Chapter 1: Moderate Pain
Blood trickled down my finger, past my palm, slowing as it rolled onto the wrist and down my arm. I always forget how messy blood is: I hold up my arm closer to my face. The blood is ruby water, is day old cranberry juice.
I am not entirely sure how I wound up in this field. But I can recount it all as best as I can.
I run my brush through my hair, counting in my head "25...26..27..." A gnashing clamor of blades causes me to jump. I stand, apprehensive, holding my brush slightly in front of me as if it were a weapon. Then, with a sigh, I realize what the sound was. I walk into the kitchen: "Maggie you scared the shit out of me."
Maggie wore an extra large black t-shirt with a big red rose pictured on it and the band name "Thick Lindsey." Normally I hate the whole "ironic hipster love of gaudy fashion" thing but Maggie wore things like that shirt because she genuinely loved them, so I didn't mind. I generally didn't mind anything Maggie did for this reason: not a single part of her was fake. "Whatever you scared the shit out of me earlier."
"Like around when I woke up. Um, 7. You must of knocked over something glass cause it shattered really loudly."
I had just woken up, and had literally sat up and started brushing my hair immediately after. "Maggie I don't think that was me."
"What? Oh shit-
"Tower!" we scolded in unison. Tower, who we named after our mutual favorite tarot card, had three purposes in life: to eat, to lay on important things when you need them, and to knock things off high shelves and onto the floor.
"Could you pass me the broom and dust pan?" I asked grimacing.
"Are you sure?"
When I was little, I had seen a pile of fiber glass and thought it would be a lot of fun to roll around in. Ever since, I had a fear of being anywhere near any sharp glass. "No it's okay. Bob wants me to do immersion so like I need to confront it because it is scaring." Or something. It was hard to pay attention to my therapist Bob because he often just stared forlornly at my tits. In a way that was more sad than lustful. But still really gross.
I walked into the living room apprehensively. "Tower, meow meow, Tower where are you?" Tower walked out of Maggie's bedroom with an appreciative meow. He loved attention, and began rubbing himself all around my legs. "Maggie I think he knocked something over in your room."
"What?" She had the sink running, and 5 years of being the lead singer of a sludge metal band meant that her hearing was completely shot.
"I think it is in your room!" I shouted.
"What about my room?"
I shook my head and slowly edged into her room. I wasn't sure how something glass could have broken on the floor: Maggie had a carpeting of dirty clothes, which actually formed a pretty consistent pattern since she only wore skinny black jeans and black band t-shirts. Standing on it felt like floating over an abyssal void.
Maggie turned the sink off and I heard her walk over. "What are you doing in my room? There's nothing glass here."
"Are you sure? It was where Tower was hanging out."
"He must have gone in there to hide cause he knows he is a bad boy. The only thing glass I can think of outside the kitchen is that vase in the living room." She turned around, "Which is still sitting on the shelf. Huh."
My neck started to tense. There was glass, somewhere, in the apartment, and I could not find it. At least not by looking: it was only a matter of time before I located it by stepping on it, by tripping and landing face first-
"Sweetie you're sweating. Let's sit down."
"Yeah..." I walked over to the couch and sat down.
Maggie went to sit down on the blanket next to me. "Ow fuck!" she yelped.
"Shit," I yelled standing up quickly. Sure enough I looked where Maggie had gone to sit and fragments of glass were embedded in the yarn of the blanket. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah I think so. Did any get in me?"
I looked at her butt. "Yeah there's one bigger piece but I don't think it is in too deep. Do you want me to pull it out?"
"Sure just don't get too frisky back there."
I was glad to be out of her sight, because that comment made me blush. I knew I had feelings about Maggie, but I hadn't told her because I wasn't really sure what they were. Maggie was incredibly attractive, and it wasn't because she was transgender: I had dated other trans women before. I just really valued our friendship and was really nervous about doing anything to wreck it. For some reason it felt very fragile to me, maybe because we had only known each other for a few months.
I pulled the piece out. "That wasn't too bad. Do you want to check to see if you got it all? I have a full mirror in my-"
"Hey we live together I don't mind if you see my naked butt." She pulled down to uncover her small but perky ass, its pale luminescence nearly the opposite color of my dark brown skin. Needless to say I was blushing again.
"I only see a little cute where that piece of glass was, besides that you're perfect."
"Don't worry, everyone has that reaction to it."
"Why, because it's the palest butt they've ever seen?" I joked back. As soon as the words left my mouth I felt self-conscious: was that mean? Is me worrying about it being mean some sort of internalized racism? Like I'm sure other people who have told her that it's beautiful and sexy so a little joke wouldn't hurt right? I spend a lot of time in my own head, questioning the morality of my actions.
"Nothing is perfect," she replied. Good, she seemed to take it as a joke. Or at least wanted me to think she did. "But I have a question for you: how did glass wind up in our blanket?"
Oh to be able to walk past this field into the past to tell my sweet Maggie at this moment to leave the apartment, to leave the city, to never see me again!