Remember, at this point in the story the gender of your protagonist is still unclear. I assumed the character was female because of the pink tassels but this could just as easily be a male. This withholding of gender identity, in itself, is another area that primes the expectations of the readers to interpret this as a gender identity or sexual orientation story.
On a personal note about names I am just a Katie. I have gone through my entire life having people tell me I need to use my Legal name on applications and forms. It drives me insane. Edit I have no problems with people pointing out my poorly chosen/explained examples. Still, it doesn make sense to me to call it metric system when we talk about everyday use. You buy a liter of liquid and you weigh a certain number of kilograms.
Then came a question, the question: “Why don’t the people here change their lives?” Her unspoken rebuke hung in the air: “I did.”It was nearly ten years to the day after the failed coup by hard line Communists in August 1991 set in motion the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia was now a family divided by differing post Soviet realities, struggling to come to terms with a painful decade of dislocation. For some like Tatyana, there were new hopes and expanded horizons “the appetite,” she explained to us, “grows while eating.” For the majority like her brother, there were the ruins of an old system and no more than rare glimpses of something new to replace it.In the Kremlin, a onetime KGB spy who had sat out the implosion of the Soviet empire in a backwater posting in East Germany had become president of Russia.
It was late on a Wednesday night in April when Danny Boy walked out into the desert with an empty duffel bag and an army surplus entrenching tool, the sky as black as soot, the southern horizon pulsing with electricity that resembled gold wires, the softness of the ground crumbling under his cowboy boots, as though he were treading across the baked shell of an enormous riparian environment that had been layered and beveled and smoothed with a sculptor knife. At the base of a mesa, he folded the entrenching tool into the shape of a hoe and knelt down and began digging in the ground, scraping through the remains of fossilized leaves and fish and birds that others said were millions of years old. In the distance, an igneous flash spread silently through the clouds, flaring in great yellow pools, lighting the desert floor and the cactus and mesquite and the greenery that was trying to bloom along a riverbed that never held water except during the monsoon season.