This space has been pretty quiet lately, but i couldn’t let the holidays slip by without saying hello!
No matter what you celebrate, or how, i hope you’re able to do something that makes you happy.
I also have a free story to share–written by my friend and fellow Harmony Ink author, Christopher Hawthorne Moss. Thank you, Kit, for allowing me to share your story!
An FTM Holiday
Alden stood at the window looking out at all the snow. He thought, “This would be beautiful if I didn’t have to go out and drive in it.” His city, usually rather dingy this time of year, seemed clean and bright with two feet of snow covering the dirt and the garbage. There wasn’t a soul outside. They were all indoors, though thinking about where and with whom, or without whom, did not bear considering.
He felt the bulk of his cat Wizard jump up on the window sill where he himself leaned. He smiled and reached out to cuddle and scratch the fur on his chin. “Happy holidays, Wizard!”
Alden had been feeling melancholy. He was alone for the first holiday season of his life. He’d moved to the city after he told his mom and dad he was a transman. At first they had not understood. Then his dad got really angry, called him names, and his mother cried. His dad got drunk and ordered him to clean up his act. He knew he had to go. He had enough savings from his job at Walmart to move into a tiny apartment in the city where he would look for work. He and his partner spent the last evening they had together just sitting and holding each other. Kim would join him in the city in a year when it was time for the college school year to start. It was hard to be without Kim who could brighten up the most cheerless room with one little smile.
“Wizard, you’re my only friend this year. I hope you don’t mind if you get lots of hugs and kisses,” Aden said.
He could have sworn he saw a smile on the cat’s lips and a twinkle in his eye, but how could you tell in the holiday lights he had put up on the window.
He took out his phone to check to see if he had gotten any texts from Gil. Yes, he had! He opened it and read, “Sorry, dude, but the party got canceled. Too much snow.”
He texted back, “Damn. Well, OK. C U later.”
That put the end on any holiday celebrating he would do this year. He was stuck in his apartment, alone, with hardly anything in the place to eat or drink except for peanut butter and some Kool-Aid. He heard a meow and said, “Oh, Wizard, I’m sorry, I forgot you. I’m never by myself if you are here.”
He settled into a used armchair, tucked his feet up under him to avoid the cold floor, and turned on his little television. He did not have cable but he was close enough to downtown that he could pick up the broadcast stations with an antenna he had made with a metal clothes hanger. It was grainy but he decided it just looked like it was snowing on TV too.
It was probably about midnight when he woke up. He got up and went to look outside. It had stopped snowing. Everything was silent. The snow sparkled like diamonds in the street lights. Many of the windows glowed behind a covering of snow like portals into a frozen castle.
He heard a noise behind him and turned. He almost had a heart attack when he saw a tall fat man in a red and white fur suit with tall black boots stand in the doorway to the corridor. He had a pointed fur hat on, made of the same red and white fur as his suit, with a ball of white fur on the tip, and his hair was long, as was his clean white beard. He smiled and two dimples appeared on either side of his mouth. Alden suddenly noticed the room was bright as if lit by a hundred candles.
“Santa Claus! How did you get in the building?” Alden asked. He knew the building was locked day and night.
“Oh a nice man let me in. He said you were waiting for me.”
Santa put down the huge bag he was carrying and looked around. “First things first,” he said, and he gave the room a sweep with his arm. Everywhere his hand swept looked as if it had tiny diamonds dancing in the air. His faded old armchair became a beautiful wing back chair with an ottoman, upholstered in a warm green and red plaid. His little TV became a wall mounted flat screen, at least 36”. The floor was covered with a rich, thick Persian rug in tones of blue. His tiny rickety table and chairs became one made of wood and covered with a white linen tablecloth. On top of it was a feast that would make any large family happy at Thanksgiving. The table had a centerpiece of holly and pine cones and another big white candle. He glanced at his kitchen and saw it had all new appliances and a bottle of fine wine chilling in ice in the sink.
“Where did all this come from?” he asked the grinning man.
“Never mind that. We have to make a quick visit.” Santa made another grand sweep with his arm and Alden found himself sitting on a log in the snow by a campfire.
