The Roar of the Plane, The Stir of the Trees

On memories and identity.

My hometown is made up of rolling, empty swaths of land — some grow flowers, some grow trees, most lay empty to house the town’s raison d’être: equine physical therapy. 

Our driveway cut like a runway through the surrounding woods, a family home nestled by nature. The rustle of the trees, the plink of discarded acorns, the splash of bats drinking from our pool were familiar sounds. On the rare occasion, a plane would soar overhead toward a nearby Air Force base. I found comfort when it would shake the house. 

In Tell Me Why, Tyler Ronan returns to Delos Crossing years after taking the blame for the murder of his mother to sell his childhood home. His arrival thrusts his identity onto those who knew him as a child, the dissonance of assumed gender conflicts even with those with the best intentions. 

It’s hard to be yourself now when memories of yourself then appear in every corner. 

Tyler’s homecoming revelation about his rural Alaskan homestead is much like my own: the town does not always grow with us. It can grow away from us. 

Trump flags are roped around ancient tree trunks, visible signs of the growing White Republican core that, in truth, was always there. Being a trans-leftist does not absolve our complicity in the racism and classism of such a sheltered childhood. This place will always be our origin.

On the ferry back to Delos Crossing, Tyler gazes at the natural beauty of Alaska. He hears the rustle of the trees, the lapping of the water, and, tucked behind everything else, the buzz of a jet plane, destination unknown.

I can’t imagine growing up anywhere else; I can’t imagine ever raising a family in a similar place.

By Mik Deitz

Mik Deitz is a queer freelance culture journalist with bylines at Fanbyte, Polygon, Paste, and more. They’re interested in how stories affect our lives, but also are a big sucker for polished gameplay. Follow them @dietdeitz for tweets about current work or, on special occasions, rants about Sonic’s feet.

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