People often assumed I was gay because at age forty-six, I’d never been married, I wear tailored clothes and short hair, and can do heavy labor as well as any man. Sometimes I even promoted the gay image so that certain obnoxious males would leave me alone. Either that or I’d have to beat them up, and why risk breaking my two front caps?
I’m five foot ten and weigh one-hundred-sixty-nine pounds. I can bench press one thirty — not bad for a girl, hey? And I have my secrets like anyone else. Though no one might believe it, there has been romance in my life. Unfortunately, most of it had to be kept secret. I’m not proud of that, just stating a fact. Maybe most of the men I knew were embarrassed to have someone like me for an out-in-the-open girlfriend. Maybe they’d have to take too much flack from their friends.
A while back, I moved to a somewhat isolated cabin in a rural area of Pennsylvania. I heated the place with my wood stove, did most of my work on the computer and drove into town once or twice a week for supplies and books. Sometimes I had lunch at Troy’s Coffee Shop and there I’d occasionally sit with some of the regulars, guys who pretty much thought of me as one of them. They’d often tell jokes, some derogatory, about women, but I’d say nothing. Friends are not easy to come by, so I take what I can get. I have one local woman friend, Karen, but she’s pretty busy so most of our conversations were and still are over the phone.
One of the men, Will Leeds, started dropping by. Will’s wife died three years ago. For a while, they say he took to drinking, but by the time I met him at Troy’s, he’d straightened up his act. He’s in his fifties, good looking if he’d clean himself up more, but as it is, he usually has a scruffy chin and grease under his fingernails. He runs a dairy farm not far from the cabin. First thing I noticed about him was that, unlike most men his age, he has a firm rear end. You don’t often see that in a guy over fifty unless he’s into body building.
All the times he stopped by, he’d make himself at home and act like he was visiting a regular pal, even though I’d serve up a nice homemade snack on the spot. I mean, what guy would be pulling a fresh pie out of the oven?
So one time at Troy’s when Will gave a warning he was planning on coming over that evening, I decided to give him a little surprise. I took a long hot bath, shaved my legs, did my nails and plucked out hairs. Karen came over and made up my face, puffed up my hair and lent me an outfit — a low cut, red tunic top I wore over my one pair of black leggings and finished off with Karen’s stretch black belt and big hoop earrings. She sprayed me with cologne and stood back.
“Whoa, Lucy,” she said, “you look hot. I don’t know why you don’t do this more often.”
“Well, thanks and get out,” I told her. “He’ll be here any minute.”
She laughed kind of low down and let herself out.
When Will arrived, he stepped inside without knocking the way some folks around here do, then looked up and saw me. The shock on his face was priceless. If you could slow it down with some kind of technical wizardry, it would run like this: Who the heck are you and what did you do with Lucy? Oh! You are Lucy! How come you look like a woman? And a pretty one at that? I’m scared, and… I like it.
Finally, he spoke. “Well, now,” he said.
We got married six months later. It’s worked out pretty well. And now and then, I dress up for him, but not too often. I don’t want the novelty to wear off.
Margaret Karmazin‘s credits include over one hundred stories published in literary and national magazines, including Rosebud, North Atlantic Review, Potomac Review, Confrontation, Virginia Adversaria, Mobius, Chiron Review and Aim Magazine. Her stories in The MacGuffin, Eureka Literary Magazine, Licking River Review and Words of Wisdom were nominated for Pushcart awards and Piper’s Ash, Ltd. published a chapbook of her sci-fi, COSMIC WOMEN. She helped write the introduction for and has a story included in STILL GOING STRONG, a story in TEN TWISTED TALES and one coming up in MOTA 9, and a novel, REPLACING FIONA, published by etreasurespublishing.com.