I need to change the dates around a bit. Two weeks until leaving is too long to move the story along properly. Should I mention dates at all? Birthday is still important, as it is a key point of focus for the main character. Does an actual date have to be tied to the birthday, though? I can’t see the actual dates having any significance in the overall story. Something to think about later. For now, I’m going to move forward as if the dates were never mentioned. – Trasee
After the verdict and sentence is handed down, I was escorted out of the courtroom by Biggs and Wedge. Those are the names I gave my two guard escorts, since I don’t know their real names. I don’t say anything aloud, though, I simply follow their directions and walk to the bus waiting in the parking lot behind the courthouse.
Biggs walked onto the bus in front of me, while Wedge followed behind. They show me exactly where to sit, then cuff my feet and hands to the seat. Another guard stood at the front of the bus, next to the driver, a knock-out-rifle in his hand. There were a couple other prisoners on the bus as well. First was a Cambodian with a shaved head and tattoos, probably gang affiliated. He looked quite angry, and ready to attack whoever got in his way. Good thing he was chained like I was. Then there was an overweight woman, apparently in her late forties, crying in the seat in front of me. I wonder what her crime was. Whatever it was, like the gang-banger and myself, we’re guilty and going to the moon.
The moon. I knew it was only a matter of time, no matter how much I tried to avoid it. How fitting it is that my trip to the moon falls on my birthday as well. How I hate my birthday. Everything bad that has ever happened in my life has happened on, or within a couple days, of my birthday. It may sound cliche, but even the day I was born was bad, probably the cruelest day of them all.
I was born Val Daniel Edelstein Jr, the son of Val and Danielle Edelstein. I was a perfectly healthy boy that weighed just under eight pounds. While that sounds nice, the problem was that I was born a boy, when I should have been born a girl. It’s such a cruel trick that nature played on me, and I was helpless to do anything about it.
My parents were wonderful. When I was old enough to begin to show my differences, they understood and accepted it. Oh, I’m sure they tried to make me a behave like a boy at first, but I would have none of that. It was so long ago, though, I don’t remember how it was. I just know they bought me pretty dresses, dolls, and anything else to make me feel like their little princess. They were even going to start me on hormones when I turned 13.
That was the year the birthday curse struck again. The three of us all got into the car to go to see the doctor. I was so excited, I could barely contain my enthusiasm. I was going to get hormones, I was going to become a woman. I don’t remember what happened after getting in the car, I only know what I was told. We were on our way to the hospital when another car lost control and hit us head on. The driver of the other car and my parents were all killed instantly in the crash. I was in the back seat, and had a little more protection, but not enough. My legs, arms, ribs, and skull were shattered. One of my lungs had collapsed and my brain was swelling. I was in critical condition for more than a month, having barely survived.
I spent a year in the hospital, while the hospital slowly drained my parents’ bank accounts. Recovery was hard, as I had to relearn everything. I couldn’t think or comprehend as fast. I couldn’t even comprehend my parents had died for months. I was treated like a boy in the hospital, yet I still wanted to be treated like a girl, but my brain injuries made it hard to express.
On my fourteenth birthday, I was sent to live in a foster home. I had no money to my name, all the money that would have come to me had gone to the hospital to pay for my treatment. My new foster family, Bill and Andrea, with their biological son Steven, saw me as a disabled boy. When I tried expressing that I was a girl, they just thought it was related to my brain damage, and tried to reinforce that I was a boy.
Steven was a brat. He was older than me by a year, and always treated me badly. In his eyes, I was a just a “retard” who talked funny. I wasn’t retarded. I didn’t speak clearly nor did I learn quickly, but I was not, and am not, stupid by any stretch of the imagination. It’s just harder for me now than it was before the accident.
Because of my difficulties learning, I was considered “special needs” when it came to my education. When most kids were graduating when they were 18, I was in a special school until I was 21. That was when my birthday bit me again. Bill and Andrea did not want to be saddled with me anymore, so they threw me onto the street on my birthday. They probably would have done that three years earlier, but because I was considered “special needs” the law wouldn’t allow them to until I turned 21.
Thomas was my assigned case worker after I was kicked out. It was his job to get me to look professional, and to help me get a job. I told him I wanted dresses and makeup. He told me I could only have suits and ties. Even when I was on my own, I was being denied my true self.
My special needs status gained me extra leeway with my jobs, but my difficulties in speaking and learning caused me to lose my jobs every three months. A normal person would have been sent to the moon within a year, but because of my status, I was given until I was 25. This is why I find myself cuffed in the slowly filling bus of rejects about to be sent to the moon.