Bryan, most of the time, is a pretty open guy. There is, seemingly, nothing he feels uncomfortable talking about. In his natural state, at least.
For a while, early in our transformation, it seemed that was a trait that would carry over. There was nothing about Ellie's body he wouldn't comment on. He was fascianted by his skin, his small frame, his gradually-swelling breasts, and of course, his vagina. Man, was he fascinated by his vagina. At the time, it was irritating to me, because as you can imagine (as any normal man would) I had a certain amount of anxiety about my sudden vaginal equipment. At first, he looked at it - as it essentially was in the long-term - as a no-strings-attached vacation from his usual life and body. He had free domain over this young girl's form and, seemingly, felt no shame about it.
But school changed him. Nothing serves to implant a healthy dose of self-consciousness like a high school. Let alone a private one with uniforms. Suddenly he was forced - not that he might not have chosen, but here he was forced - to wear pleated skirts that rode up his legs, marching up and down halls filled with hormonal guys who would see those legs and follow them up, knowing what was under those skirts thanks to a healthy dose of modern Sex Ed. That shut Bryan up pretty quick. Then when he started seeing Leanne, he got particularly sensitive and I think by then he was just sick of the entire experience. Which I found amusing because we basically took the opposite route, since I had let go of my angst and decided just to live with it after so many months. Of course, I was the one having adult married sex, not just lurid teenage girl-on-girl makeouts.
We were on the road from Niagara to Toronto. It was a hot day. He was shifting in his seat and suddenly he turned to me and said "I can't get comfy. My balls are in the way."
I chuckled and said, "You'll get used to them again, give it time."
He just said, "I don't need time. I love this. This is an awesome problem to be having. Goddamn, Todd, I missed my balls. I never thought I would care that much, but I love having testicles."
"I agree," I said, having rediscovered comfortable positioning days ago.
"And seriously. How many times have you jacked off since we changed back?"
I didn't answer.
He laughed, "Bro, you don't even wanna know the kind of numbers I'm doing lately. It's been, like, a non-stop spank-a-thon all month. You're not gonna put this in the blog, are you?"
"Oh definitely not." Whoops.
"I just can't wait to get back to Toronto and just... get busy, you know? Meet new girls. Maybe call up some old ones. I don't know. I have been gone far too long."
"I hear ya."
About this time, the CN Tower came into view, punctuating all the penis-talk.
The truth is, I didn't know what to do. I still don't. I really want to remain faithful to Alia, even though I don't think she expects me to. I can't see myself getting interested in anyone else at this point. I think the main thing being a wife for a year has done for me - other than taught me how to truly satisfy a woman - is that I suddenly feel ready to settle down and get my life together.
But before I started figuring that out, let me tell you about the house guest we got. Because within minutes of stepping through the door of our wonderful crappy apartment, there she was.
Alia. Or should I say, someone who looks like Alia, feels like Alia, seems to move like Alia... but I have to keep reminding myself, is not.
It's not easy. Maybe the curse is playing its game on my head, but everything she says sounds, to me, exactly the way Alia might say it. When she does something drastically out of character, I have to remind myself "Oh yeah, that's why."
She showed up at our door frantically. "Finally! Alia told me I had to come see you guys, I've been waiting and everything. I would've called but my - Alia's - service was cut off. I had to wait for you guys to come back to the building."
I looked her over. My mind and my... (heart?) had a tug of war, saying "Yes it's Alia/No it's not." Even as she introduced herself.
"My name is Crystal Yeats. I'm a real estate agent from Shaker Heights, Ohio. I'm... I'm so sorry this had to happen, but I was told you guys would understand, that you... you lived through an experience like this."
"Yeah," Bryan nodded, "Todd here was a mom."
I elbowed him, "Well, we were both girls."
"You were a woman. I was a girl."
"You were a bitch!"
"So's your mom!"
Et cetera. By now, Crystal was on the couch rubbing her temples.
"It's just all happened so fast. I mean, I'm glad this isn't too big a change, from what you guys are describing, but you have to understand, I'm... I'm supposed to be a fair bit older than Alia. I'm almost forty."
I asked her what her life was like. Did she have kids, a husband, that kind of thing.
"No," she sighed, "I was with a man for years, and we were engaged, but that was a long time ago and since then, well, I haven't had much luck,. I haven't tried hard. I've been very busy with work, you understand."
I didn't, but I pretended to.
Bryan and I shared a knowing look. A single, middle-aged woman with no real attachments. This sounded distressingly like one of those scenarios that could end badly. We made a pact that whatever happens, we had to ensure that we get my Alia back where she belongs.
Luckily, it doesn't seem to be too much of a problem. Crystal seems to have a very mild temperament. She said she's more worried about inconveniencing us than anything else. I told her we'd been inconvenienced for a year by not having penises, we're just glad to be back in our old apartment.
"Well," she said, "I just want to do what's right."
I'd say that this will make the year much easier, but the truth is... who's to say what's right? All I need to do is make sure she doesn't wind up in the hospital or jail or something all year. I do feel a tad guilty about the idea that we'll be sending this woman back to what sounds like a pretty boring life (by her own admission she spent many a Saturday night at bingo.) But it's just available enough that some weirdo might have gotten ahold of her life and is looking forward to staying a single almost-40-year-old real estate agent in Shaker Heights, Ohio.
No matter how you slice it, there's nothing easy about the life of an inn victim at all.
Don't you just love those scenarios that test one's faith in goodness of humanity?
Oh, there is always option #3 available if she is tired of a boring life. You can't get much more exciting than going back to the inn again and again getting a new life every year. If that gets too stressful eventually someone may gift you their life by choosing not to return to it and you can settle down. Thereby solving the moral dilemma.
Yeah, but is that any way to live your life? It would be exhausting, confusing, not to mention the potential for catastrophe would be huge. I'd call it a last resort at best.
Then again, George and Jan did it, and they seemed to make it work. I just think that Crystal, as a woman who is still essentially in the prime of her life, has a lot more to get back to than they did.
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