Julie left the orthodontist clutching her mouth. She hated these visits. Her braces were tightened and the ache lasted for several days. She had always chosen colored bands to go over the train tracks but today she defiantly went with the natural color of the elastic. It was her protest. The truth was that she hadn’t been concerned about her teeth. She would have preferred a hip shaving operation in order to slim down the childbearing beasts housed within inherited chubby thighs. Julie stepped into the passenger seat of the car that her mother sat in, the engine quietly sniggering. The ache in Julie’s mouth continued the whole ride home and her resentment built. With each twinge of pain that eased the crooked pearly soldiers in line, Julie considered another part of her 13 year old complexion that could benefit from alteration.

Julie proceeded through life blaming her parents for highlighting the flaws of her body – for pointing out the imperfections that she had once been blind to. Their casual indifference to ‘correcting’ their daughter lingered, and Julie’s confidence slowly diminished. At first Julie tried extreme dieting – altering her body shape through juice cleanses and cabbage remedies in an attempt to reach what she believed could be perfection. Next it was her lips; they received multiple collagen injections and her face was hardened with repetitive botox. After some careful consideration and a lifetime of self loathing, Julie decided she would be more comfortable as a man. She lived as the opposite gender for over a year and booked a sex change operation with the local consultant. Julie’s mother pleaded with her to only have the breasts removed, but ever defiant, Julie had her vagina turned inside out and made into a makeshift penis. To Julie‚Äôs father’s surprise, he actually found his daughter more alluring as a man.

Julian had some real poise. And a perfect smile.

J. A. Hall