The superintendent III
She woke up to the booming sound of a boiler and some strange music on television. She was in an unfamiliar room, full of old and mismatched furniture. Her mouth felt like ash and dung, and smelled just as bad. Where was she? She tried to move her head, and the pain hit her like a hammer while the room performed a somersault.
It took a while until she felt better and was brave enough to dare move her head again There was aspirin and water by the bedside, left by some thoughtful soul and she took it without thinking twice. Then she put on the slippers that she found by the edge of the bed and stumbling wandered towards the source of the music.
She saw the super sipping something from a large coffee mug, while puffing a slim menthol cigarette. His shirt was unbuttoned and showing his white tight undershirt and his chest. The living room was reeking of menthol smoke and of some musky cologne that made her nostrils flare.
“Morning, “the super said “Head ok? No shaked?”
“Mhm.” She answered “A bit queasy.”
He showed her a big armchair and offered her some sort of coffee in an espresso cup, which she took and sat down.
How did she get here? She remembered Todd coming over to pick his stupid karaoke machine and his crybaby CD-s up. She remembered herself, first mad, then pleading, then yelling, then tripping on the stairs while pelting Todd with his dirty old socks which he had “forgotten”, the neighbors coming out and the superintendent pulling her into his ground floor apartment still yelling and kicking, while Todd was calling the police.
She panicked. Was she going to lose the apartment over that schmuck? She turned her worried face up to the superintendent who was now offering her toast.
Ugh! The room did a little tap dance then steadied itself again. Her stomach continued its grunge beat. She stopped thinking for a moment. Then she remembered the rest.
She had flung herself in Mrs. Schurnfauler’s old sofa, springs still proudly squeaking in the super’s apartment, while the strange man dealt curtly with whining Todd and his karaoke machine. The police were not called and the neighbors went inside disappointed. She bawled and she heaved and she could not stop. The super had offered her tissues and some clear liquid drink in small shot glasses called ‘rookie’ or something. She remembered it burning down her throat and eventually calming her. The super had come and sat next to her, his broken English calming her even further. She had felt safe, comfortable, protected, in that apartment. His surprisingly full lips had been so close, and she felt it only natural to taste them, still laced with the ‘rookie’ he had just swallowed. He had frozen, but she had not given up. Instead she had attacked his lips madly, probing, licking and sucking, not letting him even breathe, let alone think and react. She could feel he wanted to answer too. So he had, imitating her gestures as well as he could. Based on his kisses, she could tell that he did not have that much experience. His tongue had more than once hidden in the depths of his mouth, while hers was seeking it in vain, and his hands kept on patting her hair, without moving lower and answering her more urgent needs. After a while, it had been her who had shifted position and sat on his lap without breaking the kiss, making his hands slide lower in her back while hers were firmly holding his back. Ooh it had been so inexperienced and so good, she’d almost died from the need. The warmth of that drink and the warmth of their kiss had permeated her bones and she wanted to be completely filled and sated, and pacify the monster in her stomach. But he was still a bit frozen, so she’d taken the initiative again and started her special lap grind that all her boyfriends liked so much. She’d also liked grinding and teasing herself against their hard…but she could feel nothing on this guy. Well, that was strange. She’d put her hand on his lap, but there had still been nothing, a slight bump not unlike her own which had made her pause. Of course there had been small guys, but there had always been something there, a little bump or raise, even if it had not always been hard. But there was nothing here. Then he’d come to his senses and pushed her away, and she’d landed sideways on the sofa and promptly had gone to sleep.
And here she was, the sexless super sitting in front of her, his shirt unbuttoned, his coffee cup in hand, his worried eyes on her. Now she could see there was something wrong with his chest. What she had taken for a tight undershirt was a big white bandage peeking through.
“Oh, man – she croaked, -are you ok?”
Without speaking, he took his shirt off and started undoing the bandage, revealing a more and more bumpy white chest, completely hairless and with much younger skin than his weather-beaten face. Her weather-beaten face, she corrected herself when she saw the tops of womanly breasts, very much like her own, freed from the bandage.
A hermaphrodite? She had heard about them of course, had even seen a documentary on TV, but she’d never guessed…
She stared open –mouthed at the creamy breasts, smallish and slightly sagging. The super was a strange sight, surrounded by unraveled bandages, a pleading look on his/her face. He/she put his/her shirt on again and then spoke.
“I am born voman. But father die and I become man. For family.”
She nodded, even though the super’s explanation was no explanation at all.
“Back, in Albania, I vas man for long time. No husband, no bride, but everybody respect me, you know? I, strong man. Vork hard, buy visa, come to America. Always man.”
She continued nodding, not daring to think about the fact that she had made out with a woman, a wrinkly immigrant woman that smelled of menthol and cologne. She realized the super had stopped talking and was now looking at her. Expectantly? For what? She felt sorry for the poor soul in front of her, so she leaned over and patted the other man/woman’s hand. Her own head was still pounding with the hangover.
“You never wanted to be a woman?” She finally asked, with her hoarse voice.
“I see your house the other day. I never shave legs, you know. Sometimes I vish I had mustache to shave. Be man, full man. Marry vife, make childrens. But I like be voman now, like you. You have make-up on table, you have dress, you have jerk boyfriend. And I like you. I never kiss before. Is nice.”
The super breathed at the end of the sentence then smiled uncertainly.
The girl was also confused. How was she supposed to react to this? Was she being propositioned by the ultimate butch? Was she supposed to accept?
And then she felt the pain in the other woman’s heart, the unspoken hope that somebody was going to be there in her hour of need, and guide her through the scary process of rediscovering her female self.
“We have to go shopping.” She announced and by the eager smile in the other woman’s face, she understood she had made the right decision.