Change of Skin (Quoting Fiction)

It’s time for me to share another free flash story with you, dear Readers. This one was inspired by a song that is a must have on my workout playlist, by a band I absolutely adore: Kitty Litter, by Placebo.

“I need a change / I need a change of skin.”

Lucas sat on his bed, his hands on his thighs, his feet flat on the floor, and his gaze focused entirely on the closed bedroom door. He had a bag packed, but he refused to remove it from its hiding place beneath the bed. He wouldn’t need it.

Doubt crept into his thoughts. Maybe he would. Maybe if he didn’t take it out now — hold it in his hands, ready to run – he wouldn’t have a chance to stoop down and grab it before all hell broke loose.

No. Damn it, Lucas. Have faith. He’s a smart man. Even if he doesn’t understand at first, he won’t hate you. He can’t.

Can he?

Lucas squeezed his thighs, digging fingers in to keep from chewing his nails. There wasn’t much left to them to chew, and his cuticles hurt from the gnawing, yet he couldn’t stop his hand from drifting to his lips, catching his ring finger between his teeth.

No. Stupid nervous habit.

He slammed his palm down on his leg, and then rubbed the spot he hit too hard. “It’ll all work out,” he whispered to the empty room. He repeated it, like a mantra, weaving a spell of confidence in the man pacing the living room a flight of stairs away. Now that the truth was out there, it had to work out. Lucas hated the lying, the hiding, the pretending. He had had to put an end to it… and he did. One way or another, his life was about to change. And drastically.

Lucas nearly jumped out of his skin when a knock sounded at the door. He didn’t have time to respond, to force his mouth to form the words ‘come in’, before the door swung open and a formidable man stood just outside looking very, very uneasy.

Never one to use silence to his benefit – unable to, really — Lucas blurted out, “Dad, I’m sorry–”

His father silenced his words with a single raised hand.

Patience. Let him speak.

At least it wasn’t fisted, Lucas thought. He immediately blushed, and averted his gaze. His dad had never hit him. It may have been a shock, but even with this truth, Lucas didn’t truly believe his life was in danger. He only hoped his dad would understand.

Please understand.

“I’ve been turning this over in my head all morning,” his dad said, “and I just don’t understand.”

Lucas’s heart fell; his stomach became a churning void. He opened his mouth to fight for what he wanted – no, needed – but he had no more words. He’d had his say… and he’d failed.

“I’m trying to understand, Karen, I really am.”

“Lucas,” Lucas said softly. He glanced up, frowned at the puzzled look on his father’s face, and then explained. “I prefer Lucas, dad. Karen was someone I could never be.”

“A therapist,” dad suggested. “I’ll go with you too. Whatever you need.”

“Yes, dad, that would be good for us both. But not to fix me. Please don’t try to fix me. I found one up in Bow who is transgender herself. I’d like to make an appointment to meet with her. Our insurance would cover most of it.”

“You’ve done your research.” He still sounded uncertain and confused, but not angry, not fighting, not quite denying… much.

Lucas tried a small, brief smile. “Yeah, just like you always taught me. I had to be sure, but dad…” He raised a finger to his lips, but before his teeth could close on the ragged nail nibbled down to the quick, he lowered his hand, forcing courage to the surface. “I’ve always known. I’ve never been comfortable in dresses.” Lucas laughed. His best friend, and private moral support to the decision to come out was a guy who was perfectly happy in a dress. “I always knew,” he whispered almost reverently. “I wanted to play with the boys all the time. I stole their boy toys. I melted the head off my Barbi on purpose. I… If I could go to the prom, I’d wear a three-piece suit and a fedora.”

“A boy,” dad said, as if still not sure he’d heard any of it correctly.

“Yes, dad.”

“A boy who’s stuck back a few decades.” His dad smiled. “No one wears three-piece suits if they don’t have to. Hell, I only wear a tie because my boss somehow believes that a tie symbolizes a hard working day.”

His dad chuckled. A real one, not a forced, trying to cope sound. Then his expression sobered, and with a stoic, serious gaze, he fixed an intimidating stare on Lucas. “So this isn’t a maybe, huh? Not just something you stumbled across online, or wondered about?”

Lucas held his dad’s gaze, willing him to understand, to accept his answer. “No. I’ve always known I wasn’t normal. I didn’t know the term for it right away, but I figured it out even before I learned there were others like me. Stuck.” He sucked in a breath. Only temporarily stuck; if he wanted, if he was brave enough, he could get fixed.

Dad nodded. “I’m trying to understand.”

“I can’t ask for anything more.” Lucas’s voice broke. His eyes itched. Boys didn’t cry, damn it. He wouldn’t.

His rocky emotions forgotten, he stood as his dad strode quickly across the room. A heartbeat of fear appeared and then dissipated in the span of a half a second as his dad wrapped big, strong arms around Lucas and pulled him close. He felt his father’s tears, though the man made no sounds at all.

He returned the embrace and, after several silent but damp seconds, whispered, “Dad?”

“L-Lucas, is it?” Lucas nodded. “I’m sorry I didn’t notice that you felt so alone and different.”

It was Lucas’s turn to be confused. Sorry? This wasn’t his fault. “I was afraid to tell you.”

“You shouldn’t. Never be afraid to tell me if something is upsetting you. You’re my dau—“ He took a deep breath, and then stood back, not retreating, but only to look down at Lucas. “You’re my son, and I love you. No matter what. Give me some time to figure all of this out, but I will. I’ll find a way to understand.”

That was all Lucas needed to hear. His own tears spilled down his cheeks. “Thank you dad. That’s all I need right now.”

“And we’ll visit your therapist.”

“Together?”

Dad nodded. Lucas smiled. The last remnants of faked girl within him died. Lucas was reborn. His body still didn’t fit, but his family did, and the rest they’d work on together.

~~ For Vy. Love you, girlfriend.

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