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November 21, 2014

It took me longer than I want to publicly admit to come up with today’s title, mostly because I’m not entirely sure where to begin.

Last Saturday,probably, would be logical.

It’s performance day. I decide to femme it up, squeezing myself into a short, pleated black skirt with safety pins all over it, big black buckle boots, pig tails (of course), and a ridiculous amount of red eyeshadow and red eyeliner. I’m tidying my area of the dressing room, bent over to show my ass to anyone in the room, when MTIA walks in behind me.

“Holy shit, Twig.” he breathes. I drop the makeup bag I’d been holding, stand upright, and spin around to face a grinning MTIA. His gaze is locked on my skirt and the boots. For a second, every part of me from the waist up ceases to exist. I stand there, staring at him staring at me. Beside me, our group’s organizer and fearless leader coughs politely. It’s as obvious to her at this moment as it has been to me for a while that MTIA and I have unfinished business, but she says nothing. It’s MTIA that breaks the silence: “Your skirt is aMAYzing,” he tells me, and I give a small curtsy in response.

It’s not until he and I are standing in a stairwell just offstage at the end of the intermission that he has a chance to say anything else to me. I’m about to make my grand debut, and I’m drawing a complete blank of every single line I have. When the stairwell is empty except for us, he sidles up next to me. I smile at him, and I’m surprised when he frowns at me.

“What’s wrong?” I ask him, my smile fading quickly.

“I was just going to ask you that.”

“Nothing’s wrong,” I tell him. I don’t tell him, I’m nervous. That’s what’s wrong. You’re gorgeous. That’s what’s wrong. Instead, I just say again, “Nothing’s wrong.” I’m a master of intellect and rhetoric, yeah.

MTIA grabs my hand for a second and squeezes it. “You’re full of horseshit. But you’re going to be great, Twig. I know you’re scared to be onstage, but you look to die for and you’re so incredibly funny in front of a crowd. You’re going to blow everyone in the audience away!” After almost an entire year with no contact, I find the current situation entirely uncomfortable and confusing. It’s like picking up where we left off, except without all the anger and jealousy and pain.

I squeeze his hand back and quip, “Or I could just blow them.” I laugh a little too loudly and my laugh echoes faintly in the stairwell.

I’m greeted in response by a smirk and a raised eyebrow. He doesn’t have to explain the gesture; it’s clear: What about me?

I playfully smack him on the shoulder, and he responds by fluttering his eyes (LOTS of black eyeliner, yes) and giving me a mock shudder. “Twig, I LOVE it when you smack me!” he whines, bursting out with a laugh. I guffaw, and, admittedly, snicker, because beneath the thin veneer of humor, I know he’s being honest, too. “I remember,” I say, slowly, quietly.

In an instant, MTIA has himself pushed against me, and his lips against my ear. “Seriously,” he whispers, “That skirt. It’s incredibly hot. You are incredibly hot.”

I can’t help but grin. It was the reaction I was going for, after all, however impossible I believed it be. And now, here he is, and it’s pretty clear  that I could drag him out of the stairwell and into the little storage room I found earlier off the dressing room. And then I think of FastCar. Goshfriggindarnitalltoheck. Fuck. I’m still pretty sure I love FastCar.

I exhale noisily and say, “I have to pee,” and I  drop MTIA’s hand, which I hadn’t even realized I was still holding. He backs up, saying nothing. I can’t look at him, but my face burns and I’m pretty sure he’s staring at me. When I reach the landing in the stairwell, I turn back to look at MTIA. I give him a small smile, and I’m turning away from him as my foot reaches the next step… and my ankle makes a sick crunching sound, and I start to fall. I flail wildly, trying to grab onto anything, but my fingers only scrape the concrete walls. I’m tumbling now, my flailing having given me some momentum, and I feel my ass connect with a step, then my shoulders, and finally the back of my head cracks against an unreasonably sharp edge. Then I just slide down, down, down the remaining few cement steps. I can hear MTIA running down the behind me, trying not to yell or panic, failing miserably at both.

I try to move, and I groan. Every time I try to shift my weight, something new in my body sings with pain. I look down at myself as much as I can, and while none of me from the waist down is twisted at any horribly impossible angles, my pleated miniskirt seems to have decided it would function more appropriately as, say, a cummerbund. I’m now even more glad that I chose to a ridiculous pair of frilly lace boy-cut girl’s underwear. I had already anticipated showing it off to most of the audience while onstage. This was not, however, my plan for showing it to MTIA.

MTIA’s expression upon reaching me, though, tells me he couldn’t care less about my amazing women’s underwear. “Am I bleeding?” I ask him.

He shakes his hid, “No, Twig. Not as far as I can tell. Can you move?”

I groan, but manage to get my arms down to my sides finally. They’d been above my head, and it probably looked I was signalling for a successful field goal kick in football. In women’s underwear and goth fuck-me boots, but a field goal none the less. I laugh some at the image, and I push myself to a sitting position at the bottom of the steps. “Oh my god, MTIA. Owwwwwww.” I’m in serious pain, but I laugh some more. “Owwwwww…”

MTIA helps me up and back to the dressing room. “On the plus side,” he grins at me as I limp along, “There are no steps left to get there!”

“Shut the hell up.”

He blows me a kiss in response as I lower myself into an armchair. MTIA’s eyes are still full of concern, so I tell him, “I’m fine. I promise. I swear. My ankle twisted a little, and the fall scared me, but I’m okay. I need a minute to regroup, and then I’ll be fine.”

“Are you sure you don’t want to sit out the second half? Do you want me to get a doctor?” MTIA is a fixer. He would give anything right now for me not to hurt, and I know it. I would do the same for him. My eyes wander to the myriad scars covering his arms, currently concealed by a dark gray button down shirt.

“Flower,” I say, and he smiles at the remembered term of endearment, “Everything is okay.”


I’m not all the surprised to find him checking on me via text much later that night, or even the next day. Nor am I terribly shocked when he writes, “I am full of sighs and things I can’t possibly express right now.”

Because  it’s MTIA and so I know there’s nothing else I need to say to him, I write back just, “Me, too.” I click send on the message, then open up a new text to FastCar. “I love you,” I type, but I don’t hit send.

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