Monday, April 4, 2011

"Chapter 1—I am Born"

by Cassy Sarnell
Jennifer Louise Boyle was born on September 27, 1992. She had stunning blue eyes and little ringlet curls. Her mother, Karen Celia Boyle, had been at the hospital for 6 hours, counting the hour of doctors sticking needles in her to numb the pain. Her father, Matthew Louis Boyle, didn’t see either the mother or the child for exactly 24 hours after the baby’s birth, at which point he exclaimed, “Well thank god all the right parts are in all the right places,” which I resent.

It never occurred to a young Jennifer that there was anything wrong with her. She was not especially “girly,” but not especially “tomboyish,” a term I resent.

The first clue she had that she was less-than-perfect was while watching Motocrossed with her now-ex-best friend. She was sitting there, watching, when I spoke up for the first time.

“I want to marry her.”

Jennifer, not one to keep anything to herself, shared this with her now-ex-best friend: “I want to marry her.”

“Ew. Are you gay?”

Neither of us knew what the term meant, so Jennifer looked it up.

“I’m straight,” I told her.

“I know… Are you my imaginary friend?”


“Are you… me?”


“What’s your name?”


“Well, I thought I was Jennifer. But you’re me. So whatever your name is is also my name.”

I thought about it. “James. I’m James.”

I was born 8 years later, on June 15, 2008. James Louis Boyle. I had hair cut too short to form ringlets, and dreary blue eyes. My mother, Karen Celia Boyle, wouldn’t look at me. My father, Matthew Louis Boyle, wavered between joking that now he had the son he’d always wanted, and staring at me with a look that said, "How did this get so wrong? How did you get so wrong?”

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