FROM THE JOURNALS OF ADRIAN MCCARTHY
It all started when I was twelve—no, younger than that even. My uncle whipped me with a belt when he first saw me in my mother’s silk evening clothes, made-up with my young inexperienced hands of ten, the skirts pooling around my feet like pink champagne. It was then they sent me to live in the attic of my father’s household, that old Victorian manor surrounded by the tenements of a big New England metropolis. But that enlightened sunshine never fell upon those dusty Persian rugs, the tarnished dinnerware, the threadbare tablecloths. Only when I came did I put pride into the domesticities of the house, my father being away at the bank. I would pretend to be the lady of the house when he was gone. The servants never said anything.
This journal will never be read.
My stepmother, Morgan, dragged me down to an analyst when she saw me dressed up in her makeup and eveningwear. I sat there, my eyes seemingly drawn to the floor by hidden magnets, hearing the ponderous voice of the man who would decide my fate. I was stripped of my exterior and called a homosexual...but I’ve never felt like one. I’ve never felt like a man before, at least, not while I’m loving a man. I sit by my attic window, looking down through the foggy atmosphere down below, where I imagine the man who will love me is coming, stealthily but valiantly, to come and take me away, like fair Rapunzel in her tower. But it was seldom I ever took the initiative....
They put me in the sanitarium that day; they shaved my head and put me away, somewhere in the mountains where the thin air would choke me. No more wigs of long amber locks, rouge, fox gloves, flowing gowns...I was a lunatic young man, not the maiden I wished to be. They told me I stayed there for a year, but I can’t be sure; I didn’t trust them. Hours passed by like days, and all that’s left now is a sense of eternal numbness half forgotten. I’ve never been strong, and...now I’ve gotten the page wet. Oh God, my heart is aching for him...David, the painter who’s imprinted my image so many times onto canvas I’ve become my own race. Oh, and in so many different guises...all my years of ladylike prowess were put into full force then.
This isn’t my life now, back in this prison under Mistress Morgan, carefully watched and drugged by analysts and exorcists and God knows what else—it’s with him, and him alone I am safe.
Safe, encased in his strong warm arms....