I'm a relatively new Inn Person, so I haven't talked with many in the community, but it feels like what I am trying to do right now - changing and then immediately trying to start my own new life on my own terms - it's pretty rare. That's natural - most people, upon having their identity torn from them, aren't going to say "what would I do with a clean slate?" even if their new face didn't come with a letter asking them not to mess things up. But a life's got inertia to it, too, and just picking up and starting over isn't easy even when you can.
And I didn't know if that was going to be the case when I got back to the Inn. The room hadn't changed since I left it but I was acutely aware that there was no leftover bag in the room to tell me what I had in store. I tried to be chill about it - like, okay, if these are going to be my last days as a woman, try a few things, like having a spa day or putting on a kind of sexy dress and doing some light flirting at a bar, not looking to get picked up, but just to see what it's like to be on the other end of some guy's game, maybe be more empathetic later. Don't get me wrong, I brought along pepper spray, but thankfully didn't need it.
Still, it was a nerve-wracking week or so, knowing that I was going to come out of it as neither myself nor Elaine, but I could be pretty much anyone else. It was a relief when I finally felt the tingle other folks talked about, although I couldn't stay up for the change; it had been a long day that ended with a few drinks.
I didn't really feel different when I woke up until I saw that my arm was white. And not just Caucasian-white, but "Eastern European girl who hasn't been out of the house all winter" white. I knew that was the way to bet - Jonah becoming Krystle probably used up all the odds of one black person becoming another by random chance in this place, given how white Maine is - but, man, that is a hell of a thing to be confronted with. I felt like I'd lost something profound in that moment, even more so than when I watched Elaine's breasts grow out of my chest.
And speaking of breasts, yeah, as soon as I'd examined my hand enough to think about how weird it was that the designs on my nails were now kind of off-center, I sat up in bed and let the sheet drop away from my chest. I could already feel just from sitting up that I was still a woman, but sometimes you need to see it. My breasts had grown a bit and sagged a bit overnight, and the darker space around my nipples was a bit bigger. They're not bad at all, and when I copied them in my hands they felt pretty solid, but not as close to perky as is been as Elaine.
The rest of my body was like that too - a bit softer around the waist, a bit more spread to my butt, more in the thighs. I did feel weirdly guilty about the shape I'd left my bush in for Elaine when I saw how nearly trimmed I was down there (I was kind of skittish with the razor). After I'd seen all I could from that angle, I went to the mirror.
Not a bad new face. Some lines around the eyes and dimples that tried to make up for the fact that it didn't seem to smile quite as wide, brown hair that was thinner than Elaine's but not really thin, decent lips. I pegged myself at about forty or so, which was disappointing, but doable.
There was noise outside the room, so I figured it was time to find out how things had shaken out. Elaine's clothes mostly fit, although I wouldn't recommend going up a bra size or two overnight (the amazing cleavage doesn't really make up for the straps digging into your skin), so I want like the guy in a way-too-small bathrobe trying to figure out what had happened. It was a weird scene, 'cause by the time July rolls around most of the "reversal chains" have broken and it's just people who don't know what they're in for. I explained what little I knew about the situation five times while asking if anybody had a suitcase that looked like it belonged to a middle-aged white woman in their room.
Nobody did, but someone was able to get into one connected by an adjoining bathroom, and I found my new identity. My eyes went kind of wide at the driver's license I pulled from the purse, because on the one hand, damn, Magda Polawski, you're doing pretty darn all right for almost 48, but on the other, that's almost two full decades lost on my part. Then I got to the letter which Lindsey had left me, which spent a lot of time filling me in on Harmon but kind of soft-sold that Magda's life was mine, free and clear, should I want it.
None of the people at the Inn, looking at a year of trying to live someone else's life, really wanted to hear me talk about how that's some monkey's paw shit, but Cary and Elaine at least put on a good show of being sympathetic. I mean, yeah, I want to make things work with J.T., but 47-year-old white woman isn't exactly easy mode.
