If he could transform himself into anything right now, it would be
sugar. He imagined himself, a five-foot-four statue of sugar cubes and
Elmer's glue like the model missions she had built in fourth grade,
lurching mechanically into the pull of the waves at his feet and turning
their clear brine sweet. He imagined his crystalline remains glittering on
the waves, flaming in the glow of the crayola-spill sunset.
*Screw frogs, and spells, and charms,* Chris thought. *You can
turn your enemies into crap, but you save the good stuff for yourself. I
want to melt like that, mama ocean, and just be part of you. *
But that would be the easy way out. He turned and climbed back up
the dunes, throwing himself down behind one to build his Beltane fire.
The witchy holiday was supposed to be a joyous, sex-filled
celebration of love, but his girlfriend had left him after the eleventh
fight and fourth shot of testorestone. Said she could already her Chris'
voice lowering and it freaked her out. They had one last kiss goodbye;
Mimi broke off, shuddering at imagined stubble, and walked away.
*It's not my fault, any more than it's my fault I'm bi,* Chris
thought, twisting a dry stick into the sand roughly. He ground another one
in even more deeply and surveyed his work.
*In a way, it's her damn fault. She was the one who showed me a
world where it was okay to be butch and strong and be mistaken for a guy
by naive het couples and be understood and loved for that - as long as I
was really pissed when I was mistaken for a guy.* When she started feeling
thrilled by it, the same way she was thrillled when she first read about
women who loved other women.... when she sought out the "sir"s and the
"young man"s and was proud of it, she knew she was fucked.
Chris tried not to cry. He had done so much crying in the past few
days, and it seemed useless to add any more salt water to the scene.
Distantly, he felt rough handfuls of sand pouring through his fingers as
they numbly scooped away at the dunes. Another sprinkling of twigs, and
the nascent fire was ready for flame.
Spirit and body reluctantly rejoined as Chris traced the whorls of
a bit of driftwood, pressing his fingers into its soft curves. *My trans
identity has been marked and carved by Mimi, he realized. There can't be
many men out there who know their gender is different early on because
they've already felt the rumblings in their sexuality. Maybe there are,
but they're sure not telling me if any of them knew they were trans
because they'd come out before and knew the "symptoms."*
*I didn't wander through my childhood going, "Mommy, I want to be
a boy and wear trousers. When will my penis grow in?" But I knew the
feeling of finding my people, and when I felt it again at 22, it was a
clue to look within.*
Chris broke the wavy layers of driftwood apart, slipping long
fingers into a crack and splitting it neatly along its inner ripples. He
tossed it on the fire and struck a match, the only light on the beach
sputtering into life. It slowly settled in and fed on the pile of branches
and split boards. A few of his covenmates had called him warlock: both
"male witch" as the public used the term, and "traitor, betrayer" as it
had been forever used in the Pagan community. Rather than break the coven
apart, he'd gone solitary. Now it was just ritualized, token offterings to
a Goddess Chris no longer understood. Well, the path of a Witch was never
an easy one.
Pressing one hand against the sandy Earth to call Her as witness
just as Buddha had when tormented by the deceptive Mara, Chris took a deep
breath. This was it - in true solitary fashion, he would do it all alone.
Soaking in the starlight, drawing energy from the strong Earth and
crashing sea, Chris reached out and touched the fire.
He screamed, allowing just one short burst of sound before
quenching the pain with huge waves of energy and willpower. Then his
endorphins kicked in, and he was able to tell his fingers that it was just
like slipping slowly into a very hot bath.
Focusing everything on the fire, he slowly pushed his whole left
hand in, then his arm, watching the way the hairs burned separately like
Letting go of the beach, he stood up, face contorting with pain,
and jumped into the bonfire.
Flaming twigs and sparks scattered, and the fire reached up his
legs and raced to eat him alive. Chris drank the energy in, reveling for
one moment in the feeling of becoming an elemental power. Then he directed
the energy, pulling it up around himself, twisting and turning it like
taffy. He was sacrificing himself to the Goddess, to the universe, always
one with it but now surrendering the parts of himself that had clung to a
myth of separation. Burning them all up, till all that was left was
crackling and sparks. As the last of them burnt away, all the wrongness
disappeared and he became pure bliss and fumes.