A Transgender Anthology based on
The Beatles' Abbey Road Album
Part One: Something in the Way She Moves...
You're asking me will my love grow,
I don't know, I don't know.
Stick around, and it may show,
But I don't know, I don't know.
Herman Hesse Hall lounge, Wilkes College, Wilkes-Barre, Pennysylvania, April 1970
“Hey douche bag, move your feet! You're blocking the fucking Tee Vee!” Gavalla shouted from the back of the lounge. Freddy Benson turned and stuck out his tongue.
“Fuck you, Gavalla, Make me!” A balled up piece of notebook paper flew in a perfect arc, hitting Freddy in the side of the head, which was quickly followed by a looseleaf notebook that barely missed Dave Neeson’s back.
“Hey, watch it!” Dave said calmly while holding up his right hand to display a middle finger before he returned his attention to his crossword puzzle. A second later a ball-point pen flew past Dave’s ear, hitting Al Capidocio in the ear, and the fight was on. In moments objects normally consigned to studious activities were wielded as weapons. And then it happened. The brilliance of the idea seemed to light up the dimly lit lounge as Denny Merchant ran in with a metal wastepaper container filled with water. In minutes others had run to their own rooms and were hurrying to the four bathrooms on the floor to fill their own containers.
Victor Fabunda, the second year student from Sierra Leone, stuck his head out of his doorway, and was met with a spray from a fire extinguisher and his usual ‘What is going on here?’ was silenced with a mouthful of warm stale water. The dry medium extinguishers were off limits; not because of any school dorm regulation, but because they were reserved for when there was a need to trash somebody’s room with the white powder.
“Hey,” Denny exclaimed as he shook the water out of his hair, “be right back,” as if the craziness would stop in his absence.
He bounded down the metal stairs at the back of the dorm and disappeared behind a door leading into the basement. A few moments later he came running back into the lounge with his waste paper container filled with coal for the dorm furnace, and the mayhem ratcheted up several notches. Dave lifted his head slowly; deftly avoiding a pail full of water that instead fell on his art history book, soaking it. He watched with keen interest while it ballooned to twice its size as it absorbed the water. A moment later, Gavalla and Freddy stood at opposite sides of the lounge like drunken cowboys; ready for a shootout, but with even larger water-filled trash containers instead of Colt peacemakers.
“Oh, fuck!” Dave said quietly in resignation as the water was heaved across the room from both sides, drenching him and Petey Mondello, a freshman from South Plainfield, New Jersey. Petey was eighteen years old, which, being from South Plainfield, meant that he was at least five years older than any of the other freshmen in the dorm. Dave was all of seventeen; an early acceptance who found that being studious was a near waste of time in a dormitory filled with recalcitrant misfits that no other dormitory would accept, Nevertheless he tried to fit in. Being that he was one of nearly twenty residents that were soaked to the skin, he fit in after a fashion.
“Oh, fuck no. You didn’t just dump water on my new boots.” Petey said calmly as Freddy and Gavalla looked at each other before running quickly out of the room, pursued slowly and carefully by the predator from South Plainfield.
Dave looked at the art history book, which flipped open to a color plate of Sandro Botticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus.’ He gazed at the picture; the water sluffing off the slick color page, leaving behind a sheen that seemed to bring to life the woman emerging from the huge shell beneath. Dave shook his head and laughed at the irony of the moment before tossing aside his sodden crossword puzzle magazine and heading back down the hallway to his room. He was glad for the moment that he was one of only four residents with a single room. It was good that it enabled him to get some occasional studying done, having no roommate to interfere with his concentration and leaving most of the disturbances outside his room in the hallway.
But more importantly, Dave had time alone to contemplate the meaning of life. And not just life, but his life, or rather…her life, as the single room not only afforded privacy for studying, but for slowly and carefully exploring something that he had been prevented from doing at home in Boonton Manor, New Jersey. Dave was free from the constraints of familial expectation, parental neglect, and patriarchal abuse, and he stepped into a world of new life in college that included art, theater, and the self he had hidden from everyone in his world.
The mayhem was dying down, and a few of the more responsible residents had begun to tidy up and minimize the damage; responsible meaning ‘we don’t want to get shut down, so we better clean up this fucking mess before someone sees this tomorrow morning.’ Dave emerged from the bathroom after a quick shower. He had wrapped a towel around his waist, feeling odd that his presentation was restricted in the all-too communal hallway. He padded down the hall in his bare feet and unlocked his door and stepped inside.
A while later...
Something in the way she moves,
Attracts me like no other lover.
Something in the way she woos me.
I don't want to leave her now,
You know I believe and how.
“I wonder what Miss Jenkins is going to talk about in class tomorrow,” the girl said as she stared in the mirror. Her hair was short and she wore her prize possession; a cream-colored full slip that belonged to her mother. She wouldn’t miss it at all, being that she no longer wore dresses; the girl’s mother had given up any attempt at femininity in an effort to remain anonymously asexual and unappealing to her increasingly abusive husband. The girl looked at her body. She was a bit wide in the torso, a curse of sorts for everyone in the family. Her waist wasn’t all that bad, but still remained decidedly disappointing. Her breasts were small and almost child-like, but still managed to give her a figure that was more flattering than her normal appearance.
“Maybe we’ll have a slide presentation. She did say she had some pictures from her trip to Florence.” The girl answered her own question as she sat down on her bed to pull on some pantyhose. A few minutes later she stood before the mirror once again, her cream blouse and black a-line skirt in proper array, even if they fit poorly, the clothes seemed to comfort her like a warm blanket on a damp cold day. She looked down at her feet, wondering if she could find something other than the plain brown loafers that she had purchased from the local good will.
“I cried for not having pretty shoes until I saw a girl who had no….what was that? Oh yeah…had no vagina.” She said to herself as the tears came; a nightly reminder of how much she missed of herself. She plopped herself back down on her bed and opened the dog-eared book and stared at the name on the cover page. Her namesake…
She fell back on the bed, burying her face in the pillow so the boys down the hall wouldn’t hear her sobs as she cried herself to sleep.
Something in the way she knows,
And all I have to do is think of her.
Something in the things she shows me.
I don't want to leave her now.
You know I believe and how.
Next: I Don't Want to Leave Her Now!
words and music by
as performed by
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