Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cliff/Tori: Everything in its place...

...except me.

When I first got here I didn't know what to do with myself. I was just a freaked out boy in a girl's body, wary of everything signifying my change. From the clothes to the house to mirrors to my new "family."

So I threw myself into chores. Since Tori wasn't working last summer, I was around to walk the dog and clean the house and mow the lawn, as awkward as it felt to get all sweaty under my boobs, and as much as I felt the physical difference by getting way more sore than I ever did as a man, I needed something to focus on that didn't require me to pretend as Tori. Even laundry, which as a single guy, I knew how to do, but not for women's garments.

I was thinking about it as I was mowing the lawn this past weekend. I did all those things without question last year, but this year I felt the need to raise a fuss, to try to get Mae to take her share of the chores, which turned into a whole thing. You always fight with your siblings. Even when you get along, which I think I do with Mae. I'm not a big personality, and a lot of her ire is still directed at the real Tori, not anything I've done. It's gotten better, but I'd be nuts to think we were best buds now. And hell, sometimes she makes me crazy from her own laziness.

I'm just fussy. Especially since I became a woman. I feel the need to try to control things and keep them simple. My room still looks basically the way it did when I first became Tori, with all her stuff in boxes, and I remove it as necessary, but I'm very good about keeping things in place.

Maybe it's a girl thing. I mean, a me-as-a-girl thing. For instance, getting my period made me very wary of dirty clothes, just because of how disgusted I felt. Made me realize I couldn't just be lazy, I had to actively do stuff, take care of this body, and by extension my surroundings. Incidentally, I'm on my period right now, in case you cared. I personally feel like there's a connection: the pads (later, tampons) led to leg-and-underarm shaving, then "Torification" and finally to me figuring out that it was possible to just be me under this skin.

I can be a bit of a scatter-brain when it comes to stuff outside my sphere of control. As far as making plans Raine and Sara always call me on being non-committal and sometimes undependable.

Raine has taken more of a liking to her Guy than most of the dudes she's hooked up with, and was really not pleased at my treatment of Buddy. I basically sent him an overly wordy e-mail explaining how as much as I liked him, I don't think I'd make a good girlfriend right now, I'm just not up for it. He said he understood everything, and if I ever wanted to hang out, he'd be up for it. And as much as I feel like I'm leading the poor guy on, I really do think he's a nice guy and I want him around. I just had to make sure that he was aware there was approximately zero chance of him getting as far as last time in the near future. Again, he says, that's not a no, and he can wait.

And God help me, I don't have the strength to say "No" outright, just because I feel too attached to him that I don't wanna be so harsh.

Yeah, it's sad. He seems okay with it, but if it was me, I know I'd be going insane trying to figure this girl out.

Anyway, sorry for the random train of thought post, all. Life is weird.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cliff/Tori: The Lost Girl

There's something I want to tell you guys about. It happened before my last post, right before Greg found out about his body maybe going missing. I described that time as being "just a good time to be Cliff being Tori."

I was actually going to write about it when I logged on and read Greg's post, which really put me out of the mood.

Things had been going well in life. It was all a blur of fun bar nights, guys trying unsuccessfully to pick me up, movie nights, the occasional visit with Alia, and of course, more than a few private nights to myself.

This is my guilty pleasure. I shut the door to my room, and as quickly as I want, I can be naked, or down to my bra and panties. Man, when I was a guy, what I wouldn't have done to have complete access to a woman's body, in person. And now that I do, I'm just a little ashamed to admit how much liberty I've taken with it. As you know, I've gotten very comfortable taking things into my own hands. That's no secret. And hell, there's probably a bunch of you who would rather I just write about that.

But that's only part of being Tori, for me. I'd probably go insane with loneliness if that's all I did, because in my old life, well, it kind of was. With all the tools at my disposal, sometimes seems like I could be doing anything.

So this was Friday, April 1st. The day after Greg had posted his post, but before I'd read it. Raine, in her infinite boy-craziness, had arranged herself a date, and wanted me to come along to meet the guy's friend.

Oh, there's always a friend. This sounds bitchy coming from a girl, but from the male perspective, Tori is more attractive than Raine. I've put on some pounds since getting this body, due to lack of exercise, but I'm not a big eater, so it's balanced okay. All the original clothes that came with it still fit, with a couple exceptions. Raine is pretty in a curvy kind of way, and always looks more feminine than me anyway (deliberately on my part,) so I shoo the guys over to her and they forget about me pretty quickly. But oh, there's always a friend.

I know this, because when my best friend Justin and I would hit the bars, I was that friend. The difference is, I'd end up with the Raine while Justin took the Tori home. Having to meet so many of these guys has really put things into perspective for me. Either they stammer and have nothing to talk about, or they're boring and self-absorbed. Raine goes for Spencer Pratt wannabes, pretty boys, which I'm starting to resent, because of how nuts she goes for them.

But this was different. Raine's guy (I'll call him Guy,) is an environmental activist, with hippie-looking shoulder-length hair and a soulpatch. A real sensitive type. I'd met him once, but only heard about the friend.

