They crossed from mainland China, down to Malaysia. Settled. Left behind civil war for something else.
They flew across. Visa stamped to permanent. Grace by a few days.
Before my chest grew little nubs, I would do my press ups and flex in the mirror. And even once they formed, I would ignore them. Focus on my muscles instead. My body started to cross over to a gender I wasn’t sold on. But like a tool that does the trick, I used it. Was thankful it was healthy, and carried on.
My desire slid over the line. I watched it, willed it to stop. But it didn’t. Girls weren’t meant to like other girls. I tried hard not to. I dated boys. Fucked them. Like them even. Then I stopped trying. My desire pooled like a lake, drowning those surveyor pegs.
But now my gender threatens. It yells things across the borders. Parades, marches, throws things. There is a cease fire for a while, then we swap sides. No one yells anymore. The shots each month take care of that. A thin needle sliding from outside to inside. Leaving an electric oily current. My voice deepens. My neck grows muscles, so does my head. My shoulders broaden, hips shrink. Even my piss smells different. Until I can’t smell it anymore – like the stench in the Gent’s loos. Surgery revels my chest. Shirts finally sit properly. My voice is listened to in groups. No one stares anymore.
He gives me the money. I undress him. He has old man skin. Soft, thin and wrinkly. He smells like soap. White hairs sprout from his ears like weeds between paving stones. He runs his hands over my body, squeezing my muscles the same way I do to check a mangos ripeness. You’re so firm he says. Your chest and muscles, he murmurs. His erection rubs against my favourite pair of briefs that I like to wear for work. I can’t believe you’re a boy and you have a pussy, he sighs. Smooth sexy asian skin, he gasps, breath quickening. I shower, leave the towel on his bathroom floor and go to catch the bus.
Me and my fiancee do the paper work. There’s a lot of it. It looks plain and flat, in bureaucrat fonts. But it’s in disguise – waiting to curl round your foot like a banana peel and trip you up. We study diligently. Scars. Parents names. How did we meet. What are our plans. What side of the bed do I sleep on. I don’t think they’ll ask the toothbrush question, and she’s colourblind anyway. I wear a suit, she a white dress. She throws the bouquet. The registrars preside over a trans and trans wedding, smug with their tolerant diversity. Immigration and Border Protection only needs to be called three times. It’s not because we discriminate we’re told, we’ve just never had this… happen before. They are relieved at the morale from the officials they ring. Oh we have a Man and a Woman, a normal couple. They are pleased. They can proceed as normal. We swap rings. We kiss. We say I do. We send the paperwork off. I slide over the border, ushered in with her rings and signatures.