flight

I stepped out of the sodium street lights of a random night.  Onto a train, into that antiseptic train smell.  I thought to myself, ‘I’m leaving.’  I realized it then, staring down the aisle of well-to-dos.

Ten years after I stepped off of this train into the same street lights; I know in my soul that I will never return here.

 

Leia met me sometime later, at a random bar of well-to-dos.  Fresh from her office, I presented her with the wine she instructed me to purchase in her text message, “Make sure you taste it first.”

She regarded me with the relieved exasperation that only she could provide.

 

I was fresh from the depths of despair, a loss and malaise that made the Great Depression look like Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

I pleaded with her to save me.  We chatted about the election.

I asked her for purpose and place.  She caught the server’s eye – someone she had gone to high school with apparently.

 

She asked if I could set up a cloud server for her work.  I don’t remember much else.

 

It’s been several weeks now.  Removed from the place where I took on a new gender, I feel like a new person.  Perhaps I am.  Completely stealth now, I’ve fallen into a normal life, jarringly familiar from the time before I took hormones and dyed my hair.  I have obligations and new friends, disposable-ish income.  I don’t really wear makeup anymore, and that’s okay.  No one wears makeup every day.

 

Nightmares come and go.  Leia says I cry out in my sleep sometimes.

My pupils have returned to their normal size from antidepressants, which I take with my keys and my phone.  And I’m tempted to thank God that there’s nothing in life that can’t be solved by sex with the right strangers.

I am infinitely fortunate.  I was able to transition and didn’t lose all of my family, or all of my friends.  I didn’t die.  I’m attractive and have skills, I look forward to my life.  My sex change operation was a success.

 

But no one should have to do this.

 

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the unforeseeable future

It was surprising, the first time I forgot about my transition.  I was out, it was sunny, and I was unaware that I had been a man, or had considered myself one.  I forgot about that and was just myself, focused on whatever I was doing.

Then I snapped out of it and thought, ‘this doesn’t seem like such a big deal now.’  Because I knew it was possible to escape this uniquely awkward place, if only for a second.

 

But it’s still a struggle, it’s a struggle to afford electrolysis and to decide what to spend money on and what to put off.  Clothes?  Hair removal?  Voice lessons?  It’s a careful, nervy balance.

My vocal cords are wound more tightly than I am and I’m a clearance sale victim at least one day of the week.  Every morning I pluck hair out of my face and carefully, lightly cover it in layers of silicone gel, foundation, and double face powder.  How long can I keep doing this?

 

lucky

I sobbed silently over a scone wrapper on Leia’s kitchen table, the day after her dinner party.  Her sister found me that way.

“How are you doing?”

“…Okay…  I was just getting ready to leave.”

I excused myself.  She wished me luck.  I set out on a walk of shame so epic that I had to buy sunglasses and froyo.  I have got to stop traveling without makeup.

 

I guess a lot of girl scientists cry about their research.

I’m still not used to it.

 

I’m not used to a lot of things – women are so easygoing around one another, it’s absurd.  Form-fitting clothes break my stride.  Shaving reveals scars on my legs from 20 years ago, and a nasty varicose vein from that time I played The Sims 2 for 27 hours straight.

I want to get upset about that.  Transition is making me look younger, but I don’t feel younger.  I worry about every blemish, all of my virilized features.

 

I remind myself that I’m lucky to even be a woman.