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The clock over the desk was ticking too loud. My pencil felt all clammy in my hand, the grooves where the bite marks were rough against my skin.
A,B,C,D. Ok, it had to be one of them, but which one? Wait, what was the question again?
My eyes fluttered back to the top of the paper. “Which of the following was NOT a cause of the Civil War?” I twirled my pencil, my breath heavy. I always got panicky when I thought about this.
The question looked more like “Which of the following is NOT a characteristic of a normal teenage girl?”
Well, then I’d know right off the bat, seeing that’s all I ever thought about these days.
I wished it was like a pregnancy test or something, something you could buy at the drug store and find out in five minutes if it was “yes” or “no” “positive” or “negative” plus sign or minus sign.
After months of debating, I was pretty sure there was a big, pink PLUS sign on my heart.
I moved on from the question. True/false time. “Normal girls thought guys with abs were hot” uh, true.
“Normal girls thought guys who rode motorcycles were sexy” true again. “Normal girls went to see ‘New Moon’ because Taylor Lautner takes his shirt off.” True, all very true.
Well, true for them. Not so much for me. I was like one of those stupid “which one of these things does not belong” games in elementary school. That was me, I didn’t belong.
Question the meaning of “normal” all you want, but I was pretty sure I was the complete opposite. I didn’t care about guys with abs or motorcycles or movie stars who were sexy…I didn’t care about guys at all.
In “The Scarlet Letter” Hester Prynne has to wear that A to show the community she committed the sin of adultery…should I wear a G? Is being gay a sin?
Yes, to my parents. It would crush my mother, just to find out her perfect “normal” daughter isn’t so normal and perfect. What now? Who do I tell? Do I…come out?
What about my Facebook status? Should I put I preferred girls?
I dropped my pencil on the floor. I didn’t care about this stupid Civil War test. It should be a “Are you really gay?” test. I needed one of those, just to be sure.
Ugh. I was sure, though. I didn’t like guys, not in the way I liked girls. What did that make me? A very, very bad Catholic? Was I going to hell?
Didn’t matter. My mother was going to send me there myself if, and when, she found out.
“Done, Miss Matthews?”
I looked up. Mrs. Marshall stood over me. I pushed my test forward. “Yea, I’m ga…done. I’m done.”
Her eyebrows raised as she looked at it. “You only answered the true or false” she said, as if I didn’t know. “And you said all true?”
“I don’t know anything about the Civil War” I said, grabbing my backpack and walking out.
Jericho, New York
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