Spencer was new to school and hadn’t quite decided who to be. Having the benefit of a unisex name meant that Spencer had also chosen not to identify as ‘he’ nor ‘she’ but ‘it’ or ‘Spence’.
On the first day, Spence dressed in such a manner that its gender could not be identified at first glance. Short-ish hair but not entirely, hoody, jeans, sneakers, and body language that simply confused everyone.
Spence didn’t like being told who to be nor was It capable of mimicking what has already been done, so instead of trying to emulate the behavior of those around, It decided to merely experience people. This strategy was much more relaxing than trying to ‘keep up with appearances’, because all Spence had to do was either sit back and listen to what people seemed inspired by or initiate conversation and be aware of what emotions were evoked throughout the duration.
The first day was fun for Spence. Some of the classmates whispered to each other, “Is that a boy or girl? So weird…” This made Spence feel a little amused but also disappointed knowing that befriending this sector of the class would just cause misery throughout the term. Spence smirked a little and tuned-in to the group on the other side of the room.
“Dude you can’t say shit like that! I think the new kid is kinda awesome,” said one of the more charismatic figures in the class. Spence listened more, and heard another classmate say in a mocking tone, “Go say hi then!” To Spence’s surprise, the new friend actually walked over and said “Hi, I’m Evon. When an O.”
Spence liked this person’s energy—confident but not overpowering. “Oh!” bantered Spence, “As in O-V-A-N?”
Evon caught on quickly and chuckled. “Not ‘oven’. Evon. E-V-O-N.”
“I’m Spence. Like pence with an S,” Spence played along with the vibe.
“Ha!” Evon turned around and called out to the group, “This is Spence! Toldja the new kid is awesome!” The group walked over to meet Spence and introduced themselves.
The judgmental group from the first side of the classroom rolled their eyes and went back to mainstream mediocrity, gossiping about which teachers might end up dating each other or which Netflix characters should ‘soooo not be together’ (which could be heard from the hallway).
Evon’s group didn’t seem bothered by this, and frankly neither was Spence; what was noticeable though, was that the more Evon seemed to ignore them, the louder and more uncomfortable they seemed to become. Their eyes rolled more aggressively and their voices became more audible to the point where full conversations could be heard outside the classroom.
Spence turned back to Evon and the newly-made friends, grateful that this new school wasn’t entirely hopeless. Still, for a split second, Spence did feel bad for the conforming haters on the other side.
Everyone knew those were the kids who’d either die alone or become so miserable with insecurity that eventually they’d be intolerable.
Everyone, except themselves.