Monday, February 21, 2005
For crying out friggin loud...
Why must things I enjoy be corrupted? Huh? Why can't I do something that I've enjoyed in both my lives just continue to be fun and not tainted with some bit of soap-opera insanity? Is that so much to ask? Can't I just talk about how I'm not equipped to deal with long hair after being up for thirty-plus hours? That my scrunchie skills suck, that I haven't managed to get the hang of the folding it up and over so that it's this bun-thing? Can't that be what made this thing difficult?
But, no. It's not that simple. Telly and I get there, and hang around in the lobby waiting for Kate and Alan, and we almost wait until the start of "Duck Dodgers" before Kate arrives, with her new boyfriend in tow, only he's... Well, me.
I feel so stupid. That Carter's middle name was Alan wasn't something I gave a lot of thought to; it's a common enough name, after all. Heck, I don't think I ever even mentioned it in this journal. And Kate had not actually mentioned that Alan's last name was Carter. And even if she had, I don't know that I would have given it a thought as anything more than a ridiculous coincidence. Of course, in my life, nothing's a coincidence, it's a [i]connection[/i].
So, anyway, I see them come in, and I'm shocked, but I'm also mad. I don't believe this, I say. I mean, everything else you've done, I've gotten. I may have disagreed with it, but I've been able to understand why you've done it and still been able to look at yourself in the mirror. But this... And he, of course, has the snappy comeback that looking at himself in the mirror hasn't been a problem for the last year or so.
Kate's like, hold on, you two know each other? And I say, damn right we know each other. Kate, I say, I'm not sure how to put this delicately, but that's the father of Natalie's child. Her eyes get wide, and she looks at him, and just says what, you're Carter? He says yes, I am, I sort of took Marti's lead in changing my name to represent--
Shut up, she says. You know me. All that time we were flirting in the last couple of months, you knew me from when we worked together and when you were dating one of my best friends and you held that back, and if this ever became a relationship, what were you going to do, try and keep this from me forever? How did you think that was going to work?
He says, no, he wasn't going to, and in fact part of why he'd come was that he was sure I'd be here, so that this could be out in the open and we wouldn't have to worry about who knew what secrets and we could hash it out. I'm like, are you crazy? That's the dumbest plan I've ever heard. You're right, he says, it was a bad idea. I'm sorry, he says, and leaves.
Leaving us just standing there, the wind thoroughly sucked out of our sails. We walk up to the balcony, mumbling something about how all the good seats are probably taken in the main part of the auditorium. It's all reflex; I see a movie theater and want to sit as close to the centerline as possible. We just want to get to another piece of physical space.
We don't have time to say much before the first movie starts. Kate's apologizing, saying if she had known, well, you know. And I say not to be sorry, because she didn't know, and there's no sense in apologizing for things outside your control.
Telly's off getting popcorn during that break, but later asks what it was about, was this Alan guy one of my exes? And I say, yes, but that's a woefully inadequate description of the situation. That was the body I was originally born in, and the mind inside it was, well, maybe the first guy I really loved. I don't know if I ever said it, but I think I felt it, even if I didn't realize it until later, and isn't that what's important?
Telly's face gets kind of strained when I say that, and I know what he's thinking, and I say, look, kid, I know you think that I'm your sister body and soul, but I'm not. You can ask anyone who knows me when I'm not around and they don't have any reason to cover for me; you can ask Special Agent Khalil Jones or any other members of his team at the FBI. But that stuff I just said? It's literally true, not metaphorical.
He doesn't really respond to that, at least not then. It's not until later, when Kate's gone downstairs to the "quiet room" to get some sleep, that he says he's kind of worried, that I may actually believe what I'm saying. I start to respond but he says, don't worry, I'm not going to call mom, or tell me to see a shrink, or call someone to have me taken away, because it seems to be working for me. That the "old me" wouldn't have told Alan off, that she would have just taken the humiliation, like she deserved it or something.
I say that's awful, and he says he always thought so, too. And at that moment, I think I start to see what having a sibling means. It's closer than having a friend, I think, and the difference is just not that there's no sexual tension if he or she is the opposite sex. I get the feeling that this change he sees in his sister is a great relief to him. Maybe it's because you know you're made from the same stuff, both in terms of DNA and experience, and seeing your sister change for the better gives you some hope for yourself, or maybe it's got nothing to do with that at all; maybe it's just some sort of hard-wired instinct. It's weird, but it's also sweet and speaks to our better nature as human beings.
I don't see Kate again. She left her stuff with me and Telly; Maureen's left a note saying she'd be by to pick it up sometime this week, but she said she couldn't face me. Which is silly, because she didn't do anything wrong, but I think 75% of the guilt people feel is unnecessary and this is just another example.
I wound up staying at the marathon mostly out of stubbornness. I was going to enjoy it, damn it, and I wasn't going to let someone chase me away. This attitude, of course, isn't the one most conducive to actually enjoying anything, so even during the movies I liked, it was a hollow feeling. Heck, The Apple was the most hilariously gay thing I've ever seen, and I barely broke a smile.
And that's on top of my hair being a mess by the time I left.
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