Surprisingly enough, I haven't felt the need to post much since everything went down between me and Kitty back in May. There has been a lot of day-to-day stuff that might have been interesting but really just fades away.
Kit and I have, at best, been treating each other like co-workers. We see each other around the house and try to be polite but generally keep our distance. At our worst times, we snipe at each other because I suspect there's still some bitterness coming my way for not trying harder to make things last. Sometimes Dylan gets drafted into our drama, which I hate. The kid's life is already messed up enough without essentially being a pawn in a "divorce."
We eat separately - it sucks that we can't seem to stand sitting down at a table together, but he's been working late (on purpose, to avoid me?) so he just gets his meal when he gets home. We alternate weeks sleeping in the spare bedroom (I was going to suck it up and move in there, but he insisted we be "fair.")
I dropped in on Meghan for a weekend at the beginning of the month. It felt good to get out of the house but I'm not sure that was the right place to go, especially considering her boyfriend was around. They've been together for a long while now and while I could tell she was uncomfortable showing off in front of me, it's not like I could ask for too much privacy. She does her best to downplay it but I see the way he makes her smile, how happy they are to be around each other. Maybe there's a bit of guilt inside of her for being happy in front of me and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit jealous of him, but I'm doing my best to move on.
He must have been pretty confused why Meg was so keen to host this older, married woman, but you know, we just explained it as one of those odd friendships people make. She also said it made her feel a bit wrong to be unable to come clean and admit that I was her ex... and she later added, it felt strange to try to imagine me as Tyler, even though this is the fourth face she's known me with. (That didn't feel good but again I tried not to take it personally. She doesn't know Judith!Tyler well.)
It was an interesting moment, greeting each other after so long apart... she's only seen me a few times with this face, but we embraced like old friends. I can see her searching me every so often to see the Tyler she knows behind my eyes.
She complimented my shorter hairstyle and said I was really getting the hang of makeup. I told her it had been a must for the ladies at the Events company, you always had to look good and put on a good face - jewelry, heels, lipstick, everything. And Kitty was very into teaching me, not to mention what I remembered from my brief experiments as Lauren.
She looks different too. Now that her knee has healed she's working out a bit more. She's wearing her hair differently, longer, coloring it. Being a woman - ostensibly a straight one - hasn't erased all my lingering feelings, and in fact I probably appreciate her looks more now that I'm on this side of the equation. It was different when we were "Lauren and Tasha," because Tasha was sexy in a very obvious way, and while I could gawk at her body it was almost hard to treat her like a real person, because she was so tall, skinny and big-breasted, especially while I was so much smaller and childlike, dealing with my own issues with Lauren's body. What I feel for her now is only a dulled version of what I felt as Alan... after all, there's more to attraction than just seeing someone and thinking they're hot. It's about the feelings that appearance brings up. I see her, and in my mind, I'm not necessarily Judith anymore. But then there's a chemical reaction that conflicts with that and makes me land on "Hmm, just a fellow woman whose appearance I appreciate, but a very important person to me anyway." It's almost indescribable, to feel that change, that lack of a feeling that used to be there.
It doesn't help that Justin, her boyfriend, is a really handsome guy. Pretty eyes, in good shape but not freakishly so. Short, wavy, well-styled hair. I wouldn't mind having a body like his next time.
With my luck though...? I don't even want to think about it.
I'm getting off topic, but a lot of what we talked about was my trip to the Inn at the end of the month, and the then-recent news of Jordan's brother Max. These ladies, they make the chump who stole my body look like an amateur, but I bet they can be dealt with. I really hope for the best for those guys.
I've had some issues to deal with on my own. It's been stressful, trying to organize people into various waves, but the key issue for me has been getting Olivia, Dylan, and his parents their bodies back. Everything else feels optional. (Okay, I would also like for the real O'Riley kids - the ones whose bodies Dylan's parents are in - to get to go back to being kids.) Knock on wood, but I feel like I've got all my ducks in a row.
"I can't help but worry," she said. "You're throwing yourself into the great unknown again, just so a family can be reunited."
I smiled modestly, "What choice have I got? I don't belong here."
"Maybe not," she shrugged, "But you grew into it nicely. When the chips were down, you made a good mother."
"Yeah. Can I be honest? The worst part of this is giving this up. It feels strangely - dangerously - like I'm giving up my own child, not just returning the kid to his real parents. On the one hand, it's putting things where they belong, on the other it's like giving up a piece of myself. I should be more excited to be on my own again..."
She didn't hide her smile at this. "Oh, Tyler... you'll be a real parent someday."
I got very teary at that. Maybe it will happen. I can't even think about it until who knows when - the unlikely chance I ever have an opportunity to live a life that's my own. That would be an end to all this: endless shifting around, taking up other peoples' lives, having my biology monkeyed with every year.
Meg wrapped her arms around me while I tried not to cry.
"Remember the time..." she finally said, "When I was Tasha, and I spilled Orange Soda on my top at the mall... and those Bro's at the next table said I should take it off so it would dry... and you threatened to stuff them in a garbage can?"
I laughed, "Heh... I would have done it, you know."
"You weighed 90 Lbs. You weren't stuffing either of them anywhere."
We laughed a while and reminisced about old times late into the night, trying hard not to think about the future.
In the morning, I left relatively early. Before I got in the car, I turned to her and said, "I want what you have."
She joked, "A giant butt? Because you kinda already do."
I rolled my eyes. "My butt's not giant. And neither is yours. No, I mean, with Justin. You did good."
"Thank you," she said, "It's not perfect, but it's pretty close. I know you'll find it, too, if you're lucky enough to settle down at last. I bet it's sooner than you think."
I did my best to resist the urge to say what we both knew I was thinking - that I wished things had gone differently between us, that the year I spent pining for her paid off better than me running off in fear and frustration, that somehow the stars had aligned that we could patch things up. She didn't need to hear that (although now that I'm back in New Hampshire I feel more comfortable saying so - again, this is stuff she probably already knows.) But it was always on my mind. It's probably for the best, for all of us, if I wind up in a body where we can't get back together again even if she were single. To remove temptation, to really close and lock that door behind me and move forward. I will always have feelings for her, I will always miss her and wonder "what if," but... well, I don't really get the luxury of a do-over with her.
She leaned into the car and kissed me on the cheek, in a gesture I spent the entire drive home analyzing.