Editor’s Choice: The Trans-sexual Lover
This short story is participating in Write Story from Picture India 2012 – Short Story Writing Competition.
I took up the stairs indolently to the terrace of Hotel Kuber at Fancy Bazar. As I expected no soul existed there. People were busy drinking in the bar on the second floor. Hovering my eyes over the entire area I decided to sit near the wall and placed the camera just on its edge in front of me. I looked at my wrist watch, dangling like a bracelet mis-fitting itself on my thin wrist. The camera man would be coming soon. I peered down, as I settled my long artificial burgundy wig that rustled itself till my waist. I wore a white backless gown and let the October breeze kiss my spine. Carefully I applied the compact, with eyeliners and mascara to adorn my plastic eyelashes that covered underneath a pair of brown lenses over my eyes. I looked at my manicured fingernails that made me realize that I must be looking beautiful. Though artificial I looked a complete female—my True Avatar.
I wanted to make my final wish as a woman, the woman inside me, inside the body of a mistaken man. I wanted to look beautiful and so called the photographer to take my last photographs before the ending.
My fingers trembled as they touched the blue parker pen Lalit had given me for my 17th birthday. I closed my eyes in helpless submission to the memories that I knew would assail me now. Instantly, as if it was only waiting for my eyes to close, my mind conjured up his image – just as he had looked on that fateful day. Tall, handsome, and with a devilish smile that turned heads wherever he went, he was dressed in a crisp, black suit. He opened his arms and I ran into them. For the first time, he embraced me. He was delighted that I had waited until he could come, before I cut the cake. He then held me at arm’s length, and slipped a blue parker into the pocket of my suit. That’s just the way he does things. No colourful paper, no fancy trimmings. Just the pen, and the thought, which I had believed, mattered so much to me.
With the same pen now I decided to write down my suicide note. It was time.
I took a paper napkin from the nearby table and started penning down with that usual dirty handwriting.
“My world is of,
Printed Rainbows, On Painted Skies.
Metallic Suns, Over Paper Mountains.
Diamond stars, Of Charcoal Nights.
Electric Moon…Clouds Cotton White.
The only thing,
Unadorned about me
Is My Soul,
Which I am letting free today.
Free to sky.
Free from this gubernaculums of flesh and Blood.
Free from the body of a Man.
Free from Life.”
“What a poetic death note!” I wondered and smiled to myself.
I Closed my eyes, took a long breath and faced back to the dark sky and wondered.
…How my fate of never reaching the zenith of my dreams to be with Lalit left me with no option except for the ultimate termination. “I can never love a trans-sexual Shazia. Please don’t call me anymore.” His words rung in my ears and I popped two sedatives keeping the rest twenty in my pocket.
My expectations from Lalit, in these years had unknowingly scaled such heights, that answers or replies as such left me cold and speechless. As I sipped another trace , blinking my wet eyes, conscious even minutes before death, about my lenses getting displaced searching for the mirror inside my bag to look myself once, akin to Narcissus leaning over the lake before last, but in vain like everything else my memory had also left me midway. I had forgotten my mirror.
“You can use my specs for the moment if you don’t mind.” Came a voice from back.
I turned back and saw a moon faced, specs clad smiling individual, looked at him sharply contracting my pupils, pursued my lips into a “who the hell are you?” expression and finally spoke “no thanks.”
“Opportunity strikes once, isn’t it?” he interrogated me with that irritatingly polite voice.
“Please don’t try out your hand as I completely know boys like you. Just leave me alone or I call the guards” I erupted.
“I guess how that cup of cold coffee is having an antagonistic effect on you?”
“Wipe that irritating smile off your face and tell me what the hell, you want.” I turned back completely this time to face him and stumped my cup into his table.
“It was not I who wanted, in fact it was you. I guess it’s a mirror and so I offered you” he held out his specs as he completed and brought my cup into the centre with a perfect geometric move, but unknowingly trembling fingers.
“Okay, give it to me.”
I examined my face by placing a paper napkin behind the glasses in order to prevent reflection—The Woman inside the wrong body… the body of a Man.
He kept wearing his smile which I had asked him to wear off like my sticky vest I had bought a month ago, which however didn’t seem irritating anymore akin to my vest which I wore even now and didn’t even realize when my artificial breasts somehow got adapted to it.
“Won’t you ask, for what?” I asked in reply to his silence
“I read that death-note of yours while you were busy discovering yourself in those specs of mine” he said coldly.
