(Hello! I’m writing this foreword as a guide to help people through these convoluted memoirs especially since a good amount of these entries have happened in my inworld. For reference, “April”, “Buchanan”, and “Avery” are codenames, crafted for either the sake of their anonymity or my amusement. April is my abusive partner in this period of time. Buchanan is April’s friend that had a thing for Avery briefly. Avery is a love interest in this part of the story, who I had made out with only to discover that my partner didn’t mean it when she said she was cool with polyamory. Everything described here did happen in my outerworld, aside from the flirting briefly mentioned regarding Kaspar.)
Our relationship wasn’t exactly what one would call stable. Or sensical. Or even somewhat humane.
I was losing sleep to be able to hang out with Cotton, Kaspar, Aberle, and Avery– the four horsemen to herald the apocalypse of my three-year abusive relationship. In the meantime, I was slowly figuring out my gender identity. Especially due to knowing Kaspar, who nearly represented every androgynous goal I’d ever had.
Of course, April dismissed these longings in her usual brazen way. “I don’t care for this half-and-half shit. I’m attracted to girls, and I’m attracted to guys, but I don’t want someone who’s a unicorn down there.” I took it as also an insult to Kaspar, who is intersex. Given Kaspar’s and my barely disguised flirting, it was likely intended to be.
It was to the point where entertaining April seemed like a tedious, stressful job and my actual job seemed like an escape from it. We’d been butting heads about the morality of polyamory, particularly since April took to boasting about how enlightened she was that ‘we’ were in an open relationship. “I told my class that we’re not monogamous and they acted so shocked! I guess not everyone’s heard of open relationships.” She actually looked superior.
I’d stared at her for a full minute before going back to typing on my laptop screen. Not only did I not know where to begin with that, but life was just too bloody short.
I’d been thinking lately that our monogamy was assumed, rather than discussed– particularly as she still had trysts with her ex-boyfriend every summer– I altogether didn’t feel like I’d ever consented to being monogamous.
Yes, some of this could be attributed to my odd, militaristic thought experiment I called a moral code, but default monogamy is still bullshit. What she pulled on me after I’d first kissed Avery was still bullshit. The fact that I’d barely begun my time as host before I’d found myself shackled to her– still bullshit.
A lot of you have probably wondered why I didn’t simply break up with her by now. I was actually hoping that she might break up with me and save me from an Amy Dunn type of situation. (Wait, wasn’t that what Nick was hoping Amy would– fuck.) But instead of an anniversary being a pivotal point, it was her birthday. The party included the abominable Buchanan, who not only was a pretentious twat, but had also been crushing on Avery. Avery had rejected him, and Buchanan was taking it about as well as his namesake.
Cotton and Avery had both been invited to April’s birthday dinner, so obviously, it was their duty to save me. They seemed not to know this, as Cotton decided to leave early and Avery didn’t? Show up? At all?
Which was honestly odd, for Avery. They were and are anal-retentive to a fault.
The party was at Barracuda Bob’s, on River St. They have a carafe of sangria there. I decided that I might actually survive the night, Dionysus willing.
After the first hour of compulsively surveying the front door for Avery’s arrival, I’d checked my phone.
See, Avery was dysphoric.
That’s a blatant understatement.
It’d be more accurate to say that the obsessive hatred they have for their body could power a small country, and they’d still research anatomy to find reasons to hate it even more. They had the build of Jack Skellington and fervently insisted they had a body like Kim Kardashian. It’s been an ongoing issue and would later contribute to our break-up years later. But in this particular day, when Avery hadn’t responded to any of my texts, I happened to notice what their last status update was:
“Either I will fix this body or I will destroy it.”
That’s not a good sign.
That wasn’t anything I was willing to process in front of the likes of April and Buchanan.
(Below is an example of Avery’s dysphoric spirals. This can be extremely triggering for anyone with an eating disorder, their own body issues, or issue regarding suicide. It’s not necessary for the narrative, but interesting to further understand my worry. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.)
I actually managed to ignore my creeping sense of dread for a good while before Buchanan also spied the status, and related it to Avery’s auspicious absence. “Where are they?” I remember him asking with a chuckle. “Did they die?”
Someone replied. I can’t remember who.
I’d tactically seated myself away from the little prick. He laughed in reply to someone. “Watch, we’re going to go back to the dorms and just see them lying on the hood of someone’s car and they’ve jumped off the roof or something.”
He continued on like that as our collective group spilled out into the River Walk. I was quite vividly visualizing throwing Buchanan into the Savannah River as we slowly sauntered past the tourists. Hell, it may work out as a birthday present for April. Things had been tense between them since April had stepped away from her trans-sona.
I feel that, looking back, my accidental affair with Avery had ruined the appeal of trans-masculinity for April. She’d even said a few off-handed things about how she was glad she was ‘out of that phase’ and that, “Some people made gender into an obsession.”
I’d noticed that April had been more insulting in her references to Buchanan as of late– even disclosing to me that he was annoyingly ‘butthurt’ over Avery’s rejection. “He even told me about this mouse that he and [Avery] had found and tried to rescue one day. And after the whole thing with [Avery], he was like ‘I hope that mouse dies because [Avery] touched it!”
It was at this point when I was deciding that the world was really better off without another red-headed twat that ate Chik-Fil-A but criticized other bad queers. We were near Olympia Cafe, just about 25 metres from the river. Could I really pick him up by the scruff of his neck, like a cartoon? Maybe I could just–
And then April started pretending that she was blind.
Because of course she did.
It wasn’t obvious, at first. April and I both carried canes. Not only for aesthetic purposes, but for on-hand defense, as well as the hip issues we both had. I started noticing that April would stare straight ahead as we moved through town with the party crowd and lightly tap the curb with her cane before tentatively stepping up on it. Sometimes, her cane would hit a pole, and she’d abruptly swerve away from it as our group walked and talked.
Oh, you have got to be shitting me.
She swept the cane back and forth, using it to scan the sidewalk in front of her as we moved through Savannah downtown. She was apparently hoping everyone would buy into the theory that she has gone totally blind during her birthday dinner, didn’t react out of sheer Stoicism or some bullshit, and immediately, gracefully adapted to using a mobility aid in the span of about an hour.
I didn’t react. No one else noticed, thankfully.
She miraculously regained her sight within the hour.
But where the hell was Avery?
I’d begun fearing the worst. After all, [REDACTED] University had an eerie history of covering up student suicides. I’ve heard of them intercepting such incidents before the news even got wind of them.
I actually wasn’t able to grapple with the full reality of that possibility–of Avery’s life being cut short, of just never seeing them again, wondering what I could’ve done to prevent such a thing. Instead, the more selfish, petulant side of me was brewing an entire tantrum.
All I could think of that I could’ve kissed Avery moreso by then. We could have spent the night together, showing each other movies and having tea. Instead, I was framed by this overgrown toddler for cheating, while she boasted to her classmates about how we were in an open relationship. How bloody woke.
There was a thought slowly gaining traction in my head.
I don’t have to live a life that revolved around bloody April. I could break it off myself– I could live a life of unrestrained love, of less tension, of overall freedom. It was Avery’s disappearance that lit the fire under my ass– despite everything else they later turned out to be, they’ve always been a Grade-A catalyst, I suppose.
After two years of dating and six years of the body collectively knowing her, I finally decided that I would break up with April.
And I want to assure my loyal readers that despite multiple attempts to compare her to Amy Dunn, she did Not pull a Gone Girl on me.
I might have preferred that she did.