ORIGINALLY POSTED 7th MAY 2018
*waves* Future me here from the year 2021 :) Back in 2018 I woke up one night and started writing this short story out about a little boy, who wants to be a little girl :) I actually read the first draft of it on episode 13 of the So Free Art Podcast, but I thought I would share the text version too, so here it is :).
*end of future me*
THE LITTLE BIG MAN
There once was a little boy, who wanted to be a little girl. He was only little, but the fear inside was big. So big, that this little boy one day realised he was now a medium sized boy.
This medium sized boy still wanted to be a girl, albeit now a medium sized one, but the fear inside was so big, he one day realised he was now a big man.
This big man no longer wanted to be a big girl, for all he could see was the big fear that surrounded him.
One day, a little bird flew into his room and sat on his bedside table. “Hello,” said the bird. The big man ignored him … I’m finally going mad, he thought.
“Hello,” the little bird repeated. The big man turned to the little bird and felt a desire to hold out his hand. “Hello,” the big man replied, as the little bird hopped onto his palm.
“I’m here to give you a message,” said the little bird. “What’s that,” replied the big man. “Do you believe in magic?” asked the little bird. “Not really,” said the big man.
“But I’m a talking bird,” said the little bird. “I think you’re in my head,” replied the big man, “I’ve finally lost my marbles.”
The little bird held out his grey wing, to which the big man once again felt an almighty urge to hold. Fluffy, Soft and Comforting, he thought, as he realised he was now shrinking.
Soon the big man was a little big man, the same size as the little bird. “I need to take you somewhere,” said the little bird. “On you get,” he said, gesticulating to the fluffy feathers covering his back.
The little big man looked around his room, everything was now towering over him, but he wasn’t scared, the little bird made him feel safe.
“You know, everything you’ve ever thought about exists in another time and space, but it’s possible, if you really want it, to bring these thoughts, these dreams you once had, back. Nothing is ever lost,” said the little bird, as they made their way out of the window.
The little big man hugged the bird tightly as they made their way high into the sky. He looked back, watching as his house slowly popped out of view. Soon the Earth grew smaller and smaller until it too seemed to pop out of existence.
Soon, everything was gone.
The little big man turned his attention towards the direction they were heading.
Just him and the bird, floating through space; surrounded by a beautiful bright blue light.
I could stay here forever, thought the little big man. Just as he was about to ask where they were heading, a tiny black dot appeared on the horizon. Soon the comforting blue light was replaced with the darkness of space, stars and planets started zooming past on both sides.
The little big man could do nothing but hang on for dear life. Vivid blurs of blues, pinks and violets whooshed past as the little bird effortlessly navigated them towards their destination.
A blue and green dot on the horizon began to get bigger and bigger, it was the Earth, returning back into view. Soon the little big man’s house was back in front of him, and soon they were flying back through the window they had just left.
While this was his room, it wasn’t. Instead of his damp stained dreary walls, he saw freshly coated white walls with pretty pink things sparkling all around and high heels glittering on the floor.
On the bed that was once his, lay a lady, gently turning the page of a story she was reading, about a little bird who visited a big man and brought him to a lady.
“You made it,” she said, placing the book on her lap. She seemed to be expecting them. “Do I know you?”, asked the little big man.
“I guess you do,” she giggled, before holding out her hand towards the little big man. He once again obliged, and gently placed his little hand in hers. His entire body was hit with a warm wave of wonder. He felt lighter, as if he could now fly out the window without the little birds help.
He soon found himself returning to his normal big size. The lady smiled at him, strangely familiar he thought. “Who are you?” he asked.
“I’m you,” the lady replied. “I’m the you you choose not to be.” The big man felt intense sadness, she’s beautiful he thought, now looking down at his tatty clothes and unkempt body.
He appeared almost dead compare with her bright colourful presents.
“I was scared,” he blurted out, tears forming in his eyes. “I know,” the lady softly whispered to herself, “life can do that to you sometimes.”
“I was scared,” the big man repeated. “Why was I so scared? Why was I so scared?” he kept asking, now unable to look her in the eyes.
The sound of a broken plate echoed around the room. “Sorry,” the little bird muttered, his head barely visible above the pile of fresh cakes the lady had prepared for him.
“You can’t let the fear win,” said the lady, watching as the little bird dived into one of the other cakes, knocking over yet more of the china plates.
“But I was scared. I was so so scared,” said the big man.
“There’s never anything to be afraid of,” said the lady, now reaching for the book in her lap.
“There was once a little boy, who sat on his bed looking into the mirror,” read the lady. “I want to be a little girl, said the little boy. Starring at himself in the mirror, he studied the way his Mums dress and shows flopped over his tiny body.”
