Annette frets about not writing enough or well enough on this blog like it shows her lack of commitment or ability to be a professional writer someday, but she needs to give herself more credit: Reading that last entry, I was almost convinced that more crying went on over the last couple of weeks than I remember.
Even without the histrionics she put in there, though, I'd be lying if I said our plan didn't scare me some; every moment from waking up to getting off the train in Old Orchard yesterday seemed to present a good reason to turn back, and I'm still not sure now that I shouldn't still go back to New York and tell Benny that the deal is off. Especially since it's not exactly what I expected.
Every time I seemed about to go back, though, Annette would give my hand a squeeze, and I felt a little more like I could do it if (s)he was going to make sure I wasn't going to do it entirely alone. Besides, backing out now would really fuck things up for Deirdre and Gary, who are making new plans to stagger their visits to the Inn to get back to normal.
Or at least try. We got off the train, picked up the keys to our room from the other place (because even if the locals don't realize that the place is fucking cursed, nobody actually wants to work there, apparently), and went back in for the first time in a year. It was eerily the same - after a certain point I guess people just stop trying to improve cursed places - although we were in a different room this time around. We knew that there would be a break in our "chain" because someone wanted to finish their school year, but we didn't really think about that.
As nice as Annette was to me, she was anticipating the exact opposite of me, getting her life back rather than than giving it away, so she dropped her "Ravi" suitcase in the middle of the floor and dashed to the closet. She recognized Benny's and shoved it toward me, the pulled the other one out, commenting that other-Annette must have been shopping, because the one she had checked in with had been a beat-up hand-me-down and this one was nice.
"Isn't this a little like opening your presents before Christmas?"
She shrugged, pulling out the letter that was on top as she opened it. "It's not like I'm ruining some sort of surprise, and besides, there might be stuff we need to do to get ready!" Then she started looking at the letter and the blood drained from her/Ravi's face, and she started reading her letter very intently. Sensing something wasn't right, I opened Benny's suitcase and took out my letter.
I'm pleased to present you with your body more or less as you left it, another year of mileage on it but otherwise in pretty good shape. It's been so good to be young again that I almost considered not coming back, but I figured we had done enough damage and you, at least, should be able to come out of this unscathed.
I'm afraid me and Sandra haven't been completely honest with you and Annette about how our lives were going in your bodies, in large part because what we didn't want to talk about was "our lives" as opposed to "your bodies". As you know. we came to the Inn for our tenth anniversary, and though the changes shocked us, we figured it would be kind of fun, like dating again. What we had apparently forgotten was that dating can be a minefield, and her living in a Harvard dorm while I wound up sharing an apartment in Allston with three other young men after a dozen years of living together also did a number on our relationship.
And then, I met Missy.
The exact details don't matter; the point is that I was feeling 32 more than usual that night, and when a 19-year-old that hot shows interest - and your wife is back "home" with her "mom", you respond. And when she stays interested...
Sandra found out, of course. We tried to get past it, but everything we did just made things worse, and Missy is not only determined but also a genuinely great girl. And it's not like she could have known she was destroying a marriage. Or would it be more accurate to say that she was the way I did so?
Sandra and I still planned to meet up here, and figure out what to do afterward. But somehow Missy saw my printed-out reservation, figured I was planning to surprise her with a trip up the coast, and wound up coming along. When Sandra arrived and saw Missy helping to unload the rental car, there was a screaming match, and Sandra stomped away, saying I was welcome to her.
Maybe if the change didn't happen that first night, we could have fixed things, but it did, and now Missy is Sandra and Sandra looks like she's going to be Annette indefinitely.
Amazingly, Missy seems happy to be Sandra and my wife. I hope that Sandra and Annette can work out some kind of arrangement to make things work out for them soon, but in the meantime, please give Annette all the support she needs. I won't insult her by saying that becoming Missy rather than herself should make her happy, but much worse could have happened to her, and I hope you can help her through it.
I looked up at a shell-shocked Annette. "Those fucking bastards, not even giving you a heads-up while you've been emailing back and forth. Sure, at least you'll get to be a girl again, and I guess still from New England so it'll be an easier adjustment--"
She did a double take. "I don't think Ronan told you everything." Then she handed me her letter.
