She shifts her bag closer and stands deeper into the light overhead. The only street light for five blocks. The only bus stop for miles.

She left an abusive home years ago. She shouldn’t have to deal with this anymore, yet here she is, swollen eyed and bloody lipped. On top of it all her phone is completely broken now.

She checks her watch, 8:15 pm. She smiles sardonically; her father always told her to wear a watch as a kid. She never thought she would need it with the advancement of technology.

“Score one for the asshole.” She grumbles irritably. The next bus doesn’t come until nearly 9:00 and she is freezing.

The worst time to wear a skirt on a date. But then again she didn’t think she would have been freezing her ass off in the middle of winter on a random street.

She’d been talking to the guy for a few weeks now. Her ‘trans’ status on full display. She’d divulged that she was pre-op, only using prosthetic enhancements for her chest and lots of contouring on her face.

The man, Gil, which by the way, who names their kid Gil? She rolls her eyes, he seemed sweet enough, said he was an advocate for equal rights, everything right to get in a woman’s pants.

He wined her and dined her all evening. Telling her stories of his youth and travels and she even indulged him in her tamer ones.

When it came to going home he bypassed her exit and as he got closer to what she figured was his, she requested they pull over.

He did so reluctantly, feigning the knowledge of a shortcut to avoid traffic at the downtown center.

She said she wanted to get out and go home, not wanting to return to his home since it was not what they agreed upon.

He yelled, saying she was giving him blue balls and if she was really a woman she would return to his place to help alleviate his problem.

In a huff she stormed out of the car. Her flats crunching in the snow as she stalked farther and farther from Gil and his blue balls.

She didn’t even know he followed her until he swung her around and punched her in the face, knocking her over and sending her bag and its contents across the white covered ground.

She was lucky she had her mace, spraying wildly in his face and mouth before haphazardly kicking his crotch and grabbing her most important items.

Now here she is, ten blocks away and hoping that the bus stop is still correct on the bus schedule.

She knows it’s risky, going out this late on dates with men in this transphobic time, but she told her roommate where she was going and when she would return but now she won’t be home until at least 10, 10:30 at the latest. And she has no way  to contact her worrying best friend.

A shudder runs through her body, a green car drives by. But what caused the shudder is that this is the fourth time she’s seen that same car with the same three people ride by.

8:45, her watch reads. Just ten more minutes. She prays it comes early.

She should invest in a gun, legally or illegally.

She ponders if she dies tonight will she be remember as a woman or will they call her parents three hours away and allow them to say she is a man.

She won’t know because the bus pulls up, five minutes early. The driver smiles sympathetically as she pays her fare and sits near the back. There is one other rider and he is immersed in a novel.

Now she realizes she may have overreacted about the date ending the way it did, but she is a woman and women deserve to be able to say no. Whether trans or cis a woman is a woman to be respected and not treated as a sex object.

The ride is long with no other riders besides herself and the reader. She tries her phone again but it does nothing. The snow must have seeped into the cracked screen, ruining the phone for good now.

“Uh, hey? Do you need a phone to use? You’ve been trying for the last 20 minutes to turn that phone on.” The reader is directly in front of her now. Brown eyes smiling at her blush forming.

“Yeah please. I’m trying to call my roommate to let her know I’m safe. But I had a very horrible date, hence my horrible face.” She tries to joke. He frowns, handing the phone to her.

“I think you still look very beautiful.” She blushes again. Before dialing the only memorized number and speaking with her worried friend.

“Thank you so much.” She pauses, hoping to catch her savior a name.

“Eric. Uh you are?”

“Heather.” She introduces. They sit in silence. The bus rumbling and the driver am occasionally calling out a street.

“So uh are you going to be safe going home by yourself?”

“Oh yeah, I leave near the 24 hour diner on that’s the bus stops in front of on Grace Street downtown. My friend works late nights and he’ll walk me home if need be.” She explains quickly. Something she is looking forward too. This night was a bust and she just wants a warm bath drawn and a glass of wine.

“Oh I know that place. A lot of people go there from the gay bar. I usually go with a few drag friends when I have time to catch a performance. I’ve never seen you down there.”

“I’m not in drag.” She grumbles. He looks startled.

“No, uh, not like. I uh, I didn’t mean you were in drag I meant at the diner.”

“Oh, oh yeah well I usually work Saturdays, tonight was my one night off. And it was ruined because of a misogynistic date.”

“I’m sorry. I hope you can have a better day tomorrow.” The bus stops in front of the diner. A few friends of Eric’s climb aboard. Some Heather knows and smiles to and some she has seen in passing.

“Um, well your roommate has my number. I’d love if you called and let me know you got there safe Heather.” Their friends giggle and cat call from the front as Heather stands between the door.

She blushes again and nods.

“Okay. I’ll do that.” She steps down watching as he watches her. The bus pulling off and rounding the corner.

“Hey cutie pie. What happened to your eye?” Her good friend Pete steps out the diner to have a smoke.

“A horrible date. But I’m fine. Much better now.”

He nods and exhales a billow of smoke. “You need a ride? I’m off soon.”

“Please?” He nods, and  heading in to the diner to order some food to go.

When she gets home at 10, she immediately sprints to the bathroom to draw a bath. Her roommate and best friend is hot on her heels. Pestering her for details, fretting over her bruising face.

“I’m fine Joy. Just a small bruise. Hey can I use your phone? I should call Eric back.”

“Who is Eric? Oh the guys who’s phone you used. Cute.” She sets the phone on the counter, wishing the young woman goodnight.

“Glad your home safe. Um, maybe when you get your phone fixed you can call me and text me more often.”

“Yeah, yeah of course. I hope you don’t mind that I’m a trans woman.” Removing her clothes she sinks into the warm water.

“No of course, I find you beautiful. It doesn’t matter that you’re trans or cis. As long as we’re both attracted to each other. You are attracted to me?”

“I did see this handsome guy on the bus reading Homer this evening.”

“Oh damn.” He chuckles. She can’t believe how easy it is to talk to him, especially with what happened earlier but he is easy to talk to.

“Are you home?”

“Just about. The friends that got on the bus were a few roommates and we’re walking up to the building now.” He explains.

She draws her knees to her chest. Smiling at the ease of conversation. After getting out the tub and crawling into bed she spoke with Eric for another three hours, just until she could barely keep her eyes open.

He wants to take her out on her next day off. And she’s looking forward to it.

It wasn’t the worst day, but the night surely didn’t end that way.

With a good night Heather plugs the phone in and settles into bed.

Maybe she’ll take next Saturday off and have a redeeming date night.

—-

Photo copyright: c_chan via 500px

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