“Don’t play with that. It’s for girls.”
My head whipped round. Across the toy shop, a boy sat behind a pink plastic dressing table, exploring the array of small drawers with delight. The dressing table was lurid, bubblegum baroque, the mirror oval, a real fairy tale dream. His mother hovered behind, her face stiff with tension. For a moment, the boy was oblivious to her disapproval.
I clutched my own son’s hand, poised on the exit, my heart caught on a hook made of my own history. I wanted to act. Images of punches thrown at me in the middle of the Early Learning Centre flashed through my mind. I froze instead, all the words I wanted to give to him dying on my tongue.
“I said, it’s for girls,” the mother repeated, as she swooped down on her son. “Do you want to be a girl?”
“Yes,” he said, as she took him by the arm and dragged him away from the toy.
Ambrose Hall is a queer writer based in the UK. He writes literary and speculative fiction, and especially enjoys magic realism. He’s had flash fiction published in Crannog Magazine and A cappella Zoo. You can find out more about his work here: https://mrvolpone.wordpress.com/