Friday, November 27, 2015

Tyler: Families, and Thanksgiving, and stuff

I've kind of neglected Alan's life a little bit since being here, I'll admit. He has a family back in Wisconsin that loves him very much, and no doubt misses him. And I got a little absorbed re-fashioning his life into my own, that I couldn't help but leave them behind.

From the beginning, there were texts and calls, usually ones I dodged, even though I knew it wasn't fair to Alan or his family or anybody. But I had to distance myself. I felt like I'd spent a year suppressing everything about myself just to fit in and make others feel better, I needed something for me.

I warmed up a little bit, responding to texts and calls more quickly, but I still hardly know these people. I told them I had found work out here and decided to stay a while, which raised questions (Alan was not one to leave his family behind) that of course I dodged. I just wanted them to know their son is OK (he is) and to feel like they could reach me if they have to, but... jeez, they really test that. Every day I get some new update on some neighbor or distant cousin I don't know. But I try to be polite and answer back, "That's interesting" or "Good for them" or "What an asshole," as applicable (then I get chided for strong language.) I also dodge questions about Greta, saying only that we parted ways and I don't know what she's up to (mostly true.) Of course there were questions about how one could just part ways with the woman he probably was going to marry, but I chalked it up to "Personal differences." End of story.

Or so I thought. During a recent call, I had to explain again why I couldn't make it home for Thanksgiving. I let it slip a while ago that I had started a new relationship. And of course Mama Schmidt scoffed about how soon it was to be throwing family traditions away and if she loved me, she'd understand and let me come home. I told her I wasn't exactly being held against my will, and I was sure Thanksgiving would be fine without me.

So yeah, I agreed to go see Meg's family for Thanksgiving. While they didn't exactly "keep it small" (six aunts, five uncles, and 11 cousins were present) these people were all supposed to be strangers to me. Plus it was local, which was a huge bonus. Once Meg let it slip that I worked in a kitchen, her mom insisted I bring a side. Arguing that I mostly cook eggs didn't phase her, so I cooked up a recipe for whisky-infused green beans. Except I kept that first part a secret. They were a big hit.

It was a chaotic, exhausting, wonderful day. Meg is a lot like her mom – same sense of humour, same smile... but with more of a housewifey vibe. She warned me they might judge me because I didn't go to college, but they were very polite... to me. I do think her Mama is a bit judgmental toward her, though. I put my charm into overdrive to win over her dad – a friendly, intellectual guy with a big interest in history (seriously, the guy was loaded with facts about he first Thanksgiving, the Colonial era, and even a fair bit about pre-Columbian times.) Asked him lots of questions, didn't yammer on about myself.

"They really like you," Meg beamed afterward on the drive home. "My Mom is just happy I'm dating again, and Dad seems to think you're really smart."

"Don't know how he got that impression," I smirked, "Guess I'll have to keep him fooled."

Later that night, as we were getting ready for bed, she said something that struck me: "I wish I could meet your parents."

I'm sure she meant well by it, but it caused a real chill to go up my spine. I sat up and looked at her and I just said, maybe a bit coldly, "You don't have to say that."

She looked at me, "No, I mean it. I think it's a shame that I can't... like, share that part of your life. I'm really sorry about it."

"Don't worry. It's gone," I said. "They're gone. It's..." I trailed off, suddenly getting very emotional.

Sensing she had touched a nerve, she wrapped her arms around me. I felt my face get hot. I wondered if I was going to start crying. I took a breath and told her "Even if... even if I was me, even if everything was normal... trust me, it would be okay if you never met my Dad."

"Was he... that bad?"

"Yeah," I said, "We're, uh... not close."

"You never talk much about home. About Mobile, your family, your childhood. Is that why you didn't mind not getting your real body back?"

"It's just complicated."

She took a moment to swallow this. For a second it looked like she was hurt that I wouldn't open up. Then she said, "Whatever you're running from... and you don't have to explain it to me if you don't want to, I'm sure if you're ever ready you will... it's in the past. I didn't mean to remind you of it. But you're here now, with me."

"I know," I said. "Believe me. I know."

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Meg: Sleepy times

When I became Tasha, and had to live with Wade, it was the first time in many years I had regularly slept in the same bed as someone else (stuffed animals not included.) You don't even ant to know what kind of mental convincing I had to put myself through just to get under those covers and lie next to him, this strange man who could be anybody, and definitely was someone else's boyfriend.

Eventually, and sooner than I would probably care to admit (because it doesn't make me look good or feel good) I got used to the idea of being a fill-in girlfriend. I forced myself to swallow my pride and use words like "Honey" and "Sweetie" and the occasional "I love you." I got comfortable disrobing around him, lying with him, initiating contact with him.

It should have felt awful, but if I can be honest, the relationship was probably one of the most healthy I have ever had in my life for a while (the summer and fall, until I realized he and I just weren't compatible no matter how much I wanted to play like we were.) I got into it, because after all the hardest part about getting into a relationship: meeting someone, deciding you like them and getting comfortable in their life, was well past. Wade wasn't someone I would choose for myself, but I made it work.

But then there was sleep. For one, we kept different schedules: he worked days in a tattoo parlor, I worked nights as a waitress. On nights where I worked, I would crawl into bed softly beside him and attempt not to wake him. But I would still lie up awake for hours, trying to keep still rather than obey my body's instinct to toss and turn. We had this big double bed, and for comfort's sake I would roll to the edge to put as much space between us. Then after I cheated and earned his forgiveness, I felt like keeping so much distance between us was wrong, so I closed the gap, but in doing so contorted my body into an odd position to wrap my arms around him. I think the lack of comfort - and the fact that I didn't really do much yoga after that - really exacerbated my back problems, leaving me stiff and sore in the mornings.

A couple of nights ago, Tyler and I were getting under the covers, and he looked at me and smiled. I asked what was that about, and he said, "A year ago... when I was Lauren, I used to lie up at night and think about you. To think how nice it would be to be with you. I knew it wasn't possible... not the way I looked, and not where you had to be. But I dreamed of being myself again, and us picking up where we left off. And basically... doing this. Holding you. Waking up next to you."

I told him I was sure there were other things he dreamed of doing with me.

He laughed, "I tried not to think about it too much."

I leaned over and kissed him deeply. Then he wrapped his arms around me and we drifted to sleep.

Since Tyler and I have been together, we have been sleeping closely cuddled together in the little single bed I have brought to various places of residence. I would love to say the fact that only liked Wade but love Tyler has led to me sleeping more soundly, but the physical facts remain, it's just tougher to get a good night's sleep when there's someone else there. In Alan's body, Ty has a long, gangly frame that tangles pretty oddly with my decidedly more squishy one. We fit, but barely, and I've been giving some serious thought to getting a new bed.

It's a bit of a commitment, sure. My bed is nice, but if our future is together, we deserve better. I'm very serious about the direction of this relationship, even if several unknowns remain. Is this Tyler's final stop? He has been frustratingly mum on whether he has ever discussed giving Alan his body back, or what happens next if he does. I'm trying to enjoy the moment, but... well, I'd like to just be a bit more secure, you know?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Innbox: Katie and Jared

Hey guys! Hope you've been having a very good November, and that the weather is good wherever you are. Things have settled down for a bit lately, so I thought I might dip into the Innbox and share a story with you. This one comes to us from "Katie from Jacksonville."

And remember, fellow Inn people, you can always contact me at and tell your tale!


Dear Trading Post,

What a strange life it is for us. I'm sure by comparison to a lot of people, my story isn't all that dramatic, but it's mine, and I feel safe in sharing it with you. About two and a half years ago, I made a fateful visit to the Inn. I was fresh off a breakup and needed cheering up, and my mom, bless her heart, decided what I needed was a getaway. She's always looked out for me, and I guess in the long run it's great that we have had each other's backs through this ordeal.

On the third morning of our weeklong trip, I awake to find myself transformed... I guess you could say the changes were "minor" compared to what a lot of people go through. I went from 29 years old to 27, shrunk by a few inches and went down a couple of dress sizes. My unruly frizzy brown hair also became straight and blonde. I know, nothing shocking at all about any of this, there's almost no reason for me to speak up, but a new life is a strange experience no matter what.

As I was pondering my own strange transformation, I saw that where my 57-year-old mom had been, was now a strikingly handsome, rugged, 30-year-old man, the husband of my body's original owner! I couldn't believe my eyes and ears as this gentleman called me by my mother's pet name for me, recited facts only she could have known, et cetera et cetera. Insane!

Now, in all the confusion, nobody told us about the blog, or any way back to our old selves... we were coaxed into living as this couple, with the assumption that we would be this way for the rest of our lives! I'm sorry to say, the ship of us returning these bodies to their original occupants seems like it has sailed, as well as us getting our own selves back. We felt resigned to acting like "Katie and Jared"

Don't worry, the story doesn't get gross. Although I had to clear out some very unsettling thoughts relating to the fact that the woman who raised me was now an attractive, age-appropriate man, I assure you I had no intention of playing wife to my own mother. We became more like siblings or best friends.

To her credit, manhood was a good look for her. She took to it like a duck to water. I guess after so many years of being a wife and mother, masculinity is as easy as anything. I could also see her new youth revitalizing her.

And then she met Alice.

You would think it could only happen by accident, but Ma was no fool. She knew what she wanted and what she was getting into. She didn't wait for any new feelings to slowly reveal themselves and then fight them, she was ready and she embraced them, much to my shock! I didn't know it at the time, but only a few months into our time here, she had set up an online dating account and started meeting women! You go, girl!

Alice was my mom's first serious relationship in several years - she and my dad are divorced and she had a few boyfriends after, but always seemed better off single. And when I expressed my shock, she explained that she enjoyed having the chance to be the boyfriend, the partner, that a good woman deserved, instead of having to settle for some of the men she had been with. (She didn't specify whether this included my father, with whom I have a good relationship too.)

