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Axiomatic Form

"Please, Vera, please. Just tell me."

My dear friend is strapped to a hospital bed. She closes her bloodshot eyes and rolls her wrists against the taped gauze. She takes a deep breath and sighs.

"No."

I lick my lips and look at her plaintively. "Look, I know it's hard, but..."

"Bullshit. You don't know," she says coldly. "You only think you know. But you have no freakin' clue."

My shoulders sink, and I bite my lower lip. Not one to give up, I try another tactic. "You're right. I don't. But... but I consider myself your friend, and it's killing me to see you like this."

Vera chuckles under her breath. She rolls her head toward me and opens her eyes. The tears brim at the edges of her lower lids, close to breaching their banks.

"It's funny you say that," she jokes, rolling her wrists against the restraints.

Several hours ago, I walked into Vera's home and saw her lying on the couch. An empty bottle of Advil PM was in her blood-covered hands, and the freshly punctured seal was still attached to the cotton. In my haste, I called 911 and, well, here we were.
Vera drags in a bedraggled breath, her throat clearly still sore from her stomach being pumped.

"It wasn't a cry for attention, you know."

I nod, but inside, I disagree. How could it not be?

"Look, I've just been... I've been so wrong for so long that... it just wasn't worth it anymore. I know you've never..."

She sighs.

"I'm not right in this body. I'm not wired to be a woman. I look at my breasts, and I curse that they're there. I look at my hips, and I hate that they're wide enough to bear children, something that I don't think I'm inclined to do. Ever. Period. No backs.

"You don't know what it's like to feel like your whole body is just one big lie. On Halloween, we all get to pretend to be something we're not: scary, sexy, ridiculous.

"But I can't take this costume off."

The tears fall down her cheeks.

"So I'm stuck like this. I'm stuck in this hellacious existence, something I can't break free of. Hell, I don't even have the gumption to try living like a man. Believe me, I tried, and I... well, I looked worse for wear then than I do now."

She closes her eyes as her chest heaves up and down. In this desperate moment, my friend is laying bare before me. I try to wrap my head around it, and I, well, I can't. I can't fathom the thought that her soul, her essence is not... well, it's certainly not "Vera."

I know the right thing to do is tell her that it’ll get better, but I know it won’t. I want to tell her that people love her regardless, but I know that’s a lie. Fragments of her soul have been passed around in this woman’s body and have been passed off as the real thing.

But the real thing just tried to drown itself with 30 sleeping pills covered in fresh blood. Her certain exterior does not belie her very certain interior.

And in this moment, I have no words. All I have is the hand that I reach out to squeeze her own.




This entry is for the topic Deconstruction over at therealljidol.

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Comments

( 32 comments — Leave a comment )
basric
Nov. 13th, 2010 02:03 am (UTC)
Well done.
cobycaroline
Nov. 15th, 2010 06:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
myrna_bird
Nov. 13th, 2010 07:25 pm (UTC)
Sometimes just being there is All you can do.
Very well written.
cobycaroline
Nov. 15th, 2010 06:21 pm (UTC)
Agreed. And thank you.
lioht
Nov. 13th, 2010 07:53 pm (UTC)
This breaks my heart.
cobycaroline
Nov. 15th, 2010 06:26 pm (UTC)
I agree with what someone said below: Feeling like you don't belong in your own body must be one of the worst feelings in the world.

Thank you for reading.
imafarmgirl
Nov. 13th, 2010 07:57 pm (UTC)
How sad. I hope, if this is real, she found a sense of peace somehow. Well written and vivid.
cobycaroline
Nov. 15th, 2010 06:21 pm (UTC)
It's a mix. I have several friends who are actually transitioning right now, and they're doing very well (all things considered).

Thank you for reading.
the_vernacular
Nov. 14th, 2010 01:49 am (UTC)
Is this memoir or fiction? Just curious.
cobycaroline
Nov. 15th, 2010 06:22 pm (UTC)
It's a mix, actually. I have several friends who are transitioning, and I know how difficult it's been for them.
kungfufighting
Nov. 14th, 2010 02:42 am (UTC)
Really striking. Well done.
cobycaroline
Nov. 15th, 2010 06:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
awriterswindow
Nov. 14th, 2010 02:23 pm (UTC)
I've always thought that feeling as though you are in the wrong body is probably one of the worst feelings in the world. I cannot imagine. Thank you for discussing it with us.
cobycaroline
Nov. 15th, 2010 06:24 pm (UTC)
That's the aspect of it that just absolutely breaks my heart. I have several friends who are transitioning, and every time I think of them, I think, "Remember you were once a stranger in a strange land."
lawchicky
Nov. 14th, 2010 02:40 pm (UTC)
What a scary situation to have to deal with :(
cobycaroline
Nov. 15th, 2010 06:26 pm (UTC)
Agreed!
rejeneration
Nov. 14th, 2010 04:21 pm (UTC)
How is she doing now?

You know, it takes a lot of bravery to be the one to make that call when you think someone is in crisis. It's happened so many times to me and it's the worst position known to man to be in. Well, one of them, anyway.
cobycaroline
Nov. 15th, 2010 06:27 pm (UTC)
The entry is actually from a mix of friends, male and female. Several are transitioning and doing very well currently.
sileri
Nov. 14th, 2010 04:35 pm (UTC)
This is beautiful
cobycaroline
Nov. 15th, 2010 06:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
sweeny_todd
Nov. 14th, 2010 08:22 pm (UTC)
powerful.
cobycaroline
Nov. 15th, 2010 06:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
joeymichaels
Nov. 14th, 2010 08:49 pm (UTC)
You're a good friend. Well done.
dreamchaser
Nov. 14th, 2010 09:08 pm (UTC)
I am glad you were there for Vera.
crimsonplum
Nov. 15th, 2010 12:48 am (UTC)
I think this happens around all of us more than we can possibly imagine. And I think you have better insight on it than most of us on the "easy" side ever could.

(Good to see you again, too...)
solstice_singer
Nov. 15th, 2010 01:38 am (UTC)
You tackle a difficult subject here. I like the sensitivity and insight you bring to it.
thaliontholwen
Nov. 15th, 2010 02:37 am (UTC)
I really don't have anything to say other than this is intense and very good. Nice work in the retelling of the story.
nyxocity
Nov. 15th, 2010 07:12 am (UTC)
Wow. This is amazingly powerful. Well done for the written, and outstandingly well done in life.
blueashke
Nov. 15th, 2010 09:42 am (UTC)
And sometimes, that will be enough. And sadly, sometimes that won't. But what matters for your... well I guess 'karma' is the closest semi-pc term, is that you did reach out. As someone who had one like you, thank you.
worldofcharlie
Nov. 15th, 2010 07:11 pm (UTC)
nicely done...the last two paragraphs really stick with me...
team_jessie
Nov. 15th, 2010 07:11 pm (UTC)
You really captured the weight of those moments when you don't know what to say.

Edited at 2010-11-15 07:12 pm (UTC)
onda_bianca
Nov. 16th, 2010 01:51 am (UTC)
How heartbreaking.
( 32 comments — Leave a comment )