Monday, November 28, 2016

Tyler/Judith: Thanks, I'm sure

Thanksgiving was fixing to be such a madhouse that the real Judith - normally too busy with her temporary life up in Montreal to contact me unless there's an emergency - dropped me a line apologizing for the chaos I had inherited. Traditionally, Thanksgiving dinner is a collaboration between her and her sister Kathy, which essentially boils down to Judith doing all the work and Kathy standing around drinking wine and giving unhelpful directions. I was not all that impressed.

I haven't talked to Kathy all that much. Life is honestly busy enough when you're pretending to be someone else that keeping tabs on all the relations you've inherited is just a bit too much to ask. Judith is the oldest child, before Kathy (married for about 10 years with 4 kids) and Arlene (29 and not yet married.) We were also hosting Adrian's brother Kip, his wife Nancy and their two kids. Fitting all these people and three grandparents into the Walkers' modest home for Thanksgiving proved to be... difficult. And all the while, Judith's ma was saying in a thick Portuguese accent "If your father were will alive..." which cut me extra deep since if my father were here, he would probably call me a pansy for making all the food, and probably also the wearing women's clothing and sleeping next to a man at night.

Probably the best part of the holiday was Dylan, who decided he wasn't all that interested in getting to know Olivia's cousins and stuck by my side in the Kitchen learning to cook a little bit. Arguably, the kid was more helpful than Kathy. Kitty was also in his element, hosting and making sure everyone was comfortable, rather than ditching me and joining the "party." It's always nice to feel like a united front...

The worst part was Kip getting drunk and making an ass of himself. Toward the end of the night I found him in the bushes outside alternating relieving himself and vomiting. I sat with him a while - because honestly it was preferable to the crowd inside - and he unburdened himself to me a little bit... basically saying he wasn't happy in his marriage and wishes he could leave her for someone else. I muttered some stuff about commitment and sticking it out, although honestly it was probably all a bit rich coming from me. But here I am, sticking it out.

Eventually, the night ended. The relatives all headed home and all that was left was a huge mess. It was getting near 11 and I was exhausted.

Kitty started to pick up the plates and I told him to leave it for the morning and come upstairs with me.

We started to prepare for bed, mostly in silence as usual, as he pulled off his socks and I let my clothes drop to a heap on the floor. I always catch him eyeing me, as if he's still trying to decide what he thinks of the sight. I put on the comfiest PJ's Judith owns and crawled under the covers with him. And usually we're pretty distant... sharing this comfy queen-sized bed with a lot of room between us and separate blankets, but on that night I just... I dunno, needed the closeness of another human being. I got in close and cuddled up warmly to him in a way we haven't really done since we got here. And he didn't ask me what was going on because I kind of felt like he understood.

I don't know what this means or where it leads, but... it's something.

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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Meg: The Visit.

It was a rainy fall day in Burlington. I was early for the meeting, as I tend to be, but then I was coming from a lot closer. It was at my favorite café, with a vanilla latte by my side and my nose in a new book. Every now and then, every time I heard the creak of the door opening and the gust of noise from outside, I had to look up to see who it was. Eventually I had to stop, it was too distracting.

So of course, after I let my guard down, I paid no attention to the the tak-tak-tak of heavy footprints in heels on the tile floor coming directly toward me and stopping right at my table. I heard a voice clearing her throat. "Ahem."

I look up to see this woman. In her leather boots, she's probably a head taller than me, but I was sitting down so it was hard to gauge. Her arms were folded under her breasts and her face in a cartoonish smirk of mock-disapproval. She had her dark brown hair clipped back in a rather tight bun and her eyes covered by large sunglasses. She wore a long purple sweater with a chunky belt around her waist, framing her hips into a bit of an hourglass shape, and black tights. It was very much a "mom's day out" look. If you set the two of us side by side she would probably get the vote for "More Feminine." More of a "woman," somehow.

"This seat taken?" she said knowingly, cocking one of her full eyebrows. It couldn't help but remind me of the first conversation we struck up, which feels so long ago...

I was too busy taking stock of her: her figure, her posture, her pursed lips, her tan skin that seemed to glow. I must have gawked a little too long, because I could tell she was getting a bit uncomfortable and just took her seat, plopping a huge mom-sized purse next to her. All I could think to say was, "You look so different." My stupid mouth.

Instead of calling me an idiot for stating the obvious, all she said was a friendly, "You don't." Maybe not as much, but my hair is different, and while I was a bit disappointed she didn't notice, I guess she's been through enough lately that "different hair" doesn't qualify for "different" in this context.

