Transplanted Life
Saturday, November 13, 2004
So, I was going to write about the snow we got yesterday and today, but guess what, I can't keep my mind focused on it.

Anyway, I met up with the gals Wednesday night. We wound up seeing a thoroughly awful movie (Birth), but that was after we stopped for drinks and I got some uncomfortable looks from Kate. I said "later", and that seemed to be good enough for her - or, at least, there wasn't enough free time for blurting between Jen's new job and Maggie's vacation plans. I guess Wei hadn't talked to Mags yet.

But we didn't talk right away; we rode to the Harvard Square stop, bought some pizza and then started. So, she says, you and Kurt. Pause. What the fuck is wrong with you? Doug's kind of a catch, you know.

It didn't exactly work out great with the two of you, I didn't say. For all I know, Kate and Doug had broken up after an honest heart-to-heart without even short-term hard feelings. What I did say was that it wasn't about Doug, and that what she's got to understand is that while she just knows Kurt as the guy who was two-timing me, but he's also one of Martin's oldest friends. I may not be Martin, not 100%, but I own his experiences. My history with Kurt can literally be said to predate my own existance as, you know, this. And I fucked up his mind, his life, his everything. After I did my little coming-out thing in July, he couldn't take it; it destroyed his relationship, screwed with his sexual self-image, and tarnished practically every memory he had about Martin AND "Michelle". The sex thing was particularly bad for a man--

Oh, she says, since I've never been a man I can't understand. And no, I said, you can't. I don't say that the quasi-homophbia that hangs around most straight guys' minds is healthy, or nice, but it's there, it's stronger than it is for women, and you probably don't just "get it". But, I, unfortunately, do, and I'd done a real number on someone who was always there for me/Martin, and I wanted to make it right. I wanted to re-inforce that I was a woman, and he didn't do anything wrong or gay. I chose a really stupid way to go about it, but what should I have done? Nothing? I owed him more than that, didn't I?

Not that much, Kate muttered. But, then again, she'd never screwed someone up that bad; usually she was on the receiving end of the mindfucks. Still, that's just about the worst way to handle the situation, isn't it? Yeah, I said, and I knew it was, right away. I wasn't proud of what I'd done - I told Kurt to keep quiet, I didn't tell Doug, or anybody else. If we could have just buried the incident...

She asks if it's why I said no when Doug proposed, and I say, no, all the reasons I gave him were true. I guessed I was a little more taken aback by the proposal than I might otherwise have been - I'd been willing to step outside the relationship just a couple weeks ago, and he's thinking matrimony. Truth be told, the whole "I'd slept with Kurt" thing was probably just the exclamation point on a relationship that had been dying for a month.

So what do I do now, I asked. Should I try to explain it to him? I owe him something, but now that I think of it, I don't really want to get back together. How do I apologize half-way? Kate says just to do it, be clear, and stick to my guns. He'll probably be pissed about all the free advice he gave me, but that's life.

I asked if we were still good. She sighed and said she didn't know what to think about what goes through my mind half the time, and that this was stupid, and yes, she does think less of me. But she's also a little relieved - that her ex wasn't with her friend any more, a friend who was able to please him in bed despite having only been a woman for a year when she couldn't.

She laughed. Too much soap opera in our lives - stranger than fiction. But it was a nervous laugh.

It was a couple days later - yesterday - Mags called me, with the "why'd I have to read about this" complaint, and she demanded we talk after work. Well, didn't look like I'd have anything else to do with my Friday night.

I said I guessed I could screw up a relationship as both a man and a woman. Yeah, she said, you sure can. You were due, though, she said. Someone's got to be at fault when it ends, and I was off the hook for both Kurt and Carter. Doesn't make me feel any better, I said.

Well, it shouldn't, she replied. But maybe some good will come from it. For the past year and a half, ever since you wound up in that body, shit's happened to you, and there's been someone else to blame. Alexei put you in that body, Kurt chose another girl, Mikhail displaced your boyfriend and used friggin' mind control, you got laid off. Well, here comes the wake-up call - you can screw up too. You can be the asshole to someone who doesn't deserve it, and it can't be put on someone else. You've been brave, she said, but at a certain point, you've got to stop letting yourself be a victim.

And she's right. She's absolutely right. Maybe I had good intentions, maybe I was just being self-righteous and figuring that even if Doug found out, he'd forgive me because the world owes me forgiveness because of my situation, but this situation's on me, and if it's going to be made right, I'll have to do it.

Of course, that'll be tricky with Doug not answering my calls, but I'll find a way. My actions to the contrary, I'm not completely stupid.

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