“So?” I whispered
“You look beautiful with those brown eyes of yours”
“Just like me, everything adorned by the veil of beauty that I fear to remove, so that I don’t start hating myself. I am a man wrongfully though, always carrying a veil to mask it or rather bask in the pride of being a woman inside.”
“Lenses?” he hovered away from the topic.
“Why are you diverting yourself, aren’t you curios about a person’s death wish?” I tried to get back to the track with that question.
“I believe you chose it yourself, where do I get the space to stand and question?”
“No my heart chose it.” I replied
“Then I assure you that’s the only unadorned thing left in you.” a calm reply from him as if he could look right through me peeping into my heart as if I bore a hole in my exquisite new breasts.
I grew a bit impatient with his “know-it-all” attitude and that piercing coolness of his voice as if he was enjoying an interview with a rare species. Aren’t I going to die? I asked myself.
Then, came a voice from that unadorned piece inside me, my heart “what’s the harm in surrendering minutes before terminating.”
So instead of shouting, I let him carry on.
“So, what do you think you know about my heart”, I gave a mocking smile.
“I don’t, I just respect it as I do mine” he said as plainly as sipping a cup of cold coffee.
“I don’t get that completely, you seem to be too philosophical” I said the truth.
“It’s very simple you see and I am as much practical as you with that suicide note of yours. But first please keep aside that cup of yours and postpone your plan just for some minutes of my explanation. You can have my cup instead. I haven’t wetted my lips till now with my favourite beverage you see.”
“How are you so sure I am going to postpone it?”
“Because I can see curiosity reflecting in your eyes, curiosity to know your own heart through the eyes of a stranger”
His truth hit hard on me. I took a deep breath, looked into his smiling eyes feeling completely incoherent of the air building up this very situation.
I agreed surrendering again like every other time, when my heart asked me to choose love and later death…without questioning. Kept the cup aside, brought his cup near and pursued my lips into a
“Is that a green signal for my explanation?”
I blinked my eyes in a positive response.
“So I start from the beginning again. I respect your heart. I do so only because when in today’s stand, people have a handicapped heart captivating itself within shackles of rules, you dared to stick on what your heart wanted you to stick to, without caring about the consequences and its greatest achievement is, it is able to love even in return for pain.” This was something which Lalit had never said to me over the entire span of our relationship but this Stranger who had barely known me for 30 minutes expressed his view so swiftly and comfortably that I couldn’t stop myself but admiring him.
He then continued, “Every person on this earth has his own way of viewing and judging things the way his heart wants. Perceptions of every being is ought to be different from every other. Each of us have our own uniqueness in beholding them and nurturing them in ways that may not be applicable to others. There are a number of people in this world I live, whose amusements and pursuits are and ought to be of as much consequence to them as my can be mine. And the same holds for you or any other person. Each of us has choices and dreams that are unique to ourselves. Hence your heart is as much correct in being capable of loving another heart. That is why I respect it and would like you to stick to it because that is what makes you “YOU”, there lies your individuality in being YOU. Never try to morph yourself into someone else just because the world around you is unable to accept you as the way you are. Ignore them or if required leave them thinking that they don’t belong to your world.”
After what he had said there was no space for any reaction or reply. So I kept mum, had a cool sip from his cup wishing that he continued and so he did…
There was only the sound of my breath reflecting the silence. Knowing this to be the green signal for his continuation again, he went on…
“We meet a number of people in our life of which only a few stands up to our expectations and choices and our heart responds by adoring them or loving them in due course of time. At some point this person comes to occupy the highest position in our world and going far from him or her seems to be our darkest fear. But as time proceeds, relations tend to lose their constancy and the rope seems to loosen its threads one after the other. The impression of that person seems to fade from our pages and instead a new picture appears in its place. He is replaced by someone else. Later he too is replaced by someone else and the process continues. But the better part of the process is that in spite so many replacements, a person is never lonely. Someone or the other qualifies to occupy the position. It doesn’t really matter whether he is the tenth replacement or the hundredth. So that applies equally to you too. Be convinced that you can never be lonely, ironically even if you wish to.”
“But what will I do when I am growing weak and old, unloved and left with an empty heart incapable of loving anyone else lest HIM?” I spoke for the first time after remaining silent for long.
An angelic smile spread over his ever smiling face and…
“Dear, do you think that you’ll stop receiving replacements after you grow old?
If yes then you are wrong. We are given two legs to walk, two hands to work, two eyes to see but why one heart? This is because we are expected to search for another.
