Pink Girl's Dress Code

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“What a beautiful woman. She moved with grace, she was entirely feminine, and yet, she possessed incredible inner strength. She’s a survivor.” - Jan Moran

“Cory! Are you home?”

I shot up out of my bed from my text conversation with Carrie about the new school year. My parents were home early. I was not expecting them for another two weeks. The worst part was that the girls were coming to pick me up for school shopping in thirty minutes so I was fully dressed with my hair and makeup done. I panicked for a minute when I heard footsteps coming up the stairs. I did the only thing I could think of. I hid under my bed. I saw my mom and dad’s feet as they opened the door.

“He’s probably registering for school and deciding what sports team he wants to be on this year,” I heard Dad say. I pushed back a groan.

I texted Carrie, 911. Parents back early. Hiding under my bed. HELP!

I put my phone on silent and waited until my parents closed their bedroom door. This was a disaster. I hadn’t prepared myself for this. I thought I had two more weeks. Carrie texted back to tell me everyone was on their way and forming a plan. Mary Ann’s mom was made aware and she was preparing the guest room. Two minutes later, I was told to pack what I could and go out my bedroom window. Daisy and Nancy would be waiting for me with Carrie and Mary Ann in the car.

I did as I was instructed as quietly as I could. Thankfully, my mom like to turn up her music and my dad was probably in the shower. I shoved everything I could into my gym bag and my old backpack and opened my window. Daisy and Nancy were there and they caught my bags. I scaled the roof over the back porch the best I could. I took a chance and jumped. I landed hard and rolled. I got to my feet and the three of us ran around front and got in the car. Mary Ann drove away and I relaxed.

“Operation Rescue Cory is a success!” said Nancy.

“I never want to feel like that again,” I said. “That was horrible.”

“Well, for now, let’s go shopping for school and then we’ll take care of Cory’s parents,” said Mary Ann. I nodded, though I would rather just be a runaway and never see them again.

I had fun shopping. It was odd for me to enjoy school shopping, but being with my friends made it much more enjoyable experience. I was able to pick out things I liked in my favorite color, turquoise. I got a new backpack and binders, and even my own water bottle. We were all looking at planners when my phone rang. It was my mom. Not wanting to alarm her, I answered.

“Hi, Mom.”

“Where are you, Cory?” she asked. “We thought you had just gone to register?”

“I already did that,” I said. “I’m shopping for school supplies.”

“You’re such a good boy, Cory,” she said. I cringed. “Will you be home for dinner?”

I looked at my friends. The shook their heads.

“No, I’ll grab something while I’m out. I’ll be home after dinner.”

“See you then.”

“Bye, Mom.” I hung up the phone and sat down on the floor. “This is going to get ugly when I get home. You may want to wait in the car.”

“What are you talking about?” asked Mary Ann. “We’re going in with you.”

“We’re your friends,” said Nancy.

“We love you,” said Daisy.

“We’ve got your back,” said Carrie.

I started crying on the floor. I could never repay these girls for everything they’ve done for me over the summer. They gave me myself. They gave me courage, confidence, and brought out everything in me that I wanted to be. Now they were at my side as I prepared to destroy my parent’s dreams.

“Come on, let’s finish shopping,” said Nancy. “Have you figured out your elective, Cory?”

“I’ve always wanted to learn how to dance,” I admitted. The change in subject made me feel better. I smiled.

“Oh, that sounds like fun!” said Daisy.

“What about you guys?” I asked.

“We haven’t done dance yet,” said Mary Ann. “It’s our last year too. We should all do dance!”

“Let’s do it!” said Carrie.

We checked out and grabbed burgers and fries. It was Sunday evening and the one time a week we allowed ourselves junk food as a meal since it was the only day of the week we didn’t work out. We gorged ourselves and then we prepared to face my parents.

When we pulled up to the house, my parents were sitting on the front porch waiting for me. This wasn’t uncommon if I was home after dark since the bus stop was two blocks away. I walked up to the house with my friends around me. It gave me the courage I needed. It was clear from their immediate lack of reaction that they didn’t recognize me. I didn’t blame them. My hair was different, I was in tight clothes, heels, and makeup with my ears pierced. I looked nothing like I did when they left.

“I’m sorry, Cory isn’t home,” said Mom.

“Hi, Mom,” I said bravely.

I was met with silence. I could see my dad turning red in the face and my mother started crying and moving away from my father. This confused me.

“You stupid boy!” Dad yelled. “We leave for a couple of months and you turn gay!”

“I’m a girl, Dad! I’ve always been a girl. It says so on my birth certificate!”

“You little liar!” He was shaking his fist and the girls got closer to me.

“Cory is a girl!” shouted Mary Ann. “She’s a beautiful, strong, and caring female and I am proud to call her my friend!”

“Stay out of this you -”

“James STOP!” shouted Mom. Dad stopped moving. I’ve never heard my mom raise her voice. We were both stunned. “Cory was born a girl.”

My jaw dropped. What was happening?

“You ....”

Dad couldn’t find the words but his anger swelled dangerously. It happened too fast for anyone to react. His hand went across Mom’s face and she fell to the ground. All of us moved in and sheltered my mom from him. We were dangerous to him since we all carried pepper spray in our bags were it was easily accessible. Dad stormed into the house and slammed the door. Mary Ann called her mom to come to my address and we brought her to Mary Ann’s car.

“I’m sorry, Cory,” said Mom. “I never wanted you brought up like a boy. It was the only way I knew to protect you.”

“What are you talking about?” I asked. My head was reeling. Protect me from what?

“You know I was nineteen when I had you,” Mom said. “I had been dating your father for several months when I got pregnant.”

“You told me this before,” I said.

“I didn’t tell you that I got pregnant with you because he raped me.”

My jaw fell and my knees gave way. I fell to the ground and the girls stood in shock and horror.


“We had started talking about a possible future and we wanted separate things. I knew a breakup was coming. The night I broke up with him, he raped me. Then he threatened to kill me if I told anyone. When I found out I was pregnant, I told him. He told me that I better give him a son. All he said was ‘Or else’. So I told him you were a boy. I changed all your diapers, bathed you, took you to the doctor by myself. I even forged a fake birth certificate but I kept the real one. I never wanted him to do to you what he did to me.

“When you started your periods, I pretended to have mine to explain the pads even though I don’t have periods anymore. I left them out for you on purpose. I knew you wanted to be yourself. So, after a year of persuasion, I took him out of the county. I knew when we came back, you would look like a girl. I wanted to give you time, but he wanted to come home early. I couldn’t do anything.”

There was a long silence. No one said anything for a very long time. When Mary Ann’s mom pulled up, we told her the short version and she took my mom into her car and we all watched in horror as she marched up to my front porch and pounded on the door. Dad opened it and she punched him in the face so hard, she knocked him out. She walked back and looked at us.

“The last rule about being a Pink Girl is to know how to kick ass.”

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