Part 14 – Confronting Kate

We’d almost reached her car before Megan smacked her forehead with an open palm muttered an “Oh crap” and ran back into the house. When she got back, she ushered me inside the car and tossed what looked like a roll of plastic garbage bags in the back seat before sending the car lurching out of the driveway and in typical Megan-fashion went tearing down the street like a bat out of hell. I don’t know how she’d ever passed her driving test, but she scared the hell out of me every time she got behind the wheel.

The ride to my former home was nerve-racking not because of Megan’s insane driving, but because of what sort of reception I’d have waiting for me. I wasn’t sure what my mother’s work schedule looked like, but somehow I was certain she’d be home. Maybe it was a lame sixth sense I’d developed because of my twist or perhaps it was because the universe would never let me get away with going back home without seeing Mom one final time. I almost told Megan to turn the car around, but I bit my lip and closed my eyes. I needed to confront Mom even if it meant tearing my already broken heart to shreds.

When we arrived, I was a little surprised to find my car sitting in the driveway. Mom must have brought it home with one of the spare keys. Megan parked on the street and I was out of the car before it had even come to a complete stop. Megan joined me a moment later, and slipped her hand into mine, clenching tight. I glanced at her and she smiled as we walked up to the front door. It was difficult to work up the courage to ring the doorbell. Each time I tried, my hand hovered a few inches from the button and my heart pounded in my chest. I glanced over my shoulder, contemplating making a run for it, but before I could, Megan hit the button.

I froze in place my eyes focused on the door. A few long seconds followed, and I jumped back as the door flew open. A familiar face stared back at me though not quite the one I had expected. The woman was tall and willowy and resembled my mother, she folded her arms across her chest and a frown creased her lips. It was my Aunt Lily, she’d never much liked me to begin with, but judging from the look on her face I was sure she more than disliked what I’d become. She stared at me with those cold eyes and sharp features, like a hawk ready to swoop down on its prey, but didn’t say a word. I was the one who broke the silence.

“Hi, Aunt Lily it’s me, Jim, I’m sure Mom told you all about what happened.” I winced and glanced up at her as her scowl only seemed to deepen. “Of course, she’s heard. Why else would you have flown in all the way from Boston?”

“What do you want?” She said sneering down at me.

“I want some of my things.” I looked her in the eyes and strained to fight back my tears. It about all the effort I could muster, but I would not let her see me cry.

For a moment, Lily’s features softened, and my heart leapt into my chest. Maybe I’d touched a nerve? She scowled at me, dashing my hopes.

“You have a lot of nerve, coming here after what happened.” Lily scowled and folded her arms across her chest.

“You make it sound like I had a choice.” I gritted my teeth and grabbed my breasts in both hands. “Do you think I wanted to get turned into this! It’s bad enough I’m a girl, but I look like a weird-ass over-sexed Smurf!”

I closed my eyes and bowed my head massaging the base of my nose before I glanced back up at her. “Look, let me talk to Mom, please. If she still wants nothing to do with me, I’ll take my stuff and leave.”

Lily hesitated and for a moment I wasn’t sure if she would let me through or slam the door in my face. Before either happened, Mom appeared in the doorway staring at me with that same fanatical fire in her eyes I saw when she’d confronted me in the mall.

“What the hell do you want?” She had her hands clenched at her side and her face was so red I wondered if her head would explode.

“Mom, please talk to me and help me understand. I’m so confused but I’m still Jim under all this,” I said motioning at my breasts. “Please, tell me it will be all right. Tell me you still love me.”

“Love you?” she asked her face blank. “How can I love something that looks like that!”

Talk about a slap in the face. Whatever hope I had for fixing things with my mother gushed down the drain with that single heart-rending comment, but what she said next only made it all worse. Though she wept, she didn’t reach up to wipe her tears away. “You’re just like your father! He abandoned me and left me and all I got was a stupid letter! He wouldn’t even tell me to my face. You’re not Jim, he died the moment you twisted!”

“Mom, plea–”

“NO!” she screamed. “Go away! Go somewhere you’re wanted. Why don’t you live with your freak father?”

“My father? I’ll gladly go find him. Tell me where he is! Dammit! Christ, tell me who he is! It wouldn’t be any worse than living with you!”