Alice is a sweet girl, and obviously very in love with my mom, but... I feel bad for her, since she doesn't know the truth, but that's only a small drawback. My mom treats her like a goddess. She's planning on proposing at Christmas. I voiced my on objections: it's so soon, we have this strange secret that Alice can never be privy to, and she has been hurt before, albeit in another life by a different gender.

But what's worse is that Alice absolutely hates me, for reasons beyond my control.

My main problem is this: Following a quickie divorce (not long after my mom and Alice met,) I am now the ex-wife, and it has raised a lot of questions about why I always seem to be around, why "Jared" is so intent on finding time to hang out with me. She hates me without reason, because even though I have explained I have no feelings for "her man," she believes that she can never truly have him as long as I am in the picture. She and I can only say "It's not like that!" so many times, without offering any true explanation.

So my mom has had to cut me out of her life for the most part, and it stinks.

It's led me to think some pretty drastic thoughts. Since I found this blog, and I know what the Inn is capable of, I sometimes think I should just go back. I have a very good life, but I'm not overly attached to it. Someone else might need it. I'm leery of using this body as leverage or a bargaining chip, but perhaps if certain conditions were met. (And before you asked, the original "Katie" has never contacted me, let alone asked for her body back. Like I said I never even knew it was possible until earlier this year!)

Then I wonder... if I were to go back, if it were all within my control, would I want to be a man? To experience life from the other side of the fence? My mom seems very happy with it, but she also had a very different life from me, with motherhood and divorce and everything. If I go "that way," and it might be fore good, it's like saying I'm done experiencing everything womanhood has to offer - passing on childbirth, motherhood, or even just becoming an eccentric cat lady. And for what... male privilege and a chance to rebuild my relationship with my mother? (Well it certainly seems tempting when you put it that way, but I kind of want to be a mommy someday!)

Looks like I've got a few months to think about that.

I guess this is just to say that even people whose lives aren't 100% upended by the Inn face problems too. It maybe doesn't make for such thrilling reading material, but nobody gets out of there unscathed, I'm sure. And if what I'm going through is just a small sample of the dilemmas faced daily by the rest of you, I genuinely wish for the best, you are all powerful men and women (and others!)

Love to everyone
"Katie" (nevermind my real name, it's gone forever.)
Jacksonville, FL

Monday, November 23, 2015

Lane/Kari: Body Damage

On my last post, someone commented asking if I knew that Darius was going to ask me out and if I was going to say yes. The answer to the first question is yes, the answer to the second is...less clear. I've been asked out by guys before in this body already...a lot. Not just at bars or clubs but random people at work and once even at McDonald's. I'm also still a guy on the inside and I know that you don't put on the moves like Darius did at the banquet without trying to get a date. He texted me a few days after asking to meet up for coffee, and I expressed Ashley's concerns about me dating the relatives of her friends, and that to avoid the awkwardness we should take it slow and start of as just friends.

His response? "Fine by me, but friends can still get coffee together." I took him up on his offer. I was impressed by the man's tenacity as well as the fact that he was willing to work around my schedule. But also, I like talking to him. We have more in common than just sports, he's very interested in local politics and is an economic consultant for the county. If I were in my correct body, he and I could be friends. My entire life is surrounded by Kari's friends, Kari's family, Kari's co-workers and while most of them are nice people I'd like to associate with people who I like to talk to.

It might seem like I'm leading him on, but I did tell him I'd take it slow. That's not a definite time frame. "Slow" could mean 7 or 8 months or however long it takes for me to be out of this body and the real Kari to decide if she wants to date him (She could do, and has done, a lot worse).

As I've said, Ashley is pretty good for keeping creepy guys away, but my plan is for her to be useful for more than that soon. I'd like for her to be able to run errands and do shopping for the house, and for that she's going to need her license. I had promised to do her driver training if she picked a school activity and stuck with it. One season of cross country later and this week we began a teenage rite of passage.

Ashley took the driver's ed course at school the first semester of her sophomore year, which was more than a year ago. I don't care how good of a classroom teacher you have, driving is 15% knowing the rules and 85% experience. Which was a bit of a problem, since she hadn't been behind the wheel in a long time, and I wasn't exactly the best teacher. I learned to drive in high school like all my friends, but I'd been living in New York City for 5 years and didn't do it at all until I got here to this body. And while I was able to draw up memory, I was very rusty. I haven't hit anything, but I've come close a few times. So now here I was having only regularly recently driven for 5 months, giving instruction to someone who had never done it solo and not for a long time.

It's one thing to subconsciously know what to do while driving, it's entirely another to verbalize those tips to someone else and I wasn't doing a very good job of it. We managed to get around the block a few times and out onto a busy street without hitting anyone, the trouble actually occurred in a wide open parking lot of a closed electronics store.

The parking lot was old but the lines from the parking spaces were still there, so it was a good place for Ashely to practice parking a car inbetween them. She kept getting close, but she has a habit of overcorrecting to the right and parking the car at angle or halfway out of the space. On maybe her 8th try I was getting very verbal, telling her when to turn the wheel, when to use the break. "Left now. Now more left. Too far left. Now too far right. Give it the break." Well all of my commands were scrambling her inexperienced brain and instead of hitting the break her foot didn't go over left enough and she hit the accelerator, lunging the car forward and smacking the right side fender into a lamppost.

We're fine. The car didn't get to a high enough speed and we were wearing seat belts, but the car was damaged. It still drives but the front right fender is crumpled and the headlight was smashed and no longer turns on. And since this was a used car that's no longer under warranty, I had to take it to a body shop to get an estimate. 400 dollars, parts and labor. I thought I was being gouged but multiple estimates were similar. Kari has insurance but the deductible is too high for this to be covered.

400 bucks isn't a LOT of money, but for a single mom on a receptionist's salary it isn't very doable, even with my smart money management. So since the car was still operable I drove it with one headlight. (Am I the only one who remembers The Wallflowers?). That is in fact, illegal to do and on Friday driving home I got pulled over.

I don't hate cops, but I don't think anyone really LIKES interacting with them. I don't have a criminal record nor have I ever done anything to warrant being arrested, but every time I see those flashing lights I freeze a little. That was before, when I was a white man with no criminal record. Now I was a Latina woman who may have a history that I never bothered to ask. As the cop was walking to my car I suddenly thought of all the current issues in this country between minorities and police and gripped the steering wheel a little tighter.

Seemingly this cop wasn't racist, or at least not visibly racist against Mexicans and asked for my license and proof of insurance in a very professional manner before telling me that my headlight was out and that was a ticket. As he walked back to his squad car to run Kari's information I looked down at my cleavage and got an idea.

I was on my way home from work, and as I mentioned I've been wearing revealing outfits at the request of my pervert boss. I got it in my mind to try and see if a little flirting would get me out of a ticket. I unbuttoned my blouse to show even more cleavage and almost the tops of my bra cups and hiked my skirt up so that the band of the stockings I was wearing started to show. When the cop came back I looked at him with my big brown eyes, batted my eyelashes, pushed my shoulder blades together, and said "I'm really sorry officer,I must have forgotten to get it fixed. Is there any way you can get me off...with a warning?"

The officer didn't skip a beat and wrote me a 100 dollar ticket. So much for feminine wiles.

If only I could have bent over...

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Jordan/"Missy" Yuan-wei: Halloween #HotGirlProblems

I mentioned how much more social going to school as Yuan-wei in this major than my first go-around in college, but what I kind of held back on is just how many people she knows. Even if I ignore Weibo and other Chinese social networks, it seems like the Facebook page I inherited is always updating, I'm getting calls all the time, and folks just walk up to me after class or in Starbucks or wherever, because they know " me" from somewhere despite Yuan-Wei only arriving here around 14 months or so ago.

It could be more extreme; there's this tall blonde in my play who always seems to be swarmed, but there's a fair supply of white guys that just wouldn't consider Asian girls, and a weird group of nerds that lose interest when they realize I'm not fucking Japanese. Still, the upshot is that I am expected to know a lot of people, there's a fair amount more that want to know me, and it can be overwhelming for the fat kid who spent her first year as a girl hiding out.

On the other hand, it means that I am never wanting for a distraction when something is bugging me, with Halloween being a perfect case in point. As I think I mentioned last year, Halloween was always a big deal in my family - as my dad would put it, the guys who called him "Chinky" all year would let up because on that day, he could be Bruce Lee - and even when they didn't, he still felt awesome.  That's why our family always gave out the biggest candy bars on the block, why we had a big party, why we made elaborate costumes that at least tried to celebrate our Chinese heritage a little. We fucking love Halloween, and now I was missing out for the second year in a row, and chances of having another one like that are slim, since Benny seems to be doing better each time I check in.

So it's kind of a relief when my "Missy"/"Yuan-wei" email and Facebook accounts started getting chock-full of invitations to Halloween parties. No, they wouldn't be my family's, but they would be parties, I'd get to have some fun being in costume, and it would be really time-consuming in a fun way. It would actually be the first time I could show my handiwork off to folks aside from my family and friends in a few years, too!

It was crazy at first - I think I had invitations to a dozen different parties, but a lot of them had conflicting dates. In a lot of cases, I felt like I was choosing among them almost randomly - while other Inn people might contact their predecessors to figure out which ones were more important to them, I'm trying to make this life mine, and figure out which group would be throwing the best parties versus people who would really hold a grudge if I said no. I'd like a bit more info before making those decisions.

Still, I think I did okay choosing five, and when I heard Blondie talking about how she was going to need so many costumes this year, I was kind of excited. As much as that was multiple times as much work as I'd been anticipating, it was also making up for last year and keeping that energy redirected. I figured I could get away with three, and had fun sketching ideas, only to be confronted right away with how becoming a girl doesn't mean you can do everything you need to.

