She walked through the doors of her job for the last time on that cool, breezy autumn day. Coworkers cheerily greeted her, same as every other morning as she waved hers in return.
The sun announced the birth of a new day, beginning its daily journey, peering just above the horizon. The birds chirped their songs of greeting, seemingly an office welcoming party for those walking through the newly paved asphalt parking lot.
She made her way to her desk, going through the motions of booting her computer and adjusting her chair, same as she always did. Today however, was different. Regardless of appearances, it was not going to be ordinary and it was not going to be the same as it always was. No, today was the day that everything would change. She knew something that the others in the office did not know. She was going to disappear. The person that her coworkers had grown to know over the past two years would walk out that day, never to return.
The two women she shared a workspace with had invited her to lunch. It had been on the calendar marked as “Lunch with the Ladies” for one week now. Having reluctantly attended them on previous occasions, she almost felt an obligation although she always found herself feeling out of place. The conversations were certain to include the subject of husbands, little league games and daycare. She found that she could seldom relate to any of it yet, the lunches almost seemed to be an unspoken obligation. It seemed understood at the office that women went to lunch with women and men with men. That was it. Who wished to be the strange “man” out? She supposed she liked the women well enough but that really wasn’t the point. Even they however, had no knowledge of her impending disappearance.
Her team having no knowledge of her impending disappearance also carried on in their usual way, with daily activities the same as they had always been.
With an hour left in her work day, she returned to her desk to find an email sitting in her inbox, just as she had planned. That email was about to help change her life, aiding in her disappearance. The time had arrived. She had been summoned and with that, she walked out of her cubicle, looking back at and her workspace for the last time. Heart racing, palms sweating, she knocked on the door to where she had been summoned. She heard the voice inside, granting her permission to enter and it was then that her life would never be the same. It was then that she simply disappeared.
The sun brightly announced itself on his morning commute to work. He scratched at the scruff of beard growing on his chin, wishing he’d taken the extra time to shave that morning. Time had been short however, barely leaving enough time for that first cup of coffee that now covered the passenger seat of his car.
Greeted by his coworkers as usual, he made his way to his desk, booted up his computer and prepared for the day’s work ahead. He was greeted by a message on his screen, letting him know that memory was getting low, prompting him to clean off any unused documents or programs. It was then he came across her story. The memory taking him back to that moment, almost as if it had been just yesterday. He felt a bit unnerved. It had been so long since she had entered his mind.
He felt himself abruptly propelled back to the day of her disappearance almost as if he had entered a time machine. How frightened she must have felt walking through those doors for the last time. He remembered seeing her from afar, watching her hands tremble as they opened that door for the last time. That door had been the door to the Human Resources Department, where the journey would officially begin and where her secret would be revealed to everyone.
He remembered so vividly in that moment because he had been she. She had disappeared to bring him forth. She had sacrificed herself so that he could live.
I know this so well because this is my story. I had walked within the world for 35 years at that point, a man, hidden within skin that I had always known was not my own. I had up until the day she disappeared, spent my life in hiding, much like that of a scared, shy child, arms wrapped tightly around the legs of a protective parent.
I am transgender, a transgender man. The Native Americans have a term that I really like for people like me, two-spirit.
I have learned many things since the day she disappeared, things I wish that I would have known and could have shared with her on that day she was so frightened, things that may have possibly put her more at ease.
I would tell her to not worry about finding someone that would love her because in the end, it would all be okay.
I would tell her to not worry about being accepted by others because the people that count will continue to show unconditional love, even in the face of adversity.
I would tell her just how much of a gift it is to be two-spirited, to be able to see the world through two sets of eyes.
I would tell her about just how much of a privilege it is to exist within a community that bonds together, even when others attempt to break it apart.
I would tell her how she too, is loved and accepted by God, regardless as to whatever cruel things others may have said.
I would tell her that cruelty from other people tends to reflect how they feel about themselves, and really has nothing to do with her at all.
I would tell her about the wonderful, joyous freedom that awaits at the end of that seemingly dark tunnel.
Most of all, I would have told her quite simply, to live truth, to live life in the most authentic way possible.
At the end of the day, we have nothing to prove to anyone for it is through that authenticity where we become strong.
The day she disappeared was the day that I was born.