“His little feet,” she continued, “looked even smaller in his Mums giant heels. Even so, he still flip flopped his way round the room in front of the mirror, trying to mimic his Mums graceful movements.”
“The shiny silver heels didn’t really go so well with the red silk dress, which was also way too big for him, but it didn’t matter, the little boy felt alive. As did the little girl smiling back at him in the mirror.”
“This is where the story branches off,” said the lady, looking up from the book into the big mans watery eyes. “I remember that dress,” he said. The lady smiled and nodded knowingly. “I enjoyed those times,” the big man said. “So did I,” replied the lady, “innocent times.”
She turned the page and continued reading. “The sound of footsteps were heard coming up the stairs. Eek, cried the little boy; the little girl in the mirror let out the same sound. An eek of both excitement and anxiety.”
“They both started fumbling about, trying to hide the evidence, but as the footsteps got louder, the little girl in the mirror started slowly going out of sync with the little boy. As the little boy threw the shiny heels under his bed, the little girl instead opted to keep hers on.”
“The door slowly opened, and in walked his Mum. Good night Son, she said. Night Mum, the little boy said, pretending to have been tucked up in bed all this time. And that was that.”
The lady turned the page and continued, “As the door slowly opened in the mirror, the little girl was seen sat on the bed, swinging her feet back and forth in the shiny silver heels. Night Mum, she said, as the little girls Mum was seen poking her head round the door.”
“Oh my, said the Mum, aren’t those my heels, and isn’t that one of my favourite dresses, pointing to the silk dress draped on the floor. What are you doing Son? She asked. I want to be a girl Mum, I want to be a girl, the little girl smiled, still swinging her legs back and forth.”
“The Mum sat on the edge of the bed beside her son and gave him a hug. Well, you look lovely son, sorry, what should I call you? Sophie, the little girl replied, I’d like to be called Sophie. Sophie it is, the Mum smiled, still hugging her new little daughter.”
The lady continued reading, “The little boy, now sat in his empty bedroom, could only watch on as the mirror played out a life filled of fun and adventure for the little Sophie and her Mum. A little Sophie who soon became a medium sized Sophie, and than a big Sophie sat on a bed, reading a story to a little big man.”
The lady looked up from the book, as the big man finished wiping his eyes. A big man who now felt such sadness at not having had the courage to be true to himself. “One tiny act is all it took,” said the lady, “and everything plays out totally differently.”
“I knew Mum would accept me,” the big man sobbed, “I knew all along, but I was still too scared.” “I know,” said the lady. “How do you know?” asked the big man.
“Because I’m you,” the lady smiled, glancing to the next page in the book. “This one’s blank. I have no idea what happens next,” she said, returning the book to her lap.
“You need to go finish this story,” said the little bird, wiping fresh cream off his beak before holding out his wing to the big man. The big man reached out to the little bird and started shrinking again.
“Come on, let’s go finish this story,” said the little bird. “Wait,” said the lady, who was now holding out her hand towards the little big man. The little big man wrapped his arms tightly around her finger, which was now the same size as him, and hugged tightly.
He could see the light reflecting off her beautiful big brown eyes as they began to glaze over, and as the lady could no longer hold back the tears, they both mouthed thank you.
“Sorry about the mess,” the little bird said, as the lady helped the little big man onto his fluffy back. They were soon once again flying out the window, the little big man watching as once again first the house, than the earth, and than everything popped out of existence.
The bright blue light returned, as did the feeling of complete peace. The birds feathers were slowly swaying from side to side as the dot on the horizon returned. Before he knew it, his house was back in view, but it wasn’t his house from before, but his childhood home.
He found himself flying into his old bedroom, the one from the ladies story. “Time to finish this story, but first we need to start it.” Said the little bird, before flying upside down and watching as the little big man bounced safely on the bed.
The little big man began to grow back to his normal size, but something wasn’t quite right. He looked down as his body, now wearing a red silk dress and over sized silver heels, and realised he was a little boy again. A little boy who wanted to be a little girl.
“la la la la la,” sang the little bird, “enjoy your new life Sophie.”
The little big man, who was now a little boy, becoming a little girl, stumbled over to the window and watched as the little bird flew high into the sky, getting smaller and smaller, before turning into a star in the nights sky.
Footsteps. The little girl could hear footsteps. She once again fell over her feet as she sat on the edge of the bed and started swinging her feet back and forth. In the mirror she could see the big lady, sitting on the bed smiling back at her. “I’m not afraid anymore,” the little girl said, “I’m not afraid anymore.” “I know,” said the lady, before the door opened and in walked Mum.
“Oh my!” said the little girls Mum .. and with that, little Sophie was born.
– THE LITTLE BIG MAN, by Sophie Lawson