First Place Winner of the Voyage Lucky No. 7 Challenge
Now baby, promise you won’t fly too high?
A man on the street gets too close when he speaks to me. His breath is a lit cigarette and the words it propels are a leering threat. I realize I’m not afraid in the same way I would have been a year ago. There’s a wary look in his eyes as they shift and he observes me further, my facial hair peeking out from under a black mask and thick clusters of eyebrows tenderly homegrown. Now it’s his turn to realize. He’s not being gross to a girl in a fabulous silver dress and a pair of sparkly fairy wings. He’s being gross to a boy fairy. Or at least a boyish girl, a girlish boy, in a dress. A really, really kickass dress. The man’s menacing five AM flirtations evaporate into a confused grunt as I push on and continue my walk home.
I think about this Sylvia Plath poem where she rises from the ashes and talks about eating all the men like air. I know it’s about her wanting to die, but it’s also about resurrection. Rebirth and the hunger it brings for more life have been swirling around inside me. And in this dress that drapes so gorgeously over my hairy muscular legs, with these brightly colored wings that take up the span of three subway seats, the feeling of rebirth pulsates through me like the Celine Dion disco remix that played triumphantly as the sun came up. It was the perfect Halloween. I guess I don’t have a lot to compare it to, but like the peak of my first chest hair, the promise of what’s coming next is everything.
I was scared when the idea first dawned on me, to go out in a dress but by choice this time. Once I thought about it, I couldn’t stop. And then I found the dress. I never knew I could love anything as much as I love being a boy in a dress. There is so much else out there for me to discover and love. It’s silly, but I am full of wonder for who I’ll become. I never wanted to be anything before. And now I desperately want to dance to the rhythm of every me yet to come.
Last night I was a fairy floating high on the raucous love of every genderfreak who has ever graced the earth. In a few hours, I’ll be an angel for not hitting my grandmother with a chair after she wakes me up at seven AM because I’m crashing in her tiny apartment and part of the deal is I go with her to church.
Part of the deal is also letting her pretend I’m still a girl.
I’ll be a demon when I call the priest a pervert over pancakes at breakfast afterwards. He gets a little too much joy out of cramming those waxy crackers down everyone’s throats.
I don’t think my grandmother is ashamed of me. But if she looks at this great big terrible it directly between the eyes, it becomes extra real. And she’s scared for me. These kinds of things still scare her. She knows what it means when the man on the street feels that I’ve deceived him. It doesn’t scare me anymore, but I understand. She doesn’t have what I have. I have these wings now, and when the wind catches my dress, the combination of the two lifts me so high into the air, I know that I’ll never come down.