Transgender Dysphoria Blues
rating: +24+x

This will all be over soon.

“So going through it, then?”

“You make it sound like it’s going to be such an ordeal.”

“You’re not answering me.”

“… Yes. I’ve thought about it for a long time, but now’s the time. I’ve done so much for so long… this might be my last shot to make up time with everyone.”

“Are you taking your pills?”

I’m feeling confused. “What?”

There were coffee stains on the front of the lab coat. But what manners! Everyone here was so friendly and kind. The Foundation told me that they would ensure I only ever have a good doctor.

He’s pulling a blank white pill bottle out of his lab coat pocket. “I know on your chart you indicated that you did not consent to supplementaries. That does not mean they’re not available for you, if you change your mind later. I know it’s a lot right now to be adding another thing to the mix, but it’s here if you need me to write something up for you.”

I’m shaking my head, looking down at her reflection in the tea. “No… I want this to be real. Sometimes, when I’m on those things, I dissociate and the rooms look like a crummy sepia-toned TV.”

My doctor is shrugging, and pocketing the pills again. “Well, don’t forget about it. These things have a way of sneaking up in ways that can have unforeseen consequences.”

Unforeseen.

“Thank you. Well, I have to go… I think they’re going to be tired of waiting for me. I’m actually already supposed to be loaded in the chamber”

I’m getting a hug. “Good luck. Say hi to Vinny for me if you see him, would ya? He’ll be the poor sap stuck up in the booth. He hates it up there, but that’s the only place he can work.”

I’m smiling. “I will.”

Two Decades Ago

VOICE MAIL TRANSCRIPT
00:00: DIAL TONE
01:16: (MUFFLED)?
01:19: (HUMAN MALE BEGINS SPEAKING. AUDIO QUALITY INCOMPREHENSIBLE)
01:30: (MUFFLED)-ABLE. IF YOU[]ANT TO[]E ME, IF Y[]ILL SHOW[]ELF, I’LL BE ON THE OTHER SIDE. BEYOND THE D[].
01:45: (STATIC)ROKEN D[]BUT I CAN WAIT. THIS WILL A[]SO[].
</END TRANSCRIPT\>

Two Days Ago

Dr. Zakarov escorted me to the lunch counter.

“Everyone’s been walking on sunshine since I told them.”

I shrugged. “I’m not really interested in fanfare.”

Her thoughts were interrupted by a pounding at the door.


Who could that be?


“Hey, are you in there? You need to call back. It's time to clock in.”

I knew she should know. But she didn’t. She groped around in her head for the memory, which had slipped through her fingertips and spiraled down a grate of omission.

She stared at the door.

Somebody was pounding on it.

Hesitating. “I… I don’t know who you are! Don’t come in.”

“Don’t know me? I’m-” the sound of the voice dipped, and she moaned. She could hear a heavy shoulder leaning on the door. “I’m sorry, that’s rough.”

“Who are you?”

“I’m sorry.”

The weight lifted. Standing, hesitating, standing, looking to the other side, the moldy carpet squishing under my feet.

“Hello?”

Nothing.

“I’m ready to listen… if you can tell me who you are. I should know. I’m sorry. But I don’t.”


Hand hovering above the brass doorknob, and then grasped it. It was damp and warm to the touch, like it had been in her hand for a long, long time. I’m twisting it, and pulling it over the threshold.


I wasn’t in my mind, but a small apartment, almost like a hotel room. All of the furniture covered in sheets, with drapes over the windows and a shag carpet.

At least it wasn’t rotten.

I closed the door behind her, and stepped forward into the room. “Hello?”

A voice called something out from another room. Muffled, but unmistakable. “Ready?”

I take two more steps, I’m resting her hand on a sheet-covered armchair. My eyes look back to where the door was before. Something muffled happened, but there was no vocal response.


Zakarov is looking at me, and smiling, and I’m smiling too.

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