Quietly yet Completely

Quietly yet Completely.

Trans women.

They say you can spot the differences when you know what to look for. I heard Bess say that all the time with her friends when we were dating.

Jeeze…the shit she used to go on about.

Okay, I’m a lesbian and yeah I’ll be right there so much of the time agreeing that guys can suck, that social gender roles suck.

But a political lesbian… no way. I don’t think you “Need” to be a lesbian to be a feminist. I don’t think the PIV is rape. If you’re straight or whatever and enjoy sex then power to you. And despite my sexual preferences I don’t think all men are scum.

Sorry I just don’t.

And my not being able to castigate people because of “Class analysis.”

Bess and I fought over it.

It’s bullshit really.

You can ask for rights without trampling those of others, No allowing trans people their spaces for their genders is wrong…you want a bio-women’s space fine go join one.

It might just be me but any side of a “Rights” group that goes after people like political attack ads just doesn’t sit right with me. Being part of it was starting to wear on me, make my skin crawl.

So yeah I left the lesbian feminist discussion group that I was part of with Bess.

Which pissed off Bess to no end.

And we broke up.

I moved out because she pretty much threw my stuff out on the yard what she didn’t break. I was hurting her with all my “internalized misogyny” so she tossed me out like an “abusive guy.” I got the full shit storm of the femi-lez wrath as her friends chose sides. And politics…since I’m apparently an anti-feminist now.

It was a shitty thing to do for sure but honestly I’m better off.

I took my stuff and found another place I could afford and started over.

Which took a lot longer than I wanted with the ex-holding my stuff like mail and canceling my credit cards.

Okay….

So enough ranting about my ex.

But in that clocking seeing them thing she’s sort of right.

There’s a trans woman here in line with me just ahead and she’s getting bagels like I do from the SBB booth here at Pike Place Market. Really good bagels here actually.

I guess if you’re not from around here it’s the place on TV all the time where they throw the fish on TV. Only there’s about a million other cool things here.

I work nearby enough to take my bike here for lunch and I see her here every day. She has this whole routine that I…I don’t know is interesting.

She reads from her Nook as we’re in line or she’ll be watch TV I think on a tablet and she’ll get two bagels usually plain or with sesame seeds but from there she’ll go and get a salad from the grocers or some kind of funky cheese or other stuff.

Today she bought a lemon and some of these little jars of salmon in like butters or stuff…it looks like that bottled herring from home but a little different. She gets some salt and pepper from the salad place where she gets a funky salad with tomatoes and watermelon and some of that red lettuce stuff and gets a place to sit outside.

It’s…it’s not that she’s beautiful…she is something though…she’s not too big but those kind of shoulders are still there, she’s thin for someone that was once a guy and yet not skinny for a girl.

One sixty five, one seventy? Big breasts…Implants? I mean really great breasts…and I’m kinda of a breast girl.

And she’s a nice but too and a sway?

Does she practice that?

But the thing that’s been getting me about her is her clothes…usually a jean jacket of a hoody, a pea jacket when it’s cold…jeans usually and not the tight body huggers but just jeans sometimes…no half the time she has combat pants on.

She doesn’t dress like the stereotype…she usually has a woman’s top on though…today it’s a just a cropped red top with a scoop neck.

Where’s the over fru-femmy stuff.

And two I guess is where she sits.

Alone, and away from people. Shyly dodging people but very quietly mannerly excusing herself and then she’ll settle and take her time eating lunch.

It must have been a couple of months of this really.

She’s getting stuff set out and today it’s busy, and suddenly I’m looking for a place to sit and there’s just her table that has any spare chairs.

Friggin yuppies and tourists, seriously clogging up the place sometimes.

And I’m wandering like a kid back in high school.

And being the gender queer shirt haired “Tom-boy” and “The dyke” high school was hell in eastern California. Yeaaaaah…not all of the red necked religious fundi assholes have left California. I grew up in hills, farms and Mormons.

Worked my ass off to get out of there and never looked back.

