Beatriz Bentley: It’s A Boy!

Innocence is taken for granted. Most are rushing to be grown-ups, never taking the time to really enjoy their childhood. Already since entering Black Horse High School, I have spotted 7 pregnant girls. There life is already over.

I’ve had my share of peer pressure but I’m not stupid. Besides most people think I’m gay or they just call me a “Tomboy. I do judge them and I don’t feel bad about it. I am a complicated Catholic. 

I mean sex is off putting, to me , that is. I don’t even know what sex is nor a vagina. I have no interest in it, whatsoever. The River Woods School system really did a number on me. They brainwashed me into staying a virgin for the rest of my life. 

Do you know what happens to a women’s vagina when she has a baby?! No, thank you! I suppose I have the Peter Pan Syndrome where I just remain innocent forever. It calls for concern that I’m not mentally nor emotionally capable of handling or grasping that adult realization. 

I sit here on the East Wing bench, people watching. Soon all these people will get married and have kids. For me, that is not an option. I don’t think I will ever be able to comprehend what sex is. It’s terrifying for one and a complete invasion. I refuse to be part of it. I shall remain untouched and unloved. 

I hear the bell ring signaling my next class. Gym Class! I play basketball with the boys and compete with them on who burps the loudest. Jessica plays with us too but she doesn’t par-take in the burping. 

The guys call me, “Dude” and ask me to join them in weight lifting. That’s how I fell in love with weight lifting. The rest of the day is a blur filled with math, science, history and English classes that I dominated most of the time.

When I get home, my brother shouts, “It’s a boy!” and I’m not offended at all. Nice to see you too, bro. I respond with a smile and head up to my room; just another day being me. 

Beatriz signing out. 

Bill Nye the Science is on right now! Get out! 

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Beatriz Bentley

This morning I decided to paint my face with over-priced make-up because society would judge me if I didn’t. You see if I don’t present myself as pretty, guys won’t like me and I’ll ultimately end up alone. I wouldn’t mind being the crazy cat lady who enjoys tormenting unsuspecting strangers.  Then again I don’t like cats, more of a dog person. My therapist says I’m anti-social but I beg to differ; I’m just highly selective of who I talk to or not. It’s just that simple.

Today is the first day of school, high school that is. I don’t bother to even dress decent either. I wear my usual batman t-shirt, American Eagle jeans and green Converse sneakers. Most people would say I was a tomboy but I would have to disagree with them. I just don’t care about clothes. As I write all this in this stupid journal, that my therapist also gave me along with anti-depressant and anxiety drugs, I cringe at the thought of a new school year.

Everyone knows who I am. The rich smart girl with mental issues. Girls hate me and I don’t fancy them neither. I’m one of the dudes. My only friend is a German born gymnast named, Jessica. She’s the only girl who gets me. We love making fun of the pretty dumb girls who’s only purpose in life is to shop and people who give themselves labels, such as, nerds, geeks, ect.

I am a human being and that is all. Perhaps an intellectual savant at times but please don’t’ label me a nerd or a geek; it’s so constricting. Like an onion, I have many layers.

So, here I go, entering the unknown abyss every freshmen barely comprehends, high school. It won’t be pretty; there will be blood, sweat and tears and maybe a few psychotic episodes.

I’m sorry, let me introduce myself. My name is Beatriz. Beatriz Bentley. Wait, that didn’t sound like James Bond at all. Who cares, I’m not perfect (Yes, I am.)

Grandiose (6)

“I thought you died” Victoria said sarcastically as I slid into the taxi. I ignored her snarly remark.

“I better get a good tip for this” the Indian taxi driver scolded at us.

“Yes, Ms. Elizabeth here will give you a nice tip, won’t you?” Victoria replied looking straight at me. I opened my mouth to say something vile but I was too happy to start an argument. Sliding back into the seat, I turned to face the window and remained silent throughout our short trip to Uncle Leo’s.

Victoria being Victoria, knew something was up and pestered me until I finally gave in and told her everything that had happened with Henry.

“Wait, Henry Betzel, talked to you?” she exclaimed in disbelief.

“Yes, you know him?” I asked.

“Everyone knows who Henry Betzel is, his father owns half the city” Victoria went on to say. I sensed a hint of jealousy.

“I can’t believe he talked to you” Victoria repeated and again I didn’t say anything to counter her insult. I just stared at her, appalled, feeling ashamed for not having the courage to stand up for myself.

“What did you two talk about, anyway?” Victoria asked, suddenly.

“Nothing, really” I responded in a low voice.

“Hmm” she snorted.

“Here it is” the Indian taxi driver said.

