When I heard that Simon wasn't going back to his natural body, I had a selfish response... Joy was my friend, and losing her hurt, and that pain was compounded by seeing this other person wearing her face - this person whose personality is about as far from the Joy I knew as I could imagine.
We still live together because it made sense for him not to go out and find a new place if he was only here for a year. My hope was that the next Joy would be somebody I could get along with better. I don't feel like Simon enjoyed it either, especially as he grew more accustomed to femininity and didn't need my advice or help - seems like all I do for him is judge the way he is representing my friend, and maybe occasionally how many partners he has had since becoming sexually active - I don't mean to, but I can't help but notice.
One of the things that has made life in the house between me and Simon difficult is that I keep odd hours - he has to be up during the day and I'm more of a creature of the night. Mostly it's no problem since once he's left for work he doesn't return until dinner (if at all - he was going out a lot for a while, as you might guess) and by then I'm up. But in the morning, if he doesn't make a quick, quiet exit, it can be irksome.
So this morning, when he was seemingly making an effort to bang every closet door and stomp around as angrily as possible, while muttering curses at full volume. (Shit! Fucker! Where the fuck are you?) you can imagine my displeasure.
(You'll notice I'm referring to him by his former name and gender identity... I know the world sees him as Joy, a "she," and it's not like he bristles as that, but he's never told me he's self-adopting the female pronouns, so I'm respecting that until told otherwise... likewise, I have a hard time calling him "Joy" because that was the name of someone I knew and cared about and although she still appears to be alive, she is not, and, well... that hurts.)
I went downstairs, dressed in my PJ's (a ratty old tee I got at SDCC years ago and some shorts) somewhat intending to chew him out, but I guess my sympathy got the better of me so I just asked "What's happening?"
He glared at me with irritation out of the corner of his eye. He was dressed smartly, in a light blue skirt suit (a short one showing off his legs, of course,) but his hair was ratty. His eyes looked puffy, like he was on the brink of tears.
"What's happening is... I can't find my shoes. Fuck, fuck, I wanted to wear these heels today but I can only find one and it's driving me crazy. Fuck!"
I didn't say any of the thoughts that came into my head -- that he could probably just pick another pair of shoes (maybe he's anal about his outfits, or maybe they're just the most comfortable, who knows, I wear Converse.) Or that he wouldn't be having this problem if he was more careful about wear he puts his things (an ongoing issue between us.) Instead, I just quietly helped him look - behind doors, under cushions and furniture... all while he snapped at me, "Don't you think I already looked there? God!"
"Okay, fine," I hissed back, "Just trying to help."
"I still have to finish my make-up and do my hair... goddamnit, you know this doesn't just happen" - he gestured to his face and hair, indicating his appearance. "I never had to put up with this shit as a man. Fuck!!"
Now, it's not like Simon has never ever thrown a tantrum, but I could tell the timing of this one meant it was probably starting to hit him just what being stuck like this was going to mean. To him, being like me -- setting your own hours and wearing pajamas to work (at home) wasn't going to be an option. Even dressing for comfort as a woman seems a bit alien to him. No, Simon has made it clear that if he's got to be a woman he's going to dress to impress and flaunt what he's got, and he takes it as seriously as any woman I've ever seen.
So my guess is, the news that he was to be spending another year this way equates to another year of stressing about appearances and fashion in a way that, although he's grown very practiced, isn't always the most natural and easy way to do things. He's basically torn between two worlds.
I told him to go do his make-up and hair, whatever he needed, and I would continue to look for the shoe, and reluctantly he did. It turned out to be in the kitchen, under the table - I have no idea how it got there or where that was in relation to the other, but it doesn't matter. I brought it to him, where he was wrapping his hair around a pink curling iron, tears freshly dabbed away from his cheeks.
"Thanks," he said, as if nothing had happened, "I owe ya."
I turned to go, but stopped. "Hey... are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm, uh... I'm fine." he stated uncertainly. For a moment it seemed like he was going to say more, but then he turned back to the mirror to finish his hair, then smoothed out the creases in his blouse, and cleared his throat to regain his poise.
"Anyway, I've got to run. Got a showing at 9. Ciao." And left as if nothing was wrong. It was very Stepford.
It's hard to tell what's going on in that pretty blonde head ever since he was essentially told he would not be getting his natural body back this year, although today gave some new insights. I know he's okay with a lot of facets of being female - and has certainly made it work for him - but I think he still regards it as being lesser, and that not getting a chance to go back has shaken him in a way he's not comfortable expressing. I hope he realizes I'm here if he needs him.