I guess I should get this out of the way before the signature - I'm not Sandra, so you won't be able to become yourself again right away. My name is Lee Yuan-wei, although I use "Missy" as a Western name. As you might guess, I'm not from around here. Hong Kong is my home, or at least it was.
How did I get here? Well, first I decided to go to college overseas - I always wanted to be an actress in both Hong Kong and Hollywood when I grew up, so I figured that going to school here would be good for my English - and it has been! Nobody thinks I speak with a weird accent!
So I enrolled in Boston University; they've got a nice film and theatre program. It's also not that far from the Landsdowne Street clubs, and that's where I met "Benny".
It probably sounds funny to you that his apparent maturity is part of what attracted me to him - little did I know! -but from what I gather, you can understand how I found him hot, too. But he was great, and even though it didn't take me too long to learn that he was "dating Annette", I didn't let that stop me.
That makes me sound horrible, I guess. It's more explanation than justification to say that I was always told to go after what I wanted growing up, and I've always had a leg up in being able to get it; my family does have money and I was quite pretty, which helps if what you want is a guy.
So I did, and "won", or at least "didn't lose", if you figure that Ronan and Sandra were done but I would have wound up with the original Benny after the dust settled. I don't think that's in any way malicious or uncaring on Ronan's part - he was just trying to make things right as best he could - but I guess it explains a few things about the last few weeks; he didn't think it was going to last much longer.
But then fate stepped in - I saw the reservation at this Inn and assumed it was a surprise trip for the both of us, so I rented a limousine to set us there in style. "Annette" was there, we yelled at each other, and then one last night of great sex later, I woke up a 31-year-old American woman named Sandra - and Ronan's wife!
And I love it!
I guess it's not that strange - everyone tells me I take after my grandmother, who is a big part of the reason why I wanted to be an actress. You might have seen her in some old Shaw Brothers horror movies, but not that many, because she retired when she married my grandfather. I used to think that was crazy, but now, looking at a life with Ronan, feeling that weight of a ring you don't take off on my finger... It just feels right, and when you look at all the strange things that fate has done to get me here, it seems even more meant to be.
So, until and unless you can work something out with Sandra, enjoy my life. It's a good one, just not the one I was meant to live.
Sandra (formerly " Missy" Lee Yuan-Wei)
P.S. Don't worry about the airplane tickets if Hong Kong seems a bit daunting at first; my friends and family will understand even if it is my birthday.
''I know! I'm not ready to to China next week! I probably won't be ready next year! I mean, it's one thing to be second-generation Indian-American, mostly in situations where nobody said boo if I only spoke English or didn't celebrate some holiday or something, but she probably hangs out with other Chinese kids at school and there's probably a big birthday party for her in Hong Kong, and that's before getting into how Sandra just decided to keep my life because she was mad at Ronan..."
Our sizes and sexes were not right for her to curl up in a ball and lay her head on my lap, crying, but that's where it went. It was weird, really - I've actually never seen her as a girl, nor she me as a guy, but we still fit our roles, even after a year.
I sighed. "Look, if neither of us are going to be ourselves anyway..."
She looked up. "I can't ask you that."
"Yeah, but, c'mon. I speak Cantonese - my grandma never totally mastered English and my Dad imported lots of movies from Hong Kong - maybe even some with Missy's grandmother. You and Benny are both from Maine. It's not like it doesn't make sense. Besides, I've realized that dicks are totally fucking over-rated."
She laid her head back down but didn't look at me. "No, having a dick is awesome. I love being able to use urinals and being on top."
Her and me both, but... "Well, then you keep doing that, then." One of Missy's bras had fallen on the floor, and I gave it a look. "Besides, it looks like Missy has bigger tits than Deirdre. These bug bites were a real letdown."
She laughed, bitterly, and then looked up. ''You are a terrible liar, and kind of a jerk, but you're okay otherwise."
She sat back up, a sad but relieved look on her face. "Well, I guess I'll go wash up, and then, 'Missy', how about I buy you a beer or two while they'll still serve you? I need about five, I think."
"Best offer I've had all day, 'Benny'."
And so we did. It wasn't a huge farewell party, but it left me with a pretty serious hangover. I hope Missy's form holds it better.
-Judo, who can't believe he'll be answering to "Missy" soon.