This is not the way

You say: this is not the way I saw my life turning out when I was younger.

You mean you never saw the broken beauty snatched in stolen moments peace?

You never saw the sharing, the time, the flying and sliding flutter, the twinkling and trickling and strange label negotiation, the late night just because, just friends and first person news, and first person choose and confusing everyone but us, the beaches and swings and family things and and flats and rats and all our own?

You never saw the snorting laughter, the hiccup giggles, tickled tears in tents, on pillows in lounges, in arms and blankets and sticky crinkly crumbs, the drinks and winks and drugs and rugs and roles and pigeons and playlists and playthings?

You never saw the easy comfort, the beautiful connection, the sentences run on, the ridiculous riddling words, the witty banter and sweaty silly looks, the swooning sweeping surrender and experimentation excitement, the frozen frailty and fruitless frustration, the anger, the shame, at bodies broken and confused, the fighting, the fucking, the freakouts and breakdowns and tears fought and lost and never understood?

You never saw the gasps and screams and pleas in pain, the sobbing sorrow soothed in hair strokes in corners, wrapped in warming strength and demons bargained with on cold floors, bathed in care and fed when life fluttered so weakly you were the spoon that spooned the hope that held me here?

You never saw the blood, the bleeding, the brittle breath bitten back, the fight, the fight, the territory lost slow, the air lost fast, the gasping growing faint, the fainting growing frequent, the falling, the fallen wayside this side losing slipping solidly to soundless, a spectral sullen sleep?

You never saw the teeth ground, the knuckles white, the whites of eyes, the terror, the terror, the terror and the confusion and the peeking happiness seeming strange out of place, the spluttered whispers, the whispered sentences, sentencing myself to life, to have a life, a prison releasing me, but barred doors slamming on you, slamming your worst fears in your face, into your arms, into your house, your bed, gone wedding, gone wife, gone simple sired children, simple sheltered life, gone long hair, gone pretending, gone pretentious prepared script, sinking expectations, sinking sullen shameful resentment, full to bursting, bubble burst, blatant bruising reality, reality in question, realty in question, questioned orientation, questioned quiet screaming in stressed, a secret shame now switched?

You never saw the lifting fog, the head held higher, the door cracked little wider, little wider smile that’s seeming sudden appearance seems stolen from your eyes, the bottles, the pills, the packets that are propping up less and less as legs begin to stand on their own, move on their own, body can wash and eat and speak on it’s own, can speak now as you now have meagre warmth and meaner words to share with this body, no kisses for these lips, no kisses for lips labelled ‘other’, the love longed for so long, the love loved forever, this love labelled ‘girl’ is bristled twisted gnarled and in spite labelled ‘boy’?

You never saw that in your future you say, from lips that loved and spoke such strengths to guide through almost endless darkness, that swore no matter how unwell I ever was, how little able I was to work, how fragile ruined fertile, how forgotten and freakish and forsaken I felt myself to be, that you were there always, to ears that heard heart wracking sobs rip out of me, ears that listened for you from blackness, that listened to you always, that held on to everything they could, that could give everything I possibly could to you, what scraps of light and laughter left lit and laughed for you, were laughing alight because of you.

You never saw that in your future, you say, and you whisper around the point for while, because the point is both as blunt and as sharp as: ‘I never saw a ‘not female’ in my future’.

You never saw your life turning out this way, as different a life as we have had to any you could ever imagine, and as different a future as we would have had than this teenage fantastical imagining had planned out for you, at no point but now was this line drawn, a line drawn large in fear, in longing for simple, for labels to be simple, and not have to admit that the labels for who you would usually love and lust for never work when you are lusting and loving and living with them already.

You never saw your life turning out this way, and you repeat this to keep me at arms length, as you continue to tell me how much you love me and you want to be best friends with me, and lash out in words and deeds and laugh at me and make me leave the house, the home, the life we lived and laughed and loved in.

You never saw your life turning out this way, that your female fiancee would want to be a MAN, ha ha ha! You gush at mutual friends an uneasy withering pitying sympathy shotted and shrugged in synchrony, or shouted at me over shiny shuddering speeding engine revving in your red ‘relationship in ruins’ gift to yourself, as if I am supposed to be sorry for the wild variation from this supposed certain plan, the plan where I am magically happy and healthy and hot and ONE HUNDRED PERCENT female and everything is not a crushing poisonous hetronormative prison where I am both killing myself and watching myself die for that pristine prized title.

You never saw your life turning out that way, you never could see yourself with a man, I’m sure you are repeating to yourself in your head as your mouth is too busy with mine, as my growing facial hair scratches against yours as history and sexuality and personalities and bodies clash in seats, in showers, in sheets, as I’m sure the booze on your breath and the pot on mine make this all seem like so much more of a good idea than it actually is, as you are breaking down in spectacular movie cliche fashion and I am currently sleeping on a pile of holed couch cushions on the floor in my aunt’s spare room above the garage, and trying to hold my rapidly loosening grip on lucid sanity as together as the couple of hundred dollars I have left to my name.

I never saw my life turning out like this either, and -looking now with some more time between us- as much as I loved you and begged for you and hated you, and was so so so angry at you for being able to love an impossible dream more than you could me, for wanting an easy label and a simple life more than you wanted our beautiful, bizarre but brilliantly authentic one, that one is mine now, I’ve claimed it, fought for it, wept for it and screamed and ached for it, I’ve been mocked for it, harassed for it, shamed for it and paid for it in dollars and tears and blood and years, but my god if it isn’t mine. My god, if this beautiful, bizarre, brilliantly authentic life isn’t so blindingly bright I can’t even see the fact that you are no longer in it.

This isn’t the way you thought your life would turn out, and it isn’t the way I thought mine would either, but my book doesn’t go blank only a quarter of the way through any more, and I’m sorry yours didn’t work out like you always planned, but I’m not ever going to be sorry for choosing to no longer be a supporting character in my own life story.

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