He used his ruined voice like aged hands to pick the lock on his past as I watched him sob and wail on the cold bathroom floor. The memories plagued him day and night never giving an inch of freedom to breathe. I knew the voices screamed in anguish within his racing mind yet nothing I could ever do seemed to help. I grew up with Shelly and being next door neighbours helped our friendship grow stronger. As the years dwindled by Shelly was changing into someone, I didn't understand. He would wear bright red nail polish and beautiful diamond earrings when I knew it didn't seem right. Shelly was always different, and I admired that but once high school started so did the whispers and taunts. As a teenager being different is a concept that everyone despises and avoids, but for my best friend it was never a choice. .
"Are you okay?" I whispered gently careful not to frighten the child-like person curled up on my lap.
"I have to tell you something very important and quite frankly life changing and I'm terrified about how you will react" Shelly replied hastily. .
"You have been my best friend for 15 years and I can promise you what you're about to tell me will in no way alter the way I will ever look at you".
Shelly looked up to me and whispered the words that threw more confusion into my head yet seemed to give me total understanding on my beautiful best friend.
"I'm transgender" Shelly sputtered out weakly before breaking into another round of sobs and cries before collapsing back down into my lap holding my legs so tightly I was afraid they would have fallen off. .
I remember when we were little we used to visit the beach and Shelly's favourite thing to do was walk along the shoreline and collect the most colourful sea shells and instead of calling Shelly by his birth name "James" the nickname just stuck with everybody in his immediate family. Shelly always wore shorts and sneakers but as he got older the nail polish started being worn, his hair grew longer and whenever the both of us would hang out Shelly would beg to try on clothes and parade them around as if we were supermodels.