What to call this person? Was it he, she, they, it? Or maybe it was a combination of all of them. Some days, he felt more like a man, and he lusted for women, feeling the testosterone beating against his skull. Others she felt quite feminine, trying on fancy dresses in the back of failing costume shops and feeling stirrings of longing in her heart whenever anyone walked by pushing a stroller.
Alex was what non- medical specialists called a hermaphrodite, with both sets of parts underneath a deliberately androgynous exterior, short but stylish brown hair, multiple but artistic piercings, and beautiful and mysterious tattoos, each of which meant something, but only to Alex. Alex was perfectly fine remaining an unknown, a blank box, a non-binary person. Alex knew that society expected one to choose, but Alex didn't want to. Why should they? It was more fun to see where the day took you, to decide what you wanted to wear and who you wanted to be at any given moment.
Alex's job working the stockroom at a big box store gave Alex the freedom to choose, as no one ever needed to see them. Unfortunately, the boss wasn't too flexible about gender, so Alex had to tell people he was a man and stick to it most of the time. It was unfortunate, but if you wanted a job, this was the kind of compromise you had to make.
Alex was a free spirit, sexually, spiritually, emotionally, but felt stifled at work. The one thing Alex hated above all else was falsehood, whether it was false charm, false hair or outright lies, but right now, it seemed like every day was a lie, each one building on the next, the weight of it slowly crushing out all breath until it felt like Alex was going to die.
Sometimes she wanted to get long plastic fingernails or bright red lipstick, but that would be too much for her boss, so, she let a fun experience, a small but significant piece of expression, pass her by, and he remained the same.
Alex had seen what happened to people like them. Alex had heard nightmare stories of people being attacked on the streets, because a straight man had hit on them and they were biologically male, or they had just come out of a drag bar, or just because they wanted to use the bathroom they felt they had a right to use. That wasn't going to be Alex. They still had dreams. Alex wanted to be a musician, to sing and play guitar like an angel, to make tears stream down the faces of their audience because the song struck a place inside them and vibrated like a tuning fork.
How was that going to happen? Alex had no money and a broken guitar, but those were both excuses, really. Alex could have found a way, but the fact of the matter was, Alex was just too scared. A person can build something up so much in their head that they become as paralyzed as if a bullet had struck their spines. How Alex was going to get past it, Alex didn't know. It just seemed too hard.