I am obsessed with the rain.
Growing up, my favourite moments in the night were listening to the wind plough the leaves. Without the rain, there was always a perfect calm non-existent anywhere else in life. There would be a comforting silence, almost identical to the one I’d only experience after sex with someone I loved, huddled together, not needing to talk, not needing anything. Time would stand still. With the rain, it was like adding a blissful smile to the mix. Almost melancholic, because you know it’ll end soon, and that’s disheartening, but you enjoy it for the moment.
Daniel reminded me of every feeling I used to feel when I felt those sleepless calm and breezy nights or wistful rains. His dimple pronounced his smile, his eyes crystallised amber, his muscled frame more toned now than I remember in New York. He wore a leather jacket and thick jeans, towing a helmet under his arm before dropping it at the coat hanger.
We sat down at the dining table when Janet called dinner was ready. Daniel and I sat next to each other, having not planned to sit together but rather drew to each other like magnets.
“How are you?” he asked, twirling his index finger in the palm of my hand as we waited for Janet to add the last bowl of greens onto the table.
I grinned, butterflies swarmed my stomach and swelled a flame. “I’m good. How are you?”
“I’m good,” he chuckled. It was contagious.
It was as if we hadn’t seen in each other in years.
The night carried on with all sorts of stories and conversations. Neither Daniel nor I hardly paid attention to any of them. I was interested in a lot of what was going on with Daniel since I last left him. Oh, even saying that ran a shiver down my spine. I left so much.
“…and how’s your father?” I asked.
The corner of Daniel’s mouth twitched minutely. “He’s okay. We’re okay-ish. We’re really cordial with each other. Strangely so. The way we talk to each other, if we ever talk, is really business-orientated. Like, we’re not even father and son anymore. Which is cool. I’m okay with that. I don’t want to pretend it’s anything else.”
I wondered if that had anything to do with my leaving.
“How’s the, uhh…” How do I put it delicately?
“The spawn of Satan?” That’ll work. We both laughed awkwardly. “No, uhh, we don’t…I don’t…they have they’re life and I have mine.”
“That sounds bad doesn’t it?”
“No, I mean…” I shrugged.
“It’s okay, you can say it.”
“You make it sound so easy to cut off someone with so much certainty.”
“Not easy,” he shook his head, looking down for pause and trying to gather his thoughts. “I don’t know how to explain it.”
“You don’t have to.”
“Well, speaking of which, how’s your half-brother?”
My heart paced, I tried to act cool. “He’s good.” I looked away and bit my lip, acting as if I’m searching for beans or corn or some shit.
In all honesty, I hadn’t seen him in a long time. In fact, I don’t remember the last time I did see him. So, I was dreading Thanksgiving dinner with my mother and her baby and beau. Call me crazy, call me chicken, call me what you will, but half the people wouldn’t talk shit if they were in the same position.
“What about your book?”
I furrowed my brows. “My book?”
“Yeah, the one you sent to an editor? Had it, you know, edited?”
“Oh, oh, yeah,” I laughed nervously, “yeah, umm, I’m still working on it.”
“You better be,” he smiled.
I smiled back. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d slowed down like I was trudging through thick mud. When the editor gave back my manuscript, there were so many notes on it that it was bleeding. For some reason, I just couldn’t bring myself to edit. Then, I got caught up with this full-time gig at the magazine alongside some freelance work, I made the excuse that I was too busy to work on my dream.
Somehow, the topic of discussion at the table reverted to transgender dating.
“Honestly,” some guy said, “if you were dating a girl and you found they used to be a guy—”
“—how long did it take me to find out—” another replied.
“—no just wait—”
“—how serious are we?—”
“You don’t get details in this hypothetical, that’s the beauty of a hypothetical.”
“Okay, go on then.”
“So, you’re dating and you found out they used to be male, would you keep dating them?”
“Nah man,” the second one shook his head. “I wouldn’t.”
“He does this all the time,” Janet rolled her eyes at me and shook her head.
“It’s a good question, though, right,” the first guy said to Janet once he heard.
“It’s a hard question,” Janet replied.
“Come on,” the first guy nudged the second at his elbow, “what’s your reason for being transphobic?”
“Fuck you,” the second one spat. “Nah, it’s just the trust is gone because they hid it this all time.”
“Nice one dude,” a girl jumped in and winked, “pick the diplomatic answer.”
“It’s a good fucking answer,” the first one said.
Daniel and I smiled. I just wanted to go back to our world.
“Alright, wait,” the first guy continued, “what if they told you?”
The second guy thought for a moment. “No, definitely not.”
The conversation went from politics, to music, to Kanye—we practically considered all things. I hadn’t anticipated the conversation to get deep and meaningful at times, but it was a real eye-opener, I started wondering about my own views on certain things.
The evening began to die down. Food was almost all consumed. Janet stood up and clinked her glass.
“I have an announcement to make,” Janet smiled. “As many of you know, Stanley and I have been dating for a long time. We were first introduced to each other by our amazing friends—” she threw out a flat hand at us— “Anna and Daniel—” Daniel and I smiled bashfully, unknowingly put on the spot— “we’ve been through thick and thin and I somewhat can relate to Charles Dickens when he wrote ‘it was the best of times, it was the worst of times’—” she giggled, “but now, Stanley and I wanted to let everyone know—” she placed a hand on her stomach and my heart began to quicken.
Through my forced smile I was selfishly devastated. Janet was pregnant, I know it, and I’m happy for them but I just felt like it was too soon. It was all changing too fast. I’d grown sick of Facebook updates of people posting their marriages and proposals and new houses and pregnancies, and meanwhile, I was a mortifyingly single nomad, still renting property, and averse to having children. I had to remind myself like a mantra: be happy for her, be happy for her, be happy for her. I didn’t want to ruin it for her, but it’s not fair. I wanted more time with my best friends.