And honestly this is way too reminding me of that.

I see her look at me and she looks at me for a second before looking down at the table.

Sigh…shit.

Then she looks up and she beckons me over.

Okay…yay…

I head over with my coffee and bagels and my doughnut and I take the offered chair.

“Thank you, it always seems to get like this when it’s sunny out.”

She looks at me and nods.

She doesn’t say anything though.

It’s kind of awkward.

I take a few bites of my food and chew. She’s not eating but sort of fiddling with her other things and she’s putting them away.

I look at her and I try again. “Hi I’m Lex.”

She looks at me and I offer my hand.

“I won’t bite?”

She looks at me a bit dubiously and arches an eyebrow. “I was checking for a kryptonite ring.”

“……………..” Oh…okay that took me a moment. “Okay…that was funny.”

“I’m kind of half serious.”

“……………..” Okay… “Did I do something wrong?”

She looks at me and she sighs. “No…I just seen you at Udub.”

“You did?”

She nods and she looks at me. “You wouldn’t likely remember but you and a lot of the people that you were friends with and stuff didn’t exactly make going to class or living any easier.”

Oh…ouch.

“Sorry…I was pretty into some stuff that I don’t agree with now back then.”

“I know.”

She’s taking out her food and I’m tempted to leave…I offer my hand still. “Sorry?”

She stares at me and she’s not saying anything but she’s looking me in the eyes looking to see if she can trust me.

I’ve had the same look on my face in my heart before it took a lot for me to trust people when I first left home. There were several girls that offered to be my friend that led to shitty things happening and that’s not counting the stuff from guys…men…

She’s been hurt, hurt by people and maybe even by some of the people that I knew in college.

She sighs and she extends her hand and shakes mine.

It’s a normal handshake and she doesn’t have painted nails or even long ones and they’re bigger than mine but they’re actually not that much bigger than mine. She has scars on them though and cuts and burns?

She smiles actually catching me looking. “I have an S&M job.”

I blink. “What…?”

“I’m a line cook.”

“Oh…like in a restaurant?”

“Bar actually but it’s a busy kitchen.”

“Oh that’s kind of cool I’m a lawyer.”

“I figured.”

“How?”

“Some people are into the classes of those that they hang around with or are dating in school.”

“So lawyers hang around with lawyers?”

“Sometimes but I think I remember you in all the law studenty places at school, and you were dating Transhelsing.”

I blink. “Transhelsing?”

“Elizabeth Helling…” She says Bess’s name like it’s toxic.

I nod though. “Yeah Bess and I were going steady but I never heard her called that.”

“You never were part of the other parts of the LGBT.”

“Other parts?”

“Trans, Bi, the Intersexed kids and the Genderqueer ones. A whole lot of us were accosted back in the day because of her.”

“Accosted?”

“She’d be protesting the bathroom thing and that there were trans women taking some of the women’s studies classes and the pool and the locker rooms. Some of us had to try and go around or go through her and her friends to use a bathroom and sometimes she’d call campus security, she’d take pictures and lodge complaints and stuff.”

I blush embarrassed. “I was really angry and stuff then.”

She looks at me. “Why?”

“I…I was…I was one of the only out kids home and I was pretty much bullied and assaulted…even sexually then so when I got out and I wasn’t under constant threat and assault home all the hurt and anger sort of came rushing out.”

She’s nodding. “I can see what happened.”

“What happened?”

She nods and starts spooning out this salmon stuff that actually smells dreamy out of the jar and onto her bagel. “There’s a lot of people like Bess that love to find people like you and because you’re hurt they introduce you all to the whole radfem stuff, angry feminism.”

I…

“It wasn’t like that…”

She gives me that look again. “Really? You were introduced to a very pro-lesbian very pro-anger at “the man” and “the patriarchy” kind of movement where they tell you that it’s perfectly fine for you to be as angry as it takes to fight back?”

