Jo’s Run

by bdhesse

*Trigger Warning: violence against trans* person*

Jo sat down on the ground hard. Pressing a sleeve to a bleeding lip, Jo flinched and held back a cry of pain. This wasn’t the first attack Jo had faced. In fact, it was almost becoming habitual. Jo would go out with friends, and a few hours later someone would be following them home. If Jo went to the store alone, it had to be early in the day so that nobody would stalk them. It was getting to the point where Jo considered staying at home at all times. If it weren’t for bills and rent, Jo would quite their job so that they didn’t have to go to work or, even worse, come home again.

It was all too much. Nobody should have to deal with this. Nobody deserved to be attacked once let alone all the time. Some people said that this was the price Jo had to pay to be themself. But Jo didn’t think that was fair. If all they had to deal with were beatings, it wouldn’t be so bad. Beatings are painful, but they aren’t the worst thing one person can do to another.

Jo stood up. Sweat was dripping down Jo’s face from running. They ran their hand through their hair to push it back. Luckily Jo’s hair wasn’t long. Jo hated long hair. Not only was it a pain to care for, but it sent a message that Jo did not want to send. As a result, Jo’s hair barely reached their eyebrows. Jo ran their hands through their hair again.

Jo’s shirt was torn. A long rip went from the bottom of the baggy t-shirt to just below Jo’s chest. A bit of a tenser bandage was showing through the rip. More of the bandage was revealed through a second rip that went from the shirt collar to the sleeve. Jo scowled at the damage. The shirt was new, and Jo hated the implication of that bandage, even though nobody else was likely to know its meaning.

Jo’s shirt was covered in dirt, as were their pants. The pants weren’t very damaged though: only the zipper had sustained any damage as the result of a hard tug. Luckily denim is a lot harder to damage than jersey cotton. Jo sighed and began to limp back towards the street.

They had been in a park when the attack occurred. This park was two blocks from home and one block from the aforementioned store. Jo was carrying groceries home when four men began following them. One of the men asked if Jo was a boy or girl. Jo ignored them. The guy got mad and said if Jo didn’t tell them they would just find out for themselves. Jo told them to go away. That was when another one of them grabbed Jo.

Jo tried to run away, tried to escape, but there were four of them. They threw Jo to the ground and began the beating. They said they were going to teach Jo a lesson.

Eventually Jo was able to escape, but the damage had been done. Now Jo was limping home, bleeding and sore, and the groceries were long gone.

Jo sighed. There were no more tears left to shed at this point. It was all just too much. This was never going to end. Jo was tried of trying to make this all work.