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A Story by Maeve Andrea

The morning after a bar fight.


I wake up alone. Kind of alone, I guess. I can hear the sound of her pouring things into cups in the kitchen, muffled by the walls. Guess she saw me stirring, ah? But that’s just like her- she always knows exactly what to do. She doesn’t like it when I call her Little Miss Perfect, so I don’t anymore, but I still think it.

I groan and stretch- bad idea. I'm hurting down to the core of me. I have to bite my lip to keep from screaming. I settle down and am aware of a dull throb throughout my muscles like I fell off a building.

“F**k my life,” I mutter.

I about damn near call for a pair of crutches but I can’t imagine I actually did fall off a building so I probably don’t have ‘em. So I decide to walk it off. I get up and it hurts, but I manage to tiptoe to the living room like a scared little kid. I’m being a baby about this. To borrow her words since she knows a bit of med school s**t and all, it’s probably just tissue damage, nothing crazy, or I would be in the hospital. And I had a lot of tissue damage done to me in the day fighting with the boys- one of ‘em or their chick friend, I had ‘em cheering for and scared of me when I got into it.

It still hurts though.

I plop down on the couch a little too suddenly and seethe when I do. That catches her attention as she brings over the coffee. She walks a little faster and sets both cups of joe on the table. “Are you okay?” she asks, kneeling by where I’m sitting. Guess that means I gotta lean up, so I do, but I seethe again, so I guess I’m gonna have trouble downplaying it because she worries too damn much. So I just shrug.

“Hey, gorgeous,” I say coolly.

She tuts. “Aww, you really got hit hard last night.”

“I was hit?” Okay, that makes sense. You go to the bar, wake up at home, and you find out that things happened. Probably fucked up a few of the other dykes in there too. Least I hope so.

Not that she exactly looks impressed. “Yes,” she sighs, “you got hit.”

I sigh too, but it’s probably not how she did unless she’s sighing that the dumb broads still think they can test me. “I can walk it off,” I promise. “Don’t worry about me, I’m not a baby.”

She sighs, but softly pats my hands. That much hurts- goddamn I’m feeling it this morning- but I don’t make a fuss. I take my first drink of coffee. It’s hot as hell but that just wakes me up. Maybe it’ll be a bit of painkiller. She sits next to me, drinking her coffee, but doesn’t lean on me, probably cause my body will go into red alert. Too bad, because she’s a cutie, what with her curly blonde hair and tiny smile that gives a damn about me. Cuddly as hell, too.

I just look at her a bit in between sips but whenever she looks at me I look away because it’s not worth bringing up, and she will point it out and embarrass me. But it’s not like there’s anything to discuss because there was a part between arriving at the bar and waking up here that I have only a few holes of memory in and they’re all related to violence. So I just tense up a little preparing for her to broach the subject and say things that are probably true but I never really take in.

Just my luck, that becomes the subject of discussion. “You okay, hon? You’re all… on guard.”

I sigh because the truth is probably really annoying to share. “Guess I’m getting ready, you know?”

She raises an eyebrow. She already looks sick of my s**t. “Ready for?”

I shrug. “I dunno. You to tell me not to drink so much.”

She chuckles. “So that’s already been on your mind.”

“You have,” I tease. “I guess the two go together.”

She smirks. She used to be hurt when I teased her but I guess she got used to me. “Well, I don’t mean to be your mom or anything,” she says, “but I am considerably worried about your drinking habits.”

“Don’t be,” I assure her all casual-like. “You know me. I don’t bring any booze home. I don’t go to any bars without you.” That’s true. I mean, why would I wanna go deal with these people without her? “I only get drunk when we get together. Ain’t that what you’re supposed to do at a bar?”

She shakes her head. “That isn’t all there is. There’s… a feeling of being safe.”

“Is there?” I look at her, confused. I ain’t even trying to make a point. I just don’t really know what it is about the bars that get me in fight or flight mode, but I’d probably shake from all the tension if I didn’t drink. But I know exactly what she means by being safe. It’s why I wanna keep her safe.

