by Arnold Snyder
The following morning, I went onto the balcony with a bottle of Perrier.
No more water, Morgan.
“You’re losing your color, Dusty.”
I’m done with this world.
Meaning my time has come. It’s time for me to die. Is that blunt enough for you?
There was a pleasant breeze and I wondered for a moment if she could feel it and if it felt good to her. “It’s not time for you to die,” I said. “You’re young, you’re healthy—”
And I’m tired of living. I’ve given it my all, Morgan. I really have. But I can’t take this anymore. I want a woman’s body and I can’t have it. The Fates have condemned me. Would you want to spend your life completely paralyzed and ugly to boot?
“What do you mean ugly? You’re beautiful!”
Oh, Morgan, look at me. I’m an ugly fucking cactus and that’s all I’ll ever be.
“I should take you to the nursery right now,” I said. “They’ve got a whole aisle of agaves just like you. You know why they have them? Because people buy them. You know why? Because they want to put them in their gardens because they’re so beautiful.”
I want real breasts. I want a face with lips so I can kiss. I want real genital organs so I can fuck. But I’m never going to be a woman. I know that. I’ve made a fool of myself trying. I don’t want to live anymore. I’m tired of this world.
“Please, Dusty, don’t talk that way. I can’t bear the thought of you being gone. You’re my whole world. My partner. My love.”
What kind of a partner can I be? What do I contribute to your life? I just tie you down. Without me, you could go places and do things with other people.
“I don’t want to do things with other people. I want to do things with you. Do you understand that I don’t want to be human? I don’t like being human. It’s my dream to be a plant like you and we can spend our days together doing nothing but being with each other.”
And you’ve got as much chance of being a plant as I have of being a woman. It ain’t going to happen for us, Morgan. We’re both condemned to empty lives of dissatisfaction.
“Please, Dusty, don’t die on me. I promise I’ll keep looking. I’ll find the right scientist, the right doctor, the one who can fix both of us.”
And what happens when this mystery scientist turns me into a woman and you into a plant? We’ll be in the same boat. We still won’t be right for each other.
“Would you water me?” I said.
“If our positions were reversed,” I said. “If I were a plant and you were a woman, would you water me?”
Yes, yes, I would. And I would talk to you every day. It’s been my fantasy for many days now that we would find our destiny in precisely that situation. You’d find your fulfillment in being a plant and I’d be a woman taking care of you. You’d be the prize of my garden. But I can’t lie to myself any longer, Morgan. That’s not going to happen. A man like you can only be a plant on the inside. And no plant can ever be a woman on the outside.
Go to Chapter Twelve