My i Phone fascinates them and they ask to see my braces, intently questioning how many “shillings” they cost.
She did not think I was acting especially boyish or notice when I adamantly refused to wear pink clothing (she was colorblind anyway).
And she did not blink an eyelash at her new caretaker’s slightly smaller frame.
In America, I watch my father come home every night, beaten yet resilient from another day of hard work on the road.
He sits me and my sister down, and though weary-eyed, he manages the soft smile I know him for and asks about our day.
Now, please don’t assume that my father is some rampant rural sexist.
The fact is, when you live in an area and have a career where success is largely determined by your ability to provide and maintain nearly insurmountable feats of physical labor, you typically prefer a person with a bigger frame.I never strove to roll smoother pie crusts or iron exquisitely stiff collars. On a cow’s neck, trying to find the right vein to stick a needle in.In the strength of the grip it took to hold down an injured heifer.Realizing I have mused far too long by the water’s edge, I begin to make my way back to the house.The climb up the ridge is taxing, so I carefully grip the soil beneath me, feeling its warmth surge between my fingers.With my still fragile masculinity, I crossed my arms over my chest when I talked to new people, and I filled my toy box exclusively with miniature farm implements.In third grade, I cut my hair very short, and my father smiled and rubbed my head.The same hope that carried my parents over an ocean of uncertainty is now my fuel for the journey toward my future, and I go forward with the radical idea that I, too, can make it.Savoring each bite, I listen to the sound of neighbors calling out and children chasing a dog ridden with fleas, letting the cool heat cling to my skin. I always assumed my father wished I had been born a boy.Soon after, I find myself lying in bed, my thoughts and the soft throb of my head the only audible things in the room.I ponder whether my parents — dregs floating across a diasporic sea before my time — would have imagined their sacrifices for us would come with sharp pains in their backs and newfound worries, tear-soaked nights and early mornings. Instead, I dream of them and the future I will build with the tools they have given me.