The next morning, Alex ate breakfast with his fellow patients. Selena sat at a table across from him. For the most part, Selena continued to cover her face with her hair. However, Selena had enough of her hair out of her face to eat.
Alex didn’t stare. However, he couldn’t help but to keep glancing at Selena. Throughout breakfast, Alex kept wondering why Selena was hiding her face. He also kept imagining what Selena’s face looked like. Did Selena have blue eyes or brown? Does she have a pointy nose or a flat nose? The only thing that Alex knew was that Selena had a pretty mouth. Her lips were cherry-red.
day, Alex had an appointment with Dr. Noble.
“So, what happened to Selena?” Alex asked. “I haven’t seen her since breakfast.”
“She’s still in the hospital,” Dr. Noble said. “That’s all I’m allowed to say.”
“I would just love to know why she’s hiding her face. I bet she’s very pretty.”
“It’s interesting how you’re not talking about your parents.”
“What can I say? There’s something about Selena.”
“Perhaps you’re interested in the aura of mystery.”
That evening, Alex walked by the women’s sleeping quarters, and he noticed that Selena was looking out the window.
“You want to know why I hide my face, right?” Selena asked.
“Yes,” Alex said.
“It’s because I have body dysmorphic disorder. Every time I look in the mirror, I see a deformed face.”
“I’m so sorry.”
“Most people who have BDD don’t have it as bad as I do. But I’ve reached the point where I’ve became so depressed that I attempted suicide. That’s why I’m here.”
“I’m glad you’re alive. This hospital has turned away so many people who are suicidal. It looks like things are turning around.”
“Yeah. I guess.”
“Well, do you have Facebook, Twitter, Minds?”
“I’ll give you my number.”
Alex and Selena exchanged numbers.
That night, while Alex slept in the men’s sleeping quarters, he had a dream about Selena.
Alex was in the community room of the mental hospital, watching TV. On the TV, he saw himself on a date with Selena, except the camera never showed Selena’s face. Instead, the camera showed Selena from behind or from the neck down. Although there random objects that blocked Selena’s face.
“What a beautiful night,” Selena said.
“I love nights like this,” Alex said. “I never thought I would find anybody.”
“Why? Because you’re transgender?”
“That’s part of the reason. I’m an 18-year-old trans man who looks like a 12-year-old boy. I’m also short.”
“Don’t be hard on yourself. You’re cute, funny, nice, you’re not one of those special little snowflakes who get offended over everything. What’s not to like?”
Alex and Selena were about to kiss. Unfortunately, Alex woke up from his dream.
“God damn it,” Alex said to himself.
Larry and Martha had an appointment with Dr. Noble the next day.
“You want me to glorify mental illness?” Larry asked. “Emily needs shock therapy or something.”
“Let’s all calm down,” Dr. Noble said. “Alex suffers from gender dysphoria. The only known treatment is to allow people to transition. I don’t expect you to accept this right away. Alex’s transition is also a transition for the whole family. I already told Alex this.”
“I don’t think you understand,” Martha said. “It’s like we’re losing our daughter and gaining a son.”
look at it that way,” Dr. Noble said. “But as I see it, Alex was always the
same person on the inside. The only difference is, he wants his body to match
who he is on the inside.”
“I won’t accept this,” Larry said.
“If you don’t, Alex may end up hating you,” Dr. Noble said.
“When we pick Emily…I mean, Alex up, just don’t say anything,” Martha said.
Larry didn’t say anything.
“That’s a good start,” Martha said.
Larry and Martha drove Alex home. The ride was silent and tense. While Alex was sitting in the back of the car, he texted Selena.
Selena: “This is it.”
Alex: “Uh. Mind if I ask a personal question?”
Alex: “Since you have BDD, does this mean you don’t go outside?”
Selena: “I’m working on it. Why?”
Alex: “I’m just curious. What do you do about school?”
Selena: “I’m 19. I graduated last year.”
Alex: “Did you go to your prom?”
Selena: “No. That’s how bad my BDD is. I didn’t even go to my graduation ceremony either. I had this mental illness for over a year.”
