The excitement of a new job has worn off and I’m feeling very tired, even after a four-hour shift. Everything aches and I feel fluey. We had some customers in this week who kept blowing their noses on our napkins. I tried not to touch them when I picked up their plates but I still managed to touch a wet one. I immediately went to the back and washed my hands at our own basin. Yuck.
The one bright spot was meeting Marlene, the dyke who wanted to meet me after work. We went to a different café where most of the people were women. Marlene explained it was a refuge for queer students so I felt comfortable straight off.
‘Now Michael, tell me your story then I’ll tell you mine.’
‘Where to begin? Well, I was pronounced a girl when I was born and my parents named me after my godmother. I don’t mention my baptismal name as it’s not a part of who I am. I grew up in the suburbs and loved climbing trees and kicking a football. I don’t remember playing with my dolls as I was always outside. I do remember falling out of a tree and knocking myself unconscious, or so I was told. Anyway, I woke up in my pjs and Dad’s Mum was cradling me. It must have been a shock for them. I was forbidden to climb that tree so I would wait for my Dad to drive off somewhere and then make a beeline for it. I made sure I didn’t fall out again. Oh, and Mum was busy with my little sister.
Then my Dad died and I wanted to be the man of the house, mow the lawns, etc. when I was still only seven. I couldn’t understand why Mum wanted another man in the house or someone to mow the lawns, which were pretty extensive as we lived on a corner block. But that’s what happened and I stayed at an all-girls school til I was in Year 11 and someone called me a lesbian. That really shook me and I vehemently denied it to myself. Then I met someone who had been a boy and was now a girl. The light went on for me even though I had never met an FtM.’
‘Wow, my story is pretty boring. Growing up in the burbs and going to a mixed school, at least I got to socialise with both boys and girls. There was one girl I had a crush on and wanted to ask her out but was too shy. Besides, I spent all my money on cigs. I surfed the Internet and found tons of info on same sex relationships and the “It gets better project.” If a woman can make me happy then I’ll go along. Then I saw you in your café and decided that a man in my life might not be too farfetched. I haven’t been stalking you, just watching you. What do you reckon?’
‘I’ll have to think about it, OK?