Been a while since I posted one of these. I hinted at this story last time, but thought it was going to be a science fiction piece. Turned out to be more or a piece of straight realism, if fantastical in nature and subject. Anyrate, hope you dig it.
The Pandrogynous Affair
It wasn’t till I met you that I came to understand what it meant to be human. I discovered in her how lacking life is as a singular human. A being stuck in one entity. Trapped in only my skin.
She freed me. She took me and released me from the constraints we built on humanity, the chains and cages we fashioned to keep us always empty and halfcomplete.
Her moustache handlebarred over thin delicate lips and her eyebrows curled up and away in an Oz kind of way. Her tophat askew, her suspenders long and loose, she asked me how long I had dreamt of being a woman.
I don’t want to be a woman.
She cocked her head, eyebrows dancing, Of course you do. I can see it in your eyebrows. She reached towards my face and ran a finger over them, So thin and delicate, freshly tweezed.
Batting her hand away I said, What do you want?
A smile and her moustache fluttered, I just want to talk.
It wasn’t till we were naked that I was completely sure she was a woman. Unbinding her breasts, removing her moustache, the eyebrows, she emerged from the cocoon of illusions she built. I asked her why the moustache and eyebrows and general manliness and she said that the way we look is only part of who we are and in changing appearance we can become others. I asked her why she would want to do that and she told me she was an artist as if that explained it all away.
Seeing her naked flesh and feeling it pressed against mine, in my hands–all other thoughts and questions and worries sort of dissolved.
I dissolved. That’s how I felt that night. We didn’t become one skin or one entity then, but I became a part of her. She was stronger than me and more prepared for the act of love. And so she swallowed me.
I remember touch. I remember waking to her touch not sure how I was waking again without sleeping in between.
You got lost, she said.
I swallowed and rubbed my eyes, tried to push myself out of bed but the effort wore me away.
Sh, she said running her hands through my hair, You weren’t ready for me. You’re not strong yet, but you will be. When you know who you are, we’ll come together and be one. We shall be two bodies with one heart and mind. Even after Death, I will be you and you will be me.
My first thoughts upon hearing this was a mix of sweetness, confusion, fear, and derangement. I had only known her for one night and already we were discussing eternity.
She taught me how to be myself. Encouraging me to fight for my desires, to be the human I desired. I want you to admire yourself, she said. I want you to be proud of who and what you are, always.
I gave up my job and we began travelling. It didn’t matter where or how. I wanted to travel and so she pushed me into the air and watched me fly. We bounced around the globe doing odd jobs. Giving tours, teaching english, selling and performing art, singing, dancing–we did it all over the course of three years. We filled out passports twice over and we had begun to transform. She followed me through hormonal treatment and watched as the estrogen changed my shape and took away my hair. She taught me how to wear makeup, how to dress, and how to walk with heels like it came naturally.
She began to dress like me, to do her makeup and hair identical to mine. It wasn’t that she chose my clothes or the way I wore my hair or makeup, but that I told her who I wanted to be and how I wanted to look. She gave me that. She found me the right clothes, painted me the right way, and then she copied.
Why do you change yourself for me?
Because I know myself, she said while straightening my hair, When you know yourself, it’s easy to change for others. And also: I love you.
It wasn’t the first time she said she loved me but it was the first time she said it while we looked in each other’s eyes, even if her eyes were reflected in the mirror.
The first time was much different.
We were drunk and she was horny though we’d spent two hours dissolving into one another. This was the first week we met and she enjoyed taking charge and handling me. Throwing me around the bedroom, penetrating me and saying filthy things, calling me beautiful names. I was her princess and she’d thrust inside me and then take me in her mouth.
We showered and while I washed my hair she jumped from the shower and flung open the door. I chased her as she ran naked down the hallway screaming that she loved me, kicking every other door she passed, cackling like a lunatic.
I tackled her in front of the elevators and I was already inside her when the security guards found us and we didn’t stop, even when the police handcuffed us apart.
All the while, she threw her head in all directions screaming: I love you.
We returned to america and I was no longer the man who left. I was now much closer to the woman I had always dreamt of. For many years I believed this dream was about the phantom girl I would fall in love with. As I grew older and the dream never faded, I came to realise the person haunting me was the human I wanted to be.
She helped me get there.
And when we returned to america to build ourselves a home deep in the woods of northern Minnesota, away from cities and people, she began to layout or transformation. How we would become one person in two bodies.
We learnt to walk. The walk had to be new. It couldn’t be mine or hers, it had to be ours. So we took my walk and her walk and rewrote the steps so they blended as one. We didn’t want to erase who we were, but highlight who we are now. To make the plural singular and the singular plural. Our walk carried echoes of both of us, just as we began to train our voices. Sitting in the darkness of night in our cabin in the woods, we spoke and spoke, recording our conversations, trying with every word, straining with each syllable, to find the other’s voice in our mouths. In this sonic tug of war, we managed to meet in the middle. Her cadence took over but my tone shines brighter in our voice. We taught ourselves new mannerisms, new phrases, new ways of thinking and being. We stopped looking at the world through mine or her eyes, and only saw it through our eyes. When we made love we no longer dissolved but synergistically expanded. Sometimes we’d fill the cabin with mirrors and make love, watching us come as one.
The final piece of transformation was purely cosmetic. We implanted her cheeks to better match mine, reshaped our noses, hairlines, ears, eyes, and chins, and gave me breast implants to match her natural ones. I was always a rather tiny man so our figures were never very different, though I’m five inches taller than her. We figured there was nothing we could do about that and so we used it to our advantage in our expansion of self. I gave her a higher perspective and she gave me a lower one.
After two years of becoming one human, we emerged from our cabin in the woods in the middle of nowhere and burnt it to the ground.
We returned to our life of artistry but the performance never ended. Who we became was our art and our love: our life. For ten years we travelled the world as one human with two bodies. We gave live performances of our lovemaking to the world. We sang and danced and painted. We lived. People followed us with cameras as we bought groceries, went on picnics. We were celebrities, not only in fringe culture, but in pop culture. We were hated and received countless Death threats, not only from the religious conservatives, but from people of all backgrounds. We were an abomination and they took our name as a curse:
We survived. Though they tried to kill us, to stop us, our love carried through. And even though many hated us, there were more who were fascinated, and even a great many who loved us. We spoke before Congress, before the UN, at fundraisers for human rights. We were a sensation, not only as artists and celebrities, but finally as political rabblerousers and true freethinkers: revolutionaries!
We destroyed the boundaries of gender and individuality. We broke down what it meant to be human and remade that word.
We stepped out of the past and into a future of brightness and love.
For me, we finally became human.
And then she died.
The cancer took her rapidly and I begged for the doctors to give me her cancer, to implant it right in my brain where it had grown in hers.
They locked me away.
They didn’t understand.
She made me human and then we forged a new one. A new meaning to the word, to the species.
And then I lost the half that taught me to be whole.
But in her dying, I discovered a new meaning in our experiment of life. She was now the incorporeal aspect of humanity and I was the one yet bound to physicality. Together we had finally connected the brain, body, and spirit.
Even through Death we remain as one.