I was married, once upon a time. True story. Despite the transgenderedness that I now use to obstruct the possibility of a current or future relationship, I was once a husband. For approximately six weeks, I was married. From August 4, 2001 to September 21, 2001, in fact. The wedding day was so wonderful; it was happiness embodied, not even considering the fact that it was also my twenty-fifth birthday. The wedding took place in the courtyard of a French Quarter hotel, on a humid, overcast day, before most of my immediate family and a veritable gaggle of friends and acquaintences. I remember being so nervous in the hours leading up to 7:00PM, when the ceremony was to take place. But it wasn't nervous like when a cop pulls you over for speeding and you know you're going to get a ticket. It was more of a giddy, intoxicating kind of nervousness that made my spine tingle and my hands numb. I smoked a whole pack of clove cigarettes that day, and laughed at how marvelous coughing felt, to say nothing of the beauty the rest of the day possessed. I wandered around in a daze for most of the day, unable to process how lucky I felt to have found such a perfect girl that I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with, the wonderful girl that I was going to grow old and eventually die with. All my life prior to that day I had failed to understand why anyone would want to get married; all of my previous twenty-four years of knowledge and wisdom had done little more than spout off about tax classifications, useless social rituals, and pervasive patriarchy. Yet, in front of the pagan altar, as our hands were fasted, I knew what it was to be married -- to become one with the person you know best, the person you love best, the person who talks to your soul, the person that knows just how to touch you -- and the tears I cried at the moment it was done stained my joy and made little wet marks on my jacket, and slid slowly down my wife's bare shoulder, mingling there with her own. Never before or since have I known what it is to be a part of something, or to act with such permanence.

But it was not to be. Two weeks after the wedding, she snapped suddenly, and stopped coming home after work. One day, she was smilingly telling me she loved me, the next I was calling friends asking if they'd seen her. She came back eventually, for a few hours every week, until she finally announced on September 21, 2001, that she was leaving, and that I should move out as soon as possible.

I couldn't understand it. I still don't understand it. It was as though this person, my wife, was speaking a language I was unfamiliar with. To go from the levels of joy that we both experienced on our wedding day, to what she had become is just mind-razing. The change in her was like I had just killed her mother, eaten her cat and poured sugar in her gas tank, all in one fell swoop, or like a therometer going from a steady, comfortable 72°F to a chilling, angry -40°F. What I was unable to comprehend was that I hadn't done anything to provoke this behaviour in her -- I hadn't made a single aggressive, unfaithful or devious move at all in all the time we'd been together before or after we got married. Nevertheless, it ended in the worst, most disheartening way, a way that was impossible for me (or any of the few friends I told) to comprehend. How could she have gone from such wonderful happiness to such sour depths all in the span of one day? That is the thought that torments me, still. I will never know what pushed her over the edge.

It's now six months later, and I'm living alone, about fifteen blocks from where we used to live together, actually. I haven't spoken to her or seen her since November. The end of our marriage enabled me to start on my transition from male to female, but I can't help but wonder -- why, how, what if. I hope one day to ask her, one day in the future when I'm deep into my transition, and she will be unable to recognize me. I'll ask, "Have you ever married?" and then listen with interest as she explains why she was once but is no longer married. I will then cry, and get on with my life.

Scold me, that's all you've got to say
Coldly, hurt me and turn away
You say, "I'm not sorry yet"
I'm resigned to what is next
I head for the shadows
Hold me taking it back through tears
You've told me, slowly confessed your fears
But I've got myself to protect
It's too soon for me to forget
I'll wait in the shadows
In the shadows
Though I am alone
They help me, see that
I'm the only one in your heart
So until I truly believe
that your words convey what you mean
I'll wait in the shadows
I'll wait in the shadows
I don't mind the shadows

Yo La Tengo