Raine's Guy's Buddy (I'll call him Buddy) looked more like that guy from Weezer, with the short hair and the glasses. You know, "I look just like Buddy Holly." Alia probably knows the guy's name, but he's not online right now. Part of the reason I went along with Raine's double date is that they were going bowling, which I love. Justin and I were actually in a league in college, but since I've been Tori, my few attempts have been embarrassing because I keep failing at compensating for my altered center of gravity and anatomy (ie boobs throw me off balance.)

Anyway, since it was a pretty casual affair, I didn't have to dress up or anything, which meant capris (Philly was quite warm that week) and a fitted tee. My hair, I pulled back into a ponytail... I've just been letting it grow wild all winter. I should see a stylist before I go back to Maine but I don't know where to start with that.

So Buddy. seemed like a nice enough guy, and only glanced briefly at my breasts to start with. I asking him at first if he was into the environment like his friend, but he just shrugged his shoulders, "I mean, it's good for him, but I'm no activist or anything. I'm in webdesign." I engaged him in conversation about computers, and he paid me the respect of not treating me like I was weird for wanting to do so (admittedly our areas of expertise differ, but it was still neat not to have to pretend I'm just a dumb girl.)

"So are you a good bowler?" he asked.

I told him, "Oh, I used to be, before I got these," gesturing to my breasts.

"Oh, you can just use those to your advantage and distract your opponent."

I can't believe I laughed at that. Just a little. That's like, the oldest one in the boob joke book.

He wasn't awkward, but he wasn't cocky either. He didn't really act like it was a date, and admitted afterward, that like me, he was wary of fix-ups, and just wanted to have fun. He didn't even make any awkward attempts at handsiness as we all proceeded to drink, which put him way up in the win column over the other losers I've been forced to hang out with. The fact that we seemed to share the same sense of humor and like the same movies and that he's the first single guy I've been introduced to who didn't seem to be trying to impress me also worked in his favor. He'd get a gutter ball, point back at me and yell out, "That one was for you!"

At the end of the hour of bowling, we'd split a couple of pitchers between the four of us, and were thus all feeling quite giddy. Raine pulled me aside and asked, "What do you think of Buddy?" I told her, "He's pretty cool."

"So you like him?"

"Yeah, I mean... I don't know."

I was stammering to proclaim not like that but couldn't get it out when she said "You should go to his place."

"Uh, what?"

"Just go home with him, Tori. Give him a shot. It's been like a year since you've gotten any action and it's making you weird. I'm just trying to be a friend."

On another night, with another guy, I probably would have just blown her off and said she didn't know what she was talking about. But Buddy and I were hitting it off more than I have with any guy. For a second I thought to myself, "going home with him is like promising I'll... you know." But I realized it didn't have to. I felt like there was some way I could get out of going all the way -- which, as much as I liked the guy, I didn't want.

So we took the SEPTA bus back to his place. It was only Midnight by that point and I tend to get very keyed up late at night due to my odd hours. "If you see a girl's shoe around here, don't worry. I live with my sister, but she's at her boyfriend's tonight."

He brought us each a beer and grabbed his laptop to show me some funny YouTube videos he'd described earlier in the night. He set the computer up on the coffee table and we hunched over it on the couch. We had to sort of lean into each other to get a good view of the screen. I had my hand on his shoulder to steady myself. And then he kissed me. Just turned his head and planted a quick one on my lips.

I say that, but... it's not like he surprised me with it. Right when he did it, I was thinking to myself "I could totally see myself kissing him right now." So when he did it, just a quick peck to test it out, to give me a chance to push him away and storm out, I just kissed him back. Soon we had our arms around each other and he laid me back on the couch and we just started making out. I kept my hands on his sides while he pawed away at me -- and, okay, that felt awkward, but it was his reward for getting me this far along. Pretty soon, I could tell he was getting hard, and even found myself considering examining the evidence firsthand, but I chose to ignore it while he unclasped my bra and helped himself.

I could feel myself losing control, but I ignored the sirens in my head by slipping my top off over my head. He began to kiss my breasts while his hands went further and further south. And by the time they found their way to their destination, when I felt the initial jolt of his fingers, and it made me moan in a way I never have before. That was the point of no return.

And that's when I hit the brakes.

"Stop, stop, stop, stop," I gasped.

He did and looked up at me. "What's wrong?"

"I'm just... not ready. Too fast." He looked dismayed, but understanding. I elaborated. "You're a great guy and everything, but I'm just not up for this right now. I think I should go."

"The buses have stopped running by now," he reasoned, "I mean, even if we're not gonna -- and that's perfectly fine -- you might as well just stay the night."

"Yeah, that sounds fine," I sighed, putting my top back on. "I can sleep out here, no problem."

"Sure, I'll get you a blanket..."

So I tried to fall asleep for a few hours, sexually frustrated, with Alia's words ringing in my ears, along with all the confusion and guilt that goes along with this little adventure.

I woke up the next morning before he did, but in full view of his sister, who was sitting at the table eating breakfast. When she caught sight of me getting up to leave, I felt like a deer in the headlights, until she just pointed to the corner and said, "Don't forget your bra." Embarrassed, I picked it up, stuffed it in my purse, and hightailed it out of there.

