The Other

She was always there. Always by my side or looking over my shoulder. Whatever I did, she had an opinion. “That’s for us,” or “we don’t like that.” She comforted me when I was alone and she chastised me when I wasn’t. “You and I need some alone time,” was her constant irritating comment. I tried to break it off with her many times. Sometimes for months or even years, but I never forgot her and eventually she would be back at my side.

I wasn’t proud of her. In fact, I didn’t tell a soul about her for years. That was difficult at times. Especially when she clamored to be seen. Sometimes there would be telltale signs of her visits that others would notice. I would make up excuses and try to disguise them or divert attention away if they ever saw these signs that I'd had a visitor. Most times they believed me, but sometimes I could see them looking at me strangely. They must have wondered why I hid her so carefully.

The problem was that she was odd. People found her strange and shocking. She never quite fit into “normal” society, so I kept her assiduously hidden. Our time was ours alone. No one else was invited, but neither could I speak with anyone about what we shared.

She made my life difficult. She had needs. Not only of my time but she needed things. Clothing, jewelry, and makeup. Things for her hair. Later she needed to go out too. She wanted to dance and meet people. But we couldn’t go just anywhere. We had to go to special places where other couples like us went. Couples who were normally alone and weren’t familiar with being out in the world.

At first, she was very awkward during these outings. Shy and unconfident, she often wanted to rush home early. But as time went on she grew bolder and more gregarious. She began to make friends. As she did, she wanted more and more of my time and money. I began to feel stressed about her larger presence in my life and so I broke it off. I dropped her flat one day and swore I’d never see her again.

This break-up lasted years. I honestly thought I had moved on. I began to have a separate life. One that centered around others rather than her. I fooled myself into thinking I had let her go, even though somewhere deep down I knew I hadn’t. And then I found something of hers. A pair of her pumps under the bed when I was cleaning, and that was it. I was desperate to see her again.

When we got back together I was consumed by her. She began taking over all my spare time and money. I realized I couldn’t go on without her this time. This time I admitted that there could be no one else in my life. Not even me. I gave her every bit of me and finally, we were one.

Now I am just me. No longer is there “another person” I am trying to manage or hide. I live as myself integrated with her. There is no “my time” and “her time.” No invisible unexplainable time in my schedule. I have no one and nothing to hide.

There is no longer “the other” to worry about.

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TransGen

Genivieve is a Transgender Artist living in Santa Barbara California.