She leaned over the small table separating us from one another and grinned. “And what do you mean by ‘femme’ in this context?” she says with eyes too clear for prodding, too rambling for security. I don’t know. I’m pushing at a coaster strewn haphazardly on a side table and begin fingering the cord connecting light to switch. There are less shadows in the room now that the rain has stopped and the curtains have been pulled. The clouds are still heavy and the sky still gray. There’s a part of me wishing to be closer to those clouds, furthering this conversation is the last thing on my mind.
Two years later I’m sitting in a more comfortable chair, same coaster in my lap. Long purple nails dig at the boundary between faux-cork and laquered paper, skewing the vintage-inspired image obviously meant for humor or comfort than decor. Nothing in this room matches, same scruffy pillows in green and gray. The sky is less full than the day before, rain threatening but refraining from overwhelming us both. She sits across the same small table in a button-up shirt and shaved hair. I cross shaved legs under the swish of a soft skirt and smooth the belt under my bust. I’ve been searching for red leather and feel more like sex than client today.
“And what do you mean by ‘femme’ in this context?” she breathes with a smile, brows nitting in concentration. I know the answer this time. I know who she is, who I am, and what I mean when I say “this.” This is just what I meant, no shift in gaze or awkward intake of legs and chair. She reminds me then of another voice in my ear. Another set of laquered nails painted in glitter and gold, short red hair crafted on skin paler than mine, freckles dimmed with a soft dust of powder and paint. There are too many ways to play with gender. There are too many ways we police gender. This is not the only answer for me, this tie she lays at my right arm, draping slowly to pronounce the black in my shirt. This is not the only answer to the queer in me, the cunt wiggling for an identity that isn’t strapped to biology or normativity. I pull on heels and hose and wait.
This is just what I meant.
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