Moonlight, Joni Mitchell
By June Wonn
This is it. The fifth date. Usually this is when I find out if a guy really is into me, or is only using me for his own perverse desires. Usually by this time, we’d get sick of going out to places to have dates and so, when it came time for him to finally gather up the courage to ask me back to his pad, I was expecting it. See, some guys try way too early, and that’s a big red flag. They only want what’s in my pants…and never because they want the woman attached to it, too.
So this is the fifth date. We’re at his apartment in the north corner of campus. He’s got it all to himself. It’s impeccably clean, this didn’t happen overnight, either. This is the type of clean that only exists from a man who’s this clean all the time. In the living room sits his large stereo with the speakers in front of the couch on the opposite wall. Priorities. On the wall is a large picture of him with his younger sister. She’s the one who finally convinced him to gather up his courage and ask me out.
She’s my age, he’s two years older. I can’t wait to meet her. We’re so alike, his little sister and me. Both denied the childhood we should have had because of a stupid chromosome.
We’re sitting on his couch, cuddling for warmth in the chilly spring air. The curtain on the wall is open to let in the moonlight. Our bellies full, our heads swimming from the pot, we’re lost in a world of vinyl, some new indie band with a hit single.
His heart beats against my chest. It’s fast paced, nervous. He won’t put his hands below my waist. He’s sweating slightly, even in the chilly air. Without warning, he pushes me off of him and stands up. He asks me if I want to hear what album I remind him of.
What album do I remind him of? Who thinks of that?
So I bite. He puts a different album on the turntable. He hands me the sleeve.
He says it’s Joni Mitchell’s Ladies of the Canyon.
It’s never come up that it’s my favorite album of hers, so I feign ignorance.
So he puts it on and sits down next to me. I punch him on the arm, laughing. He chuckles lightly and puts his hand back on my waist. I lay myself down across his lap, hitching up my dress a little. He puts one hand on my stomach and another on my shin. I move one of his hands to my breasts. I can hear his breath hitch under the music. In the pale moonlight, I see spots of red light up his cheeks.
He says I look so beautiful, the most beautiful woman in the world.
Something in my brain wiring shifts. I rocket up off the couch. There’s a decent enough amount of free space on the floor.
Dance with me, I say and hold out my hand. Small tears are forming at the corners of my eyes. Joni’s soprano voice paints the walls of my mind with visions of ladies in waiting, court gowns, and balls. Haunting, like she’s singing from another dimension.
And we dance to the music. It’s slow, dreamy. He moves like silk, gliding in and around, always knowing where to go. He moves so light and airy, like he could float away at any minute, like a cobweb on a dewey summer morning. I ask, where did he learn to dance like that?
He says he learned with his little sister. She never got to go to dances as a girl when she was in high school so he danced with her in their garage. Must’ve been nice, I tell him, instead of sitting at home crying each time.
Funny the way that is. Out two childhoods. So different, yet so alike. She had him for years, he’s just now coming into my life. It’s only been a month, and yet; I love him.
He sees me for who I really am.
We dance for hours. It’s late, we both have classes in the morning.
Joni sings the line “we are stardust, we are golden”, and I whisper in his ear. His bright red cheeks are a signal in the silvery moonlight. I walk him back to his bedroom. With the lights on, it’s cozy. The soft yellow lights relax me, it’s warmer here, I let my body unclench itself. I lead him to the bed and have him sit down. He complies as if he’s in a daze, a small smile on his lips. The slight tremble to his muscles, the goosebumps prickling his arm. I stand him up and get him undressed. He’s so warm. Caressing him, he relaxes some. He runs his arms over me, his soft hands lightly moving over my skin, like a felt kiss.
I push him back on the bed, then step back a little bit. I let my dress fall to the floor.
“Wow”, is the only word he can mutter before I climb on top of him.
Laying there, after what seems like hours, he holds me in his strong arms. He’s fast asleep. So safe, so secure, so validated.
Did I fall in love with the first man in my life who treated me like a woman and not a freak? Or did I fall in love with my best friend?
Drifting off to sleep, I think it’s the latter.
June (she/her) is a trans gal currently a student at Antioch College studying History and Environmental Science. She contributes flash fiction and art pieces to the college’s independent ‘zine The Antioch Official Presents (Instagram: the.antioch.official.presents). She writes traditional horror stories, but has lately been experimenting with more realist elements in her stories, as well as stories based on her own experiences as a newly out gal. A lover of music and guitarist, she probably should’ve attended a college for music, but then she may have never found her true self.