James and I arrived in Portland, Maine, around dinnertime last night. Knowing the food situation in Old Orchard wasn't always the most convenient, we grabbed some fast food and took a cab to the Inn. One of the oddest parts of living in Canada was that their McDonalds tastes different ever so slightly... I guess because they source their beef from Alberta, and they have different regulations about hormones and such. At first I thought it was just the new body, but the longer I was there, the more I learned about our neighbors to the north. (Not enough to take up their crazy spelling of words with extra u's in them, though!)
I think it had an effect on me... I've always been a meek, apologetic person who just wanted to blend into the wall, probably due to the way I was raised. It's ironic that I'd go to a place known for politeness and similar behavior to come out of my shell, even their punk shows are polite. See, that was Sophie's "scene," she was plugged into the music scene in Vancouver, and all her friends were dragging me out to hardcore shows at skeevy little dives, where I alway sfelt intimidated just sitting there. One time, early on when I was just starting to get into the spirit of being Sophie, I decided to forget myself a little and get into the mosh pit. Problem if I'm very small and don't take up a lot of space. I ended up stumbling and falling on my ass, and instead of being trampled, a bunch of guys picked me up and brushed me off and asked if I was okay. It was then that I felt safe and secure and fell in love with that entire scene, and realized that being Sophie could be better than being Grant.
James was a chatterbox at the beginning to of the day, but as the flight wore on, he grew uncharacteristically silent. I think this whole experience has rattled him, and I don't blame him. I felt the truth about the Inn buried deep down in my subconscious for years before I even went there, and I still got thrown, and even today I can barely process what we've been to.
We're different people. He was the cool, confident joker, and I was, well, nobody. I simply had no identity in high school. I was impressed that he didn't let getting his body changed alter his personality too much, as he's usually ready with a quip. But he lets a bit of his insecurity out when he asks me for a third time if I know what we're getting ourselves into and I have to remind him that I don't, really. I made a deal... I'm not sure how much of it I can or should disclose, but I think I can tell you I asked some people with the authority to do so if there was anything I could do for them to get these bodies back to their proper owners. After some discussion, it turned out this was possible, but most of my follow-up questions have been met with silence, or a "Your status is yet to be determined." Hm.
I did get some instructions. I'm to be in my room firmly at 11 PM each night in case the transformation is triggered, including a 10:30 PM warning text from a mysterious number. I don't know how long they've been doing this, or how many people they rig up with new lives at the Inn per year, but it appears they've got the routine down.
We were the first ones to sign in for the week. We had two non-adjoining rooms. As is tradition, a full complement of luggage has been left in our closets. Both are for residents of the Chicago area, which is heartening to me... I was hoping we would be able to continue this experience together, because we've made a strong friendship (at least, that's what I think) and you can always use someone who knows your secret.
We received no instruction as to who was to take what room, so James suggested we take a sneak peek at the luggage and see if either of us had a preference. Unsurprisingly, when one of the rooms featured a Coach purse and dresses, and the other featured a briefcase and suits, we didn't spend much time debating. I've made no secret that I've been more comfortable in female skin than in my previous, and I'm sure James is eager to regain his male status. I won't divulge further details, however, until the deed is done, in case something goes askew.
I heard a few more people check in late last night. So far, I've been a bit intimidated to go meet them. I don't know if I can face them, knowing what's about to happen to us, but my conscience is insisting I walk them through this.
Well who knows? Perhaps we've got some fellow veterans.