All Things In Good Time

© Joan Ann Lansberry


What hard passions now awaited Gwen as a result of her changing? She did feel 'harder'. What in her caused it? Was it the simple necessity of what she must do to survive? Was it the simple knowledge that there would only always be an uneasy truce with humans? Was it hardening herself to the pain of that isolation? She suspected it was all of these things. Yet, too, there was the hard resolve that she would survive all this and be its master. She liked her stronger sensations. She found herself physically stronger, as well. All the old morning stiffness disappeared. She could lift heavy things, heavier things than she could when she was young, before the joints began their complaining. She could move faster in all respects. This, she did not mind at all. She would apply her mental strengths to the pains of isolation, as well.

Was it arrogance to think she could solve everything by force of will? Even if it were, she enjoyed it, and would not give it up. Gwen loved Michael fiercely. She had faith someday, too, that Livia would see the light as she saw it, too. If that be arrogance, she was not apologizing.

The weekend was almost over. Could she return to work, as if nothing happened? She wanted to. She wanted nothing to disturb what fragile sense of security Livia might still have. Quitting work and plunging them into financial difficulty would cause Livia to lose any timid trust she was beginning to feel towards the new Gwen. In this, as in all things, she'd simply apply her mental force. She simply would not acknowledge the potential difficulties.

After their 'dinner', she and Michael went shopping. She would require a ankle length hooked cloak and gloves. Special sunglasses would help, as well. She would do this thing. After she located a suitable cloak, she took a look at Michael's tattered garments. She'd never noticed before, they were ancient. The ruffled shirt, despite having been washed often, was gray, and was frayed at all the edges. The seat of his enormous pants was nearly transparent. He was not complaining of it. But it would never do.

''You're getting new clothes!'' She announced forcefully. Michael found himself wanting to blush. He'd never had new clothes, not since his mother died. If something aged too badly, he'd take the clothes off one of his prey. It was always this way. Usually everything he wore was always baggy, the pants pulled in at the waist with a too long belt in which he'd punched a hole to allow a smaller closure. ''New clothes!'' He just marvelled at the concept.

The vast array of garments in every hue and design amazed him. He'd not been in a store which sold garments since the general merchandise store to which his parents took him in seventeen, seventeen . . .  anyway, it was a long time ago, and only two choices of pants were available, thick work pants, and thinner dress pants. One had to go the bigger city near the bay for fancy clothes a fancy man wore. He was nearly overwhelmed at the variety.

But he didn't want variety. Gwen tried to suggest a red shirt, as she thought red might flatter his complexion. ''It's vulgar and garish!'' he declared, with surprising disdain. He didn't want short sleeves. ''It looks like the man can't afford a whole shirt!'' He felt the same about short pants. In all this variety, Michael only wanted long sleeved white shirts and black pants. ''You can take the man out of the eighteenth century, but you can't take the eighteenth century out of the man,'' Gwen declared, rather amused. Though, as he was modelling a bright white shirt, she had to admit no other man did as much for a white shirt as he did.

They left the men's department with three identical white shirts and three identical black pants. They fit him perfectly, however. Next, Gwen got him shoes, socks and underwear. Michael was overjoyed at the attention, though, and felt absolutely wonderful.

Gwen was happy to see him made so easily happy. They'd work things out. It would just take grit and determination. She dreaded work tomorrow. She dreaded it, but she'd face it.

Meanwhile, as they all had to be on human time, up during the day, she instructed Michael in the use of the vacuum cleaner and dustcloth. He could use clean the house while Gwen and Livia were at work away from home. Their carpet, which they'd let develop a carpet of its own of hairballs and flotsam and jetsam would at last have someone strong with good eye sight cleaning it. He'd be given further household instructions as needed. Not only would this result in a cleaner house, it would further prove Michael's all around usefulness to Livia.

After a restless night, morning arrived, and Gwen got ready as though nothing were different since the last Friday morning. Had it only been that long ago since her world changed so dramatically? She finished her ordinary clothing with the new layer of sun-protective gear, and left with Livia to face the day. Even though the darkest sunglasses, the rays of the sun raged. ''What kind of arrogant creature am I, to do what no other of my kind does?'' Defying the sun, it was gutsy, indeed. ''Gutsy, or just plain STUPID!'' she thought, having arrived at work, just before she dashed out of the car into the building.

She shed the cloak and gloves, and looked into the bathroom mirror. She hadn't developed much of a pallor, yet. No doubt, the skin still retained some color from previous exposure to the sun. She'd have to watch how she spoke. She had to guard against opening her mouth too wide. Looking in the mirror, opening wide revealed her distinctive new teeth. She took a deep breath, resolving to be courageous, and went forth into her workshop. Though she felt curiously dizzy. She hoped fervently that nothing unusual could be sensed.

Still, her co-workers had always thought her weird before. Maybe anything odd would be just considered more of the same. She sat down at her sewing machine, and took the first garment off the pile of work to be done. She was surprised at how limber her fingers felt, as they pushed the garment through the machine. Her seams were perfect the first time, and needed no adjustment. Needle holes were easy to see, and she no longer had to struggle to thread them. She smiled to herself. Perhaps the day would go faster, after all.

Her co-workers were watching her, though. She thought she caught the word, 'mucho rapido', or something like that. She resolved to slow down 'just a little'. With the application of her budding 'mind gift', would she be able to learn their language? Still, she thought it ill form to snoop in their minds on purpose. Enough would filter through without trying.

She thought it best to leave for lunch, so that her lack of eating would not be so conspicious. Gwen found it comfortable to sit in the shade, just outside the building, in some benches there. She sipped from her water bottle, though, slowly, as she observed humanity coming and going from the stores across the street. A terror wanted to settle down around her, but she dismissed it forcefully.

The days could continue thusly.

Go to Chapter 13, Queer Folk
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