Then when I tried to log on to put it all in order, Greg came on with his story, and it really hit home. So I felt too ashamed to tell it. It just sort of sent me the message that, if I don't go back to my real body, this is my possible future.

He sent me an e-mail a while later, apologizing for being so forward. I have a response drafted up telling him it's all right, but I haven't sent it because I'm just not sure what I want to say... I don't want to lead him on, but if I have to let him down I'd better just do it. It's pretty obvious he has no idea what went wrong. No matter how much you try, it seems like someone's always gonna get hurt.

The whole "abstinence" thing just isn't as easy when people actually want you.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Greg/Priya: Insurgency

Wow. So i did not check this blog once this week. I had to go to work and to do so I had to put this whole situation out of my mind. Its nearly impossible to teach a bunch of little kids and keep them straight and paying attention if your mind is wandering all day, so I did whatever I could to "be Priya" at work this week. I did pretty well, I didnt break down crying at school or anything, but there were some reminders of my old life that made me sad. Particular this one little girl who happens to be named Amber.

Anyway, when I got home Friday I checked the blog and found what I later confirmed to be a Trading Post Inn Blog record 12 comments on my post, most of which were full of great ideas on how to get my life back, some more feasible than others.

First off, Id like to thank Todd, Alia, and Cliff for being so empathetic and supportive. Although I will admit I didn't read most of Cliff's last post. I started skimming when he got to the part about a wedding and being a bridesmaid. I have been in contact with a few of them and the all pledged to help as much as they can.

The best idea any poster had was to do some research into Dee's life and see if shes telling truth. The body of Dolores Henderson is currently inhabited by Hilary Benson, a 30 year old pharmacy tech from Memphis. Hilary and I had emailed briefly when we set up the chain to get people back in their bodies, and she was still going back to the inn to get hers back, even if Dee wasnt planning on taking what she left there.

Hilary confirmed that Dee was an insurance adjuster living in Oxford, Mississippi, and that she was 45 and got divorced in 2008. What I didnt know about was that Dee had a kid who was nearly my age. A 22 year old daughter who moved to Dallas after high school. Apparently the empty nest helped put the divorce in motion.

Hilary couldnt give me many details about the divorce, because she didnt know them. Her ex husband had left the state afterwards and they havent spoken. She agreed to look at the legal documents and pry the kid for information the best she could.

One thing that did help was she sent pictures of her new body, clothed of course. Dee looked like a typical 45 year old. Not obese but some fat in a few areas, some wrinkles and a couple of gray hairs. Not the worst body I could think of, but not something I wanna spend my life in.

Anyway, before I go up and down and talk about realistic scenarios where I can mess with Dee enough to convince her to give my life back, Ive got to say that Im absolutely not going to do anything illegal. I cant risk it. If i get caught, its not Greg Schmitt getting the criminal record, its Priya Patel. And Priya is a friend of mine, and friends dont risk putting other friends bodies in lock up. If I go to jail and not the inn, neither of us gets our body back. Not to mention the fact that Kidnapping/Extortion are the quickest ways to get fired as a Kindergarten teacher.

The first legal suggestion made was to tell the boss. This sounds good, but probably wont do anything. For one thing I was "The Boss", or at least I was at that hotel. I was the general manager, meaning that my direct superior was a district manager from corporate who only came to the hotel twice a month. For another thing, employer/employee relationships are perfectly legal with our parent company, provided that they are consensual and that the proper paperwork is filled out once it becomes official. As to before they were official, im not sure I can do anything unless they did it at work. Also I'm not sure I want to do something that will get Greg Schmitt fired and have it say on Greg Schmitt's references that he was dismissed for sexual impropriety. Plus Heather would have to press charges. I dont know if any of the other employees would get jealous, Heather has always been my personal aide and shes the only one. I dont know if they could prove "preferential treatment".

This brings me a great idea someone had: Mess with Heather. This has real possibilities, but I'll have to be subtle. I cant go, as the person suggested, and befriend her and try to sabotage the relationship on the inside because Heather might recognize me from the day I confronted Dee at the hotel, and because Dee would know who I am and tell Heather to stay away from me.

I do like the idea of making Heather think SHES been cheated on. Somehow I'm going to find a way to get a pair of Priya's underwear in a position for Heather to see them. Thanks to yoga, Im much slimmer than both Heather and Amber, and she'll know the pair belongs to someone else. The trick will be getting access to her, as Dee moved out of my old apartment and I dont know her new address, nor Heathers. I tried looking it up on the hotel database from home, but all the passwords and login prompts had been changed. Makes me think Dee was taking precautions.

Im also going to try to find out a way to make Dee think that Heather is cheating. This is gonna require a little bit of stalking but I think a few anonymous flowers and candygrams might do the trick.

Im currently organizing everyone who would believe me to help send messages to Heather trying to tell her whats going on/ Greg is an asshole and she needs to break it off. This actually holds some promise because I'd imagine shed get curious and do a little research of her own. Im not afraid to have people call the hotel number either.

