Perched elegantly on the edge of my bed, I carefully apply polish to my finger nails. Red talons to match the red stiletto shoes standing on the dressing table. As the buttery glow of the late afternoon sunlight infusing the room changes to shades of mauve and purple, I think, with a frisson of pleasure, of the journey home in the subway. Think of how the good looking young man sat opposite had reacted as I casually crossed my legs, my short skirt riding up my thigh. He had looked up, looked into my cornflower blue eyes. I gave him a soft inviting smile with my red lips and enjoyed, felt empowered, by his look of admiration edged with lust. I just knew he watched, felt his eyes follow me, as I left the carriage at Brooklyn and sashayed along the platform, passed the carriage window, hips undulating, feeling real pleased with my performance.
I complete my nails, hold them up, consider them against the glossy red of the leather. Buying the shoes had been another milestone in becoming me. My drunken mom and abusive father would not recognise the adult version of their child. One day I’ll go home, go to Aliceville and sit in their trashy diner, order seafood gumbo and watch them; an anthropologist observing some low life species. There again, maybe I won’t. Why bother? Why waste the time?
My nail polish is dry. I slowly roll the nylons up my smooth legs and connect them to the corset studs. I then stand and lift the dress I will wear tonight over my head, let the delicate smooth fabric slide, like warm tidal water softly rippling down my body. I ease the blood red stilettos onto my feet then stand, in self appraisal, in front of the full length mirror with the ornate frame, that leans against the wall. Maybe the red earnings? The red handbag? The hum of the lift ascending distracts me.
The doorbell rings. I walk with elegant practiced choreographed movement down the corridor. I look down at my scarlet- tipped fingers as I brush them across the white petals of the flowers, arranged in the vase on the console table, before I noisily undo the elaborate locking mechanism and open the door.
“Gee, Stella, you look swell. Going to a party?” A sarcastic smile plays on Morgan’s lips.
“What do you want Morgan?” I ask, arms folded, leaning on the door frame.
“Well, it’s real nice to see you too, Stella. And it’s Detective Morgan to you”.
“Yeah, right. So, you gonna tell me what you want Detective?”
“Jimmy Franklin’s dead. Tell me, where were you last night, Mister Winslow.”
James Nash gave our writing group the task of writing in first person about another character. I was trying to think of how to approach this when I recalled a radio interview with the actor Eddie Redmayne. He talked of his transgender role in The Danish Girl and how he had to learn the process or journey that a person undergoes when realigning their sexual orientation. I guess this is not unlike the feeling of excitement and discovery that a girl experiences as she metamorphoses into a woman. I decided to make my character transgender, a subject I am in complete ignorance of, and set the story in USA, a country I’ve never visited.