He looked at the others who sat around the fire on logs. They were all dressed in rather dirty and tattered Civil War uniforms. They had wool great coats on because of wintry wind. They huddled over, warming their hands on tin mugs of something that steamed. They laughed, made jokes, slapped each other on the shoulder, and generally did not seem the worse for the frigid temperatures.
Aden looked down at his own clothing. He too was in a uniform like theirs. He looked to his side and saw a young beardless man smiling at him.
“You’re new here, right?” the man said.
“Yeah, I just got here. What do they call this place?”
“Now how would I be after knowin’ a thing like that? That’s the Mississippi River you can smell over there,” he smiled, nodding to the west. “Kind of a dreary place to find yourself in on Christmas.” Alden heard the Irish brogue in the man’s high voice. The man reached one hand to him. “I’m Private Albert D. J. Cashier. Welcome.”
Aden took his hand and shook it. “I’m, um, Alden Light.”
Private Cashier looked at Aden’s shoulder, touched the insignia there, and corrected, “Private Alden Light, you mean. Pleased to know you. Where you from, Private? I’m from Illinois, so I am.”
Just then the man sitting across from them started to sing. He gestured for everyone to pick up his cup or canteen and bottle and take a drink. Alden looked at his own feet and saw a metal bottle there. He picked it up and removed the cap, took a sip, and was pleasantly surprised to find it contained some sort of hot liquor.
The song was “Silent Night.” First the soldier across from him sang, then slowly all the other men joined in. Albert reached over and put a hand on Alden’s shoulder. He moved his chin to encourage him to join in and sing.
“Round yon Virgin Mother and child,” he sang.
He looked up and saw Santa Claus standing behind the soldier who had begun the song. The old man smiled and gestured for Alden to come with him. Alden turned to say goodbye to Albert but found himself looking straight into Wizard’s face. I must have been a dream. He was safe at home again, sitting in his arm chair.
He sat up and rubbed his eyes. He opened them and gasped. There was the wall television, the table with its tablecloth and feast. The room was not as bright now, with fewer candles, but standing in the kitchen pouring two glasses of wine was Kim!
“About time you woke up from your long winter’s nap!” grinned Danny. “Just in time for a glass of wine. Mulled wine.”
Alden stood up and went to his lover. He took one hand and then the glass of wine from the other. He smiled at his darling and tilted his head for a kiss. Warm lips met and his body came alive.
Kim reached to the counter to pick up a small gift and handed it to Alden. “Look what Santa brought!”
“I see what Santa brought.” Alden took Kim in his arms. “Happy holidays, Kim!” he said.
“Happy holidays my love,” he heard in reply.
Happy Holidays to all transmen everywhere from Christopher Hawthorne Moss!
Albert D J Cashier served in the Union Army. This is from Wikipedia:
On August 6, 1862, he enlisted into the 95th Illinois Infantry using the name Albert Cashier and was assigned to Company G. The regiment was part of the Army of the Tennessee under Ulysses S. Grant and fought in approximately forty battles, including the siege at Vicksburg, the Red River Campaign and the combat at Guntown, Mississippi, where they suffered heavy casualties.
Other soldiers thought that Cashier was small and preferred to be alone, which was not uncommon. He was once captured in battle, but escaped back to Union lines after overpowering a prison guard. Cashier fought with the regiment through the war until August 17, 1865, when all the soldiers were mustered in and out.
A transcription from a letter written by Thomas Hannah, Jr., a private in Company G, 95th Illinois Regiment, on 17 November 1862, from near Jackson, Tennessee reads:
” … we have just discovered one of our soldiers belonging to this regiment is a woman and she is found out and sent home she is one of those loose characters that used to run around camp in Rockford she put on men’s clothes and enlisted just before we started …”
Thomas Hannah indicates that this woman was sent back to Belvidere.
Also, footnote 4, Blanton, references a “Deposition of J. H. Hines.” In fact, it was Robert Dunn Hannah, brother of Thomas, who gave the deposition in 1915. Thomas Hannah died 21 October 1865 from wounds suffered at Spanish Fort, Alabama.
Connect with Christopher at his blog: http://trans-ponder.blogspot.com