Friday, April 09, 2004
Late to work, since the locksmith came this morning. I'd called my landlord about it Wednesday, because the lease Michelle signed prohibits getting the lock changed on your own. It's costing me a couple hundred bucks, which seems absurdly unfair. I mean, Carter's the one who drugs his girlfriend, and why I need the new lock. I mean, this is valuable money that I'm going to need to spend on meals and movies without a boyfriend to pay for those.
I kid. One must joke about these things, lest swallowing something poisonous start to look reasonable.
Work was tense. It's going to be tense, since neither Carter nor I intend to leave, but we each know that the other knows about why I dumped him. For what it's worth, most of the folks there, not just the women, are taking my side. Jen gossips, it's what she does, but she's generally accurate. Sometime between when she told Lizzie and when Maureen asked me if it were true, the vague nothing I had told Jen & Kate had become rohypnol. I told her that no, Carter had not actually raped me and I could remember everything. She actually awkwardly said that if there were anything she could do, I should call her. Don't see that happening.
So, after work, I met Maggie at the Kendall Square Legal Sea Foods. She was already there, since she works in the area (there's a lot of biotech companies which have sprung up around MIT). We're both hungry, so we don't spend any time at the bar. Neither of us are particularly anxious to have mood-altering chemicals in our systems, anyway. Speaking of them, I had the bottle with the joy juice over to her as soon as the waiter has taken our orders. She asks if I'm sure I want to put all my eggs in one basket with her, and I tell her I don't want it near me, and I imagine safety deposit boxes cost money. She looks at me, says I must really trust her, and I sort of shrug. I mean, I don't want to insult her, but what am I going to say, that the only other people I know are my co-workers and any of them, even Kate or Jen, could be an accomplice? She keeps staring, though, not saying anything, and I start to think that dinner might have been a bad idea, because it means we'll have to talk to each other, and even though neither of us wants to talk about what's in the bottle, we've got nothing else in common, or so she thinks.
Or so I think she thinks.
"I'm just going to say this," she says, "because I'd wondered why you came to me when this city is full of much smarter people. I know why, now. I think that maybe you did it sort of accidentally on purpose, or at least I kind of hope so, but, when you checked your web log the other day, you didn't clear my cookies afterward." She blushes, like she's just said something dirty. "I... I read it all. And god help me, it makes sense. Well, it doesn't make sense, but it holds together, and it can't all be an elaborate hoax, because that solution is some crazy shit that actually reacts to your cells, but the rest..."
She can't bring herself to say it, because it is, quite frankly, ridiculous. It's my life, so I forget how ridiculous it is, but if the tables were turned, I'd never be able to get it out. "It's true," I say. "Ask me anything."
And she does. She grills me about practically every second of her relationship with Martin, everything Wei ever told her in confidence, everything she knew. She tries to trip me up by asking about vacations I never took, things I never did, and relatives I don't have. By the time my scallops arrive, her mouth is just hanging open. "Wow."
"It's just, I remember you lying by the river in a bikini, and you were wearing high heels the other night, and you've... I mean, I'd never guess."
"Thanks, I think."
"How do you stand it? I mean, if I got stuck in a guy's body, I wouldn't know what to do!"
So we talked about it. I told her about being thrust into the situation with Michelle's job, and with Kurt, and not wanting to get the people angry at first, because who knows what they can do? I told her about looking in the mirror and realizing that I wasn't ever going to be able to hide this figure by pretending to be a teenaged boy or something. Then I tried to explain how I came to consider myself a new person, part Martin and part Michelle, though not in the usual way a new person is born. She has trouble comprehending that, but that's okay. I tell her that the email and comments from people who've stumbled onto this blog sometimes indicate an inability to grasp that concept, and they've been reading it for months.
She says she can't believe I'd come to her when I needed help. "I was so mean to you when we broke up... I mean, we didn't break up, but you remember it!" I told her she was justified, that I was a jerk, she said that she had been thinking the very same things I'd said which was why it had hurt so much.
"So," she says, "what should I call you?"
I tell her my name is, for all intents and purposes, Michelle, but she says she knows that it's only a small part of who I am. I say she'll have to call me that in public, anyway, and she understands. So we compromise on "Marta". I don't exactly look like a Marta, but whatever.
It's not until I get home tonight that I realize, that even knowing everything and how I - and it was me, at least partially - treated her toward the end last year, she wants to be my friend.
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