MAT gala

by 4:30 in the morning id be standing in line at the MAT with about 20 others in front of me Barbara wore pink and red when id see her every other day plus holidays if needed there was a shine to the clinic’s sea shell pink linoleum floor tiles learning to hone my ADD mind to the specks of tan and baby blue accents on the tiles id imagine that i was at the bottom of a fish tank i noticed that on Thursday mornings the floor was freshly waxed as the foot prints of my ragged American flag high top Chucks were captured on the surface it fascinated me at times but more often than not i felt shame wondering if this would be the only place id ever leave my mark the tired medical staff started the dosing at 5:30 and then you could wait a bit to see your therapist Barbara was one of the first transgender people id ever met she was really tall and with huge feet a blond wig like Charo’s nest sat atop her head Barbara’s eyes were jet black and big as prunes i loved her caramel skin and wondered about everything that might have made her decide to follow this path the little scars on her face and limbs weren’t caused by happy childhood memories like falling off your bike or whatever Barbara was obviously a warrior on days that we managed to find two empty chairs next to each other she’d tell me about the tricks she’d turn and how rent was getting crazy i was a dumb kid half my nights were spent in bushes at Pershing Square i didn’t know about life or rent and i was lucky enough to not have to turn to trickery during the holiday season i wanted to give Barbara a red lipstick that i had bought from Estee Lauder Barb was really nice to me she walked with my soul through the valley of the shadow of LA after three missed visits i found out through “one fuck” Clark another clinic patron and a one hit porn wonder i guess that’s where the “one” came from that Barbara got busted for hooking and was at County cooling off for a bit i drew hearts and skulls in the bathroom later with the fancy lipstick

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