My dad has a new apartment, and he’s going to move in this Saturday, and I can stay there whenever I want. It’s in the basement of an extremely old building, weathered red brick with some new additions on the front and a picture of the handsome Prince Rupert on the lobby wall. It’s two stories tall, in the middle of the city’s rich downtown neighborhood, about a five minute walk from the canal. The basement smells like death. It’s kind of one of the shittiest places I’ve ever seen. There are two rooms, plus a bathroom; one is the kitchen and dining room, it’s all white with a window looking out at street level, with a latch that’s about a centimeter too far for me to reach, even standing on the foot stool that you need to stand on, no matter how tall you are. I’m five foot six. I should really be able to reach the freaking window latch on a foot stool. The bedroom-living room is nicer, with a wooden floor and a little closet, and another window that I can’t reach, looking out on the street. We have a fridge and an oven already there, and yesterday my grandma and my dad and I went to Ikea (the monstrously huge, three-story Ikea that looms like a blue and yellow space station out in the west end) and we bought a shelf thing to put boxes in to hold our clothes and two chairs for the kitchen table, which is a fold-in slab of wood attached to the wall. My grandma and grandpa will bring their old futon and we’ll get another mattress. I’m thinking about bringing either my record player or my stereo; my dad wants me to bring my Van Gogh print to put up on the wall. He’s been really into Van Gogh lately, ever since I showed him some paintings online – we’re going to be doing a painting class together starting this Thursday, and I’m looking forward to it. I want to spend more time with my dad and besides the thing itself actually does sound kind of fun.
So the apartment is pretty bad, really small, and with its high ceilings it kind of feels like a prison – but I don’t care all that much, and I’m actually looking forward to staying there, because it means I can get away from my mom’s house and be closer to my friends, who all live in my dad’s neighborhood. It’s not as if I don’t like being at my mom’s – of all the people in my family, it’s her I get along best with, even if we argue half of the time and sometimes it feels like she’s got me in a vice grip of parental over-attention. – That’s the reason I want to have some days away, how I feel like she’s always hovering over me. She probably isn’t. It just feels like she is. All of her hovering is well-meaning, but holy shit does it get under my skin sometimes. And I love spending time with her (we’ve watched four seasons of Lost in the past two months or so, and it’s been great), but I NEED TIME BY MYSELF. Holy shit, do I ever need time by myself.
Today I went to that Yu-gi-oh tournament with my friends. It was kind of nice, surprisingly. I haven’t spent much time with them since I left school again in March, and it’s great to know we still get along and everything (like we wouldn’t, for some reason?) I still haven’t told them about the transgender thing. I have to do that. It feels so bizarre to hear them refer to me with girl pronouns, since everyone else in my life is switching, and I myself have long since switched. It also makes me uncomfortable and frustrated, but I can’t possibly fault them. Because… I haven’t fucking told them yet. I need to. I just have no idea how – as always. At the Yu-gi-oh tournament most people seemed to accept my boyness but one guy called me “her”, but he sort of looked familiar so he might have seen me some other time at another tournament when I looked like an X. I felt pretty good at the tournament, in terms of self-esteem; a little shaky, it’s true, when I had to talk, but mostly all right. I lost four times and won once. Another time it was pretty close, though. Although I dare not suggest I’m actually very good at Yu-gi-oh – which is sad because I’ve been playing it since I was six or seven. I think part of it is that everyone else is so good – these tournament guys are pretty serious, and more often than not they really study the strategies, to the point that you literally can’t get a move in before they win the match. So it might not be that I suck, really. I’ll tell myself it isn’t, anyway.
I told my friends about my dad’s new apartment and then Devin asked to come over and play music sometime. (We used to have a band. Nope, I will not disclose the link to our Youtube thing, I personally quarantined it forever.) I was happy to see he still has enthusiasm about the band, and that he wants to hang out with me. I’m a bit embarrassed about the apartment, but it’s not like it’s my dad’s fault, really – he just doesn’t have the money, and besides this was the closest one to the house where my sister lives with my step-mother. I think I’ll try to stay at the apartment at least half the week, and especially when school starts up again because it’s so incredibly close by – just a twenty minute walk, or a five minute bike ride. (As opposed to going to school from my mom’s house, which is across the city.) When I mentioned to my mom that I want to stay there sometimes, she said “Maybe every Friday you can give it a try”, and I think that spells danger. Probably she just wants me to be comfortable, but another part could be that she doesn’t want me at my dad’s house because she doesn’t think he’ll take care of me as well. My dad loves me and I love him, and he would never not take care of me, but it’s true that he would let me stay up, sleep in, and drink pop later than five o’clock (all things my mom doesn’t let me do. I don’t always listen; if I always listened I’d have to kick myself.) My mom and my dad have different styles, drastically different; my mom is the one who gets things done, she’s set up all my hospital appointments that have to do with my transitioning stuff, and she deals just about 100% with the school and everything – and my dad doesn’t do that stuff. He would try, and he would if I asked him to, but he could never be as ruthless and amazingly persistent as my mom is. So I can see why my mom doesn’t want me to stay with him for half the week like I used to. Maybe she also understands the completely fucked-up situation that my dad is in right now, and wants me to be away from that. I want to be away from that, too – but I’ve been talking with my dad about it a bit, and so I’m kind of in the loop already. He told me that my step mom cheated on him. He probably shouldn’t have told me that, it was probably selfish of him to put all that on my shoulders, but I don’t really care, and I want to help him. My mom would say that it’s selfish of him, I am positive about that. And I wasn’t surprised that my step mom cheated on him. She kept going away at night and didn’t want him to come, and also she’s a troubled sort of person, to put it extremely mildly. She psychologically and verbally abused me for about seven years; she’s been abusive to my dad, too. I’ve seen it – I’ve heard it at least a few times. He finally left, I guess her cheating on him was the last straw, and now I hope he stays away. I have no control, obviously, it’s not my life or my problem – but I would encourage him to stay away, if he asked me. For everybody’s sake, his and mine, and my sister’s too, so their problems don’t get in the way of her life, like they did to mine.
The whole situation is fucked, and it’s not fair that we all have to deal with it. But we have to, and at least it’s moving in the right direction, finally. Now I can spend time with my dad on a regular basis, and see my sister more, too. I’ll be back in my old neighborhood, near my friends, and I can get to school way more easily in the morning, and play music with Devin. He already set a date, which is funny – he said Next Wednesday? And I said no, the one after that, because my dad isn’t moving in until this Saturday. It’s awesome how eager Devin is. So if all goes right we’ll be playing music in my dad’s high-ceilinged, nice-acoustics apartment by the Wednesday after next.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday I’m getting my (hopefully last) Lupron injection. But I don’t think I see the endocrinology doctor til the 12th, as I may have said before. And I don’t know how fast I can get my MBDs, for that matter. I want at least two months on the MBDs before September, when I’m thrown back into the world of other people and social situations – enough time for changes to actually happen. I will never again enter a Yu-gi-oh tournament being embarrassed about my voice.
So, time marches past, and life continues. In other news, it’s spring. For real this time.