“Faith?” came the voice behind her; she rose and looked at Andrea. Andrea, another tall girl—even taller than usual—visibly trans in a “fuck you” kind of way. So pretty. If she had Andrea’s transition timeline, Faith would look at it on the Internet and just cry over it, her own dysphoria sucking out hope.
“Nice to see you again,” Andrea said, looking Faith up and down. “You look so cute!”
Faith looked down at herself. She looked at her fat self. She looked down at her own lopsided tits and skirt and all that.
“Thanks,” she said, trying not to sound sarcastic. “You’re cute, too. Uhh, take a seat,” she gestured in the general direction of another chair.
If Faith was honest, she had been hoping Andrea wouldn’t show; she would be left alone at a dinner table with a bill, three empty drinks, and a good ‘stood-up story’ to share on the Internet and with her wife. Mostly the Internet, again, if she were honest.
But here she was. And here was Faith. Two trans women on a date. And Faith had no idea what to do.
Faith watched Andrea take her seat. She wondered if she should have risen and pushed in the chair. She would have done that before of course, when she looked like a man. Chivalry was what she was ‘supposed’ to do. She felt by not getting up and pushing in her date’s chair, she had fucked up the whole date, and they were still at “Hello.”
“So, thank you,” Faith said, “For coming out to see me again. After the coffee thing I wasn’t sure, but I reached out and” she let herself trail off.
“…and here I am.” Andrea finished after a half-tick. Her voice was nice and passable to Faith. Faith instantly thought about her own. Andrea had heard Faith’s voice before—when they met over coffee—so Faith tried to convince herself everything was okay, Andrea accepted the date, after all. Faith only succeeded slightly.
“So…have you been here before?”
“No. Have you?”
“Living dangerously, aren’t we?” Andrea asked.
“Well I like spicy food. This seemed a good choice.”
“Spicy is good. Tacos rule,” Andrea said in an affected voice. If it was an impression, Faith couldn’t place it, so she just nodded.
Andrea looked at Faith. “You don’t get it…It’s okay. It’s a movie.”
They looked over the menus in silence.
“Oooh, queso dip?!” Faith said, betraying her internal promise to take it easy tonight.
Faith held the menu a little farther away than seemed reasonable. Was she far-sighted? Andrea wondered. How old is she? She looks, like, 30, tops. One part of her mind said to another, Estrogen. and—with great effort—stopped hypothesizing.
“How spicy do you like it?” Andrea asked.
“Very.” Faith said, trying not to read innuendo into it and failing. Andrea giggled.
“Yeah, I figured we’d get along.” Andrea said looking over the top edge of the menu, hiding a grin. “Okay, I know what I want. You?”
“Yeah. I think chicken tacos.”
“Good choice. I’m going with the quesadilla grande, whatever that is.”
“Cool.” Faith said, then thought: Why did I say that?
They put their menus down.
“So,” Faith started, “what do you do?” She paused for effect, then continued. “Not for a job. What do you love to do?”
“Oooh, good one.” Andrea sat and bit her thumb with her front teeth. “Yeah, so …I write bots.”
“They’re silly little social media creatures. I make them. They say things periodically. Respond to people. They use simple decision trees and grammar to generate plausible sentences.”
“That’s…that’s clever.” Faith replied. “I never heard of that before.”
“Yeah. It picks at, for want of a better word, the right places in my brain. The language, the coding, the logic, fucking with people,” Andrea laughed. “It’s just a hobby. I have maybe three or four. They take some time to work through the logic and vocabulary.”
The waiter approached. They ordered drinks (no alcohol), appetizers, and their entrée.
“So how about you?” Andrea asked.
“You asked me what I loved to do. How about you?”
“Oh. I’m pretty dull. I…I play a lot of Destiny.”
“That shooter-slash-loot game?”
“Cool.” Andrea said, and smiled in a way that almost said she meant it. “Why do you like that?”
“Because I seem to be good at it. I get to meet people and do activities, get loot and so on.”
“Neat. What does your wife think of it?”
“Oh, she hates it.” Faith said. She laughed. “She groans every time I start it up, but she lets me have it.”
Andrea gave her a raised eyebrow, “Lets?”
“Well, it’s not a permission thing it’s a, ‘well, that’s what she does’ thing.”
They sat quietly for what felt like minutes, but was maybe ten seconds. Faith messed with a napkin.
“She knows about me, right?” Andrea asked.
“Oh. Yes,” Faith said. “Hold on. I’ll show you.” She took out her phone and opened a photo.
In the photo was another woman, she was holding a sign saying, “Hi, Andrea, this is Faith’s wife, Michelle” and it had the date.
“Well that’s pretty weird.”
“You asked for it. We kind of figured it would happen. I sometimes over-prepare.”
“I’ve thought it through a lot,” Faith said. “This is…this is actually my first date since I …since I transitioned—besides with my wife. We still do the dinner and a movie and the like”
“Really.” Faith said. “My wife is straight; I no longer do much for her there. But we still love and care for each other, so she dates men and I date who I like and…well, you’re the first.” She didn’t finish the sentence, which should have included, “who didn’t stand me up.”
They sat in place for a minute, Andrea kind of unsure what to say.
“No pressure,” Faith injected and laughed.
“Yeah …” now it was Andrea’s turn to be insecure, because this is what happens here: Both women are keenly aware of who they are and what they are doing and who they are and are with and suddenly it all seems more real. Is the person at the next table staring? [Yes.] Is the bathroom a single occupancy? [Thankfully, also yes.] Does the waiter care? [Only in the benevolent happy for them way; his father transitioned when the waiter was young.] All these things and other things like them come up in their heads.
“I’m really not hungry,” Andrea said.
