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The Pumpkin Patch

by Ezra Bellwood

"I decided to write ‘The Pumpkin Patch’ because I want to see more stories about trans joy in the world. Although the story does have some more serious elements, it is mainly about young love and understanding that being trans doesn’t have to halt your life which is something that I wish I could have known when I was a teenager. The story encapsulates an experience that I wish I had allowed myself to have at that age. I wish I had known that, as a trans person, I was worthy of love and that I could find happiness in myself and my place in the world.

My advice for any young, closeted or recently come out trans people is to try to find the good things about your life in the moment. It’s hard knowing what you want and not being able to reach it but things go by faster than you would believe. This era of your life is not forever and in however many days to come it will feel like a drop in the ocean. Just make sure you are safe and have a good support base around you whether that be family or friends."


Tonight, is the night. The one night of the year where I can truly be myself and nobody says anything about it. Nobody asks; ‘why are you doing this to me?’ or ‘what is wrong with you? ‘Or, worst of all, ‘why can’t you just be normal?’

I look in the mirror as I apply the wrappings to my chest. I need to push it down, push it back to where it came from inside of me. Some people are lucky. They catch it in time and this doesn’t happen to them but I am not one of those people. My body has already changed and there is nothing I can do about it; I feel so powerless in my own skin like it’s not mine but rather one I have borrowed. Like a coat that doesn’t fit right.

When my chest looks flat enough, I put on my costume. I am a vampire this year. I know, so stereotypical but I wanted something easy and classic. I’ve told my friends for the last six years that I’m not allowed out on Halloween because my parents don’t agree with it. It isn’t a complete lie; they don’t agree with it but they wouldn’t stop me from spending time with my friends. They’re hypocrites like that. Sometimes, I think that my friends don’t want me around anyway. I’m not like them so I understand why but it still hurts. I’m like the spot on the bottom of our friendship that won’t go away.

This year, I’m going to a party on the north side of town. My cousin was invited so she asked if I wanted to come along. She’s the only person who knows about this and she has always been good to me. We grew up like siblings because we lived so close. It’s said to be the party of the year because some uber rich snob from the public school is hosting so everything is paid for from generational wealth. All the more reason to go in my opinion, drink the rich out of house and home.

I told my parents that I was going from the hallway. I didn’t want them to see me especially when I had bound my chest. I knew they wouldn’t leave the living room on Halloween for fear of some kid seeing the movement inside and knocking on the door asking for sweets which my parents didn’t buy. They just sat, unmoving in the dark, the only light emanating from whatever soap was on at the time. It was very easy to leave, no questions asked.

I waited at the bus stop. It was a cold night and the streets were dark as if the sky overhead was completely starless. The autumn chill whispering through the street made me realise that I should have worn a jacket. In the distance, someone was approaching. As they came into view, I could tell the person was a boy about my age with shoulder length dark hair slicked back and glistening in the light of the few streetlamps that were dotted up and down the street. He stopped next to me and that’s when I recognised him. It was Hazel Weir from my history class. Shit, I thought as he looked at me. What if he knows who I am!

“Where are you off to tonight?” he asked coolly.

Shit, shit, shit I thought to myself. Ok. Be cool.

“The house on the end of Finkley Street, there’s a big party happening there tonight.”

Phew. I don’t think he knows who I am.

“Sweet! I’m going there too!” he smiled.

Fuck. That just gave him more time to figure out who I am. I gave him a tiny smile to try and end the conversation. Not only was I worried that he would find out but I also get nervous talking to guys, especially cute ones. Luckily, we were silent until the bus arrived.

When we were on the bus, he sat in front of me. I thought that it might have been quiet until he turned around.

“You know, I was nervous about tonight,” he said.

“Why?” I replied shocked. I always thought he was popular which would automatically make him confident.

“Well, I don’t know anyone but now I know you.”

“You don’t know me,” I scoffed. Shit. I didn’t mean to do that. He looked all forlorn and crestfallen now which made me feel terrible.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it like that,” I said apologetically, “I’m Elijah.”

“And I’m Hazel,” he said. He seemed to have brightened up again.

We got off the bus a couple of streets away from the party but you could still hear the music faintly in the distance. I was about to start heading there but stopped when Hazel didn’t follow.

“Aren’t you coming?”

“I think we should blow it off,” he said cheekily.

“What do you mean? We can’t do that! We barely know each other!”

“Sure, we can! And we seem to get along. Maybe this is the start of a blossoming relationship.” He gestured dramatically with his hands when he said ‘blossoming relationship’.

He had this puppy dog look about him which made it hard to say no.

“Where would we go?” I asked.

“There’s a pumpkin patch nearby and I happen to know how to break in. Come on.”

He started running in the direction of the pumpkin patch and I followed.

When we arrived at the patch, I was out of breath. Running at the best of times was hard, but wearing bandages around my ribs at the same time was harder. He told me to wait outside while he hopped the fence to open the gate. What was I doing? Me and Hazel Weir of all people were breaking into a pumpkin patch the night of Halloween and he had no clue who I was. It was kind of amazing and somehow, I felt extremely comfortable around him. He was unpredictably safe. We had this unspoken connection that I couldn’t quite pin down and yet, at the same time, it was tangible. The gates opened and on the other side he was waiting with two battery powered lamps.

“Where did you get these?” I asked, taking one from him.

“The staff have them for when it gets dark on the café tables.”

We strolled through the patch looking for the right spot to rest. The sky was beautiful out here in the middle of nowhere with the stars in their full splendour. That was the thing about the north side. You didn’t have to go far to remember the world could be awesome.

Eventually, we found a place to sit. Hazel was laying down and I could see the part of his stomach that was exposed where his shirt had lifted up. I thought about seeing more of him and about how girls at school were lucky enough to have kissed him. What was I thinking? This wasn’t like me and, moreover, as far as he was aware he was just chilling with some guy and not in a gay way.

“Why didn’t you want to go to that party?”

I suspected there was a deeper meaning (?) behind all this.

“Two things you have to understand about me Elijah are, one: I don’t like parties and two: when I meet a fit guy, I have to capitalise on that.”

I guess maybe he did think we were chilling in a gay way. I must have looked shocked because he started to apologise. I had to interrupt and explain that I was just not used to this.

“I don’t usually chill in fields with fit guys,” I said.

I laid down next to him and I could feel his hand edging closer to mine. When they were joined, it was like there was electricity shooting from all my nerve endings. I had never held hands with someone before. We stayed like that for hours, talking and laughing as if we had known each other forever. I knew I had to tell him.

“Hey, can I tell you something?”

He was facing me now and his blue eyes looked deep in the moonlight like the sea after a storm.

“Sure, what is it?”

“I’m trans,” I said.

I waited for his response. ‘I know’ was all he said.

We continued to lay there in silence. I wanted him to say something, something more than ‘I know’.

What was that?

“Have you ever read the poem Masks by Shel Silverstein, Elijah?” He said finally.

“No, I haven’t.”

“In that poem there are two people who both have blue skin. They are the only people in the world who have blue skin so they wear masks to hide it. They are both looking for someone like them but because they wear these masks, they walk right by each other. I wasn’t going to let that happen with us. I knew you had blue skin, Elijah, despite your mask and all I’ve wanted to do these past five years is talk to the boy in my history class.”

I looked at him and our faces were so close.

“Did you ever think about kissing the boy from your history class?”

“Everyday,” he replied edging closer to me.

He cupped my face and as his lips touched mine my heart fluttered. We laid there till more entwined in each other as the whole world fell away and I thought to myself that this was the start of forever for Elijah.

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