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unknowable

The friends went to nibble on the little snacks on the bar. Rod felt his stomach growl but resolved that, if Tami couldn’t eat because of her tail, he wasn’t going to eat either. As usual Tami’s nipples picked up his thoughts. “Go ahead, my hungry man.”


“No.”


Tami took another sip. She was about halfway through her second martini and, being Tami, none the worse for wear. “I have to pee. Hold this, OK?”


He watched as she cantered gracefully away, her tail swishing behind her, looking into her little purse probably for her lipstick. Those pony tails that white girls like to wear that go down their back; he would never look at one the same way again. He could probably count every vertebra, from her neck down to the crack in her butt. Having the tail in her made her stand and walk a little differently. She had to arch her back a bit, a little like bikini models do when they’re trying to look “hot”. Once again he counted his blessings. So many guys, and a lot of women too, lusted after her. But she was his.


After she was gone Rod tried another sip of the wine. Bleahhh. Then despite knowing better he tried a sip of Tami’s martini and almost choked. Martinis were her favorite bar drink but he didn’t know how she managed it. They were like pure alcohol.

Tami’s tastes, he noted, tended to be extreme. She liked the shower water scalding hot, so hot he could never get in with her. Well, maybe that was understandable, maybe she was hoarding heat for when she had to go naked in the snow. But her coffee was the strongest he’d ever tried to taste. She liked spicy food -- at the campus snack bar she used to order her burritos “suicidal”, whereas he could manage only up to “medium hot”. When she put on her iPod headphones while studying, the music was so loud he could hear it from the next room.


He loved Tami more than he had ever loved anyone, they were a team, they shared a life and knew many things about each other that no one else knew. He had seen her in all kinds of moods, in good situations and bad. Yet somehow he felt like he didn’t know her. There was something about her that was as inscrutable as a sphinx.


Why was that?

It must be because her experiences were so different than anyone else’s. That awful freshman year, in particular. Bad things happen to people, of course. What happened to Trent, for example -- he thought this as he saw “Adam”, across the room, holding hands with “Steve” -- losing your lover on 9/11. A horrible tragedy. Yet people lose loved ones, albeit not so dramatically. It was part of life. He thought of losing his own father two years ago, now his lonely mother had to sell that old house that was too big for her to take care of, and move in with his aunt.


But Tami -- the terrified freshman forced to go naked all year, terrified to show the slightest sign of modesty. Strapped to that dildo machine at Chalfont, hundreds of unwanted orgasms, often while having to look at creepy people like McMasters and Henry Ross right in the eye. Having to go across the country naked, then captured on that pony farm. Nobody could imagine what all that must be like. You couldn’t say all that was just “part of life”. But looking in her eyes you knew all that hurt and pain was in there somewhere, a hurt unlike anyone else’s.


And now she seemed OK. In fact, with this tail, like the one that was stuck in her at that pony farm, she seemed to treat the past like a little bit of a joke. How can she do that? Did her psyche have some superhuman ability to survive?


Maybe she was in denial. Maybe all those horrible feelings, all those memories, were being repressed, just so she could get through life. He could almost sympathize with Dr. Abu Jamal and Dr. Kantor over at Chalfont. It had been two and a half years and they hadn’t been able to cure her allergy to clothes. Apparently the “treatment” had all been external, testing her skin responses. Maybe the real problem was in her mind and they were afraid to go there, fearing the can of worms they might open up.

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