On My BFF, pt. 4: You’ve Got to be Fucking Kidding Me

I was doing okay at the regular update thing there for a little while, but as so often happens, life got in the way. C’est la vie, here we are, back for part 3.

Oh wait, this is part 4–damn, I was so proud of that rhyme.

“Naomi,” I said. “I don’t think that it’s a fetish.”

In truth, I had already known; from the very beginning of our relationship some three years before, I had known. But for all the reasons I wrote about early on in this blog, I never, never wanted to admit it. But here we were, in a cheap motel room, with me finally saying aloud to another human being the thing that I had never, ever even whispered to myself. Sure, I had prayed to God many, many times in my youth to let me wake as a girl, but I had always dissociated when I did that: “I just want to know what it’s like”; “you can turn me back after a day”. This time was more real than any of those had been, because for the first time, I was acknowledging that it was something that I actually felt, actually wanted.

My whole being was shaking. I couldn’t breathe. I could feel my voice quaking and cracking as I gave life to the damning secret I had kept to myself for so long. I think I may have been looking her in the eyes when I said it; I did very little of that for the rest of the night.

“I know,” she had assured me earlier, trying to get me to finally say it. “I know, but you have to say it. Don’t make me say it.” She had repeated this mantra again and again, always with a voice which conveyed deep sadness, but deeper, primal empathy.

She had been the one talking through all the time I couldn’t. Now, her own voice was leaving her. “What does that mean?” was all she seemed able to manage.

“Naomi, you know what it means.”

I’ve started and stopped writing this post several times now. Turns out, burying the wound of that night has made it both difficult to recall the specific details, and to type them out without melting into a puddle of tears. So yeah, I’ve been busy the past few weeks, but honestly, I’ve just not known how I was going to write this post.

I guess I’ll just continue. Probably three weeks now since I wrote that sentence, and more than a month since I started this post. Okay, here it goes.

God, the details are hard to get straight.

I was the first to lose it. I mean, I really lost it, to the point that I now have a greater understanding of what the phrase even means. I was visibly bawling by this point, shaking as though in shock from a broken limb. I was scream-crying, hyperventilating, and feeling more than I ever had by orders of magnitude.

By contrast, Naomi, was still and calm as a stone.

“Okay,” she said. “Okay.”

But the horrible truth of that initial calm was that I had to watch the impact of that confession visibly wash across her face. Each individual synapse seemed to fire to the rate of once per second. I saw as she helplessly became subsumed by the titanic weight of the thing.

And then, I saw the break. It was as though I heard it snap. She began bawling herself.

“This is why you didn’t want to marry me,” she sobbed.

“No!” I protested. “No, I do want to marry you, I do! I always have.”

I had wanted to propose to her, months and months before, but the timing never really seemed right. In truth, I knew it was because I couldn’t marry her in the state I was in.

When Naomi recalls this story, she seems to only remember the negative responses she had. By the end, there had certainly been several of those. But what I remember most, what still stuns me nearly as much today as it did then, was how strong she was for me in the beginning of my confession.

You see, it wasn’t just “okay, okay.” It was also “it’s going to be okay.”

I absolutely did not believe that I deserved that degree of clemency then. I still struggle to accept it today.

Here I was, having involved another person in my lie for nearly three years, having completely altered the course of her life, even having gone so far as moving her across the country with me in order to further my own career goals, all for the sake of some absurd notion that being in a perfect relationship with a wonderful woman whom both my parents and my culture approved of would somehow exorcise me of my inner demons.

I don’t know if I can ever forgive myself that level of selfishness, even looking back today, a year later.

I suppose, then, that it’s a blessing I have forgotten many of the actual words which were said that night.

I do, however, recall that as I spiraled, I began taking breaths in great gulps, and between those gasps, I screamed the following:

“I teach students who come from countries that would have me executed.”

“I will kill anyone who tries to hurt you,” she calmly and firmly stated.

As the first many posts of this blog attest, up to this point in my life, I truly felt myself a freak, an outcast, a monster. That came to its crescendo that night, but even still, Naomi did her very best to let me know that things really would be okay.

I confessed my deeply suicidal ideation, the extent of my depression. I said that I thought I needed a therapist. She agreed, and thanked me for coming to that conclusion.

Saying those words aloud was the single most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. But what was difficult for me was no less difficult for her. In fact, in many ways, I had had a lifetime to prepare myself for this. For her, however, it was a sudden, unexpected death.

Anyone would say things in that situation that they would later come to regret. And unfortunately, I think those are some of the things Naomi best remembers today.

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”

It was on Naomi’s insistence that I included that line in my first post in this string. It was she who suggested I give this very post that title. It’s certainly dramatic, powerful. But to be completely honest, I don’t even remember her saying it.

Not that I don’t remember being hurt in the second half or so of that motel bed confessional, by which point her face had run the gamut from love, to strength, to sorrow, and had landed squarely on twisted hate.

“You would be a really ugly girl,” she spat. She could barely speak to me, barely look at me she was so angry.

“I know,” I said.

“You would be like that person we went through that house with earlier today,” she said, referencing a tall, older woman whom was, admittedly, somewhat masculine in her features and demeanor. “I think she was a man.”

“Yeah, maybe,” I said.

At one point, I finally got up from the bed and went to the bathroom. When I returned, Naomi was on her phone, flipping through every picture she had of us. Occasionally, she would stop on one, and show it to me. She spoke no word, but the action screamed “Look at this. This is who we are. This is who you are.”

To me, this was somehow more painful than any of the words. This was her trying desperately to convince herself, convince me, convince fate, that where we were in that moment was not what was real, that where we had been had been where we really were. I knew, however, that it wasn’t so. And deep down, so did she.

“When I think about it,” I said toward the end, answering a question I’ve since forgotten. “If I have to make a choice, I can’t imagine life without you. I want to be with you.”

“Then you would have to be my husband,” she said. “You would have to be a man.”

“I know,” I responded in thinly veiled concession. “I would still choose you.”

“Don’t you want to have children?”

“I do!” I insisted.

“You would have to be their father. You couldn’t be their mother.

“I know. I would be.”

The drive home was miserable. Naomi openly verbalized her own struggle with what to do next.

“I think I need to go back home. I need to be with my family. I need to do what’s right for me,” she would say.

“I really believe we were brought together for a reason,” I pleaded.

“But what if that purpose has already been served?” she responded.

I had found my courage earlier the day before when we walked by two women in wedding dresses and their entire wedding party; they were taking pictures in an especially scenic park near the river.

“Awww!” said Naomi when she realized what was going on. “That’s so sweet. It’s so awesome that things like that can happen now.”

“Yeah, it really is,” I agreed.

That had sustained my courage throughout the entire day, and had somehow convinced me that maybe, perhaps, one day in the future, those two could be Naomi and me.

As we drove home that next day, though, I realized that that fantasy would never come to fruition.

Actually, I’m lying again. Or maybe I’m just getting ahead of myself, because while that is where we are now, it wasn’t where either of us were then. Neither of us truly wanted to admit that it was over, despite the fact that it so clearly was.

Oh, and not once during this whole episode did either of us ever utter the word “transgender.”

That, along with acceptance of the death of our romantic relationship, would come in later episodes.

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