“Oh, I think you know who he is,” she narrowed her eyes and her face grew even redder, if that’s possible. “I found my old yearbook taped inside that chair in your room. He’s in Spiral, or at least that’s where he told me he was going in the letter.”

“All these fucking years! Why didn’t you tell me my father was twisted? If I had known I would have prepared myself!”

“And have you end up like him?”

“What? You think you keep the truth from me and somehow I wouldn’t change? Do you have any idea how stupid that sounds!?”

She turned away and was about to close the door, but I pushed past her, and made my way up the stairs. Her hand clamped around my wrist and I spun around to face her. “Let me go! I want some of my things and I’ll go. We wouldn’t want there to be a scene would we? I’m sure if we call the cops they can straighten this all out. I bet the neighbors would love to hear all about this mess!”

It was a bluff. Calling the cops was about the last thing I wanted to do. I was a twisted freak in a very conservative town. It seemed doubtful they’d take my side, but it was the right button to push. Mom was always so worried about what the neighbors might think and I had played on that fear. A moment later she let go of my wrist. She had her jaw clenched and had both hands fisted at her sides, but she nodded. I wasted no time leaping up the stairs and motioned for Megan to follow.

After I finished climbing them I glanced back down at my mother. “That boy in the year book, Harry Turow, you never told him about me, did you?”

“No,” she said between gritted teeth. “And if I’d known what he was, I never would have let him touch me. Get your things and get out of my home or I’ll be the one calling the police!”

“That’s it then,” I said tears stinging my cheeks. “It’s over.”

I turned away, hoping my mother hadn’t seen me cry and moved down the hallway toward my bedroom.

“If I’d known you would have turned out like this. It would have been over a long time ago,” she replied after I was about halfway down.

I didn’t say another word. A part of me wanted to fall down on my hands and knees and beg her to reconsider, but I was fighting a losing battle and everybody knew it. My feet seemed heavy, as if weighed down by lead. It was difficult just putting one foot in front of the other.

Mom hated me, I could see it in her body language and hear it in the way she spoke. I’d lost the only family I’d ever known. Sure I could go looking for my father, but I knew nothing about him. He could be dead and even if he weren’t how could I be sure he’d accept me? Just because we were both twisted wasn’t any guarantee.

Something slipped inside my hand and I looked over to find Megan staring at me with a frown and puppy dog eyes. My lips trembled, and it was all I could do to keep myself from throwing my arms around her and letting it all out. I squeezed her hand, she returned the gesture, and she smiled at me between pursed lips as we stepped into my bedroom.

I flicked the tears from my eyes and glanced at Megan. Many people in my position wouldn’t have anyone they could turn to. It was fortunate that Megan and her dad had been so willing to take me in. She’d been an amazing friend, and I paused staring at her with wide eyes before reaching out to touch her face. My friend didn’t resist, and my lips lock around hers not even sure which of us had initiated it.

Megan broke away and cleared her throat. “Now’s not the time.”

I nodded and glanced around the room. “Tell me you brought the garbage bags?”

She nodded and produced the roll of bags from her back pocket. She tore one free then tossed the roll to me and we got to work. I didn’t have a lot of clothes, a few pairs of jeans and a pair of dress pants, a few button-up shirts, some sweaters and hoodies, a couple pair of shoes, socks and undies and a week’s worth of t-shirts. We tossed all my clothes into the bag and glanced around the room looking for anything else I might want to take. It was amazing how little of it I grabbed, a few knick-knacks, my stamp collection, my year books and all the cash I had. Nothing else seemed that important. I almost left my gaming stuff behind, but figured, at the least, it would provide a distraction.

I stopped by the kitchen and grabbed the extra set of keys for my car and inside the front room just long enough to pick up the rest of my gaming stuff, my Gamestation and the few games I kept there. Kate–I couldn’t bring myself to call her mom anymore–watched me with hawk eyes and a scowl that grew deeper by the minute. I eyed my aunt and mother, wordlessly daring either of them to stop us as we left. Kate just stared at us, but Lily muttered several curses under her breath that would have made a sailor blush.