For instance, although my drawings didn't outright suck, it quickly hit me that I didn't know how to sew at all. That's not entirely a not-prepared-to-be-a-girl thing, because I kind of doubt that Yuan-wei knew how to sew any better than I did - I've got the money to just replace things in her life and haven't found a sewing kit in her apartment - but it's something I always relied on my mom or other women to do, and everybody treated that as natural. Doing it as Yuan-wei, on the other hand, is privilege.

My first instinct was to ask Benjamin, even if I do sometimes feel weird about asking for his help with the life that should have been his.  Fortunately,  while I was worrying about this, one of the folks doing tech stuff on the play asked me about my Halloween plans while we were painting scenery (when you've got four lines, you're expected to pitch in other ways) and she mentioned she had a sewing machine and would show me some of the ropes. I wound up picking up the tab for parts of her costume at The Garment District, but I can afford it and one of the costumes was trickier than I originally thought. Of the others, one was just putting pieces together and the other I could do myself, with her looking over my shoulder.

So, with three costumes prepared, I was ready for the gauntlet!

October 23rd -Superheroes at the old roommate's

So, uh, I guess Cissy was just being polite and didn't really expect me to RSVP, and having RSVPed, didn't expect me to come. She didn't say that, but when her boyfriend opened the door with "Oh... Missy", I kind of got the idea that Yuan-wei would probably have never had much more contact with them even if she hadn't magically been replaced by someone else. Freshman roommates, after all - you're matched up pretty randomly, you don't have much in common in the way of interests, you drift apart.

Especially if you're a nice Southern girl like Cissy and your roommate is not just Chinese-American, but Chinese, which means you can't understand her music, her calls home are at annoying hours, and she just doesn't care about stuff that's a big deal to you. I also got the impression that her boyfriend was maybe a little prejudiced or something. It's something I didn't necessarily stop worrying about looking like Deirdre - I kind of swapped racism for sexism there - but which manifests itself in even more ways now that I've got a Hong Kong passport. Now I'm an "other" who isn't even sort of like them since I grew up here.

Which, apparently, even made my costume worse. I made a pretty damn good Jubilee (from the X-Men) out of stuff I found at Garment District. Maybe not win a prize at a comic convention good, but not bad at all. The guys who liked comics all seemed pretty impressed even if it was the least sexy of the three, but, man, did Cissy's boyfriend take it as a personal affront when I said that Marvel and DC weren't exactly supplying me with a bunch of options.  I guess original Yuan-wei wasn't into comics and this was me and by extension China trying to try steal America's place at the top of something.

So, I left that one early, and probably won't have a lot of contact with Cissy again. Maybe that's for the best.

October 24th - Chinese Students' Association

If wasn't quite whiplash going to the next evening's party, but it was certainly different.
This one was thrown by an organization of Chinese people at various Boston-area colleges, and served as a decent way to see how much my Mandarin had improved from Saturday morning classes and watching a bunch of movies - that a new Mandarin-language movie opens in regular American theaters every week, at least in New York and Boston, is some sort of indicator of how the 21st will likely be the Chinese Century by the time it's all said and done - although the inspiration for my costume was pretty thoroughly Hong Kong.

This was the trickiest costume in some ways - I had a pretty specific idea, and while it looked simple enough, there were several pieces that had to be altered and sewn together.  This is shit I've got to learn to do myself, but I was so glad Amelia was willing to help me with it this time.  I looked so cool and cute in the mirror, and it was kind of exciting to put a long coat on over the costume and take the T into Cambridge with just the headdress and shoes peeking out, like the rest of the world had no idea how awesome I was right at that moment.

That made it pretty gratifying when I checked my coat outside the hotel function room that the Association had booked and got some appreciative looks from both guys and girls.  One of the former, dressed as a pirate, walked up and asked me who I was.

I smiled.  "You like it?  It's from The Cave of the Silken Web, a Shaw Brothers movie my grandmother was in.  She wasn't the main spider-woman trying to seduce Tripitaki, but I think she was the sexiest.  Do I measure up?"

I did a little turn.  The basis of the costume was a bodysuit with fringes covering my panties and butt, straps a lot closer to my neck than the usual, and some decoration on the chest which I had briefly considered replacing with a scoop to show some cleavage, and Amelia did an amazing job of adding shoulders and sleeves made from sheer material with a spiderweb design, attached to a slightly more opaque cape.  The rest of the costume from the movie was a headdress that put a bunch of my hair up and dangled a jewel on my forehead, some earrings, and a pair of sandals with one-inch heels.  Here's a still from the movie to give you an idea:

I added some spider-web pantyhose because Boston in late October is somewhat chillier than a Shaw Brothers soundstage in Hong Kong.  It maybe looked a little less authentic, either in terms of ancient China or late-1960s Hong Kong movies, but I dug it, and so did my new friend.

His name was David Chang, he goes to Harvard Medical School and maybe wasn't a big Shaw Brothers fan beforehand but was at least curious about the Hong Kong film industry and "my" grandmother after that.  It's a weird subject, because I only met Yuan-wei's grandmother for a few hours during my trip to Hong Kong, but I liked her; she had nifty stories about her few years in the movie business but didn't sound particularly wistful about it; I could sort of see why Yuan-wei v1.0 might have had doubts about film as a career versus family with that as an example, even as I could also see her being inspired to become an actress.  But her movie career was at least something I could research; she only did a few movies and only one lead role before marrying and retiring.  She's probably the part of this life that I can feel I can talk about easiest.

Which was good, because I got to repeat that story a lot over the course of the evening, to the point where I memorized bits of it in Mandarin.  This is, apparently, a big difference between me and Original Yuan-wei; while she may mostly have been comfortable with Cantonese speakers, her ambitions had her hanging out with people from the Mainland a lot, so these were a lot of people at the party who greeted me in Mandarin and wanted to catch up.

And of that group, I get the distinct impression that at least Tsang Chan-Sam knows what I look like naked.

I guess that's kind of to be expected. His young. good-looking, and the son of one of the tap dogs at a Beijing film studio. He is probably a damn good fuck-buddy for me to have.  Still, while I don't think I'm particularly hypocritical about guys looking me over - I've done enough time looking at girls like me wishing they were wearing less that I have a hard time objecting to others doing so - it's kind of gross to do it with another girl, wearing less and probably starting the evening with actual thoughts of staking some claim to fuerdai dick, hanging off one's arm.

("Fuerdai" was my new Mandarin word for the night; it translates roughly to "asshole with rich parents". Well, "second-generation entrepreneur", but the first is what people who aren't fuerdai mean when they say it.)

Truth be told, "Sam" didn't really come off that badly to me at first; I wasn't necessarily looking to get picked up but I was wearing a "look-at-me" outfit and not feeling picky about whether the compliments were for the clothes or the bod underneath.  Guy rubbed David the wrong way, and by the end of the evening the type was certainly starting to get to me.

Got a bunch of numbers, though.

October 29th - "Dress sexy"

The next Thursday night, though, was number-collecting craziness. You know that scene in The Social Network where a van drives into Harvard Square and basically drops off a cargo of townies looking to score themselves a Harvard man and dressed to sell them on the idea? That's a real thing. I wasn't quite part of the bulk delivery, but once inside the party, it was tough to tell, especially since my English doesn't have the sort of accent you might expect a foreign student - I don't have much of one anyway, although at parties a little more Queens comes out because I'm yelling or drinking, and that sort of sounds like I'm a local to people who are also drinking and trying to be heard above the din.

It was fun, though.  Back when I first got turned into a woman, there was no way I would have accepted an invitation that had some variant of the work "sexy" in it a dozen times, but I was eager this year.  As much fun as it is going out in the nice clothes I inherited, that wasn't what really got to me as a man - it was the stuff that said I have something you want and I'm going to put it right where you can almost touch it, daring you to take it.  The chance to feel that power in an outfit that makes the inner Jordan crazy was one of the things I most wanted to get out of Halloween.

So, for this one, I did the "sexy schoolgirl" thing - skirt that barely covers my ass, half-shirt and cardigan that shows off a lot of midriff and cleavage (which, yeah, I pushed up and enhanced), white stockings, and four-inch heels.  I took a selfie before heading out because if for some reason I ever wind up changing again, this was something I wanted to remember.

The party itself was almost exactly what I'd imagined the cool college parties were like when I was a freshman - they'd hired a DJ, there were tons of girls in sexy costumes, guys who were trying to be just as sexy but were still kind of dorky but charming for it, and an almost never-ending supply of beer.  I haven't had much to drink since changing the second time - not only does my ID say I'm below the legal drinking age, but Massachusetts can make it damn difficult to buy beer without anything but their license.  Not necessarily a big deal, but I have no idea how easy it would be to be sent away based upon my student visa - I've heard people say you have to really watch out, but there are also tons of stories of students with wealthy parents skating because people will wind up looking the other way.  I don't want to test it most nights, but at a party where I'm sure a lot of other folks drinking more than I am are under 21?  Sure, why the fuck not?

I did kind of find myself wondering what it would have been like to do this last year while I was white, though.  I got plenty of attention, including some that was way more touchy than I was used to, but there are some folks out there that don't even seem to see you if you're not the same race.  There was this one guy, talking to some other girls about movies and being pretty funny, and not being the sort of jackass that just wants to hold forth and not actually let the girls show they know their Star Wars trivia as well,  But, man, it was like he couldn't even register that I was there.  His loss, but in some ways it was worse than the guy who squeezed my tit and then fell over, drunk, almost taking my top with him.

Maybe not the greatest idea for Thursday night, though - I was there until 2am, had to take an Uber home, and then go to class hungover.  Maybe not the best Yuan-wei I can be Friday morning.

