A prose poem about two girls who feel different than everyone else
there’s something about ava. ava, i did her nails, her jagged fingernails. i measured the right sizes. i placed the stick-on nails. i was careful. i took my time. (she wanted the glitter accent nail on the second to last nail). i washed her hands, i dried her hands with towels. i used the alcohol solution that came with the nail kit and finally, i filed down the truly jagged under nails before the stick-ons.
jessica struggled with the makeup. i didn’t know ava knew jessica. and this was ok. it was ok for jessica to shriek and say oops and make like she was messing up.
i put the blue wig on ava and helped her pin back her hair so her sideburns didn’t show. i took her photograph. i said chin down. i said hand on hip. i said shoulders back.
jessica couldn’t get into stonewall. she forgot her id. ava and i went inside. at first i was worried of my awkwardness, of how to fill the silence without presumption, but i decided to be truthful. we took tequila shots.
i didn’t ask for a chaser because ava had told me in the cab that she liked alcohol and it was an acquired taste. i couldn’t be a baby about the shot and order a coke. i had to make due with salt and lime, not too bad after all.
i told her about myself. she said she had a wife and son, her phone’s lock screen wallpaper. her wife didn’t know. her son was very young. ava was probably in her early 40s, younger than a lot of academy girls.
she said if she had any free time to do anything creative in life, she would write poetry. i told her about autobiography of red. i said geryon is a queer red boy and tried to convey its giddy delightfulness. she said she would look it up.
i told her she looked like jessie jay. i told her how my sister taught me how to dance. i told her cis women were taught stupid things like to always call attention to their mouths. i showed her with a red drink stirrer. i taught her how to move her hips left to right and in a circle and to pick up the left foot and then right. we danced on each other, two school girls, two sisters, two lesbians,
one in a wig and size 12 heels from amazon.com, wearing them both for the first time. there was so much holy joy in witnessing her become.
she was too shy to order the drinks with her own mouth, but she paid. she danced on me and felt me with her pressed on nailed hands. we were grinding as girls. girls grinding, full of bubbles and girlhood adoration
i told her of my gender dysphoria, and she said tell me about it. she was afraid of not passing, and i wanted to tell her she was utterly magnificent, a vision, a sight for sore eyes, picture perfect, all the phrases withheld from her her entire life. there was something about her that i loved. we had to leave.
we took off her makeup in the pink academy bathroom. i whispered jokes to her. i said creepy things and she laughed. we were harmonizing. i said yes yes yes we shall remove this, yes there will be no trace. i spoke like gollum. she laughed real laughs and shook her lashes. she was beautiful masculine, too.
we made sure to leave no trace of eyeliner on her face. we used baby oil, makeup pads, baby wipes, leaving a heap of dirtied white cloths. there was so much rubbing out of it, i almost felt i was betraying her. i apologized if i thought i was hurting her.
i called her babe and ava. i usually call everyone dude, and i accidentally did that once and hoped she didn’t notice, or hoped she would realize i call everyone dude, even cis girls. i was self conscious of making her feel misgendered in any way. i said dude a few times to jessica to be sure, to show ava i said it to every girl, that she wasn’t a fake girl, that she was real. ava was real, not just because we gave her permission.
tall like me. i said i was paranoid of people staring, said i couldn’t assume they looked in admiration. she said tell me about it. we hated being specimen
ava was a cat, it was halloween. ava liked dark places. ava liked to blend in. ava wanted us to delete every photo we took, after we sent it to her via airdrop. i couldn’t pronounce her assigned masculine name. it was only her second time going out, fifth time dressing up.
she said she wouldn’t dance unless she was drunk, but she didn’t know it would be easy with me, that i would teach her how to move and then not stare at her when she did.
she went out the door, her things from amazon compartmentalized in the pink-walled academy studio, shuttered away until next time. she said as a man she wore versace cologne, the blue color bottle. i said i wore teenage boy cologne: curve and ck one. she said her wife always said she smelled good coming and going. ava was falling in love with her wife again in front of us, coaching herself to return home.
i asked the founder of the crossdressing operation, the founder since the 90s,
and she said maybe the wives would accept their crossdressing husbands, if only the “men” gave them the chance to accept.
(you never knew if students at the academy were transgender, or a cross dresser, or gender non-binary, or figuring it out, or changing unless you asked, and you didn’t ask, and it didn’t matter — they all deserved validation)
the founder said their shame and fear expanded over everything. being out to their significant others was unthinkable. in my drunken fantasy, i felt i was ava’s mother, that i was made to love and protect her. my emotions surged, and i felt bottomless. i had the notion that i contained enough love for every cross dresser,
that they didn’t need vanilla wives to accept or not accept, when i could teach them all to dance like my sister taught me, and we could twirl like loose ribbon.