I struggled a bit with saying "You look nice!" and not having it sound like I was a) attracted to her in any way, or b) trying to somehow suppress the man he really is inside, because I know he struggles with exactly how much of a "woman" to be. I wasn't sure he wanted to look "nice." But he did. I guess I was somehow expecting him to be wearing a dirty plaid overshirt with unkempt hair, but as he explained, he's got an image to keep up.

The whole thing flustered me. I knew, intellectually, that I was going to be interacting with Tyler, in his new body, and yet... I guess I just didn't know who to expect, even though I've seen pictures of him this way online and of course I've read his blog posts where he has been fair-to-overly-critical of Judith's appearance, in my mind he still looks like Alan, because that was how he left me. I found it very, surprisingly hard not to treat him like the person he appeared to be. I didn't have this problem when he was Lauren, but that's because I was "in it" with him then. This is my first time meeting "Judith." And I thought I was prepared, but I wasn't. I almost bolted.

So, how did we get from there to here? It's been a long road and a lot of angry nights and to be honest I'm still not all the way to forgiveness. We had been in contact when I could stand to do so, and not long after he moved into Judith's life, he reached out to see if maybe we could mend fences a little bit since we were both in the same part of the country again. I told him it would be a while before I was ready to do that. A few months passed, a few attempts were penciled in and rescheduled, until I ran out of excuses.

"I hate to seem so shocked," I said, collecting myself at last, "But it's so hard to believe it's really you in there. You look so... grown up." He took off his sunglasses to provide a visible eyeroll. "No, I mean it. Like, you look like someone I would trust with a kid."

"Okay, I'll try to take the compliment," she said, making a faint attempt at a smile. I have looked at old photos of the real Judith Walker online, as well as recent ones where Tyler is playing her part, and she never appears to smile. Tyler described it as "resting bitch face" (a phrase from his time as a teenage girl) and I have to admit, as Judith, he looks more stoic than he did as "Alan," and it puts me off. That could just be her face. Which is pretty amazing and weird.

We made some really, really awkward attempts at small talk - I asked what was new and he said it was mostly on the blog. He did go into a bit more detail on some of the ladies from Judith's workplace and book club. Talked a bit about "mom" stuff, trying to parent a 12-year-old boy as a 10-year-old girl. I told him how much I admired him for doing his best with that situation, and he pled off, "I get compliments on the blog sometimes and it's flattering and all, but you know, time will tell if I have actually screwed up this kid--"

I interrupted. "The world is screwing this kid up. You can't possibly stop that. Your job is to help him feel normal."

"I think he does. He copes pretty well. He had that Halloween drama about dressing as a girl, but honestly, it hasn't led to a big change in his style or personality. Still wears dingy jeans or the occasional tights to work... girl-ish but not girly, you know?"

"And does he feel bad about being treated like a girl by the world? Does he notice the difference?"

"If he does, he doesn't say. He does get moody. Throws tantrums, cries, fights with us about totally unrelated stuff. But I can't totally believe it's actually unrelated. Still, I think I've convinced him he's lucky to get to try being a girl, and I think he trusts me that we'll get him back."

"So he doesn't sit around crying about it all the time?"

"No, he's actually pretty intrigued. I think he just wishes he was older. You know, we were at the supermarket the other day and he started asking my about my breasts. What do they feel like, are they heavy, do they hurt, are they fun..."

I smirked. Boys will always be such boys about stuff like this.

He continued, "He knows a bit about sex, but I'm honestly afraid to talk about it. But you know how sexual tastes tend to follow the body more than the mind..."

"Uh huh," I said, noting his coyness.

"Well, I think he's got a little girl's attitudes, to where it's not something on his mind too much. Not seriously. So I'm thankful for that. I mean, he's just a kid, and he looks like a much younger kid. So that's the last thing I need."

"Can we get off this subject, actually?" I asked.

"Of course," he said, face brightening more. I think he liked that I was getting uncomfortable.

So I decided to turn it around on him. "So, you and Kitty..."

"Oh, boy," he grumbled, sucking in his teeth. This is clearly not something he wanted to be discussing, with me least of all.

"You never really go into detail about what the deal is between you two," I say.

"You really want to know?"

"It's not that, but... shit, when you two started hooking up, you put it on the blog pretty quickly. I'm just curious where you stand now."

"Well, you have a pretty good idea how things used to be between us," he started.

"Casual," I said, with some saltiness in my voice.

"Uh huh..." he said, his already flutey voice jumping up a nervous octave. "Well, now it's almost the opposite. He knows I was trying to wind 'us' down when we got hit with this thing, and to a degree he respects it. Every so often we kind of drift together, but it hasn't gone past the threshold where we need to talk about it."

"Nothing physical?"

"Well, a little. Hugs, kisses... the occasional cuddle on the couch. With me trying to put out of my mind how weird it feels to be in a man's arms like that. When we're feeling good about the arrangement. That's what I never talk about on the blog. I talk about fights and disagreements and moments where I tear my hair out in frustration, but a lot of the time it's just... quiet, going about our business trying to make the best of a bad situation. Occasionally kidding around and treating each other like humans."

