To Run With Anguish
by Jamie Joy Gatto
     Michel is dark and open, looking at me like a child who wants approval. Her brown skin seems to both reflect and absorb everything around her, making her seem huge and tiny all at once. I think, maybe it's all in her expression. Maybe it's her eyes. I think it's something in the moon. I think, I'm in love. 

     Michel is talking about her mother, about how her father used to leave them for days at a time. About how it made her feel alone because her mother wouldn't speak to her, because her father had simply vanished, and so, just like that, her mother disappeared at the same time, became a ghost mom. Michel felt invisible, she tells me. Her mother was there, breathing, walking, cooking, cleaning, but completely incommunicado. 

     Michel is sighing, almost crying. The tears come a little, then a lot. She is sparkling like a blackberry covered in rain. She is making me hungry to eat her soul, to take her into my mouth, my mind, my home. Michel is telling me everything now. I'm not sure why. I never want her to stop. 

     Michel is chewing on a straw, her full, black lips part to reveal a bright, citrusy pink. She sucks down a little of her cocktail, plays with the straw, then tosses it away, as she tells me her father is dying. She tells me she doesn't care. She wishes he was already dead. To her, he's been dead for a decade. To her, she has now become real, no longer invisible; she's evolved into a new person, a woman who was born a man. A woman who is alive and happy and whole, finally. A woman who wants a family, but never wants a child. "It's too much," she tells me, "kids. Too fucking much. I just want a man." 

     I look into her eyes, huge and red-rimmed. I see her looking far away into her own mind. This time, I think, she is looking into the future, no longer into the past. She is searching the archives where possibilities lie, a place where future husbands glimmer like golden gods, where stability and love remain constant, steady. A place where Daddy always comes home. 

     I look away from her for the first time. My gaze is so easily transfixed by Michel, I can never stop being hungry to see her face, her mouth, her eyes. I look into my lap, where delicate hands are folded into my skirt. I try to imagine being a man. I try to imagine having a wife. I try to think about having a wife and a child as beautiful as Michel must have been, and simply walking away. What can that be like? What force so violent, so strong?  Was it fear of love, or fear of loss? Was it running in anguish, only to hope and pray that the family would still remain behind -- waiting? 

     Michel is parting her lips again but I cannot hear her speak. I see her mouth move, but what I see in my mind is her lying face down on my bed. She is biting my feather pillow, biting it and screaming. She is scratching my white sheets with clear, polished nails and she is screaming, "Fuck me, you motherfucker!" and I'm pounding my cock into her, holding her ass in my hands, each globe full and heavy, muscular and ripe. And my balls are going to burst, I'm coming, my cock is shooting, and I scream the raw sound of an animal in pain. 

     Michel is telling me about Carl, this Latino she's dating. She's not sure if he's gay or bi, but she thinks he likes her and she thinks he's cute. At least he's got a job, she tells me. 

     I look into my lap again and I wonder. I wonder how I can never be a man, but Michel can be a woman. I wonder how her genitals-- how her cock-- does not make her a man, but my lack of cock makes me sexually invisible to her. How can anyone love someone just for their genitals?  I'll always wonder why. 

     Michel is biting on another straw. My love for her wells inside so deeply, so hard. I want to be a man, just so I can leave her. I want to be a man, just so I can fuck her. I want to be a man just so I can love her, and maybe, just maybe she'd love me, too. 

Copyright 2000  Jamie Joy Gatto. All Rights Reserved. 
May not be re-printed in any form without express written consent of the author.
"To Run with Anguish" first appeared on-line at Venus or Vixen? 2000.