Before I give the excerpt, let me first give a backgrounder on this piece.
Last December, I was in a writer’s slump. I didn’t know what to write, how to continue my novel, etc etc. So I was adrift. I know I can write but I lost confidence in myself again.
Suddenly, this girl named Leelah Alcorn who lives in a country across the Pacific popped out of my Newsfeed. At first I thought it was a hoax because the website link was usually associated to satire news but it was true. Leelah Alcorn died not because of the usual new intoxication or drug over use.
Ms. Alcorn died because of unacceptance and the feeling that she will never be loved for who she really was.
I felt her pain back in 2010 and even did things I morally vowed to never do. But what irked me was the use of a religion, whose sole purpose was to love and respect each other, to make her question her existence, – on why she had to live if she was to be locked up and see that ‘abomination’ existence was nothing but an ugly speck on her family’s clothes. I sometimes wonder why He made me this way only to be hurt by people I have done nothing against, to be honest.
To #FixSociety isn’t an easy task but it is do-able. In Leelah, I rediscovered the reason why I’m writing my novel.
Here is an excerpt Leelah inspired. It’s not much but it’s a great start.
Theo excused himself and shuffled over to the store’s clerk to try out a couple of pick up lines he recently learned. The girl didn’t seem to be amused at all, Riri observed with an inward smile.
She looked towards Lile seated across her and realized she looked odd today.
Maybe it was the lack of eyeliner and lip tint the girl wore everyday as Riri could see that the other’s lips were rather red and swollen at odd parts while her eyes didn’t look as sharp as they were before. They were puffier than pillow puffs but bore no sign of lack of sleep or eye sores.
“Have you been crying?” she heard herself, saying her thoughts out loud.
As much as she wanted to slap the spoken words away from the other’s ears, you simply cannot do that. Words are intangible so its no surprise that Riri gave the other girl a stupid looking smile as she looked up from her writing in startled confusion.
“Me? Crying? H-heavens no!” Lile began in her defense. But the pink in her eyes and the castaway look in her eye told Riri otherwise.
“Well since we’re off-duty for the time being,” she fiddled with one fading purple dipdyed hair. “…do you want to talk?”
“I don’t get you..”
“You know talk-talk, girltalk, all the shebang. I mean I wanna be friends with you.”
Riri saw the highly-guarded girl give a rare look of surprise. It crumbled her defenses. “I-I mean we can’t just talk to each other when we’re working. We hang out everyday so yeah… get my drift?” Each word seemed to come out from maximum speaking volume to barely a whisper but to her surprise, Lile wasn’t mad.
Instead she laughed.
Riri felt odd as her laugh was not cold as ice but warmed her all the way to her fingertips. For a moment she wished that Lile would smile and laugh more because it suited her best.
“So you want to be friends?” Riri heard Lile ask.
Unable to utter any decent word, the artist just nodded and mentally kicked herself for looking dumb. But Lile seemed to not mind that instead she gave out a long sigh of relief. “You’re too nice… but I’m glad that you want to be my friend.”
“Yeah. I was afraid that you wouldn’t because I’m too…”
“Something like that.”
“Sorry…” Lile gave the other a small tilt.of her head with her own brand of a sheepish smile. “Anyway, may I ask you a question?”
“Sure. Shoot me.”
“What do you think of gay people?”
Riri saw it as the most unusual question to ask for a friendship that was warming up, nonetheless, she knew her opinions on such a topic will remain firm. “There’s nothing wrong with being gay. So what if you’re gay? You’re not killing me with an icepick right now anyway.”
The artist shrugged and fingered the rim of her empty styrocup. “I have nothing against gay people. I mean I have gay friends and I do admire gay celebrities like that guy from X-men and Lord of the Rings. Gay people are human like me so I don’t see the point of hating.”
She paused for a moment to ponder on a thought. “Even if a gay man would suddenly attack me right now I won’t go saying that they’re all bad.” Riri looked across the table to an astonished Lile and found her face flaring up once more. “I-I hope you got what I said-!”
“That was beautiful…” she heard the older say in a low whisper.
“Yeah. I mean, even if the LBGTQ community is protected by the law now there are still traditionalists out there that believe that gay people will always be abominations regardless if they have done good to their community.” It was then Lile’s eyes were cast down. “My parents, for example.”
“Your…parents?” Riri repeated.
And then it clicked. “Wait you’re gay?”