I smirked. "And yet..."

He sighed. "Basically, yeah. And maybe there's this unspoken agreement... or idea... or whatever that someday, we might get back around to what we were doing before. Maybe, if the circumstances were right. But I couldn't even think of it right now. We're just too old and tired, I guess."

"Has she seen you naked?"

"Somewhat..."

I could read the discomfort on his face, so I stopped my line of questioning. I couldn't tell if I was happy or sad for him. I know he complains about her a lot online but there's a weird amount of actual affection in his voice when he talked about her. And I kind of think she's been good for him? Maybe he needs someone to keep him on a short leash in away I never could.

We finished our beverages and went to the shopping center nearby. When Ty was Lauren he had a bit of a yen for trying on clothes he couldn't actually buy, and which were too feminine for the style he cultivated as her - not unlike Dylan, come to think of it. He didn't buy anything this time, though.

"How about you?" he asked.

"Me?"

"Yeah..."

He was eager to change the subject, but I could tell he might reqret asking.

"Maybe there's a guy," I said coyly.

"Is that who's been texting you all afternoon?"

"You could hear that?" My phone was stuffed in my bag.

"One of the perks of Judith's body... constant headaches, but ears like a bat. I call it my mom sense. Please tell me it's not Gene."

"Ugh, no! His name's Justin," I said reluctantly. "We met in a... creative writing class."

"You're taking a creative writing class?"

"Yeah. I dunno, it's just... something I thought I'd try... you know, after what you did to me, I kind of gave up on the blog as an outlet."

"What do you write about?"

"Men turning into women and then having lots of sex," I said with a laugh, then added to let him know I was kidding, "More grounded, real-life stuff."

"Ha! This is real life," he said, gesturing down at himself.

"Not for most people," I said. "And for me, it's starting to seem more and more distant..."

"Ever miss it?"

"God, no. For me it was all drama, unwanted sex and impractically large boobs. You, though... I'm starting to think you prefer it."

"What, being a woman?"

"Being... changeable. Switching faces. Never going back."

"Nothing to go back to," he said grimly, examining some clothes on a rack. "Like it or not, this is my life. I wish I hadn't fucked things up so badly. I lie awake sometimes at night thinking you could still be part of it."

"That's not the world we live in," I said.

"Would you have stuck with me? If I had to go back to the Inn, year after year, never knowing who I was gonna be?"

"I don't know. I wouldhave thought, at the time, what we had was that strong, but you kind of proved that it wasn't."

There was a long pause.

"I'm sorry," he said.

"You've said that before."

"It's still true. What I did to you was wrong. I was just angry."

"Don't even bring it up, because you'll make me mad again. If you try to explain it or justify it. We both know what happened and it was a fucked up thing. If you had stayed back then we could have worked through it. That's what I believe. But you proved to me, what you always told me about yourself but I never believed... that when the going gets tough, Tyler Blake runs."

"I'm not running now."

I huffed, "Then maybe you're not Tyler Blake anymore."

He took a pause, then said, "Maybe not... but I don't think I'm Judith Walker either."

"I beg to differ, Mrs. Walker," I said, gesturing to the stack of clothes he had picked up, "But I believe you're using her credit card to pay for that, aren't you?"

"I earned it, I get to spend it."

We fell back into old patterns shockingly fast, resurrecting old jokes and conversations. I felt some inkling of what I used to feel for him, even through his different face. But I knew the moment had passed. I've been with Justin for months, we have a nice little relationship budding. I'm in a good place.

My anger at Tyler has really faded over the months, and seeing him in person this way really punctuated that. He seems a bit humbled by this experience, changed. But it came too late for us, that's for sure.

I told him I hope that he opens up to somebody soon, if not Kitty then someone out there. It seems like it might be a lonely life otherwise.

We went back to my place - the apartment we used to share - until Justin got off work. Tyler hung around just long enough to meet him, and when they were face to face, I felt this hot stab of guilt, knowing my current flame was meeting my ex without realizing it. We just said that Judith was an old friend and left it at that. And Justin, poor guy, just looked at her and saw a woman. Some lady he'll never meet again.

"Be good to her," Ty said as he gathered his jacket and headed for the door. "She's the only Meg we've got."

"I'll do my best," Justin said with a mock salute.

Judith returned one as she left: "At ease, Private."

This fucking guy.

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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Simon/Joy: My "Secret"

It was kinda crummy of Treena to call me out like that on the blog... I mean, I know she reads it but I never thought she would write anything here. I think she's blowing it out of proportion, I just needed a little privacy for a minute. I didn't realize that would be such a big issue with her. I guess because, yeah, as she said, normally I'm pretty open about everything, including electronically diddling myself once or twice a day.

