by Naomi Telushkin

The mother told me I could nap in the guest room. She showed me a bedroom with white sheets and a white blanket, no hint of anyone there. But the closet was full of clothing. A prom dress, taffeta, ripped jeans. A lavender bikini. I found out later that her girl became a man, that her daughter took hormones, grew a beard, and brought home a girlfriend. I found out later that the daughter's voice changed and her muscles changed, but her hands stayed small. I found out that they weren't speaking, mother and son, because the mother viewed this new man as a kidnapper. He had kidnapped her beautiful daughter, burned off her hair, ripped off her breasts.

I met the man and fell in love with him. I wasn't expecting to. A man that new. He was rough and delicate, like espresso. I fell in love but it was casual for him, just some wine, a few fleeting nights.

We did not talk about parents; we never got that intimate. I did not tell him I walked his mother's dog, watered her orchards. I did not tell him that I'd tried the bikini on after I knew it was his, that I'd slipped on the lavender string bikini, size eight, that it fit me perfectly—well, only a little loose on top. I did not tell him the strings behind my neck and at my hips felt like hands, like his hands, that I tried different poses, my arms stretched out above my head, my hips thrust out, that I wore it underneath a pencil skirt and buttoned up blouse for a job interview and the office secretary said I was "radiant."

BIO: Naomi Telushkin is pursuing an MFA in Fiction from Arizona State a University and taught creative writing at the National University of Singapore. She is the recipient of the Charles Johnson Fiction Award and her fiction is published or forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Crab Orchard Review, The Citron Review, Bookends Review and The Potomac, among others.