October 30th - Cast Party

I almost bailed on that night's party, but it was being thrown by the cast of the play and I kind of get the impression that even if you've only got a few lines, you don't want to be seen as letting the team down.  I was never really a group person - I was pretty damn comfortable working independently enough that nobody knew I had turned into a white girl after my trip trip to the Inn - but this me trying to absorb what's good about Yuan-wei's life, and that's part of it.

In a lot of ways, it worked as a nice contrast to the night before and the rest of them.  There was beer, and music, and hanging-out, but this one was with people I already knew - maybe not as well they think I do, but I have been spending time with them for a few weeks, so seeing Rachelle dressed like a Ghostbuster or Ernesto like Batman actually sort of says something to me, another part of them rather than the first clue that I'm trying to figure out.

It was kind of nice to deflect compliments about my costume back to Amelia - I wore the spider-woman outfit again - and talking about her decision to walk away from acting to be a wife and mother.  There was a kind of funny irony to it, in that they couldn't imagine "Missy" doing the same, whether based upon knowing her from last year or just this play.  The original Yuan-wei did, after all, while I walked into it and don't know how super-attached I am to acting yet.

There are some pretty dedicated matchmakers in the group, raising eyebrows every time I danced with somebody, saying it was time for me to get back on the horse after breaking up with "Benny".  And when they heard that Ernesto and I were both going to the same party the next night...

Well, they're good people, but I think I'll enjoy a little less time with them once the play's over.  Everything just gets so drawn together.

October 31st - Zombies!

That last party was zombie-themed, which meant I spent a fair chunk of time Saturday afternoon working on make-up.

I don't know how much my family really loving Halloween, and thus me learning about how to do special-effects makeup, helped me as a girl.  If anything, it's been the other way around; actually having to spend time learning how to make what I put on my face inconspicuous probably helped me with the costume stuff - instead of just a pus-filled blob on my face, I had a pus-filed blob that blended in with the skin around it.  I layered a little foundation over the veins I drew on my arms, legs, and boobs, so they looked like they were under my skin rather than on top of it.  That sort of thing.

It took a while, though, because I had decided to pair it with the schoolgirl costume, which meant that, despite not having as much skin as I did before, I had way more exposed.  I was never going to create a gash across my gut with intestines hanging out before, but it seemed like a great idea this time around.

And, don't get me wrong, it was kind of a hit.  Looking back through "my" Facebook account, Yuan-wei didn't really do much like this last year, and I don't think anybody at the party expected it, especially considering how much help I needed with the cloth part of the costumes.  I wasn't the girl with the sluttiest costume, but I was right up there with the best at both sex appeal and gore.

I get the impression that the folks at this party were the closest to Yuan-wei's real friends from last year; there was a lot more talk about not seeing me around and questions about "Benny" than at the other parties, and one time I was dragged out from the kitchen when some Taylor Swift song popped up, it apparently being a thing for Yuan-wei and the girl who grabbed me.

About two beers into the night, Ernesto found me between conversations and said he really liked my costume.  I smiled, and said I bet he said that to all the half-naked girls.

He laughed.  "Oh, I like that part, but I didn't really see you as a blood and guts sort of gal.  You're such the fashion plate--"

"Not everyone is always like they seem."  It is fun to say things that imply the Inn, folks.

"Oh, I know.  Anyway, I was wondering if you might like to do a little more."

Maybe it was the booze, but I felt just a little bit more in my spine than when a guy typically hits on me.  "A little bit of what?"

"Acting, and make-up - some friends and I are going to be shooting a short horror film I wrote in about a month, but the director broke up with our lead actress and half the make-up guys got hired by a Hollywood production, and even though I didn't conceive the character as Asian--"

"Oh."  Not what I was expecting, but on the other hand.  "That sounds... interesting."

"I know it's kind of short notice, and you'll probably be cramming for finals and stuff, but you'd be saving our lives.  Although--" he pulled out his phone. "--I should probably send some pictures to the director and other producers."  He got a shot of me and then hit send before stumbling a bit back into the party.  "We'll be in touch!"

It was a weird little come-down to hear that.  As much as I think I'd kind of be ready for a real first date, I haven't made it happen yet, and having it held out and then taken away, and then realizing that the short-film thing would probably disappear after he got sober, made me feel a little dejected.  I grabbed another beer and kind of made sure I circulated away from him.

People were going in and out all night, some going to and from other parties, and I was close to being ready to tap out myself when I heard a song I liked, so I came out to the living room/dance floor, shaking it for all of ten seconds before a zombie nurse yelled "you bitch!" and punched me in the face.

Between the alcohol, the three-inch heels, and weighing about half of what I did the last time I figured I might get punched for something, I went down quick.  I put my hand on my nose to check that, yeah, it was bleeding.  I looked up so that I could actually see the face of this girl, and even though her make-up wasn't nearly as elaborate as mine, it took a second because...  Well, at first I wasn't terribly interested in who Benjamin used to be, and lately he hasn't been much into looking at old pictures of himself.  Seeing that face in the flesh was new, and I'd sort of expected it to be his problem.

"What the fuck, Sandra?"

That didn't go over well, as the friends she brought with her started asking if I was such a fucking slut that I couldn't remember the names of all the girls whose boyfriends I stole.  One of them actually tried to stomp me, but I rolled out of the way before the heel of her shoe did some damage.  Ruined my intestines, though.  Still, I was clear-headed enough to scrape my shoes off, stand, and get in a stance I remembered from my wushu classes as a kid, hoping like hell that these girls would assume that any Chinese person holding her hands out like that was a kung fu expert who could fuck them up, because otherwise I was going to get my ass kicked.

Or not; as much as there was probably a good crowd that would have liked to see a couple of chicks in skimpy costumes fight, a lot of people got in between us and suggested it was time to leave.  I said something about not doing anything wrong, but fuck it, and grabbed my coat and shoes and walked to the T.  Of course, it was late enough that the Orange Line was only coming every fifteen minutes or so, which meant I had time to sit, stew, and peel off my makeup while sobering up a little with some coffee.  When it finally did come, I grabbed a seat and closed my eyes for a second, tilting my head back so that the washcloth I had on my nose could hopefully do its job a bit better, thus missing an arm being jammed into the doorway and then the person attached stumbling in and crashing down onto the seat next to me.

Sandra, of course.

She had been well ahead of me in terms of drinking, thus thinking all of the previous half hour was a good idea, so her voice was kind of strange.  "I'm so sorry...  Jordan, right?  I was just looking at pictures of a Halloween party in our house and I got so sad seeing them so that when I saw you I was pissed, even though it makes no sense because it was seeing her as me that set me off and that means I've got no argument with you..."

Okay, so I had been doing this party gauntlet in part as a way to keep busy enough that I wasn't tempted to see what my family was doing on social media, but...  "Fine, whatever, just leave me the fuck alone."

"But why?  She made a mess of both our lives, and ever since Ronan left, there's nobody who understands what it's like.  Folks like us should stick together!"

"Are you serious?"  I was starting to raise my voice, gaining some notice from the folks around us, but I don't know as I was that much louder than the guy on his cell phone on the other side of the car.  "What, you think we're going to come together as some sort of Boston-based cursed-inn support group?  Why don't you ask Benjamin - you know, the real Annette Grayson - how she feels about that idea?  You know, the great person whose life you made a conscious decision to fuck up?  So that while you're suffering by being, what, fifteen years younger and at the country's top university on scholarship, I'm still dealing with periods and language classes and now crazy bitches who think I stole their husband when they're drunk and he's trying to figure out what he can do with his life!  So, no, I don't think I'm going to start hanging around with the person who fucked up my best friend's life!"

With that, I stood up and moved to the other end of the car with as much dignity as is possible while holding a cloth to your nose.  I kept an eye out to see if she was going to try and make a second attempt, but I think she was passed out when I got off at Downtown Crossing to transfer to the Green Line at Park Street.

Kind of a shame that the whole Halloween thing ended like that, because it was, for the most part, fun; if nothing else, it was a concentrated look at the life I have been living for the past few months, or at least the American side of it.  And while I don't want to give Sandra too much credit, I do have to admit that I'd much rather be annoyed by guys grabbing my ass than the way I felt a week later, when Benny finally got around to putting pictures of himself, Kareena, and everyone at the family party on Facebook.

-Jordan/"Missy" Yuan-wei

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Lane/Kari: Achievements

I'm kind of hesitant about posting this entry, because It's pretty private and I'm a little embarrassed about it, even though it isn't really anything to be embarrassed about. I've decided to go ahead and share because similar posts from previous inn-victims were helpful to me, and if anything these posts could be useful for any future men who find themselves as women.

We need to begin in late September, when I was able to get off work early and go to one of Ashley's cross country meets. Most meets are either around local high schools or a course through various parks near to the high school, and whenever Ashley was running in one that was in reasonable driving distance, I made an effort to make it. Cross country isn't exactly the most attended sport, and women's athletics in general don't get the attention that they deserve so most of the people watching around the race-course tend to be family and friends of the runners and I didn't want Ashley to be one of the only kids there with no one to support her, so I would let the office phone go to voicemail and duck out around 4 pm to make it there.

So there I was in some park in nearby Warren standing on the side of the race-course with a cup of gatorade to hand Ashley as she ran by when one of the other spectators decided to chat me up. He was tall, I think, since most men are tall compared to me now, well built, and had one of those strong faces that made it so that he could pull off being bald without looking dumb or creepy.

"Which school are you here for?" He asked casually (Cross country meets have all the schools in the conference running against each other at the same time.

"Trenton-Ford" I say, noticing that he was wearing a sweat shirt with the school's logo on it

"Oh yeah?" He sounded surprised "You didn't go there did you, I would have remembered going to high school with you, you'd stand out"

"No, I went to Eastpointe" I say, glad that I had had the foresight to look at Kari's yearbook that one time "So who are you here for, or are you just a big supporter of your Alma Mater?"

