Wherein I flip the details.

Enjoyed today’s ‘Writing Gym,’ especially the last exercise we did. As a group, we collaborated on a few details for a character, and then each wrote a scene involving her. The details were: 

  • A woman in her 50s, named Dorothy, single
  • From Omaha, Nebraska, currently in London, UK
  • Some connection to being a born again Christian
  • Yoga teacher
  • The scene: her flat, 5am, autumn
  • By the end, she receives a call from home or has to take a flight the next day

Dorothy took another sip of her vodka, looked past the unpacked boxes and padded toward the small window of her London flat. The street was on life support, barely moving, barely breathing, at 5am. A time of day when nobody is even awake to judge about a jetlagged, 5am vodka. A rare magical moment in Londontown for someone who had traveled all the way here from the cool, calm Nebraska life.

Except her life hadn’t been cool or calm back then. Back when she was Daniel, an accountant, an animal trapped in an anatomical prison for the first 45 years of his life.

No, being transgender woman in Omaha was not an easygoing lifestyle.

But Dorothy smiled as she considered the rare bits of fun she had had in the sex-change process. Daniel to Dorothy; she had wanted the most iconic, middle-American name possible. Sweet, innocent Dorothy, the girl who had lost her house, her hometown, her way.

The yellow brick road had led this Dorothy to London just days ago. She wanted to be in the most international city outside the U.S. She wanted her anonymity to be guaranteed, like the stamp in her fresh passport. After training as a yoga teacher in New York City for a couple years while undergoing treatments and preparing for the surgeries, she was ready to start completely new, where she’d have an accent, anonymity, a new chance. A chance to stop pretending she was a satisfied Born Again accountant for an IT company in Omaha. A chance to put on make up during daylight, to let herself be as feminine as she felt, to be the person she was born to be. Genitalia mix-up aside.

Dorothy walked back to the kitchenette and reviewed her schedule for later that day – two interviews at nearby gyms and one at a community center. She had made the arrangements from New York, and she couldn’t help but assume that her 212 location and Middle America accent had helped secure the interviews from the curious employers.

She noticed her mobile phone in the corner and the blinking light that indicated a new voicemail message.

Dorothy obliged the voice and pressed 1 for new messages, and felt her eyebrows raise as the source of the message was from an American number.

Hello, Dorothy Evans, this is Dr. Richard Corey from Metropolitan Medical Center. This is quite out of the blue, but due to an administrative error, we have just recovered your file from earlier this year and must speak with you immediately… I’m sure you recall the last-minute prostate biopsy we ordered after your series of operations. Unfortunately, the results had actually been switched and we must discuss the implications of what was actually found. Please return my call after 8am.