“$12.50” he continued to say. I pulled out a twenty-dollar bill from my back jean pocket and handed it to him. I told him to keep the change as I exited the cab. I could smell Uncle Leo’s meatloaf from the street; the aromas from his third floor apartment electrified my nose. I took a moment to let them marinate and smiled. Image

“What are you waiting for? Let’s go, Princess!” Victoria yelled out at me from the front doors of Uncle Leo’s apartment building. I quickly rushed into the building just before the tall glass doors closed.

“You’re so weird” Victoria sneers at me.

“What exactly is your problem?” I shriek, finally exploding.

“I meant it as a compliment, stop being so sensitive” she replied with a smile. I didn’t know it then but she was using psychological warfare on me, and I didn’t stand a chance. I foolishly gave her the benefit of the doubt and disregarded the past two hours of abuse.

Uncle Leo’s building was a four story walk-up, no elevators. We walked up to the third floor in silence. When we got to his apartment, Victoria beat me to the punch and knocked on the door. It was like I didn’t even exist. Uncle Leo opened the door, revealing a fabulously decorated white and black apartment. He was a bit heavier since the last time I saw him. His dark brown hair was still full and luxurious as ever. He was wearing his classic blue cashmere sweater, dark wash blue jeans and black loafers.

“Well, hello there, Miss Victoria” Uncle Leo gushed as he hugged her.

“Darling, it’s been too long” Victoria tells him as she kisses him on the right cheek. For a moment, I thought I would go unnoticed and they would just go off without even considering my presence.

“Elizabeth, my dear” I hear Uncle Leo say as he pulls me into a tight hug. Victoria disappears into the apartment, leaving Uncle Leo and me in the third floor hallway. After a few more minutes of catching up and exchanging pleasantries, he invites me into his apartment.

Again, my nose is over-powered by the strong aromas of Uncle Leo’s feast that awaited us in the dining room. You would think a woman had decorated his apartment, but it was actually all done by Uncle Leo and his partner, James. It was mostly black and white in color with hints of pink, here and there. The walls were covered with professional black and white portraits of Uncle Leo, James and their precious Persian cat, named Luna.

When you entered the apartment, you couldn’t help but notice the full Italian white leather sofa that faced a large plasma TV hanging on the opposite wall. It was so clean and beautiful that I was scared to even go near it. Across the room by the terrace, there was a tall wooden bookshelf that nearly touched the ceiling, filled with numerous books of all sizes and colors. I smiled at this. I almost didn’t see Luna, sitting on the couch, as her coat blended in with it. She looked at me curiously, and then went back to licking her left paw.

“Let’s eat,” Uncle Leo said to me as he led me to the right, into the dining room area. There stood a long dark brown table covered with the most savory foods I’ve ever seen. I mean, Uncle Leo really out-did himself. There was his famous meatloaf, mashed potatoes, dumplings, wild yellow rice, chicken pot pie, two different salads, a fruit bowl, roasted pork, cherry and apple pie and so much more.

“Uncle, I don’t think it’s Thanksgiving yet” I joked with eyes wide and mouth watering.

“I forgot to mention, I would be inviting a few more friends to join us” he said as he led me to a chair.

“They should be here soon” he went on as he disappeared into another room. I sat there looking at all the food, wondering if I could eat it all. Victoria and a few other people walked in laughing as I was reaching for meatball. I quickly pulled my hand back, hoping nobody had seen me. I was so hungry. Victoria sat right next to me which I found to be strange for some reason.

“You must be Elizabeth” a tall blonde curly haired woman said to me as she shook my hand.

“Yes, and you are?” I smiled.

“Madora. Madora Wiles” she said to me in a James Bond kind of way.

“I am a drama teacher. I hear you want to be an actress.” She went on to say.

“Lovely to meet you” I told her while keeping a smile on my face.

“How do you…” I began to say but stopped myself, knowing the answer to my question. We talked for a while, and then Uncle announced it was time to eat and she patted my right shoulder and went on to find a seat. James was now standing next to Uncle Leo holding a glass of red wine. He also looked the same since I last saw him. He was significantly taller than my Uncle, had a nice build and was also bald. He smiled at me when he saw me. I smiled back.

“In honor of my lovely Elizabeth, I have prepared this fabulous meal welcoming her to New York!” Uncle cheered. Everyone else at the table gave me their welcome. I was greeted by so many people that I couldn’t possibly recount all of their names to you.

While we ate, Uncle Leo had set-up an old disc-player to play Elvis Presley. All around the table, the conversations were lively and friendly. Everyone was having a good time, even Luna who sat on a high chair by Uncle Leo, was nibbling at her own dinner.

