Thursday, February 27, 2014

Suzy (on

“HI!” she squealed. Her vocal register was somewhere between Minnie Mouse and Bette Davis playing Baby Jane. She pranced in and walked around the shop with a somewhat manic smile or her face. I was focused on the fact that she had missed that part of the makeup lesson where we put on foundation, and by that I mean beard cover. If anyone needed it, she did. 

She was wearing pink lipstick and her mascara was a smeary mess that I could just make out behind her glasses; the same frames she always wore. The overall effect was “I’m a reluctant participant in a beauty pageant for my wife’s charity”, but she was as serious as a heart attack. As a trans person, even those of us who enjoy dressing for effect on occasion , try and avoid having that effect be vocalized as “What in God’s name is THAT?!”

 I was already learning to make gentle suggestions and offer help to the new girls among us; I certainly needed that when I began, and even afterward if it was offered sans thrown shade or hidden claw. Another tenant walked in, nicely dressed for a day of shopping, to pay her monthly locker bill; I complimented her nail color.

 “HI! I’m Suzy!!” said the extremely tall, gangly woman in the shapeless sleep dress as she clomped over to greet the startled tenant. She now had a name. “I’m in room 103, what room are you in?” “I’m in 104.” A silent “Thank God” was obvious. “What’s your name? I’m Suzy!” The tenant looked desperately toward me. I silently indicated our business was complete. “I’m Jackie. Nice to meet you. See you later, Darya.” “BYYYYE!!” Suzy trilled.

 “Holy crap.” I said, sotto voce.
 (c) Darya Teesewell 2014

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