Cis People | by Max Delsohn

5 mins read

I keep falling in love with cis people. My friends look down on me for this. It’s an unpalatable desire, like a giantess fetish, or age play. Not inherently wrong but hard to talk about. I tell one cis partner, I want to be around people who think they’re better than everyone else, and are right. She smiles. With cis people, you can always count on the first part.

There’s a cis woman thousands of miles away I stay in love with. We’ve never dated, as she more often speaks across me than with me, even that time we fucked, especially that time we fucked. Now we talk online, she has a kid, and she doesn’t know what Trans Day of Visibility is. She sends me a recording of her singing that one Strokes song I can never remember the name of but oh yes, this SONG, I LOVED this song in high school. I listen to her sing on my lunch break. I tell her, I listen to you sing on my lunch break, is that okay? I tell her, I don’t get tired of your voice. I tell her, I wish you saw yourself the way I do. I keep thinking if I say it in the right way, with the right punctuation, with the right timestamp, she’ll get it. That she’ll hear me, and say, ah, yes, I know how to love you now.

There’s a cis man in a neighboring state I stay in love with. He does manual labor in a waterlogged rural town I can’t drive to. He has a handlebar moustache but I still care what he thinks.  “It’s not that I don’t think you’re handsome” is how his rejection started, because I’m trans, and this is what I want to hear, right, that I fit, that he doesn’t want me, but it’s not because I don’t fit. For weeks afterward I dream he fucks me in wet grass and it’s good, the bloody purple sky dissolves to morning blue above. He pulls out and there’s blood, why blood I haven’t bled for years, but he just smiles and leads me into his kitchen. We’re laughing about the blood. He’s making breakfast. He cracks an egg. We laugh at the blood and the egg and the grass stuck in my hair, at how absurd we are, how cosmic.

There is a cis woman in my city I stay in love with. I have memorized her airy way of rushing off to work. Little gusts of wind seem to twirl her towards the french press, towards the bathroom mirror, towards a chaste kiss with me, then out the door. It is that sameness I now set my life by, where my sleep and my joy docks. After a long day at work, she blows back in the door the same way. She is alive to me unlike anyone I have ever known, her skin is permanent-bloom soft, the electric blue machinery of her eyes do not stop turning their gears until she falls asleep. We mold our lives to share a bed but when the laws change and the headlines fill our feeds, when I stare at the mirror until the meaning falls out of my face, she asks me, what can I do to help? And I don’t tell her I want to be fucked into oblivion and I don’t tell her I want to be fucked into existence and I don’t tell her I want you to read my fucking mind.

I tell her, it’s okay, I don’t think you can do anything, and she agrees.

Max Delsohn is a stand-up comedian and writer based in Seattle, WA. Their prose has been featured in CutBank: All Accounts and Mixture, Storm Cellar Quarterly Review, and#Trans: An Anthology, among other places. Max was also awarded the Made at Hugo House Fellowship in 2017. You can follow Max on Twitter @fakejewishboy.