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Reassignment Alicia Erian There was a man dressed as a woman at the party, and whenAudrey met him, she acted like it was nothing. That was how everyone else was acting, and anyway, Audrey had been tipped off by her department chair that this man, Helene (his real name was Howard), was going to be there. Helene used to teach at the college, then opted not to go up for tenure and essentially got fired. He was apparently pretty popular, though, since he was still being invited to faculty get-togethers . Helene was dressed in platform flip-flops, capri pants, and a tank top. He wore a sleek wig that looked like Eva Peron hair. He had shaved armpits and nail polish on both his hands and feet. When he spoke, he gesticulated in the way that gay men seemed to think women gesticulated, waving their hands around wildly, touching their fingertips to their hearts, etc. Meanwhile, Audrey had never seen a woman act like this in her life. Later, Helene's girlfriend, Marisa, came to the party, which completely confused Audrey. She couldn't understand a man who dressed as a woman only to date a woman. She could only assume that man was a lesbian. Except how could a man be a lesbian? Audrey didn't mean to be obtuse, she really didn't. But why complicate things unnecessarily ? It all just seemed a long way to go if you were going to end up fucking a woman anyway. Helene greeted Marisa with a long kiss on the lips, and suddenly Audrey felt tired. She said her goodbyes and went home. She had only recently moved to the small town to teach at the college, and now she was disappointed that a man dressed as a woman had been at her first faculty party. It just wasn't what she had imagined academia to be. She wasn't even sure what she was doing here except that her husband had caught her screwing around when they were supposed to be reconciling and told her that was it, the party was over, get a job. 68 Alicia Erian So she got one and left the city and now she and her husband were more apart than they'd ever been. Audrey didn't mind too much. Not really. It was good to get away from Judd. This was the only way they would ever make it to a divorce. Otherwise, living in the same place, they couldn't seem to help themselves: they were always in each other's business or going out to movies. WhenAudrey got home from the party she changed her clothes and ate ice cream. She tried to call Judd then felt relieved when he wasn't home. It was only habit, after all. She wondered if he was out screwing someone else, then tried to picture his face while he was doing it. She imagined Judd thinking: this woman has a much better vagina than Audrey; she then made herself cry. Don't worry, she thought quickly then, trying to soothe herself: no one has a better vagina than you. Eventually she went to bed, a sound, dead sleep that was disappointing to wake up from. Audrey had joined a gym in order to work off all the ice cream she had been consuming, and when she went the next day, she noticed Helene's girlfriend, Marisa, on one of the weight-training machines. In fact, at the party the night before, Audrey had taken note of Marisa's slender yet well-defined arms. She was a very tall, pretty young woman and could easily have dated a man who wasn't pretending to be a woman. Audrey wanted to ask Marisa what she was thinking, but that would've been rude, so instead she just said, "Hi." Marisa looked up from her arm curl machine and said, "Oh, hi." "Sorry to interrupt," Audrey said. "No, no, that's fine," Marisa said, wrapping up her set. "I'm done." "That was fun last night at the party," Audrey said. Marisa got up off the machine and used her towel to wipe away the sweat...


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