Saturday, April 28, 2018

Delia's Writing Challenger #3: Text

I was sent another writing challenge, this time by the incredible Delia.  I procrastinated.  Oops.

So here it is, Delia.  Top billing.  639 words.

Topic:  500 words: you accidentally text someone something revealing, who is it? What did you write? What were the repercussions?


It was another day after work.  Retail sucks, but I needed to pay the bills while going for my Master’s degree.  I spilled my soda down my dress walking to my night class and cursed myself as I blotted it up.  All over my left breast and skirt.  Great.  I found the classroom, and was waiting for class to begin when I received a text from my friend Charlotte. 

When you first went on HRT, were you scared?  Did it affect your penis?

My coworkers didn’t know it, but I’m transgender.  I was born with a male body.  I transitioned to female five years ago, having facial surgery and “bottom” surgery as well.  It was my secret- I didn’t want to be judged as a transwoman- just as a woman.  I scrubbed my online life the best I could, and moved to a different state.  

No one knew me here.  I was safe.  

Makeup and photo by Amanda Richards

In any case, I quietly mentored other women beginning their transitions.  Charlotte was one of them- she was 20, slim, and scared.  HRT is Hormone Replacement Therapy- where one takes hormones to block testosterone and also feminize the body.

I turned off my phone as class began.

At a break, I turned my phone on again, but I didn’t realize that another text arrived.  This one was from a coworker, asking about swapping shifts.  I read it, turned off my phone again, and forgot about it.  I didn’t really like the guy: Greg.  He was a misogynistic jerk.

After class, I walked to my car.  My dress felt cold where I’d tried to clean the spill during breaks.  I turned on my phone, and typed my response to Charlotte.  I usually respond to her quickly.

HRT is a scary step.  Once the changes start, there is now going back.  Yes, estrogen will make your penis shrink, possibly significantly.  It will also render you sterile, so if you want children, get some sperm frozen.  My penis lost over half its size from HRT, which didn’t help GCS.  (GCS is Gender Confirmation Surgery- “the Operation.”)

I sent it, and forgot about it. 

An hour later, I received another text from Charlotte. 

Hello?  Was my question too personal?  No answer?

I thought “wait, I DID answer” and checked my phone. 

I’d sent the text to Greg. 

Oh shit!

By then, it was past 11 pm, and there was nothing I could do.  What was done was done.
I arrived at work the next morning for an “opening” shift on “Customer Service.”  Greg was scheduled for 11 AM, so I had two hours before he arrived.  I was very nervous.  Would he tell others?  Would he think the text was a joke? 

At 10 AM, another coworker, Bob, arrived and clocked in.  He worked in another department, and we were cordial.  He didn’t speak to me- didn’t even look at me as he passed.  Normally he’d say “hello” or something.

Did he know?

At 11, Greg arrived and punched in.  He looked at me very intensely.  I said hello, as I always did.  He replied “what was with that text you sent last night?” 

All morning I’d thought of different possible answers to that inevitable question.  I decided that I’d be honest- otherwise lies would compound on lies, and I hated lies.

“That was meant for someone I’m mentoring.  I’m transgender, and I’d appreciate if you’d keep that to yourself.”

His face twisted into disgust for a flash before he caught himself.  “Well, a bit late for that,” he said and walked away.

I felt my heart sink.  It was like I’d learned of a death in the family- but that death was me.  My secret was out- there was no way to change it. 

No one would ever see me the same way again. 

I never felt so helpless.

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