A Beautiful Smile

Cross posted at Fukshot

Marlene says:

I went to visit a friend. He had a beautiful smile.

I had scheduled this visit weeks in advance as part of a communal effort to provide him with assistance and company as he recovers from surgery. He had surgery about ten days ago and is unable to lift anything substantial, so I was taking my shift helping with things like laundry and changing the linens on his bed. I would have visited sooner after his surgery, but I had long-standing plans to leave town for a week on the day he was scheduled for surgery. I was glad to know that he had plenty of other people to help him out as he recovers.

He had a breast reduction. He is a trans man who has chosen not to take testosterone and decided that a substantial breast reduction would make him happier with his body. I don’t know all of the details of his decision between a reduction and traditional top surgery, but I do know that some of his decision making was influenced by what his insurance would cover. I also know that many surgeons are resistant to doing traditional top surgery for trans men who opt not to take testosterone.

I’ve done this before. I have helped trans men in my life through their recovery from top surgery on numerous occasions. It has been a while since I gave someone this kind of help and this was different from my memories. The difference was because he had healed for a week before I saw him. He wasn’t so sore anymore (but definitely still sore). He had gotten to experience his new body a little and the impact was clear as day; a huge grin.

He was wearing a tee shirt. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in one before. He has always worn an over-shirt, usually something like a work shirt. His breasts, now small, were bound for comfort and healing purposes. He asked if I wanted to see and I did. He showed me his breasts, something I still can’t quite imagine him doing. I’m used to his body movements constantly circling the center of his torso defensively.

He stood tall in the middle of his living room; shoulders back, still, at ease. We discussed scarring and stitches and seams and surgeon’s technique and then, I helped him re-bind.

He looks different now. His shoulders are lower and his neck looks longer and that smile of his… I have never seen him smile like this in the time I have known him. It’s a smile I know. I’ve felt it on my face, from the inside. Not from surgery, but from my own arrival points, when I knew that I had finally got to somewhere I needed to be.

His smile makes me feel better about the world and about myself and about all of us.