One person suggested making such a scene that the person who is behind the Inn would intervene to keep it from going public. Im not sure this'll work because:

1. Im not sure who is behind the Inn's curse
2. I dont think they need to intervene to keep this quiet. The curse has worked pretty effective over the past hundred plus years that nobody has gone public that we know of. Even this blog is viewed by most as little more than a work of fiction.
3. Considering the things that have happened to Ashlyn, I dont think I want to be in debt to "Pygmalion" or whomever.

Off of point number 2 above, someone suggested showing this blog to both Amber and Heather, and that Im going to do. But im not sure how much success I'll have. Theres something about the curse. When I first posted, it was before I was changed. I didnt even notice that the other posters were people who had been changed. Still, its worth a shot, and Im going to be emailing links to them when I can. Although I cant do as they suggested and make it a redirect for all logins on the hotel system, as I no longer have Admin access.

Again, thank you all for your suggestions. I'm going to start lining up the logistics of these things and start setting them into action. Im not about to watch my life get stolen without a fight. I'll keep you posted


Todd: Babysitter

Cliff's not kidding when he says that when something happens to a fellow Inn-person, you take it on yourself. Nearly a year after being myself -- although I haven't felt a whole lot like myself in that time -- I still have nightmares where I'm forced into going back to the Inn or where I never did. Where I'm still Anne-Marie.

I describe them as nightmares because even at the best of times it was a drag (...no pun intended.) Constantly playing wife and mother was not my idea of a holiday, piling on menstrual cramps, physical weakness, the occasional migraine and breast-tenderness for scenery. There was a time when sex was the most important thing in my life (roughly the years between 2000 and 2008) but having a nice female orgasm every now and again -- really inconsistently -- was just not enough to make me look back fondly on my time as Anne-Marie. And those, kids, I loved 'em, but half the time I had no idea what to do about them. This was particularly obvious when I just didn't know what to say when their grandfather died. I was not cut out for motherhood.

I've kept in contact with Anne-Marie, just a little. We exchange the occasional e-mail but for the most part she's technophobic (being Julia helped this just a little, but still) so her information comes out in dribs and drabs. She's also a fairly private person... which is odd considering I've done stuff with her husband. I'm guessing this stems from a desire to put the entire experience behind her, which I can't say I blame her.

But she does vent, every now and again, because she at least knows she can rely on me for support. So when she notices little Ellie, now at 16, has grown into a bit of a troubled teen, she can't help but blame her time as Kalli. Ellie's showing a rebellious streak that definitely wasn't the case before the change, but in a way, Bryan probably acted anyway. I suggested it was possible the whole "lesbian" thing may have somehow gotten out, leading to some bitterness. For context, I asked whether Ellie was seeing anyone, and Anne-Marie said she didn't know. That year as "roommates" did a lot to damage their once-close relationship.

Somewhere, I suspect Ellie's mother is claiming a victory on that one (if a slightly Pyrrhic one.)

And speaking of teenage daughters, Hayley reacted very negatively to Anne-Marie's return. I know I wasn't that stern of an authority figure, but I didn't realize how lax I'd been until Anne-Marie came back and started laying down the law. I always thought of Hayley as a bright, friendly presence, a genuinely sweet girl, but lately I guess she's just following in her cousin's "bitter teen girl" footsteps.

Anyway. These are problems everyone goes through, and as much guilt as I feel about leaving Anne-Marie and Ellie to resolve their own issues, it's just not part of my world anymore. I've left Connecticut behind. But of course that doesn't mean I can forget Maine.

No, what Greg's predicament really reminded me of -- and forgive me for being self-centered here but I can only say "Sorry to hear that, Greg" a couple times before it loses meaning -- was Alia. And Crystal and Bryan. And how, even though I've read enough of this blog to know better, it just seemed unfathomable that someone would just try to abscond with another person's body. It's the old Inn curse at work again I guess. You don't believe it until it happens to you. That never stopped me from eying Crystal suspiciously, but this really illustrated the distinction between the situations.

Suddenly -- and I never thought I'd get to this point -- I'm actually grateful to Bry for what he's done. As perverse as his entire plan was, it seems to be working. No, I don't generally approve of using sex as a weapon (anymore) and I definitely don't approve of him getting busy with my girlfriend's body, it seems to be going well.

I know this because, as a favour to Sean Flaherty and Erica, I agreed to babysit little Katie last night while they had their first date night since the baby's birth. Feeling a bit squeamish about being left alone with an infant, I reached out to the only person I could find: Crystal.

"I'm glad you called me," she said when she arrived, "I love babies. Did I ever tell you that?"

"Yeah, I think you mentioned it once or twice." It was actually all she could talk about when the subject of Erica's pregnancy would come up.

After a while, we got to talking. "I just always regretted certain aspects of my life," she said, "I put off being a mother in favour of a career, and then my career didn't work out well, and then one day I woke up, I was nearly forty, unmarried, childless..."

"Have you thought about what's going to happen after you go back?" I emphasized these last words, as if to say You are going back, right?

