First came the dreams, night after night, carrying the vision that refused to be ignored: myself from another life, if I had always been a woman. Undefined in her features, but unmistakable in her perfection. A formless ideal, overwhelming in sheer force of promise, shocking me awake at the sight of her. A tantalizing, desperate glimpse of what might have been, a fading afterimage slipping from my grasp.
The last time she appeared, I saw through her eyes, standing on a podium before a faceless crowd. She explained: If I had the choice, I would have made everything female. The epiphany that eluded my waking thoughts, blasted into consciousness by a mind that knew no limits. I couldn’t go back to sleep.
Decisions were made.
The first bra I ever wore was chosen by my partner, a voluptuous expert by necessity who knew exactly what I needed. Padded, sculpted, a shape for someone who has none: “barely there.” Apprehensively, I held it in my hands, simmering with the fear that it might just be wrong. Face to face with the spectre of feeling like no more than a cross-dresser, a man in a bra.
I slipped it over my head, pulling it into place, taut against a flat chest. Her face lit up as she adjusted it upwards – just right. I stood there a moment, paying close attention to how it clung to my body. Unfamiliar. Uncertain.
“Put your shirt on,” she encouraged me with a smile. The skin-tight, tie-dye green one from my hippie aunt and uncle in Seattle. With something new underneath. Small before, it was even smaller now. I walked to the bathroom mirror, tense and unsteady. Was this going to work?
The light came on. Her. Me. Life itself trembled, shifted, came to rest in a new pattern. Synapses rewired themselves at the sight. The painting, grown beyond its frame. The other half of the puzzle, the missing pieces flying exuberantly into place. The vision alive.
A taste of apotheosis.
And never wanting to let go.