So here I am, and I have words.
Let’s get this straight: I’m not burning up any computers with my writing, but it’s getting done. Also, I’m doing something I haven’t done in about a year: I’m writing early in the morning, like when I get up. I’m only doing a few hundred words when I get up, but that’s a start to getting back into five hundred or more a day. And three hundred in the morning is three hundred more than I’ve been writing.
And what’s been written is a little continuation from the last time we saw Annie and Kerry, which was at the east end of Essex Street in Salem. And they’re finally getting around to walking–but Kerry is noticing a few changes around her:
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)
“Like I am everything else in the body.” Kerry lifted her face a bit towards the sky. “That feels different, though.”
Annie was somewhat perplexed by Kerry’s comment. “What feels different?”
“The air on my skin. It feels like a thousand needles.” She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “What’s that?”
“That smell.” Kerry sniffed the air as they slowly strolled down Essex Street. “It smells like brine.”
“Oh, that.” Annie chuckled. “You’re smelling the marina off Congress Street. I often smell the water from there when we come to Salem.”
Kerry stopped and looked off to the southeast. “How far away is that?”
Annie shrugged. “About four hundred meters.”
Kerry turned slowly towards his soul mate. “You can smell something from that far away?”
She nodded. “When it’s strong, yes.” Annie took a tentative sniff of the air. “And it’s strong tonight.” She grinned at the ginger girl. “You know why you’re smelling it now, don’t you?”
There was as pause as Kerry considered a limited set of options. “My sense of smell has changed due to the estrogen in my system.” She began strolling slowly westward down Essex once more. “Just as my sense of touch has changed due to softer, thinner skin.”
“Correct on both accounts.”
“Yeah.” Kerry chuckled while looking around as the street began lighting up in the gathering gloom. “It’s one thing to know this stuff as a matter of intellectual knowledge, but it’s entirely another to experience it for the first time and realize it’s all true.”
They walked for about five seconds before Annie saw the blush spread across Kerry’s pale face. She began grinning. “What’s wrong?”
Kerry not only notices the air on her face feels different, but she’s smelling some of the brackish swill that passes for water coming from a marina almost a quarter of a mile away. While it’s a bit of a stretch, it’s not impossible, particular if the wind is right, or it’s particularly brackish.
The thing here is that Kerry is smelling things she’s never smelled before, because–and this is true–having estrogen in your system changes your sense of smell. It did mine and has done the same for a lot of trans women. And since Kerry is swimming in those hormones right now, she’s feeling things differently and smelling different things as well.
Not only that, but something else is happening–
Kerry slid her hands into the pockets of her jacket as they walked. “My, um—” She pointed at her chest with her right hand. “Those. They just sorta—”
“Did you nipples harden?”
Kerry’s blush deepened. “Annie.”
Her grin broke into a chuckle. “Kerry.” She wrapped her arm through Kerry’s left. “Remember, it’s just us girls talking here, my love. And some times we talk about these things.”
“Really?” Kerry glanced at Annie without turning her head. “Did Alex and you talk about stuff like this when you guys met in Kiev?”
“We discussed all manner of things when we met over the summer. It wasn’t just about tutoring.” She leaned lightly against Kerry. “Girls talk about all sorts of things, not just clothes and significant others. Sometimes we talk about those things.” Annie stood straighter but kept her arm linked with Kerry’s. “Not always, but sometimes.”
“I see.” Kerry gave her head a couple of shakes. “It’s just strange that we started walking and all of a sudden—boom. It happened.”
Annie chuckled louder. “Welcome to puberty for girls.”
“Yeah.” Kerry looked towards Annie again, this time turning her head to do so. “I would love to hold hands with you.”
Annie looked back. “Why don’t we?”
“Because I don’t want people to think…”
“That we’re lesbians?” Annie shrugged. “If we were in Sofia we wouldn’t have a problem: girls in Bulgaria often walk together holding hands and no one thinks anything of it. Here, everything is sexualized.”
“Uh, huh.” Kerry scrunched her shoulders together. “Did Alex and you hold hands when you walked?”
Annie nodded. “We did at one point. It just happens.” She began to slow as she pulled Kerry a little to her left. “I want to look at something. Come on.”
A lot of things get covered here. Annie isn’t afraid to talk about puberty; she admits there’s “girl talk”, which probably falls into a lot of areas boys would rather avoid; and she’d hold hands with Kerry, but she, like her, likely believes crazy Americans would sexualize the act, whereas back home in Bulgaria no one would think twice about it. Of course, there is the question about whether or not Annie and Kerry are a lesbian couple now, but we’re not getting into that right now.
There are other things to discuss first–