"I... am," she said, drawing that one out a bit too long for my liking, "I really do like Bryan. I might even love him. But if he knew the real me, if he saw what I really looked like, he might not be so... enthusiastic."

I told her that seemed unlikely. Bryan is the only person I know to have gotten a chubby from the six-breasted stripper in Jabba's palace in Return of the Jedi. The man has extremely broad tastes. I did not mention this, however, as that comparison is probably not welcome.

We spoke a bit more about her and Bryan's relationship, but out of respect I won't transcribe, since a lot of it was personal. Not just the sex stuff, but certain, shall we say, insecurities that come from being a woman her age.

After she changed the kid and put her down for a nap, she studied my face, "I still don't see it. This man I am sitting next to was once somebody's wife."

"For a while, yeah," I laughed, "But I'm retired from the wifing business." She listened, in rapt attention while I shared some of my fond memories of Conner and Hayley. She told me about her niece and nephew, whom she hadn't seen in years because they live out west in Wyoming of all places.

"So did you learn anything important about women when you were one?"

"Sure," I smirked, "That it's simultaneously very easy and very difficult to turn down sex." She burst out in laughter -- an eerie mutation of the laugh I'm most used to from Alia. A bit throatier. It made me uncomfortable, on some level. But it was a laugh nonetheless.

"You sound like Bryan! He told me about his whole lesbian thing. Jeez, what is it with you guys? It's all about sex. Never mind being in a different social status, being stared at or objectified or marginalized or forced to wear uncomfortable clothes and make-up just to look good, or being small -- all you want to know is where your next lay comes from!" She smiled and shook her head.

I responded, jokingly, "Oh, yeah? What about you? How long were you in Alia's body before you hooked up with Bry?"

"Okay, that's not fair. We started off just as friends, and we seriously just bonded. It was the most natural..." she hesitated, growing visibly uncomfortable with being so open.

I interrupted, "No, it's okay, I get it. I was just kidding about it."

"No, it's fair. I mean, you've been a woman, it's only fair if I level with you. When I found out what I'd become, it definitely didn't take me long to start feeling sexual again. And then when I saw the two of you..." She paused. "Can I be honest? Don't take this the wrong way, because I'm so happy with Bryan I can't even believe it, but when I first saw the two of you, you were the one I was more interested in."

Say what.

"I don't know. Maybe it was Alia's body pointing me in your direction. Maybe it was the way she described you in her letter, maybe it was your look. I can't explain it, but at first glance, it was you. But you were very quiet, very dark at the time... probably because of Alia, I suppose. You were so closed-off that I never had a chance to get to know you until recently. No offense."

"Yeah, I was pretty bitter at the time," I admitted, "I didn't have much direction in life, I was real confused how this was all going to shake out. It took months before I could start being myself again."

We both pondered, quietly, for a moment. I don't know what she was thinking of, but I was just feeling thankful that my morose outlook had saved me from further complicating things with Alia, and allowed this whole Bryan/Crystal thing to happen.

In an ideal world, none of this would've happened anyway, but here we are.

I learned more about Crystal as a person in that night than I had in all the months she's been here. In a way, it was incredibly eerie talking to her, because I couldn't help but be reminded of all the amazing talks I've had with Alia over the years. But at the same time, it helped me confront some of my own anxieties.

Crystal, I think, is one of the good ones. I trust her. I'm still jittery about things, and you can never tell what's going to happen, but I know she's doing her part, which is enough for me.


Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Cliff/Tori: Support

I haven't been on in a few weeks, barely even checked the blog (I mainly do when Alia tells me he posted) because I'd been, as weird as this sounds, enjoying life.

I know, I feel extremely guilty about writing that right now, but at the time, it was the truth. The weather got very gorgeous very quickly and unlike last summer I was not feeling self-conscious about my body. I've long since (well, depending on your count) accepted that for the time being, I look like this, I wear these clothes, I should make myself comfortable. So if I need to shave my legs and underarms so I can show some bare leg and shoulder, so be it. I was feeling good about feeling good. On the home stretch of my return to the Inn, time started to fly.

I don't know. It was just a good time to be Cliff being Tori. As miserable as the work days sometimes are, I got through them, then hung out with "the gang" at Raine and Sara's place, or the bar, or wherever. I didn't even feel bad about taking the night for myself occasionally, just to come home and relax, because I've been more social in the last few months than I've been in years.

Then I logged onto the blog late on April 1 or I guess the 2nd by then, and there was Greg's post. And it just hit my like a ton of bricks. All the carefree attitude I had the last few weeks just disintegrated in the harsh reality of it.

Suddenly all the fun I'd been having didn't seem so fun. The clothes, the hair, the boobs, and everything else that came with it, felt very bitter to me.

Greg, I'm so sorry about what's happening with you. Seriously. I don't even know what I would do if I found myself in your situation (crawl into a hole and die maybe.) Suddenly all the paranoia about not getting my body back has hit me again. The first thing I did after I read that post was e-mail Willy to make sure we were still cool. The fact that he took several days to get back to me (two days but it felt like a week) did not ease my mind.

