she was on a unicycle. A smile emerged from my straining mouth. I can’t imagine what she thought of me, if she even noticed at all. I felt old enough to be her mother or even grandmother, but I’m just a sweaty middle-aged trans woman struggling to maintain a jog that’s only slightly faster than walking. The girl appeared to be no more than eight years old, relaxed and enjoying her morning alone away from her family, yet intently focused on maintaining her balance. As we passed each other she didn’t look over at me, she just continued on her way down the road.
|Columbia River Gorge|
Along with a delightful colleague from the retreat, I volunteered to gather pledges during Pride in support for the Oregon United for Marriage campaign. A generous organizer opened his house to the two of us as well as use of an inflatable mattress and a couch for us to crash on. We enjoyed dinner together and quickly became close, sharing stories and noticing we had a lot more in common than we both knew. Laughing and holding each other’s hands on the way back at our guest’s house, we decided to pick up some food and a bottle of cheap wine. We didn’t stay up much later; I don’t even think I finished my teacup of pinot noir. A long day and a few cocktails had tired us both out. As we headed to bed I knew I didn’t want to be alone or sleep on the questionable pullout couch in the middle of their sparsely decorated living room; reading my mind, she suggested we share the air mattress.
The next few days were special. We worked together alongside other volunteers from Oregon, gathering support for marriage equality from hundreds strangers we encountered at the Pride festival and parade along Portland’s waterfront.
|Manzanita Beach, Oregon|
As we poured each other drinks and took off our skinny jeans, the original plan of diving into the cold Pacific faded into the night. With both of us in or on top of the queen sized bed we continued to talk, and the once silly and playful nature of the evening took an unexpected turn. One after the other we shared very deep secrets about our pasts. I sat propped on one arm starring into my friend’s ocean blue eyes, stunned at her revelation, but I couldn’t find words to express my support and gratitude for trusting in me. Likewise, I don’t think my friend knew how to respond to what I exposed about my past either. With words failing both of us, we embraced each other in silence. I didn’t want to let go.
Her tender fingers began to explore and touch my body. First up and down my arms, then my legs, it was a sensation I hadn’t felt in more than 3 years. The soft touch of someone else’s finger tips traversing my flesh had been missing from my life for too long. The tenderness was overwhelming and I couldn’t hold back my tears. They ran down my cheeks and dripped onto her waiting shoulder. She must have felt the dampness, as her hug suddenly became stronger and she whispered into my ear. I barely could get the words out of my trembling mouth, but I somehow managed to thank her, while trying to explain why I was so overcome with emotion. One of my greatest fears before and during transition was that I might never share an intimate moment with another person as a trans woman.
|Friend's Cute Feet and Toes|
We were two people who needed each other, and for some reason our paths crossed, like shooting stars burning across the atmosphere, landing in each other’s hearts.