If you must know, here's the big secret. I almost hooked up with Joey. Stressing almost. We were drunk at the club, and we needed to go out for some air, so we walked around the corner and found a nice quiet spot. Then he kind of pushed me toward the wall and started kissing me.

It was... weird. So weird. But I'd be lying if I said it was that much different from kissing a chick. It's the same parts, you know, just a little rougher and a little fuzzier. And I didn't know where to put my hands. So the fact that I didn't immediately push him away probably tells you that I'm a lot more open to this kinda thing now than I was a few months ago when we first met. Does that mean I want to sleep with him? Maybe, maybe not, I haven't decided yet. I'm going to be a chick for at least another... six months maybe? If I had to go a whole year without any sex at all, I would be really pissed about it. But whatever sex I get is going to be the "I'm a chick" kind, so I'm adjusting to that.

So we were kissing, and then I notice him loosening his belt. And before you know it, his cock is out. And it's all hard, and... pointing directly at me. And again, having a good time and being drunk and being a lot looser about what I will or won't do really comes in to play here. But I didn't know what to do next.

So he says, kinda rudely, "Suck me..." Like, half a command and half a request. Like, "Suck me...?"

I was just like, "Um..." I can't tell him I never have done anything like this, it would be hard to believe. But I didn't wanna just do as I was told because that's not what I was into. Plus I was in a short skirt and didn't want to kneel on the dirty ground.

So I grabbed his dick and started playing with it. It was weird, because in a way it feels like my own, but totally different, and the angle was reversed and whatnot. I've always found it cute when a chick doesn't know what to do with one. But I knew if I finished him off quick he would be satisfied and leave me alone.

So I worked and worked and worked, trying to be subtle in case some random person is walking by, and he was moaning like this was the best HJ ever... which I have to say it probably was for him. And before you know it, he spurts all over my hand and my jacket, and even a little bit in my hair, not even caring where it goes, and leans back against the brick wall moaning "Oh baby... that was so good."

"I'm glad you liked it..." I said kinda numbly.

We split a cab home but I was a bit shellshocked to say anything, which is why I was weird when Treena saw me. And then I spent a few days just contemplating it, being like "That happened, I did that. I didn't love doing it but I don't hate it. The world didn't end."

Things are really never gonna be the same for me. I feel like I'm capable of pretty much anything now, which is both exciting and terrifying.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Tyler/Judith: When Mom is sick, the house goes to hell

I'm not really a neat freak or anything, but the Inn kind of forced me and Kitty into accepting these very old fashioned gender roles... she's out at Adrian's job 45 hours per week, and while I do have a job, it leaves me with enough time to clean the house, do the dishes, the laundry, make sure everything is basically livable. It's nice to live in a clean house. I'm getting a knack for it, even if Kitty is constantly finding places I neglected ("Did you dust behind the TV? Vacuum the steps?" Jeezes, Kit, thought I'd leave something for you.)

Anyway. Last week I caught a nasty flu that put me out of commission for five days, basically just resting in bed achey, sore, stuffed up, hard to breathe, vomiting and other unpleasantness, on top of my usual headaches and PMS symptoms. I felt like death, so I decided to "indulge" in a little recuperation time. And of course Kitty, even though she's so fussy, didn't put much effort into cleaning up, because he felt so overworked. When I finally made my way downstairs after the two most intense days, there were takeout boxes and wrappers left out, grimy dishes left, three loads of laundry not yet done... I honestly couldn't make sense of the contradiction between Kitty's words and her actions.

When I confronted her about it, she got back in my face, saying she was working hard to keep this house paid for, and how she had been my nurse all week and how it's just a little bit of mess that would take no time to clean up. I asked if she expected me to take care of all of it, and she said no, we could do it together, and I asked when we ever did cleaning together, it's always left to me. And I said I didn't remember signing on to be a full time housekeeper, and she said that was what I was getting into when I agreed to come to NH and I knew it. So I said it wasn't like I had a choice, and she said "Don't give me that crap you knew it was the right thing to do" and blah blah blah... petty blame game bullshit. It's a fight we have often, but this one was so intense that I screamed my still-raw vocal chords hoarse and Dylan, who was sitting in the TV room, went upstairs and shut himself up in his room.

It just made me think, you know... the thing that keeps families together is just that: they're family. They didn't choose each other, and maybe they don't always understand each other, but there's a level of forgiveness and bonding that isn't there when you're plucked from your regular life into someone else's. God knows I was able to forgive and overlook a lot of shit my dad and brothers did to me, and they did the same. Now I'm getting angry over some crusty plates? That's not me, and I don't want it to be. A lot about me has been fundamentally changed by this experience - in ways I still don't fully understand - but I don't want to be that.

