Silence, Objection! : A Short Story

Silence, Objection! : A Short Story

The first time someone told me 'hush, girls don’t shout!', was when I was five.

I was at the park with my brothers, my friends, and we were on the ring-a-round. I was screaming, happy, gleeful peals of laughter that only children get away with. My skirt flying, hair messy, knees dirty, I came back to my disapproving mother.

“You’re not a boy,” she said. “Girls must be quieter.”

At five years old, innocently and unknowingly, I nodded and bowed my head. “Sorry, ma.”

 

The second time was when I was seven.

The class bully had just yanked off my best friend’s hairband, thrown it in the sand, stomped on it and rendered it broken and useless. I was raging. I remember screaming, pulling his hair with such violent force that my teacher came to intervene. She dragged me off, scolding me, “Are you a boy? Girls don’t behave this way!”

 

Today will be the last time anyone will tell me to be quiet. Today I earn my voice.

 

I stand on this stage, the first female lawyer of my town, the only girl in my class of ninety-seven, and lift my chin up high.

“Thank you, sir.” I bow to the chief guest handing out graduation certificates. My male classmates hoot and holler for me, having learned to respect me, not despite my lack of a penis but because of it.

My valedictorian speech is at the end of the ceremony, and I can see my mother as I walk to the stage, seated in the corner with her dupatta pressed to her eyes.

“My daughter never shuts up,” She used to say with disgust when I was a child.

Now, she says it with pride.


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