I believe in creating fiction with real characters, which is why you’ll find another real character in this book, Heidi, who is Muslim. I have studied the Qur’an and respect the text as one of our greatest works. I had an agent who believed in this story, who also believed and represented some of our country’s most famous trans individuals. This story is for him. This story is for my high school friend, my students, my family, my children, and you. Toni Morrison said we read stories to find ourselves, and I do hope you find a piece of yourself in this book.
My deepest appreciation,
There’s no way I can go in the girls’ bathroom packed with makeup abusing suburbanites, geeked up from a Chicago tourist high. I don’t even look like a girl anymore. Heidi gives me this sympathetic face like she’s totally feeling what I’m feeling. I want to hug her because she’s always the only one that understands me.
“Go on. I’ll meet ya by the Bean,” she says, and walks into the girls’ bathroom. I’m left by myself, looking at that weird outline of a guy on the sign that tells me this is where I should be. But it doesn’t even look like a guy. The only thing that looks different is that it’s someone in pants. And the girls’ sign has someone in a dress, which is weird because a lot of girls don’t always wear dresses.
I’ve got little time to get all philosophical on the toilet signs, so I bail into the guys’ room. The smell of pee and powder-scented sanitizer is overwhelming, cooked by a hyperactive heating system. All the stall doors are closed. Two men stand against the urinal wall with their pants open.
As I’m waiting for a stall, I hear laughter behind me.
“Yo. Troy? Is that you dude?” I turn around. It’s C and the guys from the skate park. That one rabid-looking A-hole is there too. Suck.