Kitty went out and when he returned he had a bouquet. I gave him a look that said, "What am I supposed to do with this?" And he said modestly, "I know it's not a very 'you' gift, but I couldn't think of the male equivalent. I'm sorry, Tyler. You do a lot for us and the least I could do is show that appreciation by picking up the slack when you're not feeling well."

"Damn right," I muttered, accepting the flowers. "I shouldn't have snapped at you. You're a good person, Kit, and you do a lot for this so-called family."

We hugged, and he gave me a little peck on the cheek and ran his hands down my hair and back.

"Chocolates," I said. "I'm that kind of woman."

"Good to know," he said.

By the way, midway through this post, I started referring to Kitty as a "he." More and more my mental image of him is being replaced, from the 50-year-old-woman or beautiful young Greta, to the husky balding gentleman I live with. But I still think of myself as a man, too. I just feel like I will be someday again, so I don't embrace the "she" word for myself yet.

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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Treena: A little concerned

Hey guys. Just popping in here because as you can tell Simon seems to have really skimmed over some details in his last post... Not that he isn't entitled to his privacy but you saw how much detail he gave after he started using my little "gift." The man doesn't usually filter himself, and isn't self-conscious about his behavior no matter how un-masculine it may be. That's actually a quality I sometimes admire in him, when it doesn't lead to him being obnoxious. But now I'm a little spooked. He came home from the club on Halloween looking a little bedraggled, with this faraway look in his eyes and didn't want to talk at all about it. Just went right to bed. And now the version below makes it seem like it was all fun?

I'm just concerned, and while I'm not usually interested in contributing to this blog, I felt it was relevant to raise that concern, in case he is covering up for something really bad and in case he decides he has to do so again in the future. He knows this is a safe space with no judgment so hopefully when he's ready he'll clue us in.

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Friday, November 11, 2016

Simon/Joy: Little Devil

As you know, when I first got here I decided to throw myself into Joy's social life a bit. Her friends, all hot young men and women in their early 20's, are all fun people to hang around with and I really related to them. I figured they'd miss me if I ignored them and for all they knew I was who I appeared to be, so what's the harm?

I backed off from that after I started working though. Even though I love being out and active, I love working and making money more - and I find my job surprisingly exciting and fulfilling. I do get razzed around the office for supposedly being a "dumb blonde" because I'm not as good at paperwork as the other guys there, but I can take it. I'll show them. It's my first quarter and I'm neck and neck for the most commissions, so the other guys can suck the metaphorical it.

I also get teased for being a "workaholic." The guys can tell I don't have a social life because I'm always available to my clients any time of day or night. If they only knew it was because my only options were to pick up where the chick whose body I wear left off...

Halloween was kind of the first really "social" occasion I had since summer, where I would be seeing the ladies. After going to Treena's Halloween show, where they did the most bizarrely sexy rendition of the Monster Mash I ever heard or saw, I hit was scheduled to hit up a house party and a club. I was dressed in a skimpy red dress that shows off my legs (and did a little something for my minimal cleavage) with devil horns and a little prop pitchfork I could keep in my clutch. It's pretty amazing being on the coast where chicks like Joy can wear their sexiest little things for Halloween and not freeze their tits off.

At the house party, I ran into a few familiar faces... specifically Joey. I was pretty miffed to see him because I thought we had a cool thing going, but it really faded out by the time I started working. And when he saw me he just gave me a nod like "oh, it's you." Like he didn't ever text me his dick. Like that just meant nothing to him. I was so pissed I ducked him for half the night.

I also had the "pleasure" of meeting one of Joy's exes. This was an awkward thing that I have been dreading, because I don't know what any of them really think of Joy. This one was Ramon, a latin lover type, who was kind of hard to understand between his accent and the noise of the party. But I got sucked into a very one-sided conversation about "old times" and I could tell he was looking to rekindle things. And, look... Ramon appears to be a very attractive man, and maybe the booze was sort of helping things along, but something about the way he looked at me and saw, you know, her made me feel super icky. I was desperately looking for a way out of that convo when suddenly...

In swoops Joey. Suddenly he says he wants to catch up, and escorts me away, much to my relief.

And that's when something really strange started to happen.

My heart started racing a little bit. Like I was on a hot streak at the casino, or I was warming up my little friend "Mariah." I was just flooded with this pleasure chemical swimming in my body. I was so flustered and flattered at being "fought" over, particularly by a guy who had brushed me off.

He explained he thought I had brushed him off because I was rejecting his advances, and I said no, I just wasn't ready for anything at that time because I was looking for work (and plus the whole secretly-a-dude thing made me uncomfortable with how flirty we were getting.) And now work is keeping me busy, but I kind of make my own hours and...

