Alicia’s jealousy was pure paranoia. Yes, I am quite sure of that. Of course I have interests in common with Liz, which Alicia does not seem to share, and in our first conversation round the fire toasting marshmallows we shared about them while Alicia was silent. I noted how Liz’s girlfriend was much younger, and very attractive, as a positive for Liz. I found her thought inspiring.
Next morning, I watched Alicia painstakingly groom her highlights.
-Are you laughing at me?
-How could someone as ridiculous as I am laugh at anyone? I asked. Sometimes my humility comes across as sarcasm. She did not know how to respond to that one.
-How long did you stay after we left? asked Liz.
-I had just said “I love you” to a man I had just met. I scarpered immediately!
He had apologised for his poor English, and I said, to reassure him, that I know no Persian. Say “دوستت دارم“, he said. I repeated it as best I could, then asked what it meant.
That night, round the fire again, Alicia talked with an American man about American cities they had both lived in, a subject giving me no entrée. I did not say I have not been West of Reykjavik. My last sight of them was them walking hand in hand down the quiet, peaceful path from the festival site. Liz smiled broadly and greeted me. Alicia didn’t- even though they will go back to New York at the weekend together.
I noted with interest that they live in different boroughs.
Another woman said that trans women are men who get sexually aroused by fooling others into thinking they are women. I did not challenge her, I was in shock.
-It sounds like she went for your jugular.
-Yes. That’s why I am covering my throat, to hide the gash.
After, I sent her a text as I was worried about how we would meet again. Texts were exchanged, and it seemed she might come to Greenbelt for the day. So I obsessed about her, checking my phone, rather than fully enjoying that day, and if she had come I would have followed her around like a sad-eyed puppy.
-What’s the attraction?
-The danger. She is beautiful, and very sexy.
She thinks my “femininity” could only be an act, that no-one could really be that way, that women are only that way because forced/trained into it by Patriarchy.
And then- should I go to —?? Those texts, are they simply friendly, or just a bit flirty? Well, mine are flirty. Oh, right, I thought, that’s what I am doing. I don’t want to get my hopes up. I am anticipating disappointment and embarrassment.
-You’re not managing not to get your hopes up.
-And here I was thinking how depressed and denying I was. I have no idea who I am, sometimes.
I anticipate being with her. I would do my best to fascinate, to amuse, to indulge in flights of fancy, to show Deep Seriousness and Sincerity, to stimulate. I would do my dance before her. I would seek to be winsome. I have no conception in this fantasy of how she would be.
I have never been very much concerned with real things in the real world.
-You have always lived a lot in your head.
I don’t know whether changing that would be a good thing. Could I somehow achieve something in reality for reality’s sake, rather than my perception of it? I want equanimity – (do I? Anything else? Am I getting it?)
-All in my own head or all in Real World seems lonely, she says.
It is very binary. It’s one or the other. Ideally a balance might be achieved. That was Liz’s thing: Queer theory, breaking down false binaries.
Reciprocity is the quest at the moment. You are hungry to be loved.
-If I don’t get it I am not pushing the right buttons, so I must rethink strategy.
-Does not come through strategy or button pushing. Comes through giving it [love], and taking the risk of being hurt.
-I admire your resilience getting through that ghastly nightmare.
-Oh, I just keep living, and it recedes into the past. I don’t have to do anything about it.