But you've gotta try, right? Lucky for me, Lindsey left me notes about how to "deadhead" on a flight, so I got to fly to New York for free. I watched a bunch of YouTube videos about making yourself look younger via makeup before flying out and then got my hair done as soon as I landed. Lindsey, not knowing who was going to become Magda, had traveled to Maine with a bunch of different clothing options, but probably didn't figure on someone like me being grateful for a little black dress and matching four-inch heels.
Heck, it was surreal to me as I changed in a food court restroom and then did what I could with the makeup, texting with J.T. about dinner reservations and how, no, I wasn't going to send a selfie so he could recognize me. But I was kind of riding high on the idea that somehow the universe was arranging things so that two people who would never have been paired two years ago could be together, kind of excited about Act III. I must have spent a half hour on the makeup, staying completely over twice and just being real timid, but eventually I decided I didn't look too bad.
J.T. had reserved us a table at a nice restaurant, and I managed to get in and sit across from him quietly enough to make him jump. The dress showed plenty of cleavage, so his eyes were drawn there before my face. "Wow. You're, uh--"
"I was thinking 'not Elaine', but I guess that's part of it. You look good, though. Really good..." I briefly felt ashamed for how easily we guys let boobs distract us.
We spent the meal making small talk, about sports and how cute real-Elaine being excited about getting her life back was. He mentioned that he'd had an audition the other day, well off Broadway, because he was getting excited about digging into and creating character histories again after the Inn.
It was delicious, and we took a can back to his place, as I mentioned I had no place of my own in New York, and it was too late to spring all this on Pete. We drank some wine, and then made hilariously flimsy excuses for heading toward the bed. It felt really good for him to unzip my dress and then undo my bra, supporting my breasts with his hands while kissing my neck. It felt good being a little softer in his hands, and we played around a lot before I was on my back his face right above mine, him entering me, both of us excited but kind of terrified about what might come next.
About that, let's just say that the over-sharing ladies at a previous job were maybe onto something when they told us embarrassed millennials that a woman's body doesn't really figure out how to princely orgasm right away. I was like, well, shit, that part works when we got done.
Of course, I couldn't just stay there right away - Magda had a job, a lease, and a biological daughter on the other side of the country, and I couldn't just abandon them without causing trouble. So, just a day later, I was flying "back" there to figure out how I could easily get myself back in that bed on a permanent basis.
Naturally, Harmon and I met when I was going through Magda's closet, trying to figure out which clothes to keep and which to give away. As much as I had fun pushing my boobs into J.T.'s face that first night, there was some stuff theft which had either been there a long time or which probably was the result of Magda still seeing a younger woman in the mirror. I may look somewhere halfway between my real age and what my new passport says, but I kind of think Magda was still stuck in an even younger mindset, not quite competing with Alicia but thinking she was still that girl.
And I can see how she thinks that - there's a box of Polaroids in her closet, and young Magda had a lot of what her daughter does. And Alicia is hot as fuck, just everything I am now but tighter and smoother. I don't feel desire when I look at her, but I probably feel a little more appreciation than someone who currently shares half my DNA with her probably should. On top of that, she's got this attitude to her where she knows exactly what she's got and she won't barter access to it, or even her attention, cheaply. I've dated enough girls like that to know it gets exhausting fairly quickly, but even though I know how insanely inappropriate the thought is and how uninterested Harmon is in being someone's girlfriend, I notice. And, yes, I couldn't help but think of the roughly twenty-five extra years I might have gained if Harmon had come to the Inn.
That he didn't pay me much mind is kind of useful, though - if he doesn't want to play family, that's a load off me. I can decide some stuff is going to go and just email the original Magda and Alicia about it rather than finding time to schedule talks with him. I can ask the airline about a transfer to New York and feel confident that the option to quit is in my back pocket, because he's not attached to working with "Mom". I can get all the way to "hey, either sign this or don't" and only feel a little bad about how losing the apartment is going to mess with his life.
That got him upset, although he really had no right; was he sure that every future Magda was going to look after him like Lindsey? Quite honestly, I kind of think she should have put her foot down earlier, but then again, I'm not exactly the posted child for letting pay relationships go after visiting the Inn.
Still, I'm looking forward to really making a new start in New York next week. It's crazy how much I miss J.T. already.
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