I don't know, I just couldn't think of a really good reason not to invite him along to the club that night. It was hot and noisy and loud and he clung to me all night, we danced our asses off... I could totally feel his rod poking me as we grinded. But what should have shocked me only amused me, like, it feels so great having this power over a man.

Anyway, the night was really very fun and it kind of got me to thinking maybe I should find a way to balance my/Joy's social life and my/her career. It was just such a rush.

Oh, and it goes without saying that when I got home I had a nice, long visit with Mariah... but that's normal for most nights anyway ;)

(PS don't even talk to me about the World Series. So disappointing!!)

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Friday, November 04, 2016

Cary (and Elaine): Elaine Preston boot camp

So I left off last time with Elaine waking me up in the morning and telling me I had to learn about makeup, and as you might expect, that doesn't go very well.  I'd seen the array of little containers on top of her dresser, but sort of looked right past them.  I didn't think they applied to me, all evidence to the contrary.  Elaine pointed out that they very much do, and that while it was okay for a man to go out looking for work with just the face God have him, give our take some shaving, that wouldn't do for ladies.  So as soon as I get out of the shower, she pulls a chair up in front of the dresser and says to show her what I know.

Basically, we're talking lipstick here, by which I mean I know how that works, not that I can apply it quickly or evenly.  I get my lips dark black (she favors that over red), and then I just stare at all the bottles and powders, paralyzed.  She sighs, says this is going to take some work.

So she spends basically all day trying to teach me cosmetics.  It's frustrating for us both - I am not interested in learning this at all, and she's having trouble getting things across to me, because even though she's helped other girls with their makeup before, her brain starts to short-circuit with her own face in front of her.  Even though she knows what has happened to us, she would suddenly think she was looking in a mirror and start reaching for her own face.  Eventually, she gets a stool and starts standing behind me.

Despite my resistance, she's actually not a bad teacher.  She says half of her job is being patient with nerds who just don't want to deal with her at all, but I'm a special case.  But, she says, it only takes doing something ten thousand times to become an expert.  I'm not sure if she's joking.   She stays pretty focused for a nine-year-old, but she also gets hungry and fidgety a lot, so there are at least some breaks.  She tries to keep it up into the night, but drops at eight.  I put her in the bed and resign myself to the couch again.

The next morning I wake up to find an outfit, if you can call it that, laid out on the coffee table in front of me.  I lift it up - it takes two fingers - abs dangle it in front of Elaine, who is using what seems like a hilariously oversized laptop in a chair.  "What's this about?"

She doesn't even look up.  "Morning run, to the lake and back, every day.  It's about two miles, and you should be glad I don't bump it up for what a diet that's like fifty percent hot dogs has done to my ass over the last few weeks."  My hands almost involuntarily go to my bottom - it doesn't feel much different than that first day, but women get weird about that.

She shuts the laptop and jumps from the chair, already in shorts, a t-shirt, and sneakers.  "C'mon, daylight's burning!"

I retreat to the bathroom and look apprehensive at the two pieces of lycra she's given me, stripping down to panties and trying not to pay much attention to the mounds on my chest even though the top is making that hard with its attempts to hold them immobile rather than just relieve the stress on my back.  I've never worn something as skin-tight as it and the shorts, though I've appreciated it on those who have, and I have to admit that, in something like this, my bottom does stick out a bit, although I haven't done much damage to her legs yet.

We get to the street and she says to follow her, jumping out ahead.  She doesn't stay ahead for long, even running with the steady pace of a grown woman who knows what she's trying to accomplish rather than the full-speed-ahead enthusiasm of a little kid; her legs are just too short.  I don't really mind jogging to keep pace with her, but by the time we're at the park on the lake, she's panting, really needing to rest up a bit before we had back.  I'm of two minds - maybe I have let her body go a bit if I'm wheezing a bit and already feeling kind of sore, even though I know I'd hurt more if I was still myself (though probably not so much in the chest), and I don't want to feel worse, but I'm acutely aware that some heads have turned as I ran by in my skin-tight outfit, and now that we're stopped, they're staring.

When one guy about Elaine's age walks up and somehow corners me against a park bench, asking if I have any nights off or if the white girl's patents keep the nanny on duty 24/7, I am ready to get back to the apartment, although I am not sure how to extricate myself with a big black guy standing close and over me.  Fortunately, "nanny" gets Elaine angry, and she pushes in between us, giving the guy's leg a two-handed shove, although I think he mainly moves back a bit to humor her.  She starts yelling at him in a way that would sound a lot better with the voice I've got now, saying he should know better than to assume that a black woman couldn't do any better than looking after a white woman's kids, grabbing my hand and starting to drag me off.  The guy says sorry, but you don't see sisters adopting white kids very often, and she doesn't even turn around while yelling that it is none of his God-damn business what our deal is.  I almost feel bad for him, but don't say anything to Elaine until we've made it a block or so away.