“I…”

Looking back after my break up and stuff Bess was extreme. She was very pissed at so much stuff and there were things that just would set her off. And yeah there were a lot of get together rant sessions where I was so pissed off at the world and men and yeah even trans people…and yeah they said it was alright. That I was entitled to feel that way.

She’s looking at me. “She’s still doing it actually. I’ve seen her on campus still and she’s with another young girl and young bunch of girls and still doing the same thing.”

I sigh… “Yeah she’s going for her master’s degree.”

She takes a bite and there’s that yum-look on her face and I look at her. “If you’re so against me then why invite me to sit down.”

She chews and swallows. “I’m not against you, never have been even back then I just wanted to get on with my life and not cause a fuss.”

I blush. “Sorry…I mean there’s a whole lot of stuff that was going around and stuff and I thought a whole bunch of things.”

She nods. “Real life and trans people aren’t the people in those discussion groups or on the internet are they.”

“Uhm…no.”

She smiles around her food and she takes out a roll of things that looks like a kit and it’s cooking knives and she takes one and slices her lemon and wipes it clean and puts them away and squeezes some fresh lemon juice over the salmon stuff and then eats.

She gives me two thumbs up.

“Thumbs up for the food or that I stopped drinking the Kool-Aid?”

She swallows. “Both.”

I eat mine and it’s good but really it’s so not what she’s eating and stuff. She’s adding more of the salmon stuff to another half of a bagel and does the lemon. I talk around my mouthful. “So we’re good…?”

She slides me one of the bagel halves. “We’re good…I mean I’ve seen you every day at lunch pretty much for a couple of months and you haven’t bothered me or harassed me and it’s been a couple of years since Udub.”

“I’ve had better things to do than get all involved in stuff that was honestly going nowhere.”

I take the half a bagel. “I mean yeah there’s protests and talk and talk and even more talk but there’s not a whole lot that they were doing that other good groups weren’t doing. Bess talked a good game but really other parts of the equal rights movements have been doing things and we haven’t but some of them liked to make like we did.”

“Well there’s the UN paper and then there’s Janice Raymond’s work that did a lot.” And there’s just a little bit of dripping sarcasm there.

“Raymond recanted her stuff.”

“Too late by far none of the damage from it’s been fixed by her or others.”

I nod.

I mean I really can’t help but nod. I… honestly nothing, there’s never been an amendment to any of that not in a meaningful way to her or other trans people.

I look at the bagel, but bite my lower lip. “Can we, can we start over?”

She nods and extends her hand. “I’m Catherine Jones, Cat for short.”

“I’m Alexis Hill, Lex for short.”

She grins and shakes. “Nice to meet you.”

It…it actually feels good.

You know that feeling you get when you’re in trouble or just a crappy situation and you get out of it?

It kind of feels like that, this whole decent karma thing.

I look at the bagel and I take a bite and it’s.

Foodgasmy eye-rolling good.

I mean if you like fish and stuff and I adore smoked salmon on a bagel with the cream cheese and stuff. This is something different though. The salmon was grilled just a little, the chunks are thick and meaty but it’s been butter poached in this jar she bought with a tiny little bit of diced onion and red currants but not dried ones so as it poached that flavor is here too.

And that on a toasted bagel with salt and pepper and a little fresh squeeze of lemon…

I’m making noises and Cat’s grinning and nodding as she eats her own.

“Omigawd this is so good.” I say after I get down my third bite.

“Salmon riette, one of my friends turned me onto it. It’s usually a rabbit or a duck thing but this being Seattle and all I’ve seen some cool variations.”

I nod and eat another bite. “I sort of know some foodies and I’ve been to a few good places and stuff in the last few years. But I’ve never actually hung out with a chef before.”

She blushes a little. “Line cook, I have a long way to go before I get to being a chef.”

“You have your degree?”

She nods. “I have the papers sure but that still doesn’t actually give you the title in real life.”

“You don’t mind that?”

She shakes her head no. “You have to earn it. Earn the respect to run the kitchen if the crew doesn’t respect you it all falls apart.”

I shrug. “Bess didn’t go to a lot of places that were on her list.”