He assured me that yes, everything was still going to plan, and that if I was really uncertain about it I should come up to Buffalo and check in on him for Easter. As much as that would set things straight for me, I still couldn't go through with it. I still carry a sneaking suspicion that he might want to try picking up where we left off, getting a few bonus miles out of our bodies before we go back. And my own suspicions that I may not be strong enough to resist the urge to try, because I already know how I'd rationalize it (oh, it's my body, he knows who I really am, it's not like he loves Tori or anything.) Best to avoid the problem altogether.

Not to mention, separating myself from the Pearces has become very difficult lately -- it's not like those first few months where I just stayed out of their way. "Mom" and I cook together and we all have movie nights and other weirdly home-sweet-home stuff. We're not the Brady Bunch but this isn't Married with Children either.

But finally, I just wasn't in the mood for anything this weekend. The entire time, the knowledge that one of us isn't making it back to the Inn -- I don't know Greg except through the blog, but I do know we're going through the same thing (except he's lost his fiancee to boot, which makes it way worse than anything that could happen to me) and I do feel a connection there. It's like that thing someone was telling Todd about the mushrooms. We're all part of a big secret family.

It all just weighed on my shoulders the entire weekend. So I just kinda sat, catatonic, while being welcomed to Tori's uncle's place (the same place we spent Christmas) by a parade of relatives whose names and backstories I have a hard time keeping straight. "Oh there's uncle whatsisface who brew his own wine, and Aunt whoosits and her three kids." Even more confusingly, both Dad's and Mom's side came by for the dinner, which was crazy, but I guess I didn't realize that the two halves of the family could be close. Repeatedly, I had to have embarrassing conversations where I attempted to account for the state of Tori's life. No, haven't really decided what career I want, still not dating anyone, blah blah. These things that hopefully will not be my problems in a few months..... yet by constantly having to address them it reminded me of what it would be like if they were. Which means really, they might as well be. And all the while, everyone's sort of disguising their disappointment with my apparent lack of direction, and I don't have any human connection whatsoever.

And then Ken shows up.

God bless Ken. Tori's older brother has been extremely cool the few times I've met him, and from our increasingly amusing conversations on MSN/Facebook. They have a very strong relationship and thankfully that has transplanted over to me. I just like the dude. He's like the brother I never had -- which is ironic in a way because I do have a brother, I just don't get along with him as well as I'd like.

Mae even brought Ed along, although they disappeared early and only returned for dinner... so...... yeah.

Anyway, Ken was there with his fiancee Jana. He proposed on New Year's, and she's been in crazy wedding-planning mode for a few months. They're planning a fall wedding. Most of the family loves her, although I think she's a little boring. Pretty, though, in a classic beauty kind of way. But if you saw me say that out loud, it would seem kind of bitchy, because I've heard myself-as-Tori described in similar ways (more like "pretty but weird.")

Ken made the rounds, and let Jana bond with the other women, and found me to try to bring me out of my gloom. He was a great guy for trying but at that point I was feeling really low. He asked me about it and I was evasive.

"It's just... life stuff. I mean, I'm doing okay for now, but I'm not sure where I go from here." It was totally in-character stuff, covering for my real problems with the believable fakes.

Ken admitted that telemarketing really didn't sound like a good long-term plan, but if it wasn't killing me, it was good enough to keep at until I figure out something better. I told him that wasn't very good advice, and he grinned and shrugged, "What do you want to hear from me? I have the worst job, but I'm happy enough that I don't care." He works in banks or something nonspecific like that.

I was puzzled. "If you hate your job so much, why do you consider yourself happy?"

"I'm getting married soon, Vic." Only Ken and Mae call me Vic. I kinda like it (because if you squint your ears it sounds like Cliff.) "I'm in love with an amazing woman, I don't mean to rub it in or anything, but I couldn't care less about job satisfaction right now."

This did not help. On top of everything else, part of the reason I was supposedly miserable is that I'm single? I didn't want to admit it, but even when I was doing IT, which I liked (despite not being passionate about it, I felt needed and was good at it, so I generally liked it) I knew that yeah, loneliness was a problem. But I had just started being happy being my version of Tori. Why'd he have to rub it in? I just gritted my teeth.

"I don't know," he added, "Maybe it's not a relationship. Maybe it is the job. Maybe it's everything."

"Yeah, it's everything." I sighed, forcing a laugh.

"Maybe it's because you live at--" he stopped himself.

There was a pause before I finished the thought "At home? Yeah. That probably doesn't help."

Look, it's not my place to start rearranging Tori's whole life, especially not now, and as much as I've come to like the Pearces, I can't deny that if I had my choice, I'd be out on my own. But again, it's all the "I'm not myself, this is not my life" stress. I just couldn't express any of that.

So we changed the subject.

"So, I was talking to Jana," he said, "And she kind of liked the idea that you and Mae would be her bridesmaids." That was a bit startling. Thinking back, it was maybe a bit rude to just be stone cold about it, like "Yeah, that'll be fun," showing no enthusiasm. I know I'm not planning on being around for it, but at this time I was practically convinced that I was, and it all just... ugh, it's all too much.