"So, are you going to teach me how to do that?"

She actually laughs.  "Buddy, a couple weeks of dealing with the world as a black woman, you'll be doing it yourself!  Not very 'Mackenzie Mahoney' of me, though, is it?"

I say I guess not.

She lets me have the shower first, and I have to admit, I linger.  I haven't been doing that much, but the run makes me aware of all of my body at once, and I'm ashamed to say I become a bit fascinated by the way the water is running down my breasts and skipping off my nipples.  I don't do anything perverted while I'm in there,  but it's kind of the moment when I realize that this is still my body made to look like Elaine's, and I'm not just a passenger, so I'm re-appraising it a bit.

I'm also kind of afraid of what sort of clothing she's going to have laid out for the day's lessons, but she goes pretty easy on me - t-shirt, jeans, socks, sneakers; if not for the sizes and underwear, not that far off from my usual.  Then I look at the wall and realize that I'm not totally off the hook.

Elaine's job is something called an "agile scrum master", and though I think I've got a bit of an understanding of it after a month of lessons, I don't really know if I can explain it; she basically monitors a team of people writing a computer program and makes sure everyone's busy or has what they need to work, and does this with a big chart on the wall with little sticky notes in various columns.  The idea is to start each "sprint" with a bunch of notes on the left-hand side and move them to the right as people finish their work, and that's what she's got for me.  I guess you go with what you know.

Anyway, while there's a some stuff like "apply eyeshadow" and "cross apartment in heels" on the left, it's mostly work stuff - "planning poker", "TFS", etc.  As much as it apparently pains her to see walking around without makeup on her face, she figures that, if worst comes to worst, she can paint my face before I leave, but I need to know the work stuff pretty cold.

That's a pretty hard thing to teach and learn in this environment, to be honest - how am I supposed to learn to manage a team of people when I've just got the person trying to teach me how to do it to practice on?  Is almost cute to watch her try and play multiple parts in our pretend morning meetings, or insist that I send a third hypothetical person an email which she ignores for a couple of hours to get me in the habit of remembering what's outstanding and to follow up on it. 

That probably doesn't sound very boot-camp-like, but it's a lot to take in for someone who is not really good at computers, and it's not a nine-to-five job.  Elaine may have figured that she can't really make the run every morning, but she's eager to connect the bracelet she has me wear to the computer and see that I actually did what she said.  She brings that sort of angle to a lot of things - when she decided it was time for me to get familiar with the train system, she would send me on an errand and then track my/her phone, calling me if I'm staying in one place too long or going off the expected track.  Sometimes she even has me try to have a tablet's camera sticking out of a purse or at least stream audio, and while I don't think she can remotely activate that, it's got me really paranoid at times.  Maybe people her age (either one) don't have the same sort of interest in privacy that my generation does, but it is genuinely unnerving to be monitored and judged on real time for how well I'm pretending to be her, especially since she's not exactly returning the favor to MacKenzie.

And when we are in the same room... oh boy.   After about a week, the clothes she started laying out got more and more feminine, and if I get caught with my legs open in a dress or skirt, they get slapped with a ruler.  The heels have gotten higher and thinner, and I've got to tread what seems like a very thin line with how I walk in them, lest she start yelling. 

And as dressing and grooming "stories" have grown more frequent on the boats, my privacy has basically disappeared.  The first time she had me shave my legs wasn't so bad, but she demanded I go higher the next time, and you don't really know fear until you've worried that someone else might walk into the bathroom while someone her apparent age critiques just how well you've "tidied things up" down there.  Compared to that, her shouting in exasperation not to be so skittish about touching my own breasts, especially when a dress or bra needs a little adjustment, is nothing.

At least the sleeping arrangements have gotten better.  After a few days, she said me sleeping on the couch was stupid after I complained about a sore neck, and that it was no big deal if we slept in the same bed.  A couple days later, we decided that wasn't actually the case - not only did I feel weird getting into bed next to an apparently-underage girl, she said feeling a presence that much larger than her looming was a lot different than when she shared a bed with a tall guy, let alone the worries that we may somehow change in our sleep again and then feel compelled to do something, or just not recognize the person next to us.

So we order a twin bed, and, honestly, getting to spend a couple hours one afternoon assembling it was the best, just building something.

