Fifty seven streaming services and nothing on.
I know, that’s not quite fair. One way or another almost every film ever spliced together is available somewhere, and there’s more every day. But as I aimlessly scrolled through the offerings of Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and, yes, even Tubi the other night, I just wasn’t finding anything that clicked.
I wanted to watch a story about someone like me.
Now, as we all know, it’s important to be specific with wishes. Not just any transgender tale would do. I wanted to see the kind of big, cheesy spectacle I so loved growing up — the big budget pulp stuff like Indiana Jones and Godzilla — but with a trans person in the story. …
I wasn’t expecting to see her this morning.
Most of the time I’m just stumbling through my daily routine. Shower. Dry. Shave (laser hair removal doesn’t get rid of those pesky white hairs). Deodorant. Eyeliner. It’s become something of a little dance, my girlfriend and I shuffling around and tilting mirrors to get ready for 9AM without accidentally toppling each other.
The process involves a lot of looking without really seeing. Each step is rote by now. But this morning, as I shook my hair out, I caught a little something in the mirror. I saw myself.
“Hey lady,” I said to the reflection. …
When was the last time I heard my girlfriend’s heartbeat?
We were sitting in our well-worn spots on the couch, both looking at our devices, when I leaned over to rest my head against her left side. I wanted to be close, to be warm, to stop trawling Twitter in the hopes of one thing to make me smile and instead appreciate that my love was right there.
I heard a little thump through her ribs. I tilted and angled my ear, trying to hear it louder. thump. But I couldn’t quite get it. “What are you doing?” …
We’re all still waiting for the results of the 2020 election to be announced, which means there’s a yawning gap that analysts and pundits are all-too-happy to fill. “Now is not the time to stop reading,” as the WaPo Twitter ad proclaimed, as if many of us haven’t been embroiled in the “I can’t look. Maybe just a peek…” anxiety cycle with our phones.
A favorite topic during our thumb-twiddling time is what happened to the Blue Wave. The election was supposed to be a strong repudiation of Trump and the conservative platform. …
“Maybe I’ll just move to Canada.”
The sentiment isn’t new. I remember being in college, when George W. Bush seemed like the worst thing to ever happen to American politics, and hearing the same. “If he gets elected again, I’m going to move to Canada.”
Oh, what sweet summer children we were then.
Now, as we bite our nails, pet our dogs, drink too much, and otherwise cope with the stress of the election, the option seems more attractive than ever. Even if Trump loses — please, please… — the tight electoral race has highlighted what’s been apparent for some time, namely that America is suffering from racism, science denial, and a whole litany of social ills that makes me look at my neighbors like “Really?” …
One of my favorite memories is a lack of memory. Thirty seconds, give or take a moment, framed by what I can remember.
I was sitting on the floor in front of my girlfriend, wrists on the knees of my crossed legs. I didn’t care about the other people in the room. They had their own scenes to watch or plan. My skin felt as if it were tightening and tingling, waiting for that first touch from my love.
My eyes closed just as soon as her fingertips touched my shoulder. In the luscious dark, I focused on every little stroke, scratch, and tug along my head, neck, shoulders, and chest. I wasn’t sitting on someone’s floor. …
I looked like a cat who had a disagreement with a ball of yarn.
Sitting on the edge of my couch, my eyes closed so that I might better work by feel, I tugged here and checked there to see how I might get myself out of the strange, purple tangle I had gotten myself into. Tying a chest harness onto myself wasn’t exactly like tying a shoe, after all, and pulling a single string wasn’t going to do it.
All the same, I was happy.
I can’t say that I expected to spend my free time tying myself on the couch, playing monster movies while I run loops and wraps and twists. Even when I took a literal ropes course through our local BDSM community, I felt like I was never going to get it. And that’s how these things usually go for me. I find something interesting, tell myself I probably can’t do it, and then keep at it, anyway. …
They told me I’d be born again.
All I had to do was accept him. Or Him, as it was in every piece of their literature and music. But I never felt comfortable with that.
I went to services. I tried to pray. I led grace every night as my wife held my hand. I closed my eyes and listened when everyone around me worshiped, their hands in the air.
I never raised my hands. It never felt right. The fraudulent feeling only got worse with each mass, no matter how I tried to rationalize or fake it.
I knew I didn’t belong and that I wasn’t the person they claimed to see. …
It’s always worse at night.
Just when I’m about to fall asleep, in that hazy space where the borders of consciousness tend to bend and blur, I sometimes remember something from a dead life.
The good moments are the most painful. The last one — the fragment that made me press myself closer to my slumbering girlfriend, trying to redirect my attention to the warmth where our skin touched — was left over from what used to be one of my favorite days.
A smile. The sun catching her hair. The warmth of being young and in love and having a summer that seemed to stretch out to the horizon. …
“I want to have sex this weekend,” my girlfriend said as we fished around in our curry bowls for the last specks of rice.
“Me, too,” I said, although that’s usually a given. My partner often calls me “my horny girlfriend” with a nudge and a smirk, and I can’t say she’s wrong.
“Hm. When was the last time we did?” I said after a moment. I honestly couldn’t remember what day we last indulged in each other a while. “Monday? Sunday?”
We didn’t come up with a definitive answer, and we didn’t need to. Time during the pandemic twists and turns and folds in ways that require a physics Ph.D. to understand. And even though we’re around each other all day it’s also not the sexiest thing to always be around each other all day, especially with deadlines, work frustrations, chores to do, and all the rest of it, from the tumbleweeds of dog fur that should be swept up to the looming anxiety over the upcoming election. …