It was a great night. We danced to old swing music, told jokes and acted out scenes from Les Miserables (my favorite novel). It was way past two in the morning when the festivities had ended and everyone but Victoria and I had left. Uncle Leo had insisted we stay overnight because he did not want us walking out at night. He had us sleep in his guest bedroom which was also color schemed in black and white. In it was a king sized bed, one dresser and an attached bathroom. He let us borrow some old t-shirts to sleep in, gave us both newly bought toothbrushes and wished us goodnight.

Victoria didn’t even bother to change, throwing herself onto the left side of the bed, falling immediately to sleep. I on the other hand, changed into an old extra large rolling stones t-shirt, pulled my hair into a top bun and jumped into the right side of the bed. I wasn’t aware of how tired I was, lying there, my eyes soon grew rather heavy and I quickly drifted away.

The Origami Cupcake

The Origami Cupcake: Chapter 1


Mother never stayed for long. She always came dressed in her exuberant outfits and never matching high heeled shoes. “Flats are for ordinary women. I’m not an everyday woman,” she would say. Father let her do whatever she wanted. He never said no to her because he was afraid she would leave if he ever did.  He bent to her every whim and once drove from our home in South Jersey to Brooklyn to get her a cheesecake. She only ate Junior’s cheesecake and nothing else. You see mother grew up on the upper east-side of Manhattan. She is the daughter of a very successful and rich broker. You’d think she’d marry to a rich man but to her parents’ and her surprise she married my dad, Henry.  Henry was a server at this Italian restaurant called Vinnies when mother met him. He didn’t have a rich family like she did and had to work two jobs to pay for college.

They met one day in September of 1965. Mother had decided that she would go out to eat with her friends to eat after her last class. Her parents were very over-protective of her. They didn’t want her roaming around the city without a body guard with her. She hated being followed by a steroid using huge dude that scared her more than the strangers her parents were afraid of.

“Sasha, let’s go to Vinnies,” her friend Carmen suggested.

“We can’t go to Brooklyn, dweeb, my mother will freak!” my mother scolded.

“Oh c’mon, Sasha; It’ll be fun,” her other friend, Julia, begged.

“We always have fun at Vinnies. All those cute guys in Brooklyn; you know you want to go,” Carmen teased.

“Ok, ok. I give in,” my mother raised her hands in defeat. They took mother’s limo to Brooklyn. Indeed, she had a fabulous life. She didn’t know that this trip to Brooklyn would change her life forever. When they finally arrived at Vinnies; mother was having second thoughts about breaking her mother’s rules.

“Relax, S” Carmen told my mother.  Vinnies wasn’t an extravagant restaurant. It was pretty low-key but with an old touch feel. Inside it looked like one of those old diners with the tile floors and walls. It was pretty authentic and the cool spot for college kids. Everybody knew about Vinnies.

“Hi, may I take your order?” Henry asked my mother and her friends.  When he saw her he was so hypnotized by her beauty that his hands started to shake. Mother and her friends just stared at him. He was handsome. He had dark brown hair and blue green grey eyes.

“I love your eyes!” Julia gushed at Henry.

“Yes, they are lovely” Sasha told Henry. They looked into each other’s eyes and smiled.

“So, are you just going to stare at me all day or take my order?” Sasha asked Henry with a smirk on her face.

“Can I do both?” Henry responded.  Sasha blushed.  Julia and Carmen ordered chicken salads.

“I’m not a salad type of girl. The only salad you’ll see me eat is on my hamburger” Sasha said to Henry.  “You’re my type of girl, then” he responded. They both blushed this time. It was 12 pm by the time they left Vinnies.  Henry asked Sasha out sometime that evening but she declined.

“Why did you reject him? He was so cute.” Julia asked Sasha.

“What would my parents think?! They would never approve.” Sasha responded. She really did like Henry, but she knew her parents will never let her go out with him. She could picture it now what they would say.

“Absolutely not, you will not go out with that boy!” her father would yell.

“Honey, he’s just not good enough for you.” Her mother would tell her.  They controlled everything in her life, such as, what she ate, who she made friends with, what she wore. She thought that going away to college would lessen their grip but it just got tighter. They had people spy on her.  It was driving her crazy. Once they put a tracking device on her car and she had found it. To teach them a lesson she put it on this hooker’s car. Her mother went crazy when she thought her daughter was in Harlem.  As my mother remembered this she smiled. It was the most fun she’d had in weeks. She didn’t regret coming to Brooklyn and eating at Vinnies. She loved being with her two best friends and meeting her future husband, Henry.

