The Red Light on Irene

Written By: Robert  Cesiro

Faggot, that is what I saw at 12 years old across the street. It was a gay male who dressed as a women. He wore beautiful white blouses and hot pink pants from jordache with blonde flowing hair and a manicure better then my stubs. I couldn’t understand why they destroyed their home year after year. His name was Mitchell but went by the name Michelle. He would be dropped off by several males and walk in with blooming dale bags year after year. He lived and took care of his mother in their home. I understood him in some ways. As I was abused and bullied as well. Their was these two girls. One on my block two doors down. And one several blocks away that as time passed would be known as the ring leader.

I didn’t grow up on the streets. I never met a transvestite until then. I never knew what gay was with the exception of meaning happy, and I never knew what it felt like to be banged up and abused day in and day out for three years until I hit 12.

Having my sister Michelle pass a way several years prior I knew what life meant….early. To me it means stabilizing your self even if there is no chance of survival and pushing the envelope no matter what. Trying every medication, remedy, life support, loved one, and relishing in it because you never know when your time is up. That is what my Michelle taught me. This particular Michelle taught me the same in some regards. He was a she. He didn’t deny the fact nor hide from it. When I became bullied and harassed by a bunch of girls from two things got worse. What I couldn’t understand though was why not the teachers or administration or principle suspending these girls. Yes they punched me. on school property. Yes they abused me verbally all day. But no teacher nor administration did nothing.

I remember the first time the bullies mother came down to the school after her daughter got some what caught. She wore a surprising outfit. At 12 I remember thinking to myself she looked like a slut. She wore tight blue leotard with a fake white mink. It was odd and I saw my mother several minutes later wearing a blooming dale sweater and ann taylor pants. Mind you our home was very, very small and in order for michelle and I to have our own room my parents made their master bedroom up in the attic. My mother always said having one nice outfit was better then having 10 cheap go-to’s. I never forgot that and shop at marshalls ever since. what the slut also known as the follower’s mother didn’t realize is I am now her age. I am now exactly the age that she and her daughter humiliated, abused, bullied, and stalked my father (I’ll go into that later).

For now. Here was a women my exact age who would go to my bus stop on her way to the HIP center for work. Pull up while I waited for the bus, and say “What an ugly girl you are”. for two years. I couldn’t ever imagine doing that to a 12 year old at age 37 but so it was. And yes it did happen. The ring leaders mother (who is dead recently I’ve heard) used to follow my father to work. Prank call our home 40 times a day on top of her daughter and friend screaming I was a loser, a slut, worthless, among other things while the two mother figures looked on. I would be babysitting the boy across the street strolling him around town. My head sunken. And wonder what mother would raise to hate. I am a better baby sitter in my mind then these moms were to their own children. Neighbors listened in but no one said a word. They had their eyes closed and ears to it, but some place else I suppose.

Shit I wish I was 37 then. I identified with Mitchell on three levels. For one I couldn’t spell i in capitals because I no longer had self esteem as Mitchell did. She went by Michelle and that too was my sister’s name. And lastly, our homes were always destroyed with toilet paper, shaving cream, and eggs. With the exception of faggot which poor Mitchell had to wipe off every time they wrote it.

As the second year wore on, I became reclusive. I started reading a lot of english literature again. Started embracing documentaries and biographies of people who came from shit and got somewhere. Mitchell apparently saw this and came to our home one day. He brought his bike and told my mother to give it to me and have me ride again. My mother wasn’t too fond of the idea. But I just admired him so. That he could see this young child. Me and no in one brief moment I needed to be athletic again. Out number the bull shit in one ride. And so I did. I rode every day. If they stalked me they stalked me. If they chased me and screamed as they usually did. They did. But I had pedals. What did Mitchell have? Well I heard his mother died and was so sad for him. I didn’t know who his outlet would be.

So at 12 I went over there with a card and 10.00 in it. It stated…”I wish you all the best as you deserve”. Love Corinne. I never saw Mitchell after that but I noticed his red light went out on Irene. He used to have a red light on Irene Lane where we struggled. Never where we lived. I always wondered what the red light meant. Why not a bright white light. Why a red one? Riddled in mystery. I’d like to think we all had red lights back then. waiting to go home. Brightly…..