Alex: “Too bad. I was hoping our first date would be at my prom.”
“Wait, you wanna go on a date with me?”
Selena: “Wow! I would like that. But there would be too many people.”
Alex: “Maybe that wouldn’t be a good idea, after all. The school is planning on cutting both the dinner and the dance. Instead, they’re gonna have the meet-and-greet and go straight to the safe grad.”
Selena: “That’s stupid.”
Alex: “I know. I’m trying to convince the school to have the dance.”
Selena: “Good luck.”
The next day, Alex had lunch with his two best friends, Jen and Tom.
”Are we the only ones in school who want this dance?” Alex asked.
“It looks like it,” Jen said. “We can’t get enough signatures.”
“Their parents don’t want to spend all that money for the prom,” Tom said.
“I think everybody’s insecure,” Jen said. “It’s a lot of pressure to look your best.”
“So? The dance is the heart of the prom,” Alex said. “We can do without the dinner, but I want the dance.”
Alex wanted to take Selena to the prom. She also thought of a way to convince the student body to have the dance.
“I have an idea,” Alex said. “We could have a semi-formal masquerade. One of my brother’s friends had it at her school. It would be, like, less pressure for the students to look good and it will be fun. Not to mention, it will be cheaper.”
“That’s a good idea!” Jen said.
Alex, Tom, and Jen sent out new petitions to the student body. Thankfully, they had enough signatures. So, the school decided to have the dance.
Sometime later, Alex texted Selena.
Alex: “The dance is back on.”
Selena: “That’s good to hear.”
Alex: “It’s a gonna be a semi-formal masquerade. Maybe you could come with me.”
Selena: “K. I’ll go.”
Later that day…
“I want you to reverse that spell you’ve put on me, Mother,” Selena said.
“How can I?” Selena’s Mother asked. “I don’t have my powers, anymore.”
“Find a way.”
“You better show me respect.”
“The day you earn it. I haven’t been able to show my face in public in a long time. I’ll never forgive you for this.”
“I can get my powers back, but it will take a long time. I’m talking years.”
“That will be too late. I have an eternity, but mortals don’t.”
“What is wrong with you? You barely know this mortal boy and you act like you’re in love with him.”
“Maybe I am. Anyway, I can’t stand to be around you.”
The prom took place three weeks later. Alex wore a black tuxedo and a black mask that went over his eyes. Selena wore a skimpy white dress with a white and gold, full-face venetian mask. Tom and Jen decided to dress like The Riddler.
“Thanks for inviting me, Alex,” Selena said.
“Thanks for coming,” Alex said.
“Did you do all of this for me?”
“Honestly, it was for you and the entire student body.”
Alex introduced his friends to Selena and they all danced the night away. All in all, everybody had a good time. Eventually, it was time for the last dance.
“I love this song,” Selena said. “This song is true, you know, love makes no sense.”
“What’s the name of this song?” Alex asked.
“Love Exist, by Amy Lee.”
“Listen, I have something to tell you. I’m….I’m transgender.”
“Yeah. It doesn’t matter what your gender is. Either way, I like you.”
“I like you too.”
The last dance was over and it was time for the unmasking.
“Aren’t you going to take off your mask?” Alex asked.
“I suppose I should.”
One minute, Selena was standing in front of Alex, taking off her mask. The next minute, Alex saw Selena running away. It was like Alex suddenly blacked out.
tell his friends and family what happened, because he didn’t want to worry
them. Alex wasn’t drinking, and he never did any drugs. Did somebody slip a
mickey in his Pepsi? Maybe. But they don’t cause blackouts, do they?
A few days
later at Selena’s house…
“I’ve spent all night looking for a way to break your spell,” Selena said. “I’m a goddess. I should be able to break the spell.”
“You’re only a demigod, just like your cousin, Glacier,” Selena’s Mother said. “You can’t break a spell that somebody else put on you.”
“Don’t remind me.”
“There is a rumor that there’s a very powerful genie nearby, who doesn’t have a master,” Selena’s mother said. “The problem is he has been imprisoned in some modern object.”
“That’s going to be impossible to find.”
“We got to have hope.”