Four years hence

On this anniversary of my first date with Susanne, I thought I’d post an excerpt from my memoir here, of said date, which as you’ll see, I wasn’t sure was a date.

I’d set up the date at my favorite fire-baked pizzeria, a sleepy restaurant until it was featured in a local foodies blog, and then it was always packed to the seams, bursting with young, drunk patrons from the lobbying district, the non-profit set, and Capitol Hill. On the day after New Year’s, however, the place was empty except for one other table.

Susanne met me at the bar, taking off her winter hat and unwrapping a scarf the length of an adult boa constrictor. It took her 30 seconds to remove all of her outerwear. She’d emailed me from her parents’ house in Michigan, saying she was stuck with dialup and had just gotten my message. A quick cheery email exchange, and we’d set up this date.

“Hi there,” she said, smiling.

“Hi, thanks for meeting me,” I said, trying to keep my smile out of the goofy nerdy range.

We got a table and were checked on often by the waitress who both had not much else to do, and who seemed to find us amusing. Our pizzas arrived, hers a sausage and extra cheese, and mine, a mushroom lover’s that I know Michael would have hissed at, given his abhorrence of fungi.

She looked at me and my pizza. “So are you a vegetarian,” she asked casually.

“Oh, no. I just like the mushroom pizza here.” One potential spoiler averted.

“Thank God,” was her response, and I laughed.

We talked about our love of Kitchen Aid mixers, and that we’d each named ours. We’d also both previously bought mixers for other people’s weddings and then wondered, independently of course, why we hadn’t bought one for ourselves.

“I love baking,” I said. “I enjoy it so much I want to retire early and start my own bakery someday.”

“Shut up,” said Susanne, laughing, “that’s what I want to do!”

“No kidding. That’s great.”

Things were going so well I decided to take a risk and just let her know everything about my gender goings on. As soon as I started talking, I wanted to erase the decision and start over with any other topic of conversation. Hummingbirds. The state of the economy in Guam. Bloomsday parties. Monkey rectums.

“So I’ve been transitioning, taking it really slowly,” I said, feeling exposed. “Many of my friends still only know me as Jenifer, but for more and more people I’m Everett now. So you could call me either, really.” Stop talking!

The voice in my head was powerless to stop me.

“Well, that sounds like it can be hard at times,” she said.

I fought to stay on my seat and not fall onto the floor. “Yes, it can be. I’m taking things at my own pace. It’s been interesting, I guess.”

“You’re not the first person I’ve met with complicated gender,” Susanne said, looking at me. She wasn’t backing away. I didn’t know what to make of this. Maybe she was a psychopath, collecting people with gender issues in her basement in little cages so she could have her own private transsexual zoo. Or maybe it was just okay.

The waitress stopped by our table, looking at us with a sly grin, and giving us boxes for the rest of our pizzas.

We stepped outside and saw that it was raining, and each opened our umbrellas. With pizza boxes in one hand and the umbrellas in the other, our departing hug was more like a clumpfest. She thanked me for the good conversation and sprinted across the street to get to the Metro before it rained any harder.

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Categories: ev's writing

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One Comment on “Four years hence”

  1. Jill
    January 2, 2010 at 6:48 pm #

    Hi Ev. See, I told you I read your blog! Very funny post, btw, and also touching. And yes, where does Susanne find those crazy long scarves?

    This will be a great book–I’d pay full whack for it. (And that’s saying something, since as you know, I prefer to lay out about 33 cents for most of my reading material). 🙂

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