He ties his hair up every morning. He wraps the bandages around his chest. He spends science lessons cursing cissexism, and English lessons writing letters addressed to himself with a different name. Suffocating beneath the misgendering, and crushing his ribs in a plea for contentment, he imagines himself standing tall only to see the reality of himself hiding away. Everyday he writes some words down.
His high school has a new club. It's called the LGB club. He grinds his teeth, pushes down the door and thrusts the poster in the club leader's face.
"Where in hell is the T?" If he were in a film, his eyes would be flickering red. Beneath his frosty stare, the small club leader gazes up at him and steps back slightly.
"I'm sorry, miss. I didn't mean - " The club leader doesn't continue. "My name is Rostam. I'll add the T right away. We didn't think there'd actually be any Ts."
"I'm...Elaine." He mentally slaps himself. In all honesty, he isn't entirely sure which name he's settled on yet, so his birth name will have to do. Rostam nods.
"I'm the G. Hanna here is the L, and Johanna is the B!" At first, he's mad that they've each been reduced to letters when really, life is much more fluid than that, but instead he smiles and takes in the information.
"I'm sorry that I burst in like that," he glances at his watch. "But I have 13 minutes to get home and my mom is going to kill me!" He slings his bag over his shoulder, waves a quick goodbye to Rostam and sprints down the corridor towards the main exit. Rostam stares bewildered at the space where Elaine was once occupying, before turning back to Hanna and shrugging.
"I wonder if she'll ever come back..." He mutters, before turning around and dropping onto a beanbag.