Ken seemed disappointed that this didn't cheer me up (it totally would've been Tori's thing) and that really drove home how much of a mood I was in. Ken and Jana were stayign at our place, and that night, we rented Zombieland... they were cuddled on the couch to one side, I was on the other, and I have to admit, seeing them be so close was really a bummer. Ken wasn't totally wrong, but he couldn't know that he was the one I was really jealous of.

It all just comes back to wanting to be a man holding a girl like that.

So I just thought I'd get that off my chest. Sorry to be so self-obsessed at a time when Greg has some real problems, though. I feel kind of useless because I just have no idea how I'd handle a situation like that. I hope you get it sorted out.

The rest of us just have to keep living the way we are.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Greg/Priya: No, I wasnt joking

Wow, did I get a lot of comments on my last post, for which I'm grateful. Its good to know that people pay attention and give insight into my situation.

Most of the commentators were debating on whether or not it was an April Fool's post, and it most definitely wasn't. Apparently my world came crashing down on a day when people were least likely to believe it happened. I didn't even think about the date at time.

One person who left a comment was all on board with the kidnapping and detailed 3 disturbingly complex and well thought out scenarios.

One idea was to drug my old body and have myself or an accomplice take it to Maine. This wouldn't work because I don't think comatose people can get on airplanes. Also I look nothing like my old body and could never pass off as a relative. The whole being Indian thing is a dead giveaway. And an accomplice would be difficult to get because nobody would believe why I'm taking the body to Maine, thanks to the curse.

Another idea was to hold my old body at gunpoint and take to Maine. This would be next to impossible because I live in the state with probably the toughest gun laws as well as the fact that someone so much bigger than me would probably escape along the way.

His last idea was to arrange for Heather to take a trip to Maine and use it as a way to leverage Dee. I don't know how I would get a total stranger to go on a trip, and I think my former body would be able to talk her out of it.

Two posters had an entirely different idea, which was to take Amber to the inn, have her transform and then explain that it wasn't me that broke us up. (The commentators used the name "Heather" but in context the meant Amber, id imagine its easy to mix the two up since I don't label my posts with keywords). This scenario is right out never gonna happen. What if Amber got turned into a little kid? Or an old person? Or someone stole her body? Take it from me folks, you don't send someone you care about to the Trading Post Inn.

Anyway, the very next day I got a phone call from someone who thought it MUST be an April Fool's hoax. Priya. In all my sorrows I totally forgot that I had her life and staying in it would make me no worse than Dee. And Priyas my friend, and I owe it to her to give her life back. This means Ill be going back to the Inn this summer even if my body doesn't.

The last commenter said a few things that I wanna clear up. They said:

"something here doesn't make sense. If Dee truly was a married, heterosexual woman in her previous life, then it seems extremely odd that she would fall passionately in love with another woman less than a year after landing in Greg's body. According to testimony presented in this blog since its inception by the various inn victims who have experienced a gender change, the body change doesn't automatically produce a corresponding mental change regarding sexual preference. So, for the relationship with Heather to have developed at all, Dee would have to be either a)bisexual or b)lying about "her" previous life. Or c)this truly is an "April Fools" post."

Let me point something out from someone who knows first hand. You take the sexual orientation of the body you have on. I was a heterosexual male and as discussed before, women do absolutely nothing for me now. Not even Amber.

This has been documented as well by all other previous posters. Ashlyn and Liz started being with men eventually, and as far as I know they're still into guys. Todd spent an entire year having sex with a man as his wife. So while the inn doesn't trigger a corresponding mental change, it does trigger a physical attraction that matches the body's previous owner. Once the previous posters got over their qualms about having sex, they had no problem doing it. My theory is that Dee had sex with Amber on her first night in town, thus breaking down any mental barriers pretty quickly. It might have clouded her thinking, causing her to look at all women that way, hence going after Heather.

Although to be honest I have no idea whether or not Dee was lying about her previous life. I havent seen a photo or anything, never bothered to check up on that.

That same poster also had the best idea of them all, which is to try and sabotage Dee and Heathers relationship, causing her to have no motivation to stay in my body and to give it back. If any of you out there have ideas on how to accomplish this, they would be greatly appreciated.

Anyway, since my last post I've had a lot of time to think about my options for the future. I finally wrapped my head around it all today, seeing as I was alone and the city was mostly quiet for Easter. But since Hindus don't celebrate Easter, it was just a Sunday for the Patel family.

As I said before, im going to have to go back to the Inn. But since there's a chain of 3 people or so on each side of me looking to get back into their bodies by staying in the same room as me (Priya included) that means Im probably gonna have to go in and fill in the gap. Which more than likely means that come July i'll turn into Deb. Which I don't plan on as a long term solution but its the only body available as of now. Maybe ill find someone who WANTS to be her and get a new life that way, but as of right now im not looking forward to it.

-Greg (still and always on the inside.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Greg/Priya: Dumped

So, I'm blogging because this is the only place someone in my position can vent their feelings that I know of. I don't know how many of our readers actually believe us, or if they actually CAN believe us thanks to the curse, but between them and the other contributors, it sure helps to have someone who listens

Ive been crying for the last two hours, because today has easily been the worst day of my life, which is saying something considering Ive had a day where i changed into another person.

