Monday, February 5, 2018

Men of the Skull Chapter 8: Ashley

In this chapter, I introduce another person.

Ashley was my first Penn State crush.  She was whip smart (far smarter than me), beautiful, and had poise.  To me and my, well, limited experience, she was everything I expected a college woman to be.

And, she actually talked to me.

Unlike Judy (mentioned in a previous chapter,) Ashley was unattached.  You see, Judy had a boyfriend, who had graduated the previous year and saw her on weekends.  Ashley was free.

Im my mind, college relationships would be about discussing books, studying together, laughing while making dinner together, and, of course, passionate sex.  It was grown up stuff, not high school kid stuff.  I had no idea what I was doing- I was a lost in a dream.  I wanted... actually I had no idea what I wanted.

In many ways, I just wanted the Pain I was feeling to just go away.  I was still hurting over the breakup several months before with Julianne (first girlfriend) despite the fact that it was a one sided relationship doomed to fail.  I wanted the deep Pain, that I no longer dared name, to go away.  And I knew just how to end that Pain- the Pain of being Transgender (I didn't have a name for it then; I thought I was just a freak): get into a relationship with a grown up relationship with a Woman.

I just had NO idea how to do that.

In any case, I have no pictures of Ashley then.  I had no camera that semester.  I found her on Facialbook while I was writing this book, and we connected.  She remembered me.  She's married, many kids, great career- exactly what she wanted.   However, like so many, she disappeared when I transitioned.


Chapter 8: Ashley

Tuesday, Sept 9, 1986 Law and Morality in ‘Baby M’ case

            I stood with my back to her all day.  I sneaked glances at her ass as I worked.  I was on whopper board so the customers were staring at my ass all day, so it seemed fair.  See, behind me were the counter, and the cash registers, and running one of the registers was Ashley.
Ashley was a fellow PSU student, my age, majoring in mechanical engineering where she had a 4.0 in her junior year.  She came from my neck of the woods- Trappe, Pa.  That’s next to Collegeville where Julianne lived.  Really close by.

From that day's Daily Collegian (from the online archive)

Ashley was maybe five foot eight.  Her chestnut colored hair flowed just past her shoulders.  Her faint blonde highlights commanded attention as well.  Her eyes were blue as robin eggs and just as fragile.  Her face was delicate with subtle cheekbones and a bit of a pointed chin.  She wore a lot of foundation to cover some ancient acne scars- her only flaw.  I’ll bet she shed a lot of tears over those- really. 
Ashley was thin with very delicate arms.  Her breasts were a small B at most, but that was ok.  Her outstanding feature was her lower body- her hips and butt.  Curved perfectly and just the right size- that balance between perfection and fat: hypnotic.  That was a balance- delicate as an egg yolk.  Years later, Jennifer Lopez would rise to incredible fame for her ass.  Ashley’s put J-Lo’s to shame.  Really.  Hell, everything about her was absolutely feminine, down to the blush when she smiled.  I’d never met anyone like her.
In fact, Ashley looked like an older version of Julianne with a better body and cuter face.  Does that make sense?  Well, it’s true.
Most important, Ashley was really nice.  She didn’t realize how cute she was.  In fact she was fairly shy. 
So why did she make me feel so nervous and self conscious?
Was it because she reminded me so much of Julianne?  I mean I’d met several girls but let’s face it, I still missed Julianne.  Badly.  I still hadn’t worked everything through yet.  Hey, I wasn’t even twenty and this was my first real breakup.  Give me a fucking break!
Maybe it was because I was still a child, and she was a woman?
Anyway, so we talked a bit when we weren’t busy, which is how I learned all about her.  Did I mention her sorority?  Kappa Phi: the Christian service sorority. 

From that day's Daily Collegian (from the online archive)

The customers began to fade away and Ashley’s shift ended.  She worked until two, while I was stuck there until three.  Management pulled me back to burger board where I’d make everything for the rest of my shift.  As she walked by, Ashley stopped.
“It was a pleasure meeting you Lance!” she said, smiling. 
“Pleasure was mine!  It’s so rare to meet someone as smart as she is beautiful!”  What a fucking corny line.

She blushed and looked down at her feet.  “Thanks” she said.  She looked at me, said goodbye, and left.  I finished my shift and rode home, thinking about her.
From that day's Daily Collegian (from the online archive)

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