“Her list?”

“Restaurants without women chefs.”

“Wow…so much for eating out.”

I nod. “She lives and breathes her politics.”

“No offence but she’s an asshole.”

I choke on my coffee.

Cat blushes. “Sorry…”

“No you’re right and she deserves it too…that’s one thing that drove me nuts.”

She eats but gives me a questioning look.

“There’s a whole lot of feminists that erase the bad stuff in femdom. It’s like magically they want us to be seen as equals but at the slightest hint that we are equal and we can be shitty people too they scramble a defense and start defending themselves with all the buzzwords.”

She wipes her mouth. “Internalized misogyny.”

I nod…then frown. “Sorry I didn’t want to get back into all of that.”

She shrugs. “It’s life and it’s fully or things that will run you down and hurt you Lex. You’re allowed to talk about living through it.”

“Yeah but she’s just my Ex.”

“Ex’s can hurt you, they can hurt a lot.”

I take a breath. “Okay…so where do you cook out of?”

“The Green Fairy.”

“Isn’t that a gay bar?”

“Not really it’s more like a Queer Haven.”

“There’s a difference?”

She nods. “A big one really there’s a lot of non-binary people there and a few trans regulars too but it’s mostly just the crowd that doesn’t like getting labeled.”

“How’s that different?”

“Well most mainstream gay and lesbian bars are pretty much a certain crowd, butches, dykes and femmes and lipsticks and twinks, camps, leathers and bears but most of them are Cis.”

I frown. “I hate that word.”

She tilts her head. “Are you okay with being you’re gender?”

“Well…”

Cat looks at me. “And I’m not talking about socially; I’m not talking about not liking your sex because of the things that happen to you because of it but deep down are you good with being a woman.”

“Yes…”

“And you don’t feel the need to change it?’

“No…but I’m not comfortable with being a woman when people use my sex as a reason to do what they do to women all the time.”

“And you shouldn’t but social justice isn’t gender identity.”

“But…”

Cat looks at me. “I’m not saying that feeling that way is wrong but I’m saying it’s an entirely different thing. Being good with your gender is different than hating gender injustices.”

“But when you’re born into the lesser sex class.”

“Lesser?”

“Female.”

“Lex do you know just how bad that is that that’s even a default position in that argument?”

“But women have always and still been sex oppressed.”

“Then stop.”

“Some of us can’t stop the things that happen to us.”

“That applies to everyone on the planet pretty much Lex.”

“It’s not the same thing.”

“No and that’s why ideas like intersectionalism came about. Everyone gets hurt in life Lex, everyone…it’s just some people think their hurts and their voices are special.”

I nod…I nod a few times because while this can and does get argued over it…it really boils down to Animal Farm politics.

I’ve seen Bess blatantly ignore things that other people have put up in arguments with facts and let her cronies start slinging stuff like MRA and dudebros and trolls.

I look at her. “Are we doomed to talk about this stuff all the time?”

Cat shrugs. “You were in it deep and I’ve fought to not get drowned out by it so we both have some pretty deep roots in the subject but…Where do you work?”

“City courts I’m a research clerk.”

“Not lawyering?”

“No, well yes it’s legal work I just look stuff up a lot and it’s kind of cool too.”

“Cool?” She sounds doubtful.

“Well I took a lot of history in college.” …….. “Speaking of since we went to the same university what did you get your degree in?”

“I didn’t I dropped out second year.”

“Oh…why?”

She looks at me. “I was attacked and then I was raped by some guys on campus and then some others found out and they made it sound like it was something I wanted and spun it long and loud enough that their lawyers got ahold of it and I didn’t have the heart to keep fighting them after that and stay in school.”

“Shit…that’s awful.”

She nods. “I was still pretty freshly out and people were saying that I was a gay guy in a dress and that the guys weren’t lying when they said I was asking for it and they even brought up rumors of me being trolling the streets looking for sex work while on campus.”

I’m pretty horrified and I’m pretty mad too and Cat’s just kind of quietly reciting it…quietly numb about it.

