It Never Crossed My Mind

I traced the perfect outline of her lips with the bright carmine make-up pencil and expanded it into a perfect cupid’s bow. I dotted her nose with white freckles, ringed in black. I drew her lashes longer, thicker, lined her lovely eyes.

“Yours is definitely the most beautiful face I have ever made up as a clown,” I told her. She blushed.

I was running clowning and street theatre workshops at a youth arts festival, and Mari was my star pupil. She had the necessary zest, the physical prowess and the instinct for improvisation that the best kinds of clownig require.

She was joining me in the city strreets for some improvised performance experience. We just clicked as performance partners, dancing together in a dozen different styles, bouncing ideas between us, riffing off each other. Neither of us wanted to stop.

Later, as we removed each other’s make-up, we were drawn into a kiss. Later still, as we walked in the park, a sudden downpour soaked us to our skins, and we decided to go, hand in hand, to a hotel room for the night.

We showered together and soaped each other’s skin, then went to bed. My hands were on her breasts when I voiced an odd thought:

“I can’t imagine what it would be like to walk around with a pair of breasts in front of me,” I said.

Mari blinked and frowned.

“But then,” I went on, “I don’t suppose you can imagine what it’s like to have a penis.”

She froze and looked me in the eyes.

“What’s the matter?” she asked. “Do you think I am a man?”

“No! Of course not…”

The thought had never once crossed my mind. But suddenly I knew that it was true. Like a stack of dominoes, waiting to be knocked over, a series of images went through my mind.

The way Mari had become upset when I had sung a silly song: ‘My name is Mari-o, and I eat spaghetti-o.’

The way the desk-clerk at the hotel had looked at her ID, and then at her, and then at me, and then back at her ID, before he’d handed us the key.

The uncomfortable looks from her fellow theatre troupe members, when they noticed our mutual attraction, suddenly made sense. They knew and wondered if Iknew.

“Err… you’re not, are you?”

“Of course not!” she protested, and kissed me on the neck.

But I could not respond. I had the image in my mind –from the movie Shocking Asia- of the moment in a sex-change operation when they slice off the penis. It was the sound of those surgical steel scissors crinking through the last layers of skin that haunted me most. And there was no way I was any longer able to be in any condition to have sex.

I mumbled my apologies and hugged Mari good night and then slept fitfully until the dawn. Neither of us said much in the morning. I kissed her goodbye and apologised again, and hoped I hadn’t hurt her.


We met again ten years later, after a stand-up comedy gig. Mari told me she had been working for the previous decade as a clown, and still recalled the workshops we had run and the fun we’d had together.

I still don’t know quite how I feel about the whole experience.

amberdextrous amberdextrous
51-55, M
4 Responses Mar 8, 2010

so would you say now that you are experienced?

Beautifully written amberdextrous. It seems like you handled the situation the best way you knew how. It must have been quite a shock.

Thank You, my love. I thought I had to get the story out there, in the spirit of honest self-ex<x>pression.<br />
<br />
Thinking of a group title was difficult, as I didn't want to give away the whole story by writing "I Slept With A Transexual" or to characterise the experience negatively by saying "I Was Tricked". <br />
<br />
Mari was a very beautiful young woman who deserved consideration and respect. It was the shock, rather than any sense of revulsion, that made me 'jump' the way I did.

What an excellent job of writing...:)