“Yellow is the color of my true love’s hair, in the morning, when we rise…”
Joan Baez sings it and I believe it. I believe that she had a yellow-haired lover who she rose with in the morning, and I wonder why I can’t have the same. Why I instead rise only to walk half a mile at 6:30 in the morning and make espresso drinks for people who don’t tip well.
I meet men on dating apps and sometimes they come home with me, to my room painted light yellow with two perilous bookcases and a desk that’s never clean. Sometimes they come home with me and sometimes I have to teach them things, and sometimes I am too exhausted so I tell them I’m fine and ask if it was good for them. I never end up with a lover whose yellow hair I can admire when we rise.
In the bathroom, I ask Julie what it’s like to be a woman and date other women. She shrugs and asks me what it’s like to be a man and date other men. I look in the mirror and jut out my chin, inspecting for anything resembling a beard. For the tenth time in a week I look up how long it takes for HRT to do its job. Julie, in the bath, shaves her legs and asks me to play that Joan Baez album again.
In a different song, Joan sings, “Call me any name you like, I will never deny it, but farewell, Angelina, the sky is erupting, I must go where it’s quiet.” It’s a song Bob Dylan wrote that she can sing better than he ever could. I don’t know which of them to pity.
Julie asks me what I’m going to make for dinner and I tell her my phone will do most of the work. I order us bean and cheese pupusas and we eat them, grease coating our fingers until they gleam. She tells me that she thinks my last date was the worst one yet. When I ask her who she’s going out with tonight, she grins and says that she’s taking me to a bar.
So I put on a floral button-down and my Docs and I put a little more product in my hair and we go to the bar, which is crawling with cis gay men and no one else. I ask why she brought us here, and she says a girl she met on Lex told her there would be a sapphic takeover.
A man with long yellow hair is leaning against the bar and he looks lost, so I approach him and try to flirt. He smiles apologetically and tells me he’s only into men. Outside, I bum a cigarette off a loud corporate gay and he complains that this space used to mean something to him.
When Julie finds me, trying not to cry, she wraps an arm around my waist. She tells me she’s bored anyway, so we go home. We’re almost alone on the train so I play us another Joan Baez song. She sounds like she wants to cry when she sings, “We’re both just one too many mornings and a thousand miles behind.”
At home, Julie and I collapse onto the couch and I ask her when being trans gets easy. She laughs. “Easy isn’t for us.”
C. M. Green is a Boston-based writer with a focus on history, memory, gender, and religion. Their work has been published in fifth wheel press, Roi Faineant, and elsewhere. You can find their other bullshit at CatMaxineGreen.com and @cmgreenery on Twitter.