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               HRT is supposed to make body hair less coarse and less dense.  To help this along I’ve been waxing and epilating.  But I hadn’t been doing it on my arms.  I had pretty shaggy arms.  And, the hair… I guess… I tolerated to shield me from uncomfortable truths.
              
               When I was a little kid I knew this woman.  She drove a school bus and she had all these chihuahuas.  They barked and shit all over her house constantly.  I remember the house and can remember the smell.  I remember my mom would have me stay the night with the children of her daughter and her husband.  I remember they lived upstairs.  A part of the house I remember I feared.
               I know that I would sometimes find things I didn’t think should be lying around the house.  Pipes, razor blades, broken glass.
               Outside they had a pit bull tied to a tree with a very heavy chain.  It’s only toy was a bowling ball.  It would latch onto it and fling it behind itself at the fence.  Repeatedly.
               The husband, the only one I’ll not protect, Monty, habitually taunted the dog.  It wasn’t until I was grown that I came to learn that he was involved in dog fighting.  Monty had a BMX and rode up and down the street doing wheelies.  Monty was thirty.  Or older. 
               He would also chase me down on his bike when I was trying to go home and laugh as I did.  I still don’t understand why.  Perhaps he was thinking of abducting me and the thrill of knowing he could overwhelmed him.
               Perhaps he had something to do with the men that did.
              
               Over the course of a few years I was taken by men from my front yard.  Not coaxed, not tricked, forcibly grabbed and hauled into their vehicles.
               Most of this I don’t recall.  The events are still… hazy.  I was always left back where I had come from, no one the wiser.  I believe they did this, knew me, because no one believed me when I tried to get help and I stopped talking about it.
               I stopped trying to get help and their secret stayed hidden.  One of them, whose name might have been Seth, was the first.  His father was next.  The third was a man in a brown sedan, I never knew his name, but I’d know his face if I ever saw it again.
               After that the attempts and the taunting continued.  I eventually got much better at avoiding them and evading them.  At some point I became something of a miscreant.  My parents often believed that I was in the yard or at a friend’s house when I was actually shoplifting and hiding out in the small, one room library behind a large shelf.  There was a small bean bag there for kids to read in and the lady that worked there never bothered me.
               I would consume the food or candy I had swiped, I’d read and I’d day dream.  It was a safer place than Boy Scouts, Seth’s dad was the scout master.
              
               It was a safer place than my grandfather’s house, which may as well have been constructed of wood that was previously a pirate ship.  It was safer than the Mormon church and the carpeted gym floor.  It was safer than the street.  Safer than Monty’s.  Safer than the park.  Safer than my front yard.
              
               One day, however, I was forced to go to stay where Monty lived.  To spend the night.  What transpired still haunts me.  I wasn’t touched, but I became aware of his nightly “lessons” with his daughter.  A tidy and evil euphemism.
              
               The next morning, while eagerly awaiting my parents, knowing full well the viciousness and perversion that surrounded me, and that I could escape but wasn’t “allowed to”, I watched a television show with the woman that drove the bus.  She was a good woman, if blind to reality.
               We also watched America’s Most Wanted.  This was in the early 90’s.  The show was bizarre and poorly narrated.  I’d never seen it before.  The television had very bad color and so everything looked vaguely brown.
               I sat on the couch with her, moderately comforted to know her smoking was probably better for me than whatever Monty was doing.
              
               I asked her repeatedly when my parents would return, and she assured me it would be soon, for hours.  I kept a close eye on my sister, much younger than myself, as she played with Monty’s daughter.
              
               Finally, my parents returned and Monty, as I was leaving, took my hand while everyone was distracted.  He took my hand and put his cigarette out on my wrist.  He told me to remember it.  I did.

               HRT is supposed to make body hair less coarse and less dense.  To help this along I’ve been waxing and epilating.  But I hadn’t been doing it on my arms.  I had pretty shaggy arms.  And, the hair… I guess… I tolerated to shield me from uncomfortable truths.
              
               I remember, Monty.  And to transition I’ll need to learn to remember him and accept myself and my truth.  Ultimately, coming out as trans – for me – is about my truth.  And this is only the beginning.  This is only the surface.

                Cheers, Cupcake!