Here we are – another Flash Fiction Friday entry! Credit to this website for the inspiration this week! (Feel free to leave other generator websites in the comments – there’s nothing better than idea generators).
The prompt is: “Give me one good reason I should wear a dress!”
Another year at the company and another annual Christmas party. If there was anything that Joel hated more than keeping his true self secret it was definitely interacting with people from work outside of work. In approximately three hours he is expected to show up at this party with his “friend” and put on this charade that they are just “friends.”
“You should wear a dress this year. Get everyone’s panties in a bunch!” Oskar jokes from the kitchen where he’s pouring out ceremonial Vodka shots. For three years the two of them have been “roommates” with this facade that they are basically brothers. That is the idea that everyone has – “they’re so brotherly” is the croon tune sang by pretty much everyone in the customer service departments claims. Little do they know that Joel and Oskar are actually a couple – a very intimate couple with a good many kinks.
Every year this comment is made and every year Joel ignores it, but something inside of his stomach tells him not to ignore it this time. Joel has several dressed in his closet for their “drinking trips” to New York – during which time the two of them rendezvous different bars. This is the only place that Joel can dress the way he feels – like a fierce woman.
Wearing a dress in New York isn’t uncommon. Truth be told, Joel has an entire trunk in the back of their “junk” closet filled with beautiful dressed, skirts, and heels that he adorns on their trips out of town. Oskar supports Joel in this life choice and has gone as far as offering to pay for a transition procedure if Joel were interested. That is, of course, always a topic for another day because in their current living situation it just does not seem to be a very safe idea.
“Give me one good reason I should wear a dress! Give me one good reason why I should pull the curtain on our entire show! We don’t have the money to move to New York without jobs first!” Reality is, two Customer Service reps make just enough to survive and make weekend visits to big cities every weekend. If they really wanted to move to New York with the comfort of financial security then they would need to stop doing stuff for at least a year. Right now – things work. Keeping himself in the dark to everyone is painful and depressing but it is only less so than financial security.
“Jo, I’m telling you right now, there are so many gay men at work it’s not even fair. Tony and Clark would start hitting on you the instant you walked in the door.” Oskar thinks he knows everything about everything. He goes with his gut feeling all the time and, in fairness, he is usually correct. That in mind, Joel is the serious one. He likes keeping track of things in an orderly fashion, he likes making budgets and paying bills. Many people are surprised Joel didn’t get into accounting or finances. His heart has never been in the business world, though, and he fears that it would be even more unacceptable that he – crossdresses? Growing up, Jo always heard it called crossdressing. Is that even the socially appropriate term? Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t – but the only thing that matters is that it isn’t something that people here will approve of and that is solidifies his decisions to remain hidden.
Oskar brings the shot glass over and they quickly toast in silence. Joel throws his back quickly, swiping Oskar’s glass as soon as he has swallowed. He may need ten more of these just to get up the courage to leave the house tonight; “Life isn’t that easy. I can’t just wear a dress and let everyone know that Joel isn’t the strict man that everyone makes fun of at work for being too tidy. Nobody will be able to handle that underneath the surface I’m a powerful, sensitive, analytical samba dancer who usually prefers being a woman!”
All at once, they laugh. They laugh wit their entire bodies, hunching over and snorting. Oskar even has to wipe the side of his mouth with his sleeve because he is drooling; “You are quite the samba dancer. I suppose Anya has something to do with that, doesn’t she?”
“Just wear that pink dress with the sparkles and the lace. Wear that pretty gray wig with the braids and I’ll call you whatever you want me to call you tonight. But please, please, don’t keep acting like it’s better for us that you keep up the appearances. I would rather be jobless and broke in New York than wealthy and miserable here.” The sweet kisses that Oskar presses onto Joel’s cheeks are loaded with sincerity. Similarly, there is a certain suffering in his eyes. Joel recognizes it simply because it looks not unlike his own in the mirror each morning. Knowing that this isn’t a suggestion so much as a plea speaks to him deeply. Could it be that Oskar is suffering even more than Joel?
That couldn’t be possible. However, he is suffering and Joel knows he can’t have that; “Would you settle for the black dress with the gray wig?”
“I never have to settle with you, Joel. Every day is a surprise and that’s what makes me happy.” Maybe he will wear the pink dress after all.