Till you are alive your heart shall beat and till it beats it will require a companion. This applies not only to you but to every living soul under the firmament. The only task left for you will be to nurture the ability to see the right image or reflections of your heart in someone else’s and make him or her see his or her reflection in you. And I don’t think that it will be a difficult task because every individual is gifted with that inborn capability of being able to love, however your job will be to gather excellence in overlooking conditions and expectations in any of the relations you fascinate.”
His words were like the ultimate answers I was longing to hear from the time I had started thinking.
I let him carry on…
“It is true that all of us will grow old one day. Each of us will require a walking stick, you, me, and everybody but it is one stick that will be required not hundred! Isn’t it? To carry on without falling, one stick is sufficient and that stick, for you will be your memories of the times spent with your loved one, the beautiful experiences derived during the journey of your life, the love and emotions of the people you fascinated, the hearts and dreams that you came across and so on.”
I felt like opening my heart a little more oblivious myself of the “why” that my brain kept banging onto me,
“Why is it that every relation I fascinate turns into a gamble where I am destined to lose? Why? Is it only because I am a mis-crafted being—a Trans-sexual?”
He stood silent for a few moments, waited till my eyelids dried and then…
“Did you ever believe in the winds that carried you?”
“I didn’t get you”
“You never thought of giving heed to where the winds intended to carry to you… the gypsies do. That’s why they always end up where they should be. They believe in the language of the winds, the rivers; the sky, through which the universe speaks to them… the universe, speaks to us. The universe guides us. But it is we who choose to walk alone. It is we who fail to see the direction, fail to recognize the path showed by the universe. We design our own parallel universe, incorporate our own world into it, make it revolve in self created orbits and try our best to make it different, make it non-parallel. Next time when you fly, believe in the winds, let it carry you where it wishes to, don’t choose the direction, don’t choose the peak, just spread your wings and keep faith in the promises of the wind”
“There’s a fair going on at Chandmar, The All-Guwahati Mela. Would you like to come along with me? It’s been days since I had a ride in one of those giant cartwheels” he asked smilingly.
I felt a bit awkward to face such a question in the current scenario that obviously didn’t support it in any feasible way. But again this time I heeded to the language of the winds… I tried to connect myself to the string that tied my heart and soul to the universe.
Yes was my answer.
“But aren’t you afraid of getting up that giant cartwheel?”
“Definitely I am.”
But that doesn’t stop me.
After Fifteen minutes I was in the fair.
An hour passed by as we enjoyed ourselves in the cartwheel.
“I need to leave now, it’s getting late”, he blurted out abruptly.
“Where are you going?” I suddenly grew panic.
“Where I should be.”
Again an absurd answer, I thought.
“What about me?” I asked.
Suddenly calmness seemed to grip him in its arms, as he started speaking, “listen to your soul. It does through your heart, through your body that it speaks, without which you will never be able to hear to it …never be able to listen to the winds, the rivers, the sky…never be able to connect to the universe.”
“Why do I need to?” I grew annoyed.
“Because the universe answers all our questions, not necessarily in the way we anticipate the answers, but yes it does, in its own way. Try to learn the language through your soul. Try to recognize the media through which it speaks to you. Today it might be me; tomorrow it might be someone else.” He completed with a whispering tone.
He then turned back and left
I stood there stupefied, watching him walking away, but content with my soul. I couldn’t define it as happiness but I started hearing to what my soul wanted to say through that unadorned piece of flesh…my heart. I started feeling its need.
8:30 in the morning. The sun was already high and a low ME sank into an unknown intimidatory feeling of curiosity. “Am I going to meet him again?” I asked my heart. “Follow the winds.” It said and I understood.
Monday, 7:00pm. I took the keys and drove towards Kuber Hotel and sat at the same place. I kept waiting but he didn’t turn up. I still followed the winds. I waited but in vain and depression took over again and just when I was starting to write my death note again, ink had finished.
“Excuse me, instead of struggling so much, you can use my pen” came a voice from behind.
I turned back to see a guy of around 22, not handsome but charming.
“Hi, I am Gaurav. Can I join you?”
The universe started speaking to me again and my soul started recognizing it… through one of its various media, maybe the one sitting right in front of me! The unadorned piece of flesh inside me, my heart asked me back to trust on the promises of the winds once again. It went calm. I closed my inner eyes without concerning for the directions and let the wind carry me in its arms.
“Yes, you can.”, I replied back smiling.