The Sun Was Just Rising
By: Mercury-Marvin Sunderland
“Are you scared?”
Julius’ phone was unpleasantly pressed to his ear. He sighed. The hospital was so quiet.
“No,” he responded. “I’m not scared. Just worried.”
“You’re just so young—”
“I’ve known this for a long time. I don’t want kids. I’ve been sure of that ever since I was ten. I just don’t want to be pregnant. You know that I’ve been saying that for a long time.”
“But I want—”
“This isn’t a thing about you, Mom. And besides. I’m not your only son.”
He listened to his mom’s silence. He looked out the window. The Sun was just rising.
“Besides,” he continued. “You know that I’ve always been a big fan of adoption. I’ll do that if I ever change my mind.”
His mom continued to be quiet.
“It’s gonna be okay, Mom. The surgeons know what they’re doing. And they’re a lot more trans-friendly than those ones at you-know-where.”
“That’s good, honey.”
Julius bit his nail, and then stopped. He’d been trying to quit that habit for a long time. Painting them didn’t help as much as he’d hoped. He usually liked to paint them in the colors of the trans flag. Blue, pink, white, pink, blue. They were so pretty and they’d get so eaten up by his anxiety sometimes.
“Is Diego there?”
“We broke up, Mom.”
“Like, two months ago. I thought you knew about that.”
“Well I-I’m sure I—”
“Mom, it’s okay. I know you forget stuff. It was mutual. We’re just friends now. But we’re giving each other space.”
“Oh, honey, I’m so sorry.”
“Mom, really, it’s okay.”
“Mom, do you have work today?”
“Well, yes, but that’s not in for a few hours.”
“You’re a schoolteacher, Mom. Go back to sleep.”
“I—” she hesitated. She sighed. “I just get so lonely. It’s been so long without any kids in the house.”
“Mom, I’m twenty-five.”
“Well, don’t you have a few hours?”
He looked at his watch. “It’s starting in an hour, yes.”
“Then we have plenty of time. Isn’t it going to hurt?”
“What, and childbirth doesn’t?”
His mom sat there, silent.
“Look, Mom,” he clarified, rubbing his forehead. “I know you want what’s the best for me. But I’m my own person. I can know what’s the best for me. Or whatever version of me you’ve made in your head. Even if it wouldn’t be the best for you.”
The Sun was getting in Julius’ eyes. He pulled the drapes. His mom was quiet.
“Besides, Mom. You know this will help. I won’t get the cramps every day any more.”
“I need to get ready. I’ll talk to you later.”
“Love you, dear.”
“Love you too, Mom.”
Mercury-Marvin Sunderland (he/him) is a transgender autistic gay man from Seattle with Borderline Personality Disorder. He currently attends the Evergreen State College and works for Headline Poetry & Press. He’s been published by University of Amsterdam’s Writer’s Block, UC Riverside’s Santa Ana River Review, UC Santa Barbara’s Spectrum Literary Journal, and The New School’s The Inquisitive Eater. His lifelong dream is to become the most banned author in human history. He’s @Romangodmercury on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.