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I'll Tell It All in 6, 100, and 500 Words
She realized her mistake after jumping.
The air was cold as she stood standing there. Whispers of snow and ice clung to her arm, goosebumps dotting the freckles and pink lines near the wrists. A pink silk blouse and jeggings weren’t adequate, but these things didn’t matter. She stood on the railing, ballet flats unstable, and took in an icy breath. She heard a voice approaching, running: him. She turned, and stepped out, as he screamed “Wait!” into the night. Falling, the rapids were white, and as she fell, she looked up, and cried out in terror at the realization of what she had just done.
Jeffrey didn’t jump that night. Jessica did.
She had woken up that day, ready to tell them. It was their last Christmas before she left for college, and the snow dotted the landscape, shivers spreading through the morning, dusting the town. She went to the bathroom, pulled out the razor, and began to shave; her armpits, her legs, her face. She cleaned up nicely, she thought. She pulled her hair out of the ponytail at the base of her neck, and took her sister’s curler from underneath her sink. She left the bathroom a new woman.
Out of the dresser in the corner of the room, Jessica pulled out the padding and clothes that she had found at the thrift store. It’s a gift for my sister, she had told the clerk. They had eyed her oddly, and shrugged it on as she paid. She put on the bra, the foam cups, the pink blouse, the jeggings. At the end, she still didn’t look like herself, but it was better than nothing.
“Jeffrey, are you coming down soon?” Her mom called from downstairs. “Yeah, one second,” she said, putting on some mascara. She took a look in the mirror, taking in a deep breath. She looked beautiful. She was beautiful. And soon, everyone would see.
Jessica walked down the stairs. She turned the corner, to see Grandpa Eric and Grandma Jean sitting at the coffee table. Grandma Jean saw her and smiled, but her eyes were sad. Grandpa Eric took one incredulous glance and guffawed. “What a joker you are, Jeffrey!” He cried out. Her dad looked from around the counter, and she saw a flash of anger fly through his eyes. “Very funny, Jeff.”
Jessica frowned. “Dad, we’ve talked about this.” Her mom, turning the corner, saw her husband standing, fist gripping the champagne glass in hand. He put it down, forcefully, and stepped back. “Damn straight we have.” Jessica sighed. “Please, Dad...” His eyes were icy against his skin. “My son’s not a fucking fag.”
Jessica stood shaking as the atmosphere grew tense. Grandma Jean turned around to her dad and started yelling at him, “What the hell type of parent talks to their kids like that?” and Grandpa Eric was eying Jessica in a new light, a look of confusion on his face. “Please, let’s not fight about this anymore,” whispered her mom, and her dad grabbed the bottle of champagne from the counter and threw it in a blind fury at Jessica. There was silence in the kitchen. It was getting dark outside.
The broken glass on the wall and the bubbles dotting the pastels were the thing that ended it. Before Jessica was aware of what she was doing, the stream of black liquid crossed in front of her eyes, and then she was in the car, driving along the highway. Convenience store, drug store, the bridge. She stood on the railing, and stepped off. Her last sight was her father’s face against the night.