I took it off and put on shorts and a T-shirt.
Did my lover notice the difference? He didn’t say.
The following week, I cut my hair short. I loved it, a dark soft cap.
“Sophisticated,” my lover said.
I longed to tell him about my drag king, but I was afraid if I did, we would never be able to get back to our delightful afternoons.
Finally, one day, heart pounding, I told him. He was surprised but curious. I showed him photos.
Did he recognize himself? He started imitating the way different Cuban men behave, strutting across my kitchen as the civil servant, chest in, butt in, then the pimp, chest out, arms swaying. Suddenly we were there; more than any other time he’d told me about Cuba, I could picture the streets, the island light, as I followed him, copying his moves.
One day after the workshop, not ready to return to myself, I left in drag and walked the half-hour home along Corrientes Avenue, lined with pizza joints and tango bars. Dressed as a man, I felt as if nothing, and no one, could mess with me.
I looked straight at people instead of being looked at. A woman in tight jeans: I checked out her butt. I felt her discomfort, a touch of fear. She averted her eyes, scurried to get out of my way, just as I had been doing my whole life. This felt wrong, as if I were betraying my kind. But also exhilarating. How was it possible that I had this power?
A few men looked at me sidelong, as if sensing something funny. But their looks didn’t provoke the usual fear or desire to please.