I know that feeling…I numbed out my rape too.

Sometimes you just have to do that just to get by.

And yeah I’d have likely left too.

I reach over and take her hand and she looks at me and I look at her and we have another one of those getting it moments.

“Thanks Lex…”

I get up and go over and hug her.

She hugs me back but she’s a little stiff…guarded.

I get that.

I wipe my eyes after letting go of the hug. “I have to get back to work, this was cool though.”

Cat nods. “Yeah, me too and it was.”

We part ways and stuff and I have a lot to sort out and think about with the stuff we talked about and meeting Catherine was not actually like what I knew from my old days.

And I have a sinking bad feeling about those old days too…it might not be out there so much online to find and stuff but…

I already know who was leading the charge of trying to keep a transgirl from saying she was raped as a woman.

*………… Okay I’d avoided her for a few times after that with the guilt and stuff bugging me.

But we end up eating lunch together again and this time I was armed…I had a book that I was into, and I had eaten out at Bolognese a little hole in the wall Italian place and I’d even started watching Once Upon A Time on DVD.

We actually had lots to talk about and stuff.

That wasn’t gender politics and stuff.

*………… Our fifth lunch date we met up as usual and she took me out.

No not a date but out to a food truck spot nearby and we had BBQ Pork belly and kimchi sliders.

My mouth was on fire but in a good way.

And for those who have never had pork belly it’s like super thing cut bacon and this was slowly braised and rendered down in BBQ sauce.

And Cat has a jeep.

Which I kind of have always liked but I’d never actually been in one in my life.

Heck I don’t have a car, I’m still paying off my loans and stuff and the cost of my apartment and stuff…being close to downtown.

*………… Michelle and Tara and Beth look at me as we get out of the cab a little tipsy and we’re pooling money to pay him and give him a tip. “What?”

Michelle… “You sure this is where you want to go?”

Tara… “Yeah I mean we could’ve stayed and stuff.”

Beth… “Oh c’mon girls we’ve never been here before!”

Michelle… “But it’s a gay bar.”

Beth… “Well I’m a gay woman sooo…Whooo!” she does a girly scream and she’s heading down the alley to the Green Fairy.

I go with grinning and it’s like not really an ally but like the side of a warehouse building that faces the waterfront and it’s got a big chain link fence keeping people from wandering down to the water or something.

So kinda an alley and kinda not.

There’s no bouncer which is sort of iffy for like a club and there’s music playing inside I don’t recognize what’s playing but it’s a rock band and the doors are painted green and there’s this odd glass and a ruler with a sugar cube on it all in green neon.

Okay…so don’t know what that is all about but I still go in.

Okay…so it’s actually pretty hopping with a big kind of loft idea and there’s a raised set of tables and booths taking advantage of the windows facing the water and then the rest of the regular tables and stuff are on two of the other wall areas and there’s a long bar on another and they share some space with this order window from the kitchen and the last wall is bathrooms…there’s three of them a men’s and a women’s and one with both signs cut in half and put together.

I’ve never really seen a crowd like this…sort of punk and not but there are some punks and stuff here too, there are femmes and there’s dykes and leather girls and boys but also those dandy-girls and boys with the short hair and the dapper clothes with the ties and sometimes even bow ties and sometimes the really geek-chique glasses and stuff but also crazy but cool hair-cuts and piercings and ink, there’s a lot of ink here and there’s dancing and socializing and lots of drinking and more than once on my way in towards us getting a table someone is or was smoking a joint.

There are some seriously different but sexy women here.

Michelle looks a little freaked because there’s some trans people here too…trans men and trans women and some of them are even trying to pass but are trying to make it just work or work for them.

Tara’s already eyeing this black girl that’s dressed as a guy but not…she has a silk chemise under her suit jacket and hip hugger dress pants? But well picked out guy jewelry.

Okay yeah she was really look worthy.

We order drinks and stuff and I’m trying to get a groove going and slip over towards the kitchen window my mojito in hand.

