Conceived – America: The Pink Shirt (Vigil 4)

by Talia Stotts

 

On Monday I arrive to first period and collapse into my desk next to Carmen, a peppy Guatemalan girl and my very best friend.

“Oh my god, tell me everything. How did they take it? Were they furious? What did – hey, Alex, are you okay?”

I don’t know what to say. “No, I’m not okay, because my parents basically dismissed everything that I said because they think I’m just misguided or brainwashed”?

“They said they’re going to fix me.”

“Fix you? What does that mean?” She tucks her legs under her and turns in her seat to face me. “Alex … you’re not broken.” She puts her hand on my shoulder and I can feel the tears rise within me as her slender hand reminds me of my mother and all I can do is wish that Mom had said those words.

“Hang on a sec, Alex.” She squeezes my shoulder and pushes herself out of her chair. She walks to Ms. Hopper, who is greeting students at the door before the bell rings to signal the start of class. They speak for a minute before Carmen ushers me over.

“Take your time, you two.” Ms. Hopper smiles as she steps aside, letting us slip out into the hallway where the stragglers were speed walking to get to class and avoid a tardy.

“What did you say to her?” I ask. I came out to my parents, not the whole world just yet.

“Just that you wanted to go talk to Dr. Rose and that you needed me there for moral support.”

I grin. Carmen has been able to sweet-talk teachers since I met her in 4th grade.

“Thanks, Car. Okay, where are we really going?” I expect that we’ll hide out in the stairwell or maybe the nurse’s office.

“To Dr. Rose’s office.” The bell rings, but Carmen doesn’t stop.

“No way! I can’t talk to her!”

“Why not?” She keeps walking, leading us toward the counselor’s office in the new administrative wing of the building. “Dr. Rose is awesome. I talk to her all the time. She gives pretty good advice, and she’s pretty open-minded. And she’s, like, a real adult. I love you, man, but I don’t know what kind of advice to give you. She’s cool. It’s fine.”

We arrive at the office door and are greeted by a carved wooden sign spelling out “Rose,” adorned with carved wooden flowers of the same name. Carmen gives a confident knock on the door. It swings open to reveal a petite Black woman who seems too young to be a doctor of any kind. The dimples in her cheeks deepen as she greets Carmen.

“Hola, chica! Como estás? Come on in; who’s your friend?” She glances at me and extends her hand. I take it and give it a quick shake.

“I’m, um, I’m Alex. Hi.”

“Hi Alex, I’m happy to meet you. What can I do for you two today? I hope you didn’t just forget to do your homework. I’ve had to send away about seven sophomores this morning – turns out a big project was due for biology or something and they all forgot to do it.”

“It was geometry,” I reply shyly, thanking the gods that I had managed to put my “ABCs of Geometry” booklet together before the big talk on Friday.

“Well, whatever it was,” she continues, smiling, “they didn’t do it and they’ve gotta pay the price. I’m here to guide, not to help truants.”

“Well, Dr. Rose,” Carmen says, “we did our projects and we’re not here to skip class. We’re here because my friend needs some help and you’re the expert here, so I thought I’d introduce you. I’m just here for moral support, but I can get outta here if you need me to.”

Dr. Rose looks at me, letting me speak. “No, it’s fine, she can stay. Carmen, you can stay.”

“Great,” she sighs as she tosses herself onto the pillow-laden sofa across from Dr. Rose’s desk. “I’ll go if I have to, but we’re just reviewing independent clauses today because those dummies didn’t get it the first time.”

Dr. Rose and I follow suit, with her settling into the high-backed chair behind the desk and me into the sofa next to Carmen.

“Alright, Alex. Talk to me. What’s on your mind?”

I look over at Carmen, who gives me an encouraging nod.

“I don’t know where to start.” I look at my hands folded in my lap, stroking one thumb with the other.

Dr. Rose waits a moment before speaking and I look up at her, expecting to see annoyance. Instead, her kind eyes smile at me, knowing. “Start wherever you think the beginning is.”

I thought for a moment, remembering a pink shirt and a clandestine pair of socks.

“It was the summer before seventh grade,” I begin.

2021: Conceived – Volume 2 of a Contemporary Transadaptation 

January: The Pack – Alejandra Baccino (Uruguay)

February: The Pink Shirt – Talia Stotts (America)

March: Dragging the Past out into the Light – Kate Korneeva (Russia)

April: Looking Forward to Spring – Marilin Guerrero Casas (Cuba)

May: Every Little Thing – Gennady Bondarenko (Ukraine)

June: The Girl Who Chased the Rainbow – Toni Wallis (Sarah-Leah Pimentel) (South Africa)

July: Another World – Jonay Quintero Hernandez (Spain)

August: Life after Nare – Nane Sevunts (Armine Asryan) (Armenia)

September: Meeting My Homeland – Rayan Harake (Lebanon)

October: Catching Water (Part Two) – Javier Gomez (Argentina)

November: Remember – Seyit Ali Dastan (Turkey)

December: I Can’t Breathe – Veronica Cordido (Venezuela)

Background – Context

In the Middle – Prelude to a Contemporary Transadaptation, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2020)

Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)

L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)

From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)

Emblems and stories on the international community

Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from around the world

Credits

Cover photo: Houston, Texas, America – Monument Au Fantome – Joe Hendrickson (Shutterstock) 
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

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