"Keisha Powers" he said proudly naming one of the better runners on the team "She's my little sister. How about you?"

"Ashley Cruz" I tell him as some runners ran by, one of them taking my gatorade.

"Oh the new girl" he says, clearly a close follower of the team "Is she your sister, cousin,?"

"Daughter" I said. I poured another paper cup of gatorade during the pause. It was a pause I was used to getting. Ashley is 30 years old and looks younger than that. Every time I tell someone, especially men, that I've got a teenage daughter there's usually a pause while they do the mental math. Its often followed by a judgmental look for a polite "oh" as they realize that Kari was a really young teenage mother. Neither came from this guy, which was refreshing.

"I'm Darius, by the way" he said as he extended his seemingly giant hand

"Kari" I replied with a smile.

"How long has she been running" he asked

"About six weeks. I told her she needed an activity so she chose this one."

"Smart move" he nodded "I was a runner too, its great discipline and exercise. Were you a runner back in high school?"

"Nope, I was more into baseball" I said without thinking because another runner had snatched the gatorade "I like watching it" I corrected when he was wondering how a girl had made the baseball team.

This led to a casual chat about the Tigers and various other things peppered with compliments on my looks, and a few about my personality. He laughed at things that I said, even a few that weren't very funny. It was clear he was flirting, I deal with flirting on a daily basis. Every man that comes into the office spends a few seconds smiling and trying to either compliment me or impress me. I've also been out to clubs and bars as a single woman, as well as spent a couple of decades as a man.

The thing is, unlike most of the time when it's annoying, I didn't mind it from Darius. Perhaps because he was good at it. He casually talked himself and complimented me while seeming truly interested. I didn't hurt that he was cute and my body is full of hormones that recognized that.

Eventually Ashley passed by with some of the last runners and we moved to the finish line. He stayed and chatted the entire time despite Keisha finishing way earlier.


Fast forward to Monday evening when I was picking up some of Ashley's school papers I came across a flier that was information for the Fall Sports awards banquet, and apparently Ashley was getting an award. This came as a surprise to me, because despite never missing practice and trying her hardest...Ashley isn't exactly good at cross country. I don't think she finished better than fourth-from-last once the entire season. The bigger surprise was that it was that coming Saturday and this was the first I'd heard of it.

"Did you know you're awards banquet is Saturday?" I asked as I placed the flier down in front of her

"Oh yeah" she shrugged barely looking up from her phone

"So we're you going to tell me so I could prepare for it?" I said, realizing just how much of a mom I could sound like sometimes

"It's on a Saturday" she said "You usually go out with Aunt Rosita on Saturdays. It's not a big deal"

"It kinda is" I said encouragingly "You're getting an award!"

"Most improved or something like that" she explained "It's not a real award"

"Yes it is" I affirmed "Your coaches and teammates saw how much you tried and felt that it deserved a reward. You'd be insulting them if we didn't show up to accept it."

"So you really wanna go?" She asked surprised

"Of course" I exclaimed, simultaneously proud of her and a little sad that she had such low expectations from her mother.

"Can Dad come?" She added

This brings us back to the end of my last post. Kari called me back a couple of days later, she never picks up when I call. I don't know if its because she doesn't want to "break character" on the fly or if her new job is really busy but usually I text or call and get a call back.

"What's the deal with Ashley's dad?" I asked carefully

"Oh God, what does he want?" came the response

"Nothing" I said worried "I ran into him at a party and I wanted to know if there was anything wrong with him, like should he be kept away from Ashley"

"He's an asshole and a loser" she spat

"But like, does he use drugs or crime or anything terrible. Should I tell Ashley not to be around him?" I repeated

"If you want to deal with his bullshit, that's on you" she said "But don't get his hopes up for when I'm back. I gotta go, don't call me unless it's really important"

That last part was a bit troubling, because you'd think someone would more than happy to help their old self, but I'll worry about that later. My take from the whole thing is that Darrin isn't really a BAD guy per se, Kari just doesn't like him. I can understand why, he did get her pregnant at a young age and derailed her entire life and never stepped up as a parent leaving her to do it by herself. It's an understandable level of hurt but I personally don't have anything against that guy and he does still talk to his daughter on a regular basis. Besides, it isn't really about what I wanted or what Kari wanted. Ashley ran probably more than 100 miles this year and if she wants her dad to see her get an award for it, she can have it.

So Saturday night shows up and I'm wearing a blue dress that is pretty modest for being in Kari's closet and Ashley got a new green one because I let her use the credit card because I was a couple months ahead on it. The awards banquet was held in the school cafeteria and all the guests were seated at tables facing a stage that had been set up along one of the walls. There were about two or three families per table depending on how many people were in each party.

Ashley had strategically sat between me and Darrin, despite my acquiescence to him coming she was still on eggshells a bit, lord knows what kind of fights she'd seen growing up. Sitting at the same table was us was Keisha Powers and her family, a middle aged couple who were her parents and her extra supportive older brother, Darius, who was seated to my left.

I was glad for that initially, since we had some stuff in common and I knew that he could carry a conversation it would be good to have someone to chat with quietly during the ceremony because these things can drag on a bit, especially the parts that aren't about your kid's sport. Darius, as he did last time, began casually flirting and like last time I didn't react negatively in fact I took it a step further.

I flirted back.

Its not like I was TRYING to, but I definitely wasn't trying not to. Little things like giggling, lightly touching his forearm, at one point I leaned my head on my hand and cocked it toward him, smiling uncontrollably. What's strange is that the whole time I knew what I was doing but didn't care. In my alcohol infused nights-out with Rosita I found myself doing similar things due to lower inhibitions but there was no booze that night. I was flirting with a guy that despite every objection from my heterosexual male brain, my heterosexual female body found quite attractive. I think Darrin could tell because he was visibly uncomfortable watching his ex flirt with another guy in such close proximity.

Darius could tell too, as the night went on he kept getting this look of confident self-satisfaction. Finally Keisha got her MVP award and Ashley got her Most Improved Player award and after dozens of photos that Ashely was blushing in we headed home. In the car Ashley and I got to talking, which is where we do a lot of talking, just us in an enclosed space, and she asked me. "Do you like Keisha's brother?"

Was I that obvious. "He's very nice, we had a lot in common"

"Yeah, because you're TOTALLY into baseball" she said sarcastically "Just don't do anything to make it awkward for me, like you did with Paula's dad. Or Mr. Bennent"

I made a mental note to find out those two men were, but assumed they were guys Kari had dated who had kids Ashley's age.

When we got home I went to the bedroom and locked the door tight. I knew what I needed to do. I became Kari in mid-June, and it was November. That's five months. In five months I'd never...explored. I'm not naive enough to think that girls don't do that, or that I was still so uncomfortable in my body that I was afraid of that area, heck I figured out tampons relatively easily. I'd touched, and occasionally stroked but always chickened out shortly after the first tingling of pleasure came. Either out of guilt or the fact that Ashely was usually a couple rooms away.

I knew I couldn't put it off any longer though. My behavior that night was caused by a built up stream of female horniness that hadn't been taken care of in at least 5 months. I can't imagine going that long as a man, but as a woman the signs are less evident and glaring. Checking once again that the bedroom door was locked I took off my dress and laid back on the bed. Maybe I hadn't fully committed to finishing that time but after enough over the panties rubbing I was a woman possessed. It was like my brain was making all these unknown connections to very sensitive nerve endings and all I could do was keep going because I wanted...I needed more.

After getting as close as I could get with my fingers I opened up the bottom dresser drawer and pulled out "The Intimidator". That's the nickname I gave to that thing when I first found it. It's way bigger and wider than I was in my old body and it looks even bigger from the perspective of this one. Luckily the batteries still worked.

I don't know how to adequately describe how different it felt other than...full? Like the sensations are similar, they're just coming from entirely different places, and they take a whole lot longer to get there but they last a lot longer. The strangest part was all the involuntary movement. Not just the contracting of muscles I didn't usually have, but also the arching of the back and the grinding of the hips. The weirdest was the moaning. I knew Ashley was in the next room and I was trying to be quiet but as I got closer and closer I got louder and louder until I finally had to hold a pillow over my face.

Finally it was over, but not in an instant. All the slow buildup came with a slow come down, and I just lay there breathing heavily with the soft hum in between my legs. I remembered to put it away before climbing into bed and sleeping the soundest sleep I could remember since becoming Kari.

I woke up refreshed, and have been that way since. I'm still a little embarrassed about it, it was hard to write this without blushing a little bit. I feel like a 13 year old girl writing in her diary after she discovers herself. I don't regret doing it though, it's good to know that I can relieve stress like that. I do regret waiting this long to try.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Lane/Kari: Two Holidays, Two Surprises

In my free time, which is a lot less abundant than I'd like it to be, I read the archives of this blog. There are a ridiculous amount of posts spanning almost 10 years. Most of them are day to day diaries and of little useful information to me, but it's still the most concise volume of data on people who have been magically transformed into someone else that exists (Although apparently Arthur/Liz/Penny has capitalized on the idea and turned it into a semi-recognizable book series). I'm somewhere in the middle of 2010 but there seems to be a constant among every author who had their gender changed: a Halloween entry.

It makes sense really, Holidays are notable times and slightly different in everyone's lives. Some people didn't turn into Christmas celebrating people and there are a disproportionate amount of Canadians to make the Thanksgivings not match up. Either way, those Holidays are or can be mostly the same if you're a man and a woman. Halloween, for grownups at least these days, isn't. There are half a dozen posts here about men who used to ogle women's sexy costumes now finding themselves squeeze into sexy costumes and blogging about the experience.

