(c) Christopher Hawthorne Moss
Tony smiled as she shivered on the sidewalk outside the swanky men’s store on the city’s most fashionable avenue. She ruefully contemplated the exquisite man’s suit she saw displayed. But she knew it was out of her reach. Even if she could afford it, it was not for her.
Tony’s shoulders sagged. Antoinette was born female, tits, vagina, the whole nine yards. But he never, not for one minute, felt like a girl. He was a bit of a tomboy and his father had suggested, reprovingly, that he was probably a lesbian. But he wasn’t. He knew he liked men. How could he like men and be a lesbian? And, for that matter, how could he be a straight woman and feel so much like a man?
Tony was finished with school, out of the house now, away from Mom and Dad’s looks of disapproval, their lectures. He had very short hair and wore a binder under his men’s clothes. He was wearing his packer for the first time this week, and though it did not show, it made him feel complete. But jeans and a man’s t-shirt did not make a man. They were, what did they used to call it? “Unisex”. People still said “Miss” or “girl”.
Now a suit… with a cotton dress shirt and a tie. That would do it. He would look like the guy he knew he was. It would make him feel like a guy, and that would just make it better. But he could hardly walk into this shop and say, “I want that suit. You know the one in the window, with the narrow waist and the dark blue wool?” They would say he should bring the man it was for in so they could take his measurements. “But I want it for me…” They would laugh. Or they would shoo him out of the shop. They would say girls can’t wear men’s suits.
“You would look great in that, you know.”
Tony was so startled by the voice that he almost lost his balance spinning to see who had said it. “What? That suit? I can’t buy that suit.”
It was a good-looking middle-aged man in a suit as elegant as the one in the window. “There’s a revolving credit program. Are you employed?”
Tony nodded. “Yes. I work at the college.”
The smiling man continued, “What do you do there?”
“I’m a research librarian.”
The older man’s smile broadened. “Then I am sure you would qualify. Why don’t you come in and we’ll see what we can do.”
Tony started to demure, but then he realized that the man had said “come in” and not “go in” and “we”. “Do you work there?”
“I’m the manager.”
“You are? And you really think it would look good… on… me? I… I am a…” Tony stammered.
The man shook his head. “You are someone who wants to own that suit. What difference does anything else make? And yes, you would look wonderful in it.”
Tony still hesitated. “But you’ll need my real name when I apply for…”
“That won’t be a problem. Even if your name is something like Lulubelle or Geraldine… that suit is going to look hot on you.”
Tony stared. He knew. He didn’t care. “Are… are you?”
“Yes,” was all the older man said.
The smile that stretched across Tony’s too-round face seemed to split it in half. “Ok, let’s go in.”
The shop manager smiled. “Let’s get out of the cold, say? We have hot coffee, and we can chat.”
Christopher “Kit” Moss is an historical novelist, editor at Wilde Oats and GLBT Bookshelf, and a longtime member of Gay Flash Fiction. He has three books currently published under the name Nan Hawthorne, and will have a novel released by Dreamspinner Press in summer of 2013. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his spouse and four beloved cats.