On the roof deck of their Williamsburg apartment, discussing which herbs and vegetables to plant this year, and which of last year’s plants might be salvageable, Sadie sits cross-legged and sips a beer while Marco cleans and lights the grill.
Sadie, wearing a short, fitted dress, asks, 'Honey, do we have enough coal?' in that singsong voice girlfriends sometimes use to cloak skepticism as supportiveness.
'I’ll figure it out,' Marco answers, speaking more to the small fire he is tending than to Sadie.
His hair is cropped short, and his voice has deepened from the hormone therapy.
The fire going, small but consistent, the chicken on the grill, Marco joins us at the table.
'Men get treated like s***,' he says. 'I mean, I know women get treated like s*** all the time. But like, when you’re a man, people just bump into you all over the place. You have to hold doors, but nobody says thank you. And you don’t get compliments, ever.'
Yeah,' Sadie chimes in, 'girls are always telling each other, ‘oh honey you look great! I love your dress! Did you cut your hair?’'
'Yeah,' says Marco, taking a sip of his beer. 'None of that.'
'And the handshake really threw me at first,' he adds. 'Women shake each other’s hands like this.'
He stands up to demonstrate and shakes my hand in a calm, casual manner.
'But men,' he continues, 'do it like this.'
'He wants to be in a heterosexual relationship, but I feel presenting it that way is inauthentic. We’re not. We’re just not'
He grabs my hand, jerks it toward him and squeezes my fingers together with a crazed scowl on his face. We all laugh at the exaggeration that was, while a little ridiculous, not far from the truth.
It was the little things that tripped him up, he explains, but he is getting used to it. Sadie’s working on getting used to it, too.
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