Hey, guys! I’m Roberta and I’m 13. If there was ever an opportunity for children to sort of, divorce their parents, like it is for the spouses, I’d divorce my dad.
The first thing you need to know about my father, is that he always dreamed of having a son. He was almost obsessed with this idea, or, at least, that’s what I’ve been told. So, when mom gave birth to my older brother Robert, dad was on top of the world. He immediately decided to grow a successful athlete and my brother really became something at hockey, at least, as far as his numerous awards showed. Dad loved Robert more than anything in this world, and, of course, my mom also loved him.
One day Robert was playing with a ball outside. My mom was distracted by her cell phone, and the ball rolled out onto the roadway. Robert ran behind it and tried to catch it, and there was a car… He died on his way to the hospital at the age of almost 8 years old.
Even though everything happened before I was born, I know that my parents were heavily grieving after Robert's death. Dad blamed mom for everything. I mean, he literally said so. And he began drinking, like, a lot. Mom loved dad and she tried to be as supportive as she could to help him overcome everything. Because of all that, mom’s health got worse and she spent a lot of time undergoing medical tests and trying to identify the disease she should be treated for. Anyway, after a while, dad went through rehab, and the relationship between him and my mom reignited, and my mom got pregnant again. Doctors promised that this baby was gonna be a boy, and even showed the sonogram to my parents, and that cheered my dad up a lot.
But then I was born. I am not a boy (obviously), but this didn’t prevent my dad from raising me and teaching me boy stuff. He took me everywhere he went and taught me everything he knew. By the age of 6, I had already sort of mastered fishing, swimming, playing football and baseball, and much more. I even knew what every spare part in my dad’s car was called and why it was needed. And, I must say that, during these times, we had fun together.
Even the fact that my dad insisted on me having a short haircut didn’t bother me much. Yeah, couple of times it just so happened that some of my parent’s old friends, who didn’t know me, came up to me and said what a nice looking boy they had. But I was ok with it. At least, sometimes it happens that it’s hard to distinguish a boy-child from a girl-child, right?
Oh, by the way, while everybody else called me Bertie, dad called me Bobby. He always said that Bobby fit me better and I felt like I was something special, you know, not like other girls. Well, at least until I had to go to school and local girls began teasing me for being boyish. I remember once, one of them - who was a little bit bigger than me - wouldn’t let me enter the girls’ toilet because, as she said, the girl who walks like a boy, talks like a boy, and looks like a boy should use the toilet next door. It was not funny!
At some point I thought that maybe something was really wrong with me, since people around me thought that I was not enough of a girl, you know. I tried to talk to my dad about that. I thought, you know, maybe he’d let me go out for a more girlish sport instead of me being on a hockey team, or buy me some girly stuff, like, a dress, for example. But he just blew me off when I told him.
Then a new girl came to our class. Her name was Jessica. I don’t know why, but once we happened to be on the same team for a biology project, she turned out to be a nice girl and she didn’t mind the two of us becoming friends. Since then we’ve been really close with each other. I have to say that she was probably the first girl I could talk to, except for the girls from the hockey team, I mean. I stayed at her house a lot overnight and her family was really nice to me.
And her dad, oh, he always played with us, and tickled us, and hugged her and kissed Jessica. I’ve never had anything like that between me and my dad. Frankly speaking, patting me on the shoulder or my head was the biggest showing of affection that he was capable of.
I turned 12 back then and I was definitely jealous of their relationship, but, you know, in a kind way. So, I thought, maybe I could transform into a nice and dainty girl, and maybe my dad would finally notice that it suited me better and also start being more gentle with me. And once after another sleepover at Jess's house, I borrowed a dress from her and went home excited, anticipating my dad’s reaction.
But when dad saw me, he just told that next time I stay at Jess's, I should take an extra outfit...
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