Tuesday after he came home from work, Kit found me lying in bed with the blinds drawn. I was half-undressed. I had been zoned out for probably an hour or so.
He was clearly irritated, since even on days when I work I tend to be "on top" of the night's meal. I had dropped Dylan off at his friend's place and since I had gotten back I was just... out of it. I murmured, "You can order something if you like, I'm not hungry."
To his credit, he sensed all was not well and asked if this had to do with the dream I had posted about. I didn't want to admit it did - just a stupid dream and not even a particularly meaningful one. I thought writing out those meaningless details would end my angst about it. But it set off a chain of thought inside me and I couldn't shake it all day. So I said "yeah, maybe."
"What about it?" he asked.
I cut right to the point: "I don't know if I'm me anymore."
"What are you talking about?" he said with a bit of a laugh, "You know as well as I do that deep down, you're Tyler Blake. Your body, your sex, doesn't define you."
I sighed, a light tear fell down my cheek "This isn't about that."
"Well then what is it about?"
"I mean... is Tyler Blake me? Something deep down inside of me that I carry around, or is it a piece of meat... a body I left behind a long time ago? Just a name I used to have?"
"You lost me."
"You told me you love me, but you don't even fucking know me. You think I'm nice and domestic and motherly, but that's just because I... I look like this and I have to be this way for now. And I'll leave this body behind soon and I'll, I dunno, I'll probably go back to being the self-destructive, selfish asshole I was before."
"You don't know."
"I do, because you never were that."
"Tell that to Meghan, who will always hate me at least a little. Tell that to the girl I ran away from before that. You don't know what I've done. What I'm capable of. How I've lost good things and wrecked my life, how I've been terrible to others because I... I'm fucking broken."
He took a pause and sighed. "I do know what you're capable of, I see it every day. I've seen you at your worst, when you were out driving gangsters around in Milwaukee, and I know you're better than that. I've seen you at your best... and I've seen it a lot lately. Whatever's happened to you, it's a good thing."
I shrugged, "Either I'm still that person deep down, just pretending to be a 'Judith,' or... or who we really are is easier to erase than it should be."
"Not erase... change," he said, putting his hands on my shoulders. "But one thing is true. This whole experience has taught me how unimportant the past is. None of our baggage really matters anymore once you're in a new life."
"It does. I still think of every mistake I've ever made, every day. It will never go away."
He said, "It doesn't. Your body changes, your name changes, and suddenly nobody cares where you've been. You don't have to pretend to be the person you look like, but you can be the person you really want to be, free from the people and things in your life that told you you couldn't be that. And it's not pretending, it's real. You have changed, Tyler. And that's not a bad thing."
Then he said again, "I love you. For you."
I sat up and looked at him. I felt this rush, like... like all my walls breaking down. Like I was letting go of something I've held onto far too long.
I don't know whether it was out of love or just a need to seal up the moment somehow, but we ended up doing it. He needed a little "coaxing," which surprised me considering how often I have observed him nursing a subtle hard-on in bed, but that's probably just because I was so sudden about it. I thought it would involve more planning, but it was time. We just rushed into it, damning everything that might have spoiled the mood - including, stupidly, a condom (I ended up taking a morning-after pill the next day. Misnomer: it's actually two pills taken hours apart.) I'd love to report it was some kind of life-changing experience, but my mind was still way too far away to actually enjoy it. There were pleasurable aspects, but either Jude's body isn't totally wired for pleasure anymore or I was still subconsciously fighting it despite my honest desire. It was also, all due respect to Kitty and to Adrian, about a minute long.
Still, that's one long-delayed rite of passage finally through with. Suppose I'll find an excuse to try again, and I hope it doesn't require another emotional breakdown.
I rolled over and let him wrap his thick, hairy arms around me. I whispered very quietly, "I think I love you too."
We'll see if I can live up to it.