18 november 2006
No urgent messages here. This'll be more like a blog, I guess, or a journal entry. Read on at your own peril! ;-)
Today I went for a bike ride with Barbara and Sue, who have become sometime riding buddies during the past couple of years. It was chilly, overcast and fairly breezy, but actually not a bad day to ride. We may not see any better for a while, so we went.
We started on the Queens side of the 59th Street Bridge, with no particular destination in mind. I don't know which, if any, of us was leading the way, but we found ourselves headed toward water: Jamaica Bay and the ocean. It was as if currents of the sky, gray and rippled by white crests of clouds, pulled us there.
Our bikes zigged and jagged along boards that clunked and chattered underneath us on the Rockaway Boardwalk. Sky and ocean grew grayer, bluer and steelier all at once as foamy white ripples thickened.
We crossed the bridge into Atlantic Beach, Nassau County, where both the fresh-faced and the weathered people wore down parkas with swim trunks and flip-flops. Sand swirled on the road toward Point Lookout--on the other side of the bay from Jones Beach--where we had a picnic lunch.
Since we all did errands this morning, we didn't meet for our ride until well after noon. Of course, we didn't take into account how the days are growing shorter, so by the time we got to Point Lookout, we saw rays of a sun that was about to set peeking through furtive openings in the clouds.
And everything grew darker as we rode back along the southern Atlantic shores of Nassau County, the Rockaways section of Queens, Sheepshead Bay and ultimately to Coney Island. The point at which the sea and sky disappear into each other grew closer and the tides amplified their echoes as their foam crests grew whiter like advancing glaciers.
There was a time in my life--actually, most of my life--when a scene like this was my only solace. The day returned to the sea; the night spread across it, punctuated by the pulse of waves that reflected flashes from the moon and stars. I often went to the sea, alone, in the darkness. Sometimes I hoped not to come back; other times I had some vague, if entirely implausible, hope that fluidity and darkness would wash away what I was trying to leave and change.
Somehow, though, it didn't seem so odd to be at the darkening sea with a couple of friends. In a sense, I was never actually alone, even in the days when I was traveling solo. When I first started my gender transition, I used to believe that for all those years, the boy and young man I had been was carrying the person I'm becoming within him, all the while hoping nobody would notice. I suppose that is what would sometimes cause me to sometimes grieve about Nick when I first began to live as Justine. I used to think that he'd been carrying me all this time, and somehow it wasn't fair that I was able to experience the joy that he never could.
But now I realize that in some way, I, Justine, had been guiding and protecting him. And I was again today. Today I would show that scared, confused, angry teenaged boy and young man named Nick--whom I learned to love only by becoming Justine--that what we were seeing today was not all there is to life, that we were continuing on a journey and that it would be all right and neither of us would have to be alone.
Of course I didn't tell any of this to Sue or Barbara, for I am just realizing it now. But I did tell them what a joy it is to ride with them, and apologized for not being in the kind of shape I was once in and for being something of a chatterbox. Don't worry, they said. It's all fine.
Yes, Justine, it's all fine. And it's going to be all right. For you, too, Nick.
OK. I apologize if this is a bit of a ramble. I know you're all busy, and I appreciate you, whether or not you've read this far.