Still, you'd be hard-pressed to see a handyman in me tonight, wearing Elaine's little black dress, panty hose, four-inch heels, lipstick, straightened hair and painted nails, and getting all dolled up without any help.  Elaine didn't have to say a word as we took the train to a place she likes in another part of town, at least not to me as opposed to barking at guys still drunk from the Cubs' parade who always seemed to get a hand (or something else) touching me when they really didn't have to.  She got dressed up, too - she's not really growing fast enough for all the new clothes she orders online, but that's her excuse - and this is kind of a final exam and graduation party all in one:  We can start looking for work next week.

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Thursday, November 03, 2016

Tyler/Judith: Halloween 2016

An astute commenter noted that Halloween is a pretty significant event for a 12-year-old boy, which my Kid mentally is (it would also be pretty significant for the 10-year-old girl he appears to be) and I noted that, as with every aspect of Dylan/Olivia's life, it was likely to bring about a clash between myself and Kitty. Our philosophies on parenting - which we are both new to - are pretty different. I trust the kid to know what he wants and how to behave, and Kitty insists on asserting our influence over him and guiding him. (It doesn't help that a lot of this guidance leans toward "act more feminine to fit in at school.")

As we shopped around for candy, decorations and costumes, Dylan talked a bit about some of his family's Halloween traditions. Apparently they do a lot of decorating, throw a costume party... it was a big deal. I can tell Dylan is getting fairly homesick so I was determined to let him do whatever he wanted.

Kitty and I discussed it for a while, and I made sure to note that whatever Dylan wanted to dress as would be okay. It didn't have to be a "girl's" costume or a "boy's" one. Kitty didn't want it to be anything violent, but we negotiated until it was just "no toy weapons." Kitty did say that he felt "Olivia" would be a very pretty princess or fairy but knew that wasn't the only way to go. Dylan doesn't exactly value being "pretty" but would surprise you how concerned he is with his appearance. We took the Kid around the store looking at everything, until it was narrowed down to a few choices: Ghostbuster or Rey from Star Wars (Rey lost out when Kitty decided the "no weapons" rule applied to lightsabers but not Ghostbuster equipment, thus the costume lost its appeal.)

Kitty didn't let it show to Dylan, but she didn't like that costume either - it reminded her of a garbage man or exterminator. I asked what would have been wrong with those, either.

"I just don't get it," Kitty sighed when we got home and I was telling about how Dylan was feeling homesick, "She opens up to you so easily. I ask how her day is going and she just shrugs her little shoulders..."

"What can I say? We have a bond. You always act so parental around him..."

"Why do I always feel like the bad guy? Like you two are a team and I'm the other side?"

"Maybe he responds more to my way of reaching out," I sighed, "I don't know. But you and I are a team, I promise."

"Well, as long as you use this bond of yours to get her to brush her teeth, do her homework and go to bed on time, I suppose it doesn't hurt..." She reclined on the bed and removed his shoes, airing out Adrian's smelly feet. "Jeezes Murphy I'm sick of this body."

I propped my own feet up on his lap. "Yeah? Trade ya. I've been wearing Judith's shoes so much it doesn't even feel right to put on a sneaker."

Almost instinctively, he started to rub my feet. I almost asked him to stop, but it really did relax me.

--

A week later, it was Halloween, and Dylan wore his costume to school, but when he came home he was dressed differently. He was wearing a blonde wig and a Supergirl outfit, complete with skirt.

He strolled into the kitchen like it was nothing.

I was pretty startled. "Um, excuse me, what's going on here?"

"Oh, uh," he said, looking a little embarrassed, "One of the other girls said she liked my costume a lot and asked if we could trade."

"I see... and you agreed?"

"Yeah. It was pretty hot sitting in class like that and it was fun to switch. You're not mad are you?"

"No, no of course not... I'm just surprised."

"Because I'm wearing a skirt?"

"Kind of."

"Well, you told me it was nothing to be embarrassed about, right? I could dress how I wanted."

"Absolutely."

"And it's just a costume. Not like I'm gonna start dressing like a total girl all the time."

"Hey, you know there's no problem if you did," I said. "You're allowed, they're your clothes. Heh, Kitty would be thrilled."

"Well... can I tell you a secret?"

"Of course."

He got real close to me and spoke softly in my ear. "Sometimes, when I get home from school and nobody's around, I change into Olivia's girly clothes and I wear them around the house. Just to see what they're like."

I had to suppress a laugh. "Dyl... there's nothing wrong with that. Can I tell you a not-so-secret? I'm wearing Judith's girly clothes right now." I was wearing a checked skirt, blouse and pantyhose. "So if you ever want to wear those clothes outside of the house, nobody is going to laugh or call you names. As long as you're comfortable."

Dylan blushed. "I guess not."

Kitty took him out trick-or-treating and I stayed home to give out candy dressed in an old "Vampire Queen" costume Judith had buried in her closet. It might have been sexy on a younger body but I cinched it up a bit and made sure to cover. And we've spent the rest of the time since pigging out on leftover candy.

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