I wrote this short essay on April 13, 2022.
It was my nana and her costume box that said, put my wig on you. That said here's an old nightgown — some clip ons with chipped paint.
It was Rosemary who I would trick into playing the new piano piece for me in my lessons so I could learn it by ear rather than reading it.
It was Ms. Clemons who thought it was cool that I took dance lessons when I had been afraid of everyone and a classmate had threatened me with telling.
It was Miss Robinson who I invited to see the play my dad was in with me so I could show her, and who tried to tell him I had told her to shut up in class.
It was Kim who sat me down and told me I should probably try and think about other people on stage with me at least as much as I thought about myself.
It was Teri who sat me down and told me I should try — as an exercise — to imagine I was the least knowledgeable person in the room, and see what I learned from there.
It was Laura who giggled with me over a student of hers who wrote so much and said so little.
It was Maria and Sally who held me close even when it was hard, whic h they might not readily admit it ever was —
It was Carmen who had a key to the recital hall even though she wasn't supposed to, so when I forgot to sign up for a copy, it wasn't an issue.
It was my mother who took me up to her room to show me all of my grandmother's jewelry she knew she'd never wear — all except a precious few — and let me have my picks of the litter.
Bryce McClendon, they/them