Transplanted Life
Friday, August 29, 2003
Last night was kind of embarrassing.
Well, forget the "kind of"

We met up at The Place after work. Kurt was already there; we didn't expect to see Wei and Jim until almost seven, since they don't exactly work banker's hours at the hospital. Kurt gave me a kiss on the cheek when I met him at the bar. I guess that's going to happen all the time now, which isn't a bad thing. I like Kurt, if not in that way, and the demonstration that he likes me is kind of nice, especially after a long day where Kate was at an off-site meeting and Jen was sick. Sure, we didn't do it when we were both guys, but there are a couple immigrants in the office, Dimitri and Giovanni, who are more demonstrative when they meet their male friends than I was. It's not out of the question. It just takes a little getting used to.

We talked about our days over drinks, while I made sure to remember that I can't match Kurt drink-for-drink the way I used to. Both of us have jobs that sound pretty dull when you describe them to someone else, but keep us busy. He complains about writing instruction manuals, but I tell him that at least he can feel like he created something at the end of they day. Answering the phone doesn't give you that, and I miss it.

At about ten of, Wei and Jim appear, still in their work clothes. They look good, though - even if hospital scrubs aren't sexy, they command respect. Kurt settles our tab, and we start walking to the Aquarium, to see The Matrix Reloaded in IMAX.

Truth be told, I'm not thrilled with this - I wasn't a big fan of the movie in 35mm, and this will just be the same thing, bigger and louder. But, as Kurt explains (and I remember), Wei and Jim were working insane hours back in May, and they're just now getting around to seeing it. So we go, get our popcorn, and wait in line. I can't help but note that Kurt's a little more touchy-feely than he has been before. Like, when he's buying our tickets, he puts his arm around me and pulls me to his side when saying he wants two. Or guiding me by hand to the line waiting to get into the theater itself. What did I ever do to give the impression I was a hand-holder?

We get decent seats (really, there aren't many bad seats in an IMAX theater) and settle in. The movie's impressively big and loud, but it's still The Matrix Reloaded. I must be looking bored, because Kurt leans in and asks if I've seen it. I say, yeah, but I don't mind because Wie and Jim seem to be having a good time. He gives me another kiss and puts his arm around me. I just sort of chalk it up to the drink and sigh that it's not going to be a night I remember fondly when I'm back in my own body.

Twenty minutes later, his hand has moved down to Michelle's left breast.

I've got no idea how to react to that. I mean, as much as this whole situation isn't my idea, we have been going out for about a month, and I suppose some physical contact isn't too much to ask. And it's not like it feels bad... Quite the opposite, I feel a little tingly all over, especially when he starts gently stroking it.

But, if two months ago, a girl had just stuck her hand in my shorts without asking, I'd have been taken a little aback. And that's with my own body - I'm still hoping that this situation is temporary, and I don't know how closely what I do is being monitored or what Michelle considers acceptable treatment of her corpus. She didn't say much in the way of "don't do this", but maybe she was just assuming I wouldn't.

Soon, though, Kurt's started kissing Michelle's neck, and I'm like, okay, this beats watching Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss try to display chemistry, but then his other hand starts to reach under my skirt and, well, that's enough. I push it away and sort of wriggle out of his hands. He starts to ask something and I whisper that I'm trying to watch the movie.

It's not just the fact of the touching, though. It's the whole making-out-in-a-movie-theater idea. Kurt and I turn thirty next year, and even if Michelle's a month and a half short of 25 (though it's a sort of "could play a high-schooler on TV, if you don't put a real teenager next to her" 25), it's just sort of tacky. We're adults, aren't we? I say as much to Wei in the bathroom afterward.

She's kind of taken by surprise, not expecting this reaction from her friend's girlfriend whom she's only met once or twice before (I admit, I kind of forgot "I" didn't know her that well). She recovers quickly, and smiles as she says "well, why do you think I never went out with him?" But she does stick up for him, saying he's a simple guy but a good one nonetheless. "Maybe Marty'd be more your speed, but I haven't heard from him since he moved out West."

I guess she's right, and even give Kurt a quick kiss on the cheek when we get out of the bathroom. It's the first time I initiate it, but I don't want him to think I'm a pain in the neck and break up, leaving me out of contact with him and Wei. And, hey, the letter says I've got to try, and that does involve more than smiling nicely.

Anyway, I've got a long train ride home to think about it. And I've been working on this entry all day when the phone's not ringing. I guess I don't really mind the idea of letting Kurt touch me that much - it's like wearing the bikini; it stimulates the feel-good parts of the brain, and I figure after I'm myself again, it'll at least be useful in terms of knowing what a woman likes and how she feels.

It's the way dating him feels like a job. I told Michelle that I'd go for Kurt if I were a woman, and you know, I just might, if I'd been born this way or knew I wasn't going to be myself again and had a chance to get used to it beforehand. But being told "try to make it work or else" despite knowing that, if all goes well, we won't have a future... I can't wrap my brain around it, sometimes. And it sure makes it tough to enjoy getting close.

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