Transplanted Life
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
Didn't get a number or address for Natalya today. Barely noticed the ballgame. Can't sleep.

Because I just can't get past the other thing.

Kurt called at around five, asking me to meet him at the big reflecting pool by the Prudential Center. I thought it was kind of weird, but okay.

I got there, and it takes me a while because even though it's on the Green line, the B-train doesn't go there directly and I always get turned around coming out of the Copley station, and then I must have walked right past him two or three times because I'm expecting him to be alone.

But he's not alone. He's with Denise.

Kurt's all apologetic, but she hates me. Or Michelle. Whichever of us she sees. Even as Kurt's explaining to me that he met us both on the same night, that it was a really unusual situation that he thought would have sorted itself out quicker, she's looking at me like I was trying to steal her boyfriend, completely oblivious to the fact that I've got just as much right to make the same claim about her. But, since she's the one who forced a confrontation, she apparently gets to have exclusive rights to the anger, indignation, and moral high ground.

Apparently, her sister goes to Northeastern, and her boyfriend goes to Emerson, and it was him who saw Kurt and I eating in the North End on Thursday. He told the sister, who told Denise, who thought he must have seen someone else but when she made a joking comment about Kurt's other girlfriend Monday morning, he got all apologetic and promised to break it off. Which is what he was doing.

I don't know if I said ten words during this whole confrontation. I know it sounds arrogant, and like totally misplaced arrogance given that this isn't my real body, but I had honestly never considered this happening. I mean, inside, I'm basically a guy who is a lot like Kurt, and I "knew" from long experience that guys like me don't dump girls like me. It's the other way around. I'd been all worried that my being with Kurt would mess up his chances with this girl who seemed nice enough and wasn't some crazy amalgam of his friend's mind and some hot girl's body, but never considered that when the chips were down, he might choose Denise over "Michelle".

I still honestly can't understand why, either. I've got better curves, and I'm his best friend inside. I'm like a jelly donut, a swimsuit model with a whole bunch of common interests and rapport squirted inside. Sure, our relationship was probably about as healthy as a jelly donut, but who ever turns one down?

I could have spoken up and said that, hey, I've known for a month, but I trusted Kurt to have a good reason you bitch, but I didn't. I don't know if I was just in shock over what had happened or whether I just recognized that Kurt was probably better off in the long run with a girl who wouldn't have another person swapped back into her body or eventually tell him something impossible and insanely creepy about who she actually was, but I just took it. Didn't break down, didn't act like it was nothing. Just... took it.

All I said was to ask if we could still be friends. He smiled and asked if I would trust him to just be friends with an ex-girlfriend who looked like Michelle if I were in Denise's shoes. I said no, I guessed not, but that kind of hurt - like I was first and foremost just this shell to him, that who I was inside wasn't worth it. I don't expect him (or anyone) to see through everything and recognize me for who I am anymore, but I'd just hoped he might see that what's inside was someone he liked.

So it's over. Kurt's out of my life, and because he's out of my life, Wei's out of my life, and potentially everyone else I got to know in the past ten years. And if my mom keeps calling him, worried about why I don't call or anything, I don't know about it. I'm totally adrift in Michelle's life now, and even if I don't give in to despair, I don't know how I'll keep from drowning in it and losing any connection I have to who I, Martin Hartle, used to be.

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