“At the very least,” she says with a haughty sniff, “it is not just a place to get blackout drunk. Something you seem to do with alarming frequency.”

“Aw,” I shrug, but yeah, I knew this was coming and I don’t really feel super hyped to talk about it. “I mean, I guess it’s nice to think of me. But, like, you don’t need to worry about that.” Honestly, I figured that she would talk about me waking up with a friggin’ body count half the time unless she dragged me out of there, but no, she goes straight to worrying about me. It feels like a waste of time, but a nice waste of time.

She closes her eyes and takes another drink of coffee. So I do too. I try and smile, but for some reason, it’s not coming to me. So I stop trying and just let whatever happens happen.

“I probably don’t have to tell you,” she says, measured as ever, “that we’ve been banned from that bar.”

I slap my forehead. Great idea, champ, I forgot how big of a pain-cushion my body was carrying. I try and downplay the pain because it was because I was too stupid to remember that my palm and my head both hurt like hell. Besides, I gotta say “Sorry, babe. That’s... “ I count. It’s not a huge number, but probably it should be lower. “What, five now?”

She nods. “Enough to be consistent.”

I bow my head. I mean, for me, I can stand not being there. Nosy-a*s cis b*****s who think you being there is their goddamn business. I guess why I feel safer here than at the bar is because there ain’t any unwanted company here. But I met her there, so at the same time, I can’t really bash them for finding me the one nosy-a*s cis b***h who isn’t a nosy-a*s b***h. In fact, she’s kind of a darling. I just hate that I’m depleting her supply of tolerable bars when she seems to like them. There ain’t exactly a mass of gay bars around here anyways. Or gay women for that matter. Or gay women that like me. Hell, she might be the only one.

“I’ll try and calm it down,” I promise, cause I can’t promise that I’ll never do it again. F**k knows what will happen, you know? She notices, and doesn’t smile, but lets it go. But I know she wants to say something. She does this thing where she starts to show an emotion and then reins it in like I’m gonna get angry at it no matter what. And yeah, sometimes I do, but not just because she has them. And more than anything I’m kinda pissed that she thinks she has to mind her friggin’ manners around me. I ain’t a giant rage monster. People think I am but when I’m angry I think I’m pretty justified.

Not like I’m any damn good at hiding my emotions, cause she asks “Honey, are you okay?”

I really don’t know, because yeah I’m tweaked, but just by thoughts so it barely registers. So I just shrug and apologize. I guess somehow that was the wrong answer, because she sighs heavily and bows her head, and she’s starting to cry because she’s never been great about carrying heavy stuff. She’s trying to hide it but we have linoleum floors even in the living room and I know what her tears sound like hitting them. Now I gotta ask “are you okay?” because it’ll chafe the hell out of me if I don’t.

She doesn’t say anything but clears her throat. Now I’m worried because I think I get it now. I used to be not very good at getting it, when she was sad or mad or just negative as hell. I mean, it was always easy for her to tell for me when I was angry, either because she’s smart or I’m really obvious (like getting into fights blackout drunk obvious). I guess I knew I had to catch up, but I guess I forgot the part where I had to be good at drying her tears, instead of just being good at causing them.

“I know you’re feeling some type of way,” I guess. “And I’m sorry I fucked up this one.” I set the coffee down and fold my hands together, looking at the back of her head. “I didn’t know you were going to be this upset about it, but like, I still don’t feel any less bad.”

“You… have to stop doing this to yourself, darling.”

I don’t know why she hesitated or acts like this isn’t hurting her, even if she thinks it’s about me. “To myself? Sorry, babe, that’s gonna be a tall order.”

She leans up and looks at me. “A tall order?” she says too quickly. I learned how to give it time and stop interrupting her- I count two beats in my head, and she’s saying nothing- just looking at me something fierce. If I wasn’t so worried about what she was dying to say, I’d think it was hot.

“Yeah, maybe.” I shrug. “I don’t care about myself as much as I care about you.”

“You don’t?”

