"You know you do not have to get out of the car right?" Dad looked at me from across the car. "If you want we can wait a little bit longer until you go to school. I would understand."
"No, I need to go to school sooner or later. I can't keep putting it off because of nothing," I looked back out at the school. I sighed deeply knowing that I did not want to do this, but I had to do this. Eventually. Maybe not today. Tomorrrow? No I can't. I gotta do this. Who cares, it is just school right?
To prepare for this my dad took me out shopping for new clothes and the works. He thought it would be fun to relax a little bit before the "Big Day". I thought that it was total bullshit, but you know? But it actually worked. I loved the new clothes he helped pick out a couple new shirts, skirts and shoes. I loved the new haircut and nails that he even treated me to.
God, this was just school; why was I freaking out so bad? I'd done this plenty of times before. First day of school has always been easy, why are you nervous now? Your summer was great, just walk in and be like hey my name is Dani, how was your summer? Mine was great. I mean other than the whole my Mom leaving me and my Dad behind thing. But other than that good, good. Reaaaal normal.
"Can I come back tomorrow? I don't think I can do this Dad." I really started to hyperventilate then.
"Dani, it is okay. You can do this. Remember how we practiced breathing. Practice breathing. All you need to do is breathe. Just walk in and go straight to the guidance counselor's office. Then if you want to leave for the day just call. I do not work this whole week just for you." He smiled but I knew it hurt him to see me like this. The whole Mom leaving him crushed him. He put up a good front just for me and it has made this easier for me, but it just made it worse sometimes.
"I know. I know. I'm gonna do this." I nodded.
"Have a good day at school Dani."
I got out of the car as fast as possible and started the mad dash to the school as I heard my Dad yell out the window, "You will always be my baby girl!" I waved to him and smiled.
I quickly bee-lined it straight to Ms. Pearson's office without stopping to say hello to anyone who saw me. As soon as I got in I shut the door, turning and saying hello to Ms. Pearson as I sat down.
"Well, that is certainly a way to make your entrance on the first day," she pulled one of her famous smiles, "Have a seat."
I took a seat down on the couch and straightened my skirt, crossing my legs. "How was your summer?" I figured I should ask as it was a polite way to start this session.
"It was fine, how was yours Dani?" She came around her desk and sat down in the chair across from me.
"Great great, other than the whole Mom leaving my Dad and I thing." I looked at the floor.
"You want to talk about it?"
"Yeah." So we sat for a good half an hour talking about what it was like before, during and after my Mom walked out, taking every last bit of her out of the house that she lived in with me and my Dad for the past seventeen years. Being asked questions about how I felt or giving further details.
"Dani, I want to ask you something. It may be something that you do not want to answer and that is okay. But this is something that you need to be prepared for if it happens. I want you to know this, okay?" She looked genuinely concerned.
I nodded, knowing that this was going to happen.
"How will you react if someone called you, on purpose, Daniel?"
I looked across the room in the mirror she had on the wall. I saw my face, lightly covered in make-up, hair long with extensions until my hair actually grew out longer than what I could manage. My masculine hands painted a shade of purple that has always been my favorite color. The one thing I had left of my mother's was a pearl necklace I got her for her birthday last year. She didn't want it.
"I think that, I will feel hurt. Because I never felt like a Daniel. That if that happens I might correct them. But I think that I need to move on from it," I looked up at her, "No one can exactly tell you how to act when you find out that the high school quarterback is transgender."
We talked a bit more. I asked that if I wanted to any time during the day I could leave school if I wanted to. She said yes and gave me my class schedule for the year. Ms. Pearson asked if I wanted her to walk to my second class of the day. I said no. I needed to do this by myself. I walked out into the hallway, my heels clacked against the tile floor. I made it five steps out then the bell rang and then everyone walked out of their classroom's and saw. Just out of no where they all stopped. I started to slowly walk and make my way down the hall.
I heard the whispers, saw them gawking at me. I saw people who used to be my best friends in the world turn the other way when I looked at them. My closest friend in the world Isaac looked down. I felt tears coming, and I wanted to leave. I turned around and started walking to the main door.
"Danny! Wait stop!" I turned around and saw Isaac running down the hall. "You don't have to leave. We are here for you man." He looked shocked for a second realizing what he said, "I uhh, mean, wo-man?" He tested the words.
That made me smile a bit, he never was good with words.
The rest of team came up to Isaac and I, and Preston spoke up, "Dude like what are we supposed to call you now?"
Isaac and Rich smacked him, Tyler gave him a look, "You call him," stopping himself, "her by her name dude."
"Danielle," I said quietly.
"Danielle, if any one gives you trouble we gotchu." Isaac smacked his chest, "No one hurts our girl."
The rest of the team smack their chests three times and yelled "Rah!"
For the first time in a long while, I cried. Not because I was sad. I cried because I was happy. I walked down the hallway with the football team behind me.