“Me, either. But we already ordered.”
“We’ll get it to go. Be a good lunch tomorrow. You wanna come to my place and play video games?”
“Sure.” Faith said, maybe a little too fast, but she wanted so much to be out of there.
“I’ve got an NES and frozen pizzas.” Andrea forwarded, “I mean, if the take-out sucks.”
“Well why are we waiting?”
On the Nintendo, Mario and Luigi were triumphant, of course. The princess was saved. The pizza was eaten. Andrea was asleep on her couch. It was not even 10:00 PM.
Faith looked about. She got up and started walking around, quietly judging Andrea’s place before she went to the bathroom.
It was a loft. View of the river, over a chocolatier. This would be an extravagant place in many other cities, but less so here. The loft was partitioned with furniture and floor coverings, a single bathroom the exception. Faith headed towards it. She always peed in safe spaces before leaving. At this point, it was a habit.
As she walked by a bookshelf, she scanned some of the spines. Some cookbooks. A smattering of sci-fi and horror books. A handful of linguistics books and some on programming (the three-monitored monstrosity on the other side of the kitchen was probably where Andrea worked, Faith figured). The bookshelf had the same trans books Faith had. Mock. Auntie Kate. She laughed when she saw Nevada.
After peeing, she collected her purse and looked back at Andrea, still on the couch. Faith put her purse down, took a blanket from the bed, then brought it to the couch and put it on top of Andrea. A small smile came to the sleeping lady’s face.
Faith left, careful to lock the bottom lock of the door as she did so. She then made her way to her car and home.
One of the perks of living in a small city is it’s possible to transverse the whole thing in minutes if one knows how. Faith pulled into her driveway 10 minutes after she locked Andrea’s door.
Her wife was still awake. On the front of the house was a set of wooden planks with both their names engraved. Faith’s plank bore significantly fewer signs of weathering than Michelle’s.
“Hi, honey.” Michelle said as Faith made her way in. She was sitting in her recliner watching television.
“Oh hey. I thought William was coming over?”
“Not William. Adam. He was supposed to but his work came up.”
Faith approached and kissed her wife chastely.
“How was your date?”
“What, she showed up?”
“Yeah. She did. And she’s so pretty.” Faith said.
“I’m glad she showed,” Michelle said and smiled, “it’s about time one didn’t flake out.”
“I need a shower. Can you help me? You can tell me about it while I’m in there.”
“Sure. Crutches or chair?”
“Crutches today. I’ve been sitting all day and I can’t feel my ass.”
Faith smirked and shook her head. That was the joke. Of course, she couldn’t feel it. Paralyzed from the waist down. That was the joke. Get it?
She broke her back a long time ago, but in the years since she’d taught herself to walk—in a manner— with crutches, swinging and using her legs as …well, a third leg. It was not a graceful act, but it did the job.
Faith retrieved the crutches and gave them to her wife, then got the shower started.
Once Michelle was settled in the shower chair she used (she hated being in the tub, the dirty water disgusted her), Faith sat next to her in a chair outside the tub.
“So, we were gonna go to Fiesta Reales.”
“I never been there.”
“Neither had we, but after we ordered our entrees we decided we weren’t hungry for Mexican.” She didn’t tell her wife about the insecurity Faith and Andrea had felt. It was easier. Michelle would probably insist they were imagining it. They might have been, partially, but not all the way.
“Yeah, so we had them box the order and took them back to her house. Loft actually.”
“Did you bring me some?” Michelle teased.
“No, dear. I actually left it in her fridge now thinking on it.”
“Oh. So, did you eat?”
“Yeah; frozen pizza.”
“Hell of a date night.”
“We played video games.”
Michelle laughed. “Fucking nerd. God damn.”
“Shut up. It was fun.”
“Did you two fuck?”
“Michelle!” Faith said, her mock outrage carrying over the white noise of the shower. “I’m offended.”
“Oh, fuck off, bitch. It’s barely 10:30 so I bet you didn’t.”
“Yeah, no. She fell asleep on the couch.”
Michelle moved the shower curtain aside and looked at her wife.
“You want to fuck me?”
“I’m sorry you didn’t get laid.”
“Well it wasn’t just for that. It was nice to hang out with her.”
“She just…didn’t seem…like…I don’t know.”
“Out with it.”
“She was trans and I was trans but we really didn’t talk about it. I think it’s just…something we’re dealing with, but it wasn’t at the forefront tonight. It was cool to just hang out with someone and play video games with no expectations or educating or explaining or justifications. Just total acceptance. It was so nice. Then she fell asleep next to me on her couch.”
“So like a trans friend.”
“But she’s cute.”
“Heck yeah.” Faith said.
“Can you get my back?” Michelle asked. Faith stood to do so, her knees popping. “Are you going to see her again?”
Faith took a moment. “I don’t know. I’d like to, but maybe I fucked up and she won’t want to see me.”
“Maybe. But she fell asleep next to you,” Michelle said. “At least she was comfortable enough for that.”
Faith went to change the subject: “Did you have fun with the creep yesterday?”
“Is there another?”
“He is a little weird but he’s nice so far.”
“I don’t trust him.”
Faith continued to wash her wife. She did one leg followed by the other, slowly taking time to clean her feet and inspect for any wounds she wouldn’t feel. This was the routine.
Michelle looked down on her diligent wife, who was getting wet from the shower. Faith did not complain, doing the thing she had promised to do so many years ago with love and care.
“Hey, Faith,” Michelle said.
“I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
“We’re still not fucking.”
Faith shook her head, “Of course. But I’m still gonna use the vibrator.”
To continue reading My Dinner with Andrea, grab yourself a copy in the store!
My Dinner with Andrea is copyright © Jen Durbent, 2018