I'm not going to get too much into it, since in a way I kind of already did. I'm actually glad Kari made me dress up and go out drinking with her friends. For some women putting on ultra revealing clothing and being objectified is a once a year holiday, for Kari it's Saturday.

I resigned to the fact that whatever plan's Rosita had made for us, she wasn't going to let me out of the house without anything below my mid thigh. So I let her pick out my costume. She showed up around 6 right after Ashley left for her party dressed like Little Red Riding hood wearing a knee length skirt (You can argue whether or not revealing costumes are demeaning on empowering all you want, she's 16 so I wasn't going to let her out in a pair of short shorts like she had planned). Rosita had decided that for Halloween that I would be a Cheetah and she would be a leopard. This costume consisted of a pair of skin tight cheetah print leggings that were surprisingly warm but I had to keep pulling out of my asscrack before I realized that was how they were supposed to fit, a cheetah print cami that required a strapless bra and constant vigilance to keep my boobs popping out the top and my stomach popping out the bottom. Add in a store bought pair of cat ears and some whisker makeup and RAWR, I was a cheetah.

I let Rosita do the driving because we didn't head into the city, just another part of Trenton. Apparently we were going to a house party hosted by some of their friends from high school. I was less than enthusiastic about this, and not only because it meant I'd be surrounded by people who had known Kari for a long time.

You never realize how lame high school parties were until you go to college. Then usually around Thanksgiving of your freshman year you comeback home and realize that partying with friends from high school who didn't go to college is still pretty lame. I grew up in central New Jersey and left to go to college up at Syracuse. When I came back some of my high school friends had a get together just seemed as if I had passed them by. I know that sounds snobby and stuck up of me, especially considering the fact that our college parties weren't very sophisticated, it was just that I'd grown apart from them. That's true today, I talk to maybe 3 people from high school and most of my friends I know from college or work. So regardless of the fact that I was living the life of a dropout, this was the kind of party I avoided when I went back to visit my real parents. Except instead everyone is in their late 20s at least.

Aaron and Monica were the couple hosting the party, apparently they were one of those rare high school couples that stuck together. When we pulled up and walked to the door I was greeted with a "Oh My God, Kari! I didn't know you were coming I haven't seen you in so long" followed by a girl greeting hug that I'm starting to get used to. As we were handed cups for the keg Monica pulled me aside and said "Really, I am glad you're here but we didn't know you we're coming and Darrin is here, I thought I should give you fair warning." So right off the bat I was confronted by someone or some event from Kari's past that I had no clue about it so I just "There won't be any problem" calmly "I don't have any issues with him." Which was true. I didn't.

So we had a few beers, caught up with old friends. I BSed my way through things mostly because none of these people had seen Kari in months so conversations were of the catch-up variety. I told them about work, about Ashely, about the fun things me and Rosita did on weekends, it seemed to work on an inebriated crowd. I made a point to tell every woman I spoke to that she looked great, even though in a lot of cases it wasn't true. I've got a fat ass but this body looks pretty nice for one that's had a kid, age and a partying lifestyle haven't been kind to some of Kari's classmates. There were a lot of reminiscing stories about school, loud singing to songs on the sound system (People in this town sure do love Kid Rock), and a few guys tried to flirt with me. One guy kept telling me about he got a job working for GM, which is actually a pretty good paying job with benefits, but it also wasn't going to work on a girl who was very male on the inside.

Slightly after midnight after the crowd had dwindled down I headed into the kitchen where the keg was to get a refill when I surprised the other person who was there. He was dressed like a Michigan football player with a slightly receding hairline and a beer gut pushing out his number 20 jersey. He was dead silent when he saw me so I gave him a quick "Hey".

"Hey" he said back with a nervous tone "I wasn't told you were going to be here" he said almost apologetically that made me realize that this was Darrin.

Feeling nice and buzzed and nowhere near up to feigning whatever drama might exist between him and Kari I made the small talk but let him do most of the talking, letting him tell me about how he moved out of his parents house and was working at a convenient store. After a few minutes I said "Cool" and headed out with my beer.

When the night was over both me and Rosita were plastered but I was able to talk her out of driving and we hitched a ride home with their very nice and very cool friend Ali who didn't drink at all and had a van. I made it to the bedroom this time, but didn't bother changing out of my costume witch resulted in another Sunday morning wakeup from Ashley holding a hangover cure and a slightly justified pointing out of how it was a bit hypocritical for me to criticize her costume considering mine.


I was at work Monday morning when I got a phone call. Technically as the receptionist I get all the phone calls but this one was a very stern sounding man asking for Ms. Karina Cruz. Full name meant it wasn't a friend so I switched from "Friendly receptionist voice" to "Serious business voice" and said "This is she" still having to remember to use the correct pronoun.

"Ms. Cruz this is the Attendance Office at Gerald Ford High School, we're calling because Ashely isn't in class today"

Now, what I did was questionable parenting but I had my logic. "Oh, I'm sorry. She wasn't feeling well so she stayed home. I must have forgotten to call."

"That's alright Ms. Cruz, we'll mark her as excused absent and she can make up her work when she gets back. I hope she's feeling better soon."

Now, the reason I let her get away with it is because in the likely event that Ashely had decided to play hooky, an unexcused absence would have led to missed assignments and her grades are improving. I could deal with the hooky on my own. In the event that she WAS in trouble or missing I would have called the cops and had to deal with way bigger things than an attendance office.

That was a grim thought but it did cross my mind as I pulled out the cell phone and called Ashely. Thankfully she answered after the first ring.

"Where are you?" I asked sounding relieved

"I'm at Abuela's. She picked me up and we're cooking. What time are you coming over tonight after work?" Her tone was as if I should have expected her to be off school and then it hit me.

November 2nd. Dia de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead to those of you that never took high school Spanish. A bit of a big deal in Mexico. I didn't realize it was coming up since I wasn't raised Mexican and when I was younger it wasn't a day that the Latino kids took off school anyway. My thinking is that Ashley doesn't like going to school so a day off spent with her grandmother learning about her cultural heritage was fine by me.

My issue was that meant I would have to bite the bullet and meet Kari's parents. I can manage my way through interacting with her co-workers and Rosita is usually not lucid long enough to notice a difference when we go out, but her family is another story. Ashley can tell that something is different, she's almost as said as much a couple of times, but she's a brooding teenager and feigns apathy even if she doesn't have it. Parents should be able to tell, my hope was that the Inn's voodoo would prevent them from thinking too much about it. Either way I did a little Facebook digging the rest of the day to figure out her parents' names and address.

I'm actually surprised it took me almost 5 months to meet or speak to the parents, since Eduardo and Pilar Cruz live in Trenton, albeit across town. I stopped by Kari's place on the way there, since the low cut top and short skirt I had worn to work didn't seem like they were a good way to honor Kari's dead ancestors. I walked up to the well kept house in a working class neighborhood and rang the doorbell. A short bald man with a thick gray mustache gave me a confused look and then a great big hug.

"Why did you ring the doorbell, Mija?" He asked "Did you lose your key?"

I had thought that Kari may or may not have had access to the house she grew up in, but it still feels weird walking into places that are unfamiliar, even if they aren't supposed to be.

"Left it at home" I say giving him a tight hug back and following him inside.

"Your mama and Ashley are in the kitchen" he said, and I just followed my nose to find Ashley and a short, slightly overweight woman in her earl 50s with a bit of gray in her hair sitting around the table drinking hot chocolate and talking. Once I was spotted another hug ensued. I don't know if being a girl means you get hugged more or if its just a feature of Kari's live, but my boobs are squeezing into another person at least twice a day.

It turns out Dia de Los Muertos isn't a solemn ritual in the Cruz casa but rather a cultural tradition and a reason to have a family dinner. Ashley and Pilar had made and painted sugar skulls, which contrary to my thinking you do not eat because 1. They're for the spirits of the dead and 2. They do not taste very good. They also had set up an ofrenda which is a little altar with photos of their dead relatives and candles in front of them. I went ahead and lit one for Kari's dead grandmother. I don't know if I was supposed to say a prayer or not, but thinking about religion these days is a bit weird for me.

Then we had dinner. And the Pilar is an amazing cook. If I ate her cooking every day with this new body and metabolism I'd gain 50 lbs by the time I went back to Maine. It wasn't Mexican food like most people think of, that's really Tex-Mex. This was authentic stuff. Tamales, Tortilla Soup, Flautas which are like Taquitos but somehow even better, delicious cheesy beans and rice, and these amazing pork tips called carnitas.

Dinner was like most family dinners, but it seemed like there was less drama. I don't come from an unhappy home or anything but the Van Hoekstra's aren't the biggest huggers and there's always some underlying tension at Thanksgiving or Christmas. If I had had a kid when I was 14 years old, there would be judgement and snide remarks for the rest of my life. Nothing doing here. Pilar and Eduardo seemed overjoyed that their daughter and granddaughter were there for dinner. I was actually grateful Ashley was there too, because since she didn't speak Spanish that meant English around the dinner table and I didn't have to explain my sudden monolingual-ism .

So yeah, surprise holiday which turned out to be great. But my title says two surprises and the second one came on the way home.

Loaded up with leftover Ashley and I were making casual mother daughter small talk when she hits me with.

"Dad says you saw him at the party Saturday and didn't even yell at him."


Darrin Ellis, the balding convenience store clerk dressed like a football player? That's Ashley's dad. That explains the Anglo first name as well as the fact that despite being in the sun all day she's not as tan as I am. I knew she must have had a father, somewhere in the world, but I wasn't in a big hurry to track him down. He never called, visited, or you know, sent a child support check, but it turns out he's here in town. I was the teensiest bit relieved because I had this strange paranoia in the back of my mind that even though the date's and ages don't match up AT ALL that Latherman might actually be her father.

