his hands up in surrender.
Emily’s heart jackhammered against his ribcage.
“Dad I…it’s not what…..”
“Emily, can I still call you that?” The older man asked.
Looking into his father’s eyes, all Emily saw was love and understanding.
“I’m still working on the name thing.” Emily said, rubbing the back of his neck.
His father smiled.
“Take your time bud. If you want I can help you. I don’t mean to brag but I have named a lot of people.” Emily’s dad, Harold said.
He was right, Harold had named all four of his children and twelve of Emily’s cousins.
“Yeah.” Emily said, turning back to the mirror.
Putting an arm around his son, Harold looked at his and Emily’s reflection.
“Sol.” Harold said, dragging his hand from left to right.
“Like the sun?” Emily said, frowning.
“Yeah. It may sound corny but you light up my world baby boy.” Harold said just above a whisper.
‘Baby boy’, the two words slammed right into Emily’s heart, knocking all the wind out of him.
“Baby boy?” Emily repeated, choking back tears.
“Look, I don’t care what you identify as, you’ll always be my baby.” Harold said firmly.
“I love it.” Sol said, tears building up in his eyes.
As tears built in Harold’s eyes as well, he hooked a hand behind his son’s head, pulling Sol into him. As the men collided Sol buried his face in his father’s chest and released months and months of fear and heartache into his father’s cashmere sweater.