I see Cat there with some of the others that are cooking and she looks like she’s doing about a dozen different things at once like stuff with friers and meaty things on grills and doing that pan tossed stuff as some grey haired biker looking guy’s calling for things and I get lost in numbers and tables and all-day’s and stuff.

The grey haired guy looks at me. “You need something miss?”

I point at Cat. “Yeah her.”

He looks then looks at me and I think he looks intrigued. He grabs a cammo apron and heads to her. “Cat take a break you have company!”

She looks up and I finger wave to her and she looks at him. “Oh fuckin go you never have company and shit, It’s my kitchen I think I can handle the line for a while.”

She grins and she heads over and slips out of sight and comes out from a door with her apron off and she looks.

Well I don’t know there’s something y’know… her hair’s got a bandana but a ball cap over that with CAT on it in black letters on an orange cap…a construction thingy I thing and she’s wearing a Garbage tee-shirt and jeans and actually biker boots?

I give her a hug which is…well she’s sweaty and stuff but she doesn’t smell like a man…not even counting the deodorant she just doesn’t smell like a sweaty guy…sweaty girl actually but that and a little baby powder and the smells of yummy frying things and stuff.

She hugs me back after a second, I think I started her and I grin and look at her. “Sorry I’m a little buzzed.”

She chuckles. “That’s okay and yes you’re a little buzzed.”

I offer her my mojito.

She takes a drink from it and passes it back.

I wave it off. “No…I’m good…but I wanted to see where you worked and stuff.”

She gestures around with the drink. “Well what do you think?”

“There’s a lot more women here than I thought, it’s still got that rep.”

“I know but most of the women here aren’t into the L-club scenes.”

I nod and look around. “Yeah…it doesn’t seem as meat market.”

Cat nods and she kills my mojito.

I look at her and take her hand. “Come meet my friends.”

I’m not sure if she would have said yes but I’m drunk enough to pull her with me and Cat’s cool enough to go.

It’s a little awkward…Cat’s quiet and Michelle’s giving her this eyeball like she’s looking for something and Tara’s not as bad as Michelle is and shakes hands with her and Beth…well Beth’s super and she’s always been cool and friendly to everyone.

No, Beth and I haven’t known each other since my college days, Michelle and I yes and Tara was one of her friends but Beth’s a secretary friend from work.

We talk a little bit mostly about the place and how it got started and stuff and how long Cat’s been here, which was like four years this year and stuff and Cat ordered another round of drinks while we talked and before long she had to get back to the kitchen.

Me and the girls drink and we dance and the music is definitely not bad here and the people are actually friendly and we get along okay with the few exceptions of Michelle who kind of is all avoidy with the trans folk or those that she’s kind of associating with them.

But y’know most of them sort of back off when they get that uncomfortable vibe off of her.

It does get better though when we get another round of drinks from Cat and she sends out food.

And the food was really a good thing since we were getting right at that point where drunk meets the munchies.

Beef short rib sliders with crispy fried shallots and house made ketchup with chunks of tomato in there and melty brie cheese.

Onion rings…oh my effing goddess…okay they’re a sweet onion of some kind and who…why has no one ever put chopped chives and black pepper in the batter before!?

And frites…not fries but the really good fries that are like twice cooked.

And it was all Cat’s treat.

And I don’t really remember a whole lot after that except I think I very drunk hugged Cat goodnight and a vague memory of her breasts and mine touching and I remember the girls getting me home.

*………… The next day was pretty hung over and Michelle actually stopped by my apartment with coffee.

I take the offered goodness and sip at it.

She looks at me and drinks hers. “Better?”

“Yes, thanks.”

“So….”

“So…?”

“This Cat…you do know that they’re trans right?”

“Yes………why?”

“Lex…c’mon…this is only going to lead to you getting hurt.”

“Huh…? What? Why?”

“You’re a lesbian c’mon.”

I look at her. “And I’d get hurt why?”

“You were kind of all over them last night.”