"Yeah, he was there" I say casually "I wasn't in the mood for a fight so we said a few words and left it like that"

"Does that mean he and I can do things more?" she asked with a hint of hope that made my heart almost melt.

But I knew this was shaky ground. I'm not the kind of person to keep a man from seeing his kids for no reason, but I don't know if there is a reason or not. I don't know if Kari keeps him away out of spite or if he has drinking or drug issues or is violent or is a criminal or what.

"We'll see" I say, repeating the line that as a teenager had driven me insane so many times. But I meant it. I'm going to have to find out more about this situation.


Friday, November 06, 2015

Tori: How old am I?

It's been... well, quite a weekend.

Mike took me to a party at the house of one of his grad school friends'. It was literary-themed, so I went as Lady Mad Hatter (sparkly purple jacket, bustier, fishnets and top hat of course) and we got him a red checked topcoat and bunny ears so he could be the White Rabbit (I was hoping for gender-swapped Alice, but oh well.) The party was very chill - there was a lot of activity in the kitchen (where Mike was holding court) but I settled in with some couples in the living room, where we sat around on the couches and drank wine, which is more my pace lately.

Unfortunately, the weather's unpredictability lately has really made me feel gross, and I started to get a really serious headache around 11, so I went to find Mike. "Hey, you can stay if you want, but I kind of just want to go home and crawl into bed."

He looked really disappointed in me, asked if maybe I could take some Advil or anything, and I said I would stay longer if he really wanted me to, but I was feeling drowsy and I would quite like to split early if he was cool with it.

He let me go. I felt terrible for leaving, and I wished he would want to come home and take care of me, but I didn't want him to leave the party on my account. Conflicting emotions that resulted in me really having to fight back tears my whole way home. Stupid PMS.

I got home and started to undress for bed, leaving the costume in a heap on the floor and scrubbing my makeup off. I moved from the vanity to the full-body mirror to give myself a good look, to take stock of the way my boobs hang, my butt flattens, my muffin top bunches up. Not that I necessarily mind any of this - I'm not tight little 22-year-old Tori anymore, in the body that intimidated me when I first got here. I carry my wear-and-tear proudly, and honestly I think it makes me feel real, at home with myself, and downright sexy. I wasn't meant to be the pin-up in the body I inherited, I was meant to be me.

We all change over time, usually too subtly to notice... I just happen to have a more recent starting point to reference, a vivid idea of what that girl looked like when she first appeared in my mirror. With some tricks and cheats, I can still look like her, and I've got many more years ahead of being a babe, I'm sure. But when I let it all hang out, I'm... this.

It's not perfect, but I like it - love it, own it - but it leads me to my next thought.

I'm old. Older than I seem, anyway.

I will never quite look as old as I really am. I was born for the first time in 1982, which means I am in reality a 33-year-old person. That being is stuffed into a 28-year-old body, which has really seen a lot in the past five years. I know that doesn't make me a senior citizen, but while I reveled in my youth when I got that extra five years back, that time is now gone and I am older to the world than I was when I went to the Inn. I'm ready to slow down. Is that reasonable at 28, or is it because, in my mind, I'm 33?

This is a stupid dilemma to be having, but also a serious one. Is my brain 5 years ahead of my body? Who am I really? Just when I thought I knew, I found a new thing to obsess about.  I practically wanted to book a CAT scan just to see if my brain looked like that of a 33-year-old man, but I don't think I would want to know if it does.

 Basically, I'm just tired.

On my worst days, I feel like I cheated the aging process, and now feel irrationally afraid of the fact that this is the body I will continue to age in, grow old in, maybe even have a baby in.

Mike came over an hour later - definitely earlier than he would have if I had stayed as long as he wanted - and found me curled up in bed with a book and a glass of water, trying to ignore my anxiety. He crawled into bed next to me and I let him fold me up in my arms. We talked a bit about how I was feeling, and I gave him the abridged version about how I was really feeling "my age." He reassured me that the best years were ahead, and I told him I agreed. Then he said "Besides, there's nothing wrong with staying in bed as long as you want. You've earned it."

He started to kiss and caress me and for a second I thought of uttering that time-honored phrase: Not tonight I have a headache. But if we're being honest, I've always found a good tumble helps with that.

As long as I don't have to do too much.

I love him. I am fighting the urge to tell him just yet because I know it's going to scare him, but we're very stable, and he gives me so much attention and reassurance. It's not perfect, I'd like him to be more available to me, but when he's with me, I really feel it.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Erin/Chris: Guys Don't Dance

It's been a little bit since I posted. Mostly I'm just fatigued from work and attempting to have a life. The second one is a hard balance to strike, because I do feel confined by what I can do with Chris' life. Most guys who are not in relationships tend to construct their social lives around trying to get in one. They meet potential dates online, or they go to bars and hit on girls, or whatever. Guys don't go dancing for the sake of dancing. They do sometimes grab drinks together, but they talk about sports, or maybe The Walking Dead or other things boys like. It doesn't help that the New York Mets team made the Baseball World Series (you can tell I'm not much of a sports gal, eh? I did sometimes watch Colts games with an ex, but that's about it.) That was all anyone wanted to talk about for months, and then they started losing to the Kansas team, and suddenly it was just "Yeah... friggin' Mets."

Guys: They take so little notice of each other's behavior that that was all I said for weeks and it seemed like I was totally up to speed on what was going on.

OK. It's not like drinks with the girls was a Mensa meeting. I just miss talking about style and celebrity gossip. You can't turn to one of your 40-year-old male co-workers and say "Did you see that People cover with Khloe Kardashian on it?" You know he didn't. And if you bring up Caitlin, you'd better be prepared for some really awkward responses.

I thought Rosie would be my partner in this, but she's proven surprisingly adept at blending in, memorizing stats about the Mets, Jets, and Nets, ("Hey all the teams around here rhyme, isn't that weird?" is another thing guys will look at you weird for saying.) and other sports trivia. When it's just the two of us you can hear the femininity in her voice, but she puts on a gruff "street" imitation around others that, well, sounds really fake to me but I guess the others don't have any reason to question it.

He's also a bit more flirty around women... although he insists he doesn't mean anything by it, it's just a bit more confidence.

Which brings us to Halloween.

A month ago, I would have thought I'd have to do the hard sell on getting him to hit up a Halloween party, but he was very receptive to it. We even considered doing a group costume, but his only idea was "Men in Black," which I didn't want to do because that's basically just a suit (and sunglasses... at night. Come on.) But I wanted to take advantage of something I never got to do as a woman.

I know for a lot of girls, it's no big thing to dress skimpy on Halloween, but it was never something I did. I just never had the relationship with my body that would let me do that. On my best day I considered myself more for cute costumes than sexy, and on my worst I was very embarrassed about my belly fat and uneven shape. I feel bad for harping about it - it could have been worse, I suppose, but every woman is allowed her flaws to focus on.

So I decided to just go for it - hopefully, this will be my only Halloween outside of my own body (I've read enough of this blog not to be too naïve about it... and trust me, that's a hard idea to come to terms with!) - so I decided to let myself run a little more wild and get a Tarzan costume, a one-piece with a single shoulder strap, loin cloth, and bare chest. Chris' body isn't exactly cut and rippling with muscle - more lean and decently-defined - but to be honest, I looked pretty sexy, in a goofy "this guy doesn't take himself too serious" kind of way. I liked it.

Which was a hard feeling to pin down. "Why," I wondered? I think the man in the mirror is handsome enough, in an average-white-guy kind of way, but maybe not a head-turner. And anyway it's not like I want to make out with myself, or any guy. While I haven't suddenly un-learned a lifetime of appreciating the male form, I find my interest is a lot more passive lately... guys leave me alone, and I'm strangely OK leaving them alone. But I know what I like as a woman, and therefore what some women like, so I thought "It's nice to feel attractive to the opposite sex." To feel special.

To feel like... if I wanted to pick up a girl tonight, I would stand a chance.

I didn't think I would want to, though. The whole idea feels like a nightmare. I'm not a one-night-stand type of person, and it would be pretty cruel of me to start something serious with someone knowing I don't plan on staying Chris forever. I have some feelings I probably shouldn't act on, and while suppressing them doesn't feel good, it's probably best for everybody if I just... keep my hands to myself, you know? More trouble than it's worth.

I swung by Ahmir's apartment to head to the party together, and he answered the door in a Batman t-shirt. I scoffed, "That's your costume?"

"Don't tell me Batman can't be black," he said in response.

"No, but he doesn't wear a t-shirt," I said, "He wears, like... a cape, and a mask."

"I've got a cape," he said, pulling out one that looked like it was more from a Dracula costume.

I sighed, "For $30 you could get a halfway decent costume, but whatever."

Then I heard someone in the bathroom clinking around. I gave him a weird look: "Who else is here?" not like he wasn't allowed to have friends, but... he's not overly social, and we're pretty protective of our mutual secret.

"Sorry, I invited her..." he started to say, when the woman in question poked her head out to see me.

"Oh, hey Erin! ... or, sorry, Chris," said Lexi, also known as Saraya... a fellow Inn person who was currently residing in Jersey. She was dressed in a very revealing black outfit (basically: a bra and hotpants) with kitty ears that I supposed was meant to be Catwoman. She looked me up and down: "Hot costume, you're really working it, boy."

I blushed a bit. Rosie stammered an explanation, "Lexi hates it out in the 'burbs, so I offered her a night out, hope you don't mind..."

I looked back and forth between the two of them. My mind was swimming with questions. What was the meaning of this? Was it wrong for me to assume it was anything but innocent? Did it matter if it was? Was it any of my business??

"The more the merrier," I said, not able to mask my lack of enthusiasm. I don't know why, I just... she didn't make a great first impression on me back in the day, but I can probably forgive her since we were all stressed. "How've you been?"

