9:00 AM. I wake up from the voice outside my room, “Raani, bring two more slices of bread in the dining area”
Amma hasn’t knocked my room door yet. Why hasn’t she wakened me up? It’s been more than 30 mins from my daily-expected sleeping time. Why have I not bathed yet? If my family is out, having breakfast, why am I still in bed? Why has my mom not asked me to make Omelette or toast the bread? Am I dreaming?
I wake up quickly and rush to the bathroom to get changed. But then I stop, when I look at the mirror.
This isn’t me. I see, my brother in the reflection.
I went numb. I couldn’t feel. I couldn’t hear. I couldn’t speak. This isn’t me. What is happening!?
It felt strange. I felt strange.
I splash water on my face, but I’m still this.
I’m 6 feet tall. I have a beard and long, hairy arms and legs. My hands and my feet are so so big. I don’t understand what’s happening. Maybe, I am dreaming.
I step towards my closet to change so I can go out and understand what’s happening. But what am I supposed to wear? I can’t wear my red, floral Shalwar Kameez and Duppatta while I’m like this. Oh wait, maybe I can finally wear those shorts and t-shirt that I stole from my brother.
I step outside my room, barefoot. “Ayaan, you’re up early.” My mother hugs me and leads me to the dining room for breakfast. But Amma doesn’t really show affection towards me. Still confused, I sit beside my father on the table and I see Raani, our helper, set my plate. I’ve never had anyone set my plate before, that’s something that Raani or I do.
If I’m Ayaan, then where is Sarah? I finally decide to ask my parents what going on. But my voice, Oh my voice! It’s so heavy and deep and weird.
“Oh Sarah went to her aunt’s last night. You must be tired, so you slept in her room.”
“By the way, why are you up so early. It’s only 9:30 AM. You don’t wake up until its noon. Are you feeling okay? You look pale.”
It all made sense now.
I woke as my brother but I was still me.
I went to his room, or should I call it my room now, and decided to sleep again.
This really is happening. I’ve always wanted to be a guy, and now I can be. I’m free. There will be no restrictions. But does that mean I won’t be able to wear makeup again? But I love makeup! I should catch up with my old friends that Amma never allows me to meet up with. But, they aren’t my friends anymore. They probably won’t believe me and I can’t hangout with my brother’s friends. That will be super awkward. I’ve never met his friends. I’ve never really seen them, because Amma would always make me go sit in another room whenever they came to our house. Maybe I should go and watch a movie. I’ve always wanted to go and watch one by myself. With countless thoughts and an hour of overthinking and making peace with who I am now, I sleep.
2:00 PM. I wake up. I haven’t slept this good since forever. I take a bath and wear blue shorts and a black button-down shirt with my authentic brown gum skate Vans. I’ve always loved these shoes of my brother. I take his wallet and his wristwatch and step outside. Its a weird feeling, wearing whatever I want to without showing or asking Amma if I can wear this while going out. And then her always lecturing me about how I shouldn’t wear short shirts and jeans while going out because it ‘doesn’t look appropriate’.
“I’m going out for a movie with my friends,” I tell my mother. “
Take care and drive safe.”
Wait, she didn’t ask about who amongst my friends is going with me, or which cinema I’m going to, or which movie will I be watching, or how long is the movie going to be, or when I’ll be back. I feel relieved. So relieved. I don’t have to answer anyone anymore. I can wear what I want, do what I want whenever I want to.
While driving, I get stopped at the police checkpoint. That’s a little odd. They’ve never stopped me before. He asks me to show him my driving license and my ID card, and I do and he lets me go then after thoroughly checking my car and my documents.
I finally reach Cinestar-IMAX. I go to the counter to get tickets for Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again and the cashier hasn’t smirked at me once. He didn’t even touch my hand while exchanging tickets and money. It feels nice. I feel comfortable while I enter the theatre all by myself and not a single person has looked up at me.
6:00 PM. Amma really hasn’t messaged me even once to ask when I’ll be coming home. I exit the theatre and decide to eat somewhere. I drive to Hardees and decide to take away from there.
8:00PM. I reach home. My uncle’s here with his family. I greet them and my mother asks me how I’m home so early. I don’t know. I thought getting home at 8:00PM was way after my curfew. But that was my curfew, not my brothers, I think to myself.
I sit for a little while with my family and then ask them to excuse me. And they do. I don’t have to serve anyone, or play with the kids, or make small talk to anyone, or cook for anyone, or set the table. I can just walk out of the room without being rude or without giving justifications.
It does feel strange.
I go to my brothers room and plug in his laptop and decide to watch my favorite TV show, Friends, while my family is having dinner downstairs. This has been the weirdest yet an amazing day, I think to myself while I continue watching Friends.