“I was?” I don’t remember that…I mean there was maybe a bit too flirty a hug but cat stayed in the kitchen working most of the night.”

“Yeah, that hug…I mean really.”

“Really what?”

“Just because you broke up with Bess doesn’t mean you have to do something like this.”

“Like what? Catherine and I are friends.”

“I sincerely doubt their real name is Catherine Lex.”

I set the coffee down and look at her. “Is this going to go off on some anti-trans thing Michelle because honestly I’ve learned better?”

“What do you mean by learned better?”

“I’ve learned to get to know someone before running them over for the sake of a movement.”

“We don’t do that!”

I cross my arms and sit back in my chair. “Really? So this whole checking in on me and asking me to be careful is what?”

“It’s concern I don’t want you getting hurt.”

“Who said that cat was a danger to anyone.”

“Transwomen are always threatening people…threatening women.”

“Cat’s not, she hasn’t and knowing her as well as I do she won’t.”

“What do you mean as well as you do?”

“It means I stopped and took the time to get to know her, to be friends with her.”

She looks at me. “I really wish you’d stop calling them that.”

“What?” I know what’s coming I just want her to say it out of her own mouth.

“She…her…they’re not a woman.”

I…

And I just can’t…not after I’ve looked into Cat’s eyes and seen what was there, the pain and the stuff unsaid and I just can’t.”

“She’s as much a woman as I am.”

Michelle gets up shaking her head and starts to leave. “This is going to turn out badly, it will y’know no one born male can understand a woman…they can’t be a lesbian Lex…so don’t fucking come crying to me when he hurts you.”

I’m pissed now because she’s one being an asshole and two she’s assuming a lot of things between me and cat and she’s even assuming she knows what Cat’s sexuality is.

“That’s fine by me Michelle, I take it I won’t be seeing you for a while?”

“Not until you get past whatever male instilled guilt has you grasping for straws like this.”

“Get the fuck out.”

She doesn’t retort and she slams the door as she leaves.

It didn’t help my hangover at all.

*………… Over the next week my social media accounts get ravaged by a whole lot of my local friends de-friending and unfollowing me. There’s a lot of action though in some other accounts I was able to see by going to a friend’s page and then because they’re still friends with the ones that have dropped me I could read some of the stuff being openly said.

Lisa B., River, Ilisa, Lucy…are all rabid bitches.

Everything is about how I’ve never been really gender critical and that I would talk about stuff like a fun fem. (That’s the feminists that are taking back the power of femininity so a radfem enemy.) and they even get so bad as to start to make stuff up like me lying about my sexuality, that Bess said that I was too into penetration when we together and that I was likely lying about my rape in order to fit in with them.

And that’s not even counting what was said in PM’s.

Needless to say it was super goddamned triggering.

I called in sick, and used up all my sick days going out on stress leave….when really it just hurt so bad I think I just cried for a day and a half and then some more every time that I looked online.

I know, I know I never should’ve looked at that stuff and just…I’m human okay and a glutton for punishment.

*………… I was asleep when I heard my doorbell ringing?

No one I know actually uses the doorbell, everyone just knocks.

J-Witt’s? Mormons? Court summons?

I drag myself from bed and I went to the door and used the peephole.

Cat?

(Bed-cough…) “Catherine?”

“Yes…are you okay?”

“Why are you here?”

“I missed you showing up to lunch so I thought you might be busy and I took lunch to your work the other day and they said that you were sick.”

“Yeah…”

“Open the door Lex?”

She sounds concerned, actually goddamned concerned and I can hear it in her voice and since this happened there’s been no one, the friends I do have aren’t that close and all my old friends even the ones not involved are still semi involved so they haven’t come around.

And forget about family…I’m a lesbian and with my family…so I’ve been all alone…and when you’re really all alone and no one even e-mails you or anything…it crashes down really hard.

And the person that Michelle said would be the one that would hurt me is here and she sounds so…

I open the door….brave face…. “Hi…”

She sets down some cloth grocery bags and she steps in and she hugs me.

I have no resistance.

