“Waiting to Show Her” by Ann Tonsor Zeddies from Speaking Out: LGBTQ Youth Stand Up (Bold Strokes Books, 2011).

My novel is in the hands of my reader. It’s time to get caught up on this project.

I’ve skipped the actual next short story in this volume, “Only Lost Boys are Found” by the editor of this collection, Steve Berman, because I already reviewed it as part of his third short story collection Red Caps: New Fairy Tales for Out of the Ordinary Readers (Lethe Press, 2014) [Short Stories 365/85].

Well, we’ve turned a corner, or, given the story prior to this one in the collection, perhaps it’s more apt to say we’ve gone down the rabbit hole and re-emerged transformed.

This one starts out like several earlier stories here have. Main character Reggie is faced with institutionalized discrimination, but she knows who she is and can distinguish actual right from the lies told by those in positions of power, and she isn’t backing down. But where earlier stories have threatened the lasting consequences of unchecked homophobia, this one is the first to actually show us the results.

Reggie’s new schoolmate Lily is the victim of a bully she is powerless to fight: her own father, the close-minded, domineering choral teacher at the Catholic school the girls attend. He’s a self-righteous, ignorant man, and growing up under his tyranny has made Lily (such a great, ironic choice of a name) into the book’s most damaged character by far. She silently exposes Reggie’s tough girl posturing for exactly what it is, a façade, by providing us with a way to compare and contrast. Reggie turns out to be far more naïve and optimistic than we first expect. She tries to help Lily, but finds she’s in way over her head. 

I’m a little bit scared to find out what’s coming up in the next story.