I waited for the door to slam shut behind us before I collapsed to my knees. Tears blurring my vision as I stared up at Megan. She knelt down next to me and put her arm around my shoulder. “I’m so sorry, I never should have pushed you to come.”

“No,” I shook my head. “I needed that. It was the most difficult thing I ever had to do, but at least it’s over.”

I climbed back to my feet slung my bag over my shoulder and stopped in front of my car. I pulled the keys out of my pocket and had just fit the key into the door when I noticed something out of the corner of my eyes. There was something hanging out of the dumpster. I left the keys hanging from the door and flipped the lid of the garbage can open. A sob escaped my lips as I reached out to grab my baby book from the trash. I almost left it there, but it seemed like something I should keep. At first, I spotted nothing else and turned to leave, but I caught sight of a scrap of paper poking out from under some bags. I did more digging and found my social security card and an envelope. Its edges were torn and worn and it looked as if it had been well read.

With shaking hands I opened the envelope and unfolded the paper inside and read the short note scrawled on the page. The ink was streaked with what might have been tears and the lettering was jagged and uneven almost as if the person’s hand had been shaking when writing it.


You’ll hear rumors, and most of them will be true. This might come as a shock to you, but I went through my twist and my family has decided to move away before things get ugly like they did when Joey Henderson twisted. I would tell you to your face, but given the way your family feels about people like me I’m not sure that would be such a good idea. When you read this, I’ll be gone. We’re going West there’s a town called Spiral, where people like me aren’t met with fear and hostility. I still care for you a lot, but things have changed in more ways than one and it would never work between us. I’m so sorry.

With my deepest and most heartfelt regards,

<p>I folded the letter back up and glanced at Megan who’d come up beside me. “He has no idea I was ever born,” I bit my lip and shook my head. “Oh, Megs, what am I gonna do?”

She put her hand on my shoulder. “We can figure something out back at the house.”

“What about my car?”

“Do you think you should drive? If I were in your shoes. I’d be pretty damned out of it. We can come back for it later, when that woman isn’t home.”

I nodded and reached out to snatch my keys from the car. Megan helped me put my stuff, including most of the things from the garbage, inside her trunk and a moment later backed the car out of the driveway.

The first few minutes of the ride passed in a blur, but then I remembered the car slowing down. I looked up and found that we’d stopped at an intersection with a red light. I glanced to the side and noticed a familiar beat up red Jeep. It belonged to Jeff Goldwin. Without even thinking, I waved out the window at him, but when he returned my gesture, it was in a much less cordial way. He flipped me off. I’d forgotten he’d been present during my twist, he’d disappeared in the aftermath and somehow it had all slipped my mind.

I guess I would have to get used to it. How many more of my friends would reject me now that they all knew I was twisted? I doubted Jeff throwing me the birdie would be the worst of it and it seemed an omen of things to come.

“Fucking twisted bitch,” he craned his neck and yelled out the window. “If I had my way you’d be lying in a ditch somewhere!”

If that wasn’t bad enough, I was getting looks from pedestrians. Before things could take a turn for the worse the light turned green and Megan stomped down on the gas zooming past Jeff and his Jeep.

“Well,” I said glancing at Megan. “I can’t wait to find out what the town thinks. As if Kate and Lily weren’t bad enough now I gotta worry about Jeff and all the other fuckheads who are convinced I’m a freak. Did you see the way people were looking at me?”

“I will not lie. People will not make it easy for you, but you’re not in this alone. We’re not gonna let people bully you without a fight.”

“Thanks,” I said biting my lip. “For everything.”

“I’m sure everything will turn out all right,” she said not sounding convinced herself.

I smiled. “Let’s hope so.”

She pulled into the driveway of her house and for a moment we both just sat there. I don’t know what was going through Megan’s head, but I didn’t feel very motivated at the moment. My life had gone from average to fucked up with a single twist of fate. I didn’t know if I was strong enough to endure the storm that was sure to follow.

I cleared my throat and turned to Megan, the car was getting hot. “Wanna help me with the bags?”

“Yeah,” she popped the trunk just before hopping out of the car. Neither one of us said a word as we made our way inside, bags flung over our shoulders. What more was there to say?</p>