Tuesday, September 01, 2015
Tori: Keeping "Inn" touch (you may groan now)
Back in July, I invited Cliff down to Philly for the wedding of our friend Jen. I didn't want to go alone and felt that, if he was up for it, he might enjoy the opportunity to see his old friends. Unsecretly, there's a bit of selfishness to wanting to check in on my original body.
That said, having Cliff around was actually quite weird. I didn't realize how far into my life as Tori I was until I sat down with him and started hashing things out. He drove down on Friday and picked me up from work, making some of the office gals wonder who was this tall, dark stranger I had somehow neglected to mention. I blushed at my old body being referred to in such terms: I never thought of myself as an attractive man (I certainly never had many women say so.) And it's not even really my body to be proud of anymore: I lost it six years ago, and declined an opportunity to take it back.
But hey, a compliment is a compliment. And Sara wears that old body of mine very well.
Over dinner, we started to talk about things I hadn't thought of in years: I reflected on how much it had meant to me, in my early days as Tori, to have Sara and Raine as friends, seemingly accepting me, never able to pick out that I wasn't one of them. It made me feel reassured that, if I could "pass" to Tori's friends, then I could stop thinking of myself as a man in a woman's body and just think of myself as a woman.
"I felt so dumb afterward," he said somewhat jokingly, "They say it's the magic of the Inn, but maybe it's just self-absorption. Like I had no idea what was going on with you because I was so busy with my own life, so I never caught on. But looking back it was so obvious."
"Yeah, my sister says the same thing," I said.
"Oh my God, does she know?"
"No, but... I almost feel like she might figure it out someday. She's sharp, and I don't think I'd lie if she asked. But she won't, because... how could you, right?"
"When did you get used to it? Being a woman?"
"Sooner than I wanted to admit," I sighed, "It just suited me better than being a man ever did. But for the first year, it was just keep from tearing your hair out long enough to get home. Then after that didn't happen... I was shocked, but I came around quickly to, I can make this work and finally, this is better in some ways than what I left behind. I was like a new person from day one, but it took me a long time to learn what that really meant."
"Is Raine going to be at the wedding?"
"Of course," I said, "I haven't talked to her much lately. We try to keep up on social media, but people go their separate ways. I felt bad for her, because she was dating this guy who was... well, one of us, for a long time, and she had no idea."
"What happened there?"
"Um, I don't know," I said, trying to search my memory for our last conversation on the topic: she was vague, probably because she didn't know the full story. "Sometimes I think it's hard for people like us to be with people who haven't... been through it."
"I hope that's not true," he sighed. "I don't want my dating pool to be so limited." I shrugged: I've had my fair share of experiences, but clearly nothing's panned out. Looked like he had the same issue.
"Well, you could probably date any of the women in my office," I said, "You should have heard them coo when you picked me up. Half of them are married, though."
He smirked. "I do okay."
"Part of me wants details," I said, putting on as devilish a smile as I could, "Part of me wants you to keep quiet, because that wasn't my experience when I was in your shoes."
"The details would bore you," he said self-effacingly, "It's not like I was, oh, doing any 3-ways or anything."
I felt my face get hot. Of course, I was spilling the beans about it on the blog while it was happening, so it's not like I had any reason to be shocked or embarrassed or ashamed... but I couldn't help but feel a little bit of judgment in his voice. I called him on it, and he corrected himself, "Hey, you can do what you want with your life. I admire your spirit. You're an adventurous person, and I love that about you. The real T-- old Tori, sorry, would be proud."
"Old Tori." Huh. Wonder how long since I thought of her. They gave her a morning show down in Louisville, but it didn't work out, and last I heard she was kicking around Indiana or Illinois or something. I used to wonder a lot whether I should have given her her body back and taken a chance somewhere new, but I wasn't in any place to start over and she seemed to be having fun.
As I got reflective, Cliff hung his head: compared to me, he's even more in the dark. The people who stole his and Thom's bodies ran away to Delaware together, probably for nefarious purposes. Thom left him the next year, for parts unknown. (Literally, we don't know whose parts he now has!) Willy, who left my old body, disappeared to England with Randi (is she still with him? From what we can tell, Thom did not take care to relinquish her body back.) I told Cliff he could join "our" community, but he felt he had nothing to say. Then I started thinking about more people who've come and gone over the years.
I have derived so much love and support from the readers of this blog, and those who have been able to see their way to adding to it after an experience at the Inn, that anytime I feel like I might have outgrown it, I feel myself pulled back here. But you should know I am around. And do you see that e-mail address on the right hand side of the blog? (It used to be a different one, but I used my Admin access to change it.) I'm on the other side of it. And through it, I've found several more people with some Inn stories, who will be granting me permission to share some of their experiences. Anyone out there who tried to get ahold of us at our old address but couldn't, now is your chance.
More to come...