“That is, the body is not an envelope for psyche, and the skin is not an envelope for the body; both body and psyche are characterized by their lability rather than their ability to contain.”
—Gayle Salamon, Assuming a Body: Transgender and Rhetorics of Materiality
What we remember:
gaps in the narrative,
a panicked aftermath.
One of us feels guilty.
One of us feels scared.
One of us writes a letter and doesn’t send it.
One of us secretly keeps an undergarment discovered only hours later at the foot of the bed.
One of us avoids dinner the next night.
One of us suspects and/or accuses the other’s declarations of ardor of being insufficiently authentic due to lack of a proven track record in certain key subgenres in flagrante delicto.
One of us becomes frustrated and/or angry that her declarations of ardor are being invalidated and/or dismissed.
One of us senses a phantom gender pushing through the skin.
One of us feels at the verge of a transformation, but doesn’t know into what.
One of us experiences a nascent maleness as a phantom lack of breasts but has little in the way of language available to describe this unformed self.
One of us gets mad at Freud.
One of us makes a gesture of reconciliation using art.
One of us asks the other to perform contact improvisation with two headless, limbless mannequins exhibiting contrasting smooth bulges.
One of us consents to be video taped executing these moves wearing a beige unitard.
One of us makes a short movie using the footage.
One of us has to go to work.
One of us is nervous the next time she talks to her parents on the phone.
One of us gets a job passing out fliers on the street.
One of us hooks up with someone else’s girlfriend at a party.
One of us hears about it the next day.
One of us doesn’t tell the whole story.
One of us tries to take a moral high ground with regards to the other person.
One of us feels sorrow.
One of us feels justified, and then regretful.
One of us kisses a boy and then gets annoyed when her friends say I thought you were completely, you know, the other way now.
One of us is like, I didn’t know I had to choose.
One of us attends a political demonstration where she receives a sunburn.
One of us knows her rage can multiply and bear fruit in a crowd.
One of us hovers between, in between, right in between.
One of us worries about hospitals, incisions, drainage tubes.
One of us brings his abnormal pap smear results into a women’s community health clinic, where the receptionist says I’m sorry, we don’t treat people like you.
One of us goes on what they consider a fairly moderate amphetamine binge, concealing her indulgences from those in her immediate environment.
One of us goes, I’m never going to do that again!
One of us does it again and again. Again, again, again, again, again, again.
One of us writes a story for the first time in several months.
One of us keeps feeling like she’s just about to run into the other one in the kitchen, or on campus, or in fact anywhere she happens to be.
One of us feels lost most of the time.
Even in her own bed, she wakes up at odd times of night feeling lost.
Sometimes she feels lost inside of her own body, like her mind is just a vapor drifting in and out of her skin.
One of us keeps a minute record of such disturbances in a sketchbook that she eventually and unintentionally leaves on a Greyhound bus.
One of us tells the story so many different ways she can no longer separate what happened from what she made up.
Amanda Davidson writes, teaches and makes performances in Brooklyn and online at partedinthemiddle.wordpress.com.