"Dying," she said, "Like literally dying. There's nothing to do except work and stay home. I'm like, itching for some action."

"Yeah, I get the feeling," I said, trying to renew my friendly exterior.

She continued, "And like, all Saraya's friends are black and brown and stuff, and no offense to her but I don't get them at all."

I preferred to interpret this as culture shock and not, more likely, low-key racism.

But I bit my tongue. If she and Rosie had struck up a friendship, that was good. I felt a little out of the loop, and jealous because I suddenly felt like Rosie had let Lexi in on stuff she had kept from me, but... we've got to stick together, right?

On the cab ride over, I rode in the front, and Lexi peppered me with questions that probably made the cab driver very confused: "So what's it like to have a dick? Rosie won't say anything. Do you love it? How easy is it to get an erection? Is it fun to jerk off? Oh my God, if I had a dick I would have so much sex it would be disgusting. I'm not even gay, I swear."

I almost barrel rolled right out of the car.

Eventually we made it to the club and I felt very... odd. Very much like a third wheel, for starters... I entertained notions that "Ahmir" might be my "wingman" for some harmless flirting, but "Saraya" attached herself to him and dragged him out onto the dancefloor. I looked, it was full of women in revealing costumes (one literally just wore a bikini and sunglasses on top of her head.) Some were dancing with guys they had brought, but mostly the guys hung around the tables chatting women up, and the women were dancing in groups. And suddenly all my newfound male confidence fled me, I had no idea what to do or why I should even bother... I just felt like some loser in a silly costume.

I ordered a rum and coke, and then another, as I watched girls having fun from a distance... longing to be among them somehow. And then halfway through that, as I began to dream up what I might say to approach a woman, it hit me.

A purse.

Specifically the purse of Andrea Molinaro, dressed as a sexy nurse. It was a Coach bag with a red cross taped on it to make it look like a medicine bag, cute. And it smacked me right out of nowhere, not hard enough that it was meant to damage, but hard enough to startle me and feel less-than-playful.

"You never texted me!" she said over the music.

It had been over a month since we ran into each other at the bar. She had seemed oddly happy to see me then, and I had given it some thought... in my weaker moments... but decided to leave well enough alone. Chris described her to me as "trouble," and said I "should stay away," but he didn't appear to make it a hard and fast rule. Privately, I had hoped for another chance encounter so that I could say I didn't ask for it, and yet now that I had one, I was a bit dumbstruck.

I also didn't remember saying I would text her, but I guess the assumption was that she would be on my mind (which she was) so I couldn't resist.

"Sorry about that," I said, as if it was an accident.

"Don't worry about it, I've been busy," she said playfully. "How about you, still scrubbing toilets instead of lawyering?"

"For the moment, yep," I said.

"I would never in a million years think you'd be satisfied with that!"

And I'm not, but... well, not for the reasons she thinks.

"What can I say?" I said, raising my voice over the dubstep or house or whatever it was "I'm trying to simplify!"

"That's a good word!" she said, then turned to the bartender and ordered a screwdriver, two shots of tequila, and a beer. When the shots came, she nudged one over to me.

"Oh, no thanks," I said.

"Don't be a baby!" she said back, downing her shot, then sipping from her screwdriver (which looked better than my drink, but I guess I've developed a weird complex about the masculinity of cocktails.) "It's a party! You look so sad!"

"My friend ditched me... Ahmir..." I said, in case she knew him.

"So? Get out there and have a good time!"

"Maybe later..." I said.

That's when a guy dressed in black with a mask came over to take the beer. Taller than me, well-built, good jaw... handsome fella.

"Who's this?" asked the guy.

"This is my friend Chris. Chris this is Sam." He gave me a firm handshake. She didn't say "my boyfriend" or even "my date," so the nature of their relationship was ambiguous.

"Nice costume, what is that, Tuxedo Mask?"

"Zorro," he said. He didn't even have a hat or a sword, but whatever.

Turning to him, she said, "Let's go dance!"

"Babe, I just got my drink!"

"Chris will watch it!" Suddenly I felt very emasculated... and considering I wasn't masculine at all six months ago, it was a hell of a feeling.

"Naw," he said, taking a sip, "I don't dance."

"Come on! Just one song!" She ran her finger up and down his arm seductively, but he wasn't convinced. "Okay fine," she said, turning to me, "Chris, you wanna dance?"

I looked between the two of them. "Oh, I don't know if I should..."

"He won't mind!" she insisted, "He had his chance. It's just a dance fer Christ's sake!"

I winced, "Yeah, okay. If it's okay with your... friend."

He gave me a look that said "whatever." Across the room I saw Ahmir and Saraya getting very close (he's tall enough that you can usually spot him in a crowd) and figured: why not? But before she would lead me to the dancefloor, she made me down the tequila. That helped.

I was very distracted trying to remind myself it was just a dance, as she moved around me. I wasn't sure how to act: how could I keep my male composure but also try to look like I was having fun? I moved very slightly in response to her body, and we started to find a rhythm.

The more momentum we got, the faster we moved, and then the closer we got... and my little friend started to go on, um, "high alert."

I felt myself getting weak in the knees, with an energetic rush of hormones pushing me forward. Soon, she was completely into it, grinding on me. I was sure she could tell what I was packing in my loincloth, and... well, it didn't seem like she minded. It lasted for to or three songs - we just kept going - and by the end, I had my arms tightly around her hips, and she was leaning back into me.

Eventually we got to a stopping place. She leaned over and said "I'm gonna go find Sam - you stay here and have fun! All the girls wanna dance with you now!"

I turned to my left, and sure enough, a beautiful blonde dressed as a diner waitress was smiling at me. I looked her up and down - she had a very good body and a very pretty face - and started to dance with her. It was nice, but we didn't have quite the chemistry as I did with Andrea... which is hard to explain since I knew Andrea was basically off limits and this girl didn't seem to be. But I guess I imprinted a bit on her, being the first woman who's seemed interested in me.

So I thanked the blonde for the dance, and headed back to the bar, where I found Andrea: alone, quietly sipping on another cocktail.

"Are you okay?" I asked, trying to be sensitive but still having to talk over the music.

"Yeah, sure," she nodded. "Sam took off. I think he was pissed that I danced with you for so long."

"Oh, sorry about that."

"Don't worry about it," she said back, "It was our second date. I don't think there's gonna be a third."

I wisely kept my mouth shut instead of saying "I wouldn't like it if you ditched me to go dance with your ex either."

"I'm gonna get a cab," she said. "You wanna come back to my place for a bit?"

A million thoughts crossed my mind, but it basically amounted to: For sex? It's not like I hadn't thought this was a possible outcome for the night, but I hadn't really decided which side of the decision I would come down on. Physically, I wanted it to happen, just to satisfy my curiosity and take my hormones to their logical conclusion... but intellectually I knew it was asking for trouble. I contemplated sending her home alone, but leaving a woman drunk, alone, in the city on a Saturday night? I may not have been a man very long but I know how to be a gentleman.

"Sure, yeah," I said after what seemed like forever but was probably more like 30 seconds.

She hailed the cab and gave her address (I made note of this since it was probably something I was expected to know.) We sat quietly, awkwardly for a minute or two, when she said "It was so lucky I ran into you tonight. When you didn't text, I was worried you hated me."

My stomach sank. It really didn't seem like the real Chris has much good feelings for this girl, but I can't dislike someone just because he did.

"I'm... over it, I guess..." I said vaguely. I wasn't sure what that might mean, but I figured there was something to 'be over.'

"That's good," she said. "The past is the past, right?"

"Sure," I said.

She leaned over and rested her head on my shoulder. She smelled really nice.

I think it was in that moment I decided I had to leave as soon as I could. Whatever this girl was feeling, it wasn't for me, and it wasn't fair to represent myself as Chris. Other peoples' hearts are at stake.

We awkwardly made our way to her apartment, I had to not seem like it was all new to me. I figured if she asked, I would say - not inaccurately - that it had been long enough since "we" had dated that the layout of her building slipped my mind.

We got to her place. She asked if I was hungry - I was starving, actually - so she put a frozen pizza in the oven. Then she fell asleep on the couch while we were waiting for it to cook. I couldn't wake her up to offer her any, so I ate most of it myself.

Around 1 AM - the second one, given the time change - I decided I was probably strong enough to pick her up and carry her to bed (I was, but not by a lot.) She sleepily acknowledged this with an adorable little coo. As I pulled some covers over her, I heard her mutter, "Don't go."

I had to admit... Brooklyn is still a strange place to me, and I may look like a male but I have the learned experience of a woman, and men get mugged plenty often anyway, to say nothing of the fact that I was dressed as Tarzan. I decided it wouldn't be so bad to just crash on her couch.

I woke up around 8:30 AM with a nasty crick in my neck but otherwise fine: I'm always very impressed with this body's ability to handle alcohol (Drinking at the limit of my real body, I don't even get a hangover - how about that!) It took me a moment to realize where I was and how I was dressed.

I'm trying to get used to the subway here, but I didn't really want to sit in a crowded car for too long dressed this way, so I called for a cab and went home and made myself some breakfast. Before I left, I wrote out a note saying I hoped she felt good in the morning, thanks for letting me crash, we'll keep in touch.

I texted Rosie some basic updates about how my night had worked out, and opted to let him decide whether to fill me in on his. (It basically amounted to: they stayed until last call then went back to his place and fell asleep... if I'm to take his word for it.)

Then at 2 I got a text from Andrea: "Lol @ ur note."

"Just being polite :)"

"Such a nice boy. Ur welcome. Anytime. <3 p="">
I felt that strange feeling wash over me... very bashful at her appreciation for me. And wanting more.

This isn't going to be an easy year.