I hadn't mentioned it to anyone in a long time. I also hadn't mentioned that I had that conference with that student during my last year of living as Nick. In fact, not much more than a week after that conference, I took my first dose of hormones.
All of that meant, of course, that the answer to that student's question was an emphatic "Yes!," even though I hadn't realized it until the student asked. Just four months before I had that conversation, my life was different: I had to leave it in order to do what I needed to do. I had to give up relationships, a cozy living situation and a lot of other things in order to make my changes.
But as I was talking to that faculty member the other day, I had a really odd sensation. I felt, not that what I gave up was insignificant now, or is less than what it seemed to be at the time. Rather, it felt as if I never actually had the things I gave up.
Perhaps I never had any of it. At least, I never had--among other things--the love of certain people. I lived under the illusion I did; so did they. However, whatever relationships I had with them was built on a false pretense because I never was the person they thought I was. And, ultimately, I never could be that person.