It has been a long, long time since anyone had held me and hugged me and made me feel like it was okay for me to break down and cry.

She actually holds me there in the doorway and she lets me cry for a few minutes.

Then she leans back from me while I’m sniffling and she feels my forehead.

“You’re not sick-sick are you?”

(Sniffle.) “Hurt and depressed is a kind of sick.”

“What happened?”

I look at her and she looks at me and she tilts her head…. “Michelle?”

I nod and (Sniffle.) “Yeah…”

“And you defended me?”

(Sniffle.) “You’re my friend…” (Sniffle.)… “And she got way out of line.”

Cat looks at me and she gives me this smile and it’s not like one of those sexy things it’s crooked…like sort of off because it’s never there a lot but it’s that smile that’s between being happy and being crying.

Then she hugs me really tightly…both arms and a really good squeeze.

(I thought she’d be stronger than that…?)

But it’s that really pure like emotional hug. And she says quietly. “Thank you, thank you so much Lex…” in my ear.

(Sniffle.)….. It was worth it.

I hug her back and part of me is lip biting inside because I think that I almost just kissed her and I don’t know if Cat is that way at all.

(Sniffle.) “You wanna come in?”

She’s still hugging me but she says sure and she holds me and she shuffle walks us backwards into my apartment using the shuffle to push the too cloth bags of groceries and it’s so silly it’s making me laugh-sniffle some.

Okay when I laugh that’s when she gives me a final squidge and then closes the door.

I lock it because well it’s the city and I always lock my doors and stuff and I look around and blush. “Excuse the mess?”

She smiles at me and she picks up her bags. “You or the apartment?”

I blush because yeah well both are a mess.

“Both?”

“You look cute; I think girls in Pj’s are cute.”

“You like girls?”

Cat nods. “Yeah as much as some people don’t think that trans women can be one I am a lesbian.”

I bite my lip and look down and wince asking. “Pre or post?”

“Does it matter?”

“Honestly?”

“Please.”

“Yes…sorry but it does.”

“Well it mattered to me too. I’m post.”

“Oh…”

And part of me went yay?

And I’m blushing again.

She’s blushing as well.

“I was going to make you soup.”

“Can I still have the soup?”

“Can I use your kitchen?”

“Someone should.”

“Why don’t you go and take a soak or something while I make soup.”

I smell myself and blush…

“Yeah…it’s been a couple of days…”

Cat just nods. “Been there.”

I…

I point it’s right through there it’s kind of small though.

“I’ll make do.”

“Uhm…okay…”

I leave and head to my room and get some clean things and then I go and shower.

I’m in a quandary…shave or not shave…I usually shave. Yeah I know all the feminist stuff but I like how it feels….

Yeah, actually yeah it’ll make me feel better and more together at least so I shave…all my shavy places and I shampoo and I actually take the time to enjoy the steam and let my conditioner work…I even turn down the cold water and step aside from the main stream just to get it like super steaming and do the poor woman’s sauna thing.

When I’m done and drying off I think that I can smell something really wonderful and herby? Herbal?

I’m smelling stuff that only has been smelled in my place like once or twice.

Yeah I can sort of cook, but I really live in the city so it’s snacking stuff mostly and some odds and ends to like heat up.

I get dressed and just cotton panties and halter top and soft bra and sweat pants and some fuzzy socks.

I know I took my time getting ready but…

My living room has a clunky old coffee table in front of my couch and there’s two chairs on either side of that she had them all together with the chair’s bookending the couch and my broom shoved in the couch cushions and wedged there and a couple of sheets from the bedroom are fastened to it…and stuffed into place in the folds of the chair cushions and there’s some of my comforters and quilts and pillows.

And she’s setting a tray of stuff on the coffee table inside and she smiles at me and she holds up a DVD case with season one of The Muppet show.

She didn’t even have to say anything…She’s here, she’s the one taking care of me and she made me homemade soup and grilled cheese sandwiches and a blanket fort.

I… I think…

I might be actually…

Please yes?



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