“He was cute…..” mother said to no one in particular. Julia and Carmen looked at each other and smiled. They had never seen their friend Sasha so happy. She smiled all the way back to their dorms at NYU.

Chapter 2: The Perfect Happy Family

I just ran and ran as tears ran down my face.  The cold wind was like having somebody smack my face repeatedly. I couldn’t believe James was a gay. I mean I have nothing against homosexuals. I was mainly angry at him for not telling me this little secret of his. We told each other everything, like how he hated playing football. He only joined the team because that’s the only way he could get father’s attention. I was furious with mother. She was cheating on dad again and now with Mr. Quinn. If the neighbors ever got a whiff of my brother’s and mother’s secret it would be the end of us. What a tragedy?  When I got home, Clarisse, our nanny, was waiting for me in the living room. She was so angry that I had left without telling her where I was going.

“Where you’ve been?!” Clarisse screamed at me.

“Out for a run…I needed some air,” I said.

“I was so scared. You should have told me you were going out.” Clarisse responded

“I’m sorry,” I mumbled as I ran up the stairs to my bedroom. I was having a panic attack. My life would be over if the word got out that my brother was a gay and my mother was a home-wrecker. Our family would be shamed and we would lose our place and status. I couldn’t let that happen. I just couldn’t. I had to keep us safe; I had to keep my family’s secrets safe. No one could ever know. Suddenly, I heard a noise coming from outside my window. I went to see what all the ruckus was about. As I peered out my window I saw a tall muscular figure trying to get into the basement. I poked my head out to see better and I saw that it was a woman. Well, it looked like a woman. She had long reddish brown hair and was wearing a red sequin dress and black stiletto heels. She had some huge feet, I thought. Then, I put my hand over my mouth in shock when I saw her face. It was not a she but a he; and that he was my father! He climbed into the left backside window that leads into the basement. I don’t think he saw me, though.  I backed into my room again and threw myself on my queen sized bed.

“Oh my God!” I screamed.  My father is a drag queen! This day couldn’t get any weirder. I bet those were my mother’s shoes. Those must have been her new Manolo Blahniks. He was eying them when she brought them from the store last week. I thought it was weird but didn’t really pay any mind to it. We all have big feet. My mother and father have the same shoe size 12. I couldn’t believe what I had seen tonight. I felt like I was in a twilight zone episode or in a circus.

“Please let this be all a bad dream,” I said to no one in particular.

“Hey, honey,” I heard someone say and I turned to see my father standing by the door with a big smile on his face. He still had some red lipstick on his lips which he failed to completely wipe off. I wondered as I looked at him; how could a guy like him be a drag queen? He drives motorcycles for God’s sake! I still couldn’t believe I just saw my father dressed like a girl.

“Hi, dad,” I smiled.

“What have you been up to dear?” he said.

“Nothing much; just went out for a run.” I responded.

“Good girl,” he smiled.  “Well, I’m beat sweetie. Rough night at the clinic, you know. I’m off to bed. Have a good night, honey.”

“Night, dad,” I said. I heard him walk to his room and close the door. A few minutes’ later mom and James came home. Mom went straight to bed and yelled goodnight to James and I. James came into my room while I was eating my pain by way of a bowl of cookie dough vanilla ice cream drowned in whipped cream and chocolate syrup.

“What’s up?” James asked me. I didn’t even look at him. I just kept stuffing my face with ice cream.

“Hey Lisa, What’s going on?” he questioned.

“I saw you. I saw you with that man.” I responded in a harsh whisper. His eyes shot wide like he had just seen a ghost. Abruptly, he drew closer to me and lowered his face close to mine.

“You can’t tell anybody,” he whispered. He was so scared. I felt so bad for him because if kids at school found out he was a gay his life would be over. They will beat him up or worse.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked James.

“I was going to tell you but I needed to be sure….” His voice wandered off.  He then told me how he had been dating the man I saw him with for five years now and that he thought he was the one.

“Five years, James, Five?!” I screamed. “Where did you meet this guy?” I asked. James went on to tell me that they met at this gay club downtown when he was 14 years old.

“His name is Mark,” James said to me. “I love him, Lisa. Dad can never know about this. He will freak especially when he finds out that I’m dating his protégé.”

“Mark!” I screamed. “You’re dating Mark Beyer?!” Mark Beyer was our father’s main man at the clinic. Mark was father’s assistant. There would be blood if dad found at Mark was sticking it to his son. James and I didn’t speak for a while. We just sat there on my bed. Then out of nowhere James grabbed my arm and said, “We’re getting married, Lisa.”  I fainted.