“Is that the wrong answer?” I give; I don’t know the right one. “I mean, I could try and stop drinking for you to make you feel better, but for me?” I shrug. “What’s the point?”

She widens her eyes. “What’s the point?!” She’s mad; I fucked something up on the line. “The point is…” She closes her eyes. She’s not the best at talking feelings. “The point is that you should do better by yourself, babe.”

The feeling of not really caring starts to blossom into something bigger and uglier. “I don’t need to change for myself,” I say, voice harsh, warning her to drop it because I really don’t want to talk about it. This is nasty and angry and I want it to just f**k off already.

“But you did.

I stop and I sigh. I guess that’s the obvious thing to say. Sort of opened myself up to it, to be honest, and it’s not like I can refute the point. Not like I didn’t change. Not like I didn’t change right when I let myself believe it. Not like that’s not a point that you couldn’t shake me from even if I can be dragged kicking and screaming to a compromise anywhere else about me. So as much as I wanna argue and tell her to stop using that as a catchall to my argument, it kind of works as a catchall. It caught whatever this nasty angry mess is before I could splatter it on the wall.

She seems more comfortable, if not happier. She drinks the last of her coffee so I follow suit. It doesn’t make me feel better but it makes me feel more awake, awake enough to start working out the kinks in my s****y bruised juiced up wreck of a body. She braces to stand up, and I almost offer to take them until I move my arm too quickly and the pain reminds me of why that is not the super-greatest idea right now.

She looks at me and shakes her head. “Aww, you really did get it bad.”

“I’ll get over it.”

“I’m sure,” she says, dissatisfied. Then, before she goes to pick my cup up, she asks “do… do you remember anything last night?”

“Nah, cause I blacked out, remember?”

She looks at me and then closes her eyes, but she’s still looking at me. “Good.”

Before I can ask her what she means by that, she covers her mouth, like she let something slip. She looks back with a smile and finally picks my cup up. I smile back, but I’m confused, but even though she’s still got tears in her eyes she’s giving me that smile like she’s done saying too much, so I let her go, as much as it feels like a bad idea.

I still wonder what she means, good. She means it, too, like I missed something big. But it doesn’t mean that much to me, and I know I’ll never be able to press her on what she actually means. We both say a lot but half of it’s a trick. I try and think on being there because I’m curious, but all I get are the bad vibes from entering those bars, people saying bullshit about how they thought this was a women’s bar, then I wake up here feeling like s**t and ruining another date night and costing us another bar I don’t even wanna go to anyways but I would for her, except I keep f*****g things up for her.

And she feels bad about me. She acts like something bad’s happened to me. Whatever happened is probably because I couldn’t hold in my anger and let loose and got dragged out like a beast, and yet she acts like I’m doing it for a reason.

I close my eyes. I wanna deny that I’m tearing up, but I can’t. She’s a hell of a gal. All the other guys talked about getting a girl like they were just gonna find someone who popped a pair of beers and tagged along whatever you were doing. Okay, they probably said it in more fucked up ways, but the point still stands.

Going into this I thought I should expect a girl to go along with all my crazy reckless schemes with a smile on her face. She’s just like who they were talking about- a sweet tiny blonde thing in short skirts and jean jackets who puts up with me, who always presses me about s**t in a way that I can deal with, who holds me and talks sweet to me and cares about me.

But I’m a girl too. I’m still trying to figure out what that means spending so long being a guy, but I’m still a girl. And a raging f****n’ fire of a woman at that.

I can hear her putting the coffee cups in the dishwasher. She hasn’t been gone that long, but I miss her for some stupid reason. Maybe not stupid, just that I didn’t say anything good to her when she was here, and I don’t wanna blow that again.

When she starts to walk back, I soften up and I smile through the tears, and I don’t know what to say, but I bet I’m gonna mean it.

© 2018 Maeve Andrea

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Added on October 5, 2018
Last Updated on October 5, 2018
Tags: queer, trans, lesbian, black out, bar, fight, transphobia, tough, ignorant, transition, concern, pain, morning


Maeve Andrea
Maeve Andrea

Delhi, Delhi, India

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