It had been a decidedly civil lunch with the Uncle, covering topics of school as well as jobs and apartments, glossing over the shaving that had occurred on the Butch Child's head but not on their legs, avoiding glancing at the large watch and low shorts, careful not to mention the lack of boyfriend.The Uncle's Female counterpart was beyond civil and genuinely cheered to see the Butch Child. She was always the Uncle's buffer and the ever accepting bridge between his tightly closed eyes and the offending relatives' alternative lifestyle. The offending Butch Child had recently become determined to never let people dictate their life again. Under these new morals, they defiantly wore their baggy shorts and confining binders despite requests for a more appropriate outfit, make up to frame their now angular shaven head, and a set of earrings in their ears that were less punk and more sweet. Instead they wore the clothes they wore every day. Kept their cropped hair undefined by offending powders and liquid liners and let the three swinging zippers in their ears remain. Perhaps they were asking for a scolding by dressing this way, but at this point they was done being accommodating.
Throughout childhood they had had a close relationship with these relatives but then puberty came along and the Uncle no longer knew how to relate to a full grown woman and chose a new favorite boy child on the other side of the family. As the puberty continued the Butch Child (who for a short time now would be a Woman Child) learned just how short the Uncle's depth of field was and little he approved off. The Child saw the Uncle ignore his own sister for years due to first her sexuality, then her lover, and finally her child, who he never acknowledged. Constantly the Aunt acted the buffer. Soon it was time for the Butch/Boy(Woman) Child to move on to college. At first the Uncle was proud but then he began to suspect. The Boy child transformed into a Butch child and the uncle talked to them less and less and soon they began to be ignored just like the other alternative relatives. This lunch was the first forced encounter in six months and the conversation clunked across the table like building blocks each thunking into place in the correct order as was expected by society. Finally the meal was ended and the Child dropped off at the residence.
The Aunt gave a genuine hug goodbye and then the Butch Child turned to the Uncle and received a hug. A grasp trying to find the small child that had once followed his every word. The Butch Child squinted into the sun and calculated the aged face that was now barely recognizable from the young man that was once their friend. The creased face now resembled that of the Grandfather but it lacked the wisdom behind the Grandfathers eyes and there was no unconditional kindness behind the sheltered gaze. The Uncles eyes squinted back and through the reflection of the thick glasses the Butch Child could see themself, shaved head, zippers, squared shoulders, defiant and strong, baring a face that had grown to be angular and chiseled and lost its babylike qualities. In the reflection there was no foreseeable connection between this Butch Child and the small Girl Child the Uncle had approved of. The Uncle's hand that always thundered with strength lightly slapped the Butch Child's cheek several times as he said, "Don't forget the family. Try to remember and live by the things I tried to teach you when you were little." The Butch Child's heart rumbled with anger. They were not in the wrong, and had not forgotten the face of their father. The rest of the family did not take the Child's appearance for family abandon and had not given up on the Child yet. Instead the Uncle was trying to forget the Butch Child and wipe their memory from existence. The Butch Child held no fear of this man anymore they were determined to live their life with or without the approval of others. And so the Butch Child walked away from the man who had shaped their childhood and climbed the stairs to the Residence leaving those who no longer mattered behind.