Amber called me today crying. I was at work so i didn't hear her bawling until i checked my voice-mail at lunch. I called her back and she was still upset and when I asked what was wrong she choked out "Greg...Dumped..me.."

Clearly this concerned me in a way that goes beyond "best-friend-shoulder-to-cry-on". So i left work, didn't even think about it. I hadn't taken a sick day all year and it's kindergarten so its not like you need to find a well qualified sub for half a day.

Amber was at her place since they had the fight late last night and she was too upset to go into work. Dee was not in the apartment, so I'm assuming she went to work.

After a big hug and a 2 minute sob, I finally asked her what happened

"Well, I told you about how Greg's been distant for awhile now, and you said it was probably just wedding jitters, and I believed that and he did go out of his way to show me he loved me on Valentine's Day, but after that he just became distant again. The last night..."

She trailed off as she cried at the memory of what happened. I hugged her and when she calmed down she continued

"Last night he came to me and told me he didn't love me and that he had been cheating on me for the last 6 months with his secretary, Heather"

My jaw dropped and I was both shocked and mad. I couldn't say anything. Amber saw the look on my face and continued

"He said that hes fallen in love with her and that he was gonna move in with her and that hes sorry but he just couldn't lie to me anymore"

After that we both broke down crying. After all it was my relationship too, and I was so mad at Dee for doing this to Amber just so she could sleep with my secretary. I comforted and consoled Amber for a few hours until I told her there was something I needed to do and I would be back later.

It was around 4:30 so Dee would still be at work. When I got to the hotel lobby, Heather was at the front desk. She didnt recognize me and said in a very cheerful manner "How may I help you?"

"Yes, may I please speak with your manager?" I said rather curtly. Which in retrospect was kinda mean. Yeah, shes the other woman, but I always liked Heather, shes a nice gal, but kinda quiet. I always sensed she had a crush on me but she was way to mousy to ever make a move and she knew I was engaged.

She turned toward my office which is in a room next to the desk and said "Hun, there's someone here to see you" in a saccharin voice that made my stomach turn. When my old body emerged from the office and saw me he looked only a little bit surprised. "Oh, its you." Dee said flatly "Come on in the back" Heather watched idly curious as I followed him into the office and shut the door.

"I had a feeling Id here from you soon" she said

"What the HELL is going on?" I demanded

She looked me in the eye and in a very calm voice said "I'm sorry you had to find out this way, but things just kinda happened between me and Heather. There was chemistry from Day 1. We have a lot in common and around October we started seeing each other in secret. Amber does nothing for me emotionally or mentally, we just don't click. Having to spend 24 hours a day pretending to love someone like that is just miserable. Heather was the complete opposite and she made me love coming to work and over time ive grown to love her"

I wanted to strangle her. "Well you realize the mess this makes for me? How am I supposed to fix things when I get my body back?"

She looked at the ground

"You don't think..." I started coldly.

"I spent the last 21 years of my life in a marriage that was loveless for the last 15. He and I weren't right for each other and I wasted the better part of my life with him. Now it seems that fate has shown me a new person that is worth it, and given me an opportunity to be with her. I cant just walk away from that..."

"ITS NOT YOURS TO WALK AWAY FROM!" I shouted, not caring if Heather heard or not.

She shushed me "Listen, I'm sorry to have to do this to you, but did you ever think that this is fate trying to tell you something? Like maybe you and Amber don't really belong together?"

I lunged at her. I wanted to choke her right then and there. Sadly she now had about 70lbs on me and held me at bay easily.

"Im gonna need you to calm down or I'm gonna call security" she said firmly "No i suggest you go home and figure out your life and don't come back here again or Ill call the cops"

At that moment, everything went numb. She had all the power. All the leverage. I think this must be what Jake and Art felt like when they first heard that they're lives had been stolen. When I read their stories my reaction was "wow, that sucks for them" and now its just a million times worse. Short of kidnapping Dee and strapping her to a bed in Maine, all my family, friends, and life are gonna be gone.

I left the hotel in silence. I sat on the train on the way home, just staring blankly ahead. A million thoughts going through my head but none really taking hold enough to affect me. It was just a profound sadness.

I couldn't go back to Amber so I went back to my apartment instead. I sent her a text saying I'm sorry and id be over later to help talk to her. Fortunately, her mom had also been keeping her company so she wasn't alone.

It was 6 o'clock when i just collapsed on the couch and started bawling. All the emotions that I felt at first just washed over me. I thought about all my memories with Amber. The day we met. Our first date. The first time we had sex. The day I proposed. Now, those are just memories. Ive been downgraded from love of her life to best friend. Forced to see her every day and be reminded of how horrible things turned out.

I was crying when I started writing this, but now, an hour later, im just sniffling. I guess it does help to write your feelings down, and while im still miserable I can at least function clearly. Able to think. Able to cope with the fact that Im gonna have to live the rest of my life as Priya.

Although the kidnapping idea has its merits....