My Name is Jane

written by Christine Unger



Nervously she stepped into the security line at the Canadian Embassy. She was no longer transitional, this was it, her new name, her new identity. This last piece of paper made it official. She was picking up her new passport. Dick had set up everything. She'd come to China as Jane without a hitch. Thank god the Hong Kong airport hadn't had a full body scan. Her makeup and look were perfect. That's all anyone seemed to care about. Sighting to officials that it was an especially long trip, Dick had arranged for her to renew her passport at the Canadian Embassy after her surgery and her China series were complete. They'd been amazingly accommodating, everyone was always accommodating with Jane, like she carried along some sort of golden ticket. Now that ticket belonged to her, the passport would actually have her face on it.

The doctors at the TGR had been so kind and congratulatory. They'd assumed that she would be getting her own new passport and would need an affidavit from them. Happily unaware of her deceit, her guilt, the gladly wrote out their affirmation that Myron had had "appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition." They'd been so kind to her. Now she WAS Jane, but she still thought of herself as M. She hoped she'd be able to use that letter someday. The one thing she dreamed about now, was NOT being Jane. She dreamed of taking a new name that would be hers alone. Taking Jane's place didn't feel good anymore. After all this, she still felt like a fraud, a criminal. She was a criminal. Part of her felt like everyone must be able to see it on her. But people only saw the outside. The only one who would have understood, was Jane. She glanced nervously around her. She couldn't shake the feeling that's she'd seen Jane again. Was she going mad. They say that's what happens sometimes, when someone close to you dies. You starting seeing them everywhere. Whatever it was, she hoped it would stop soon. She couldn't take much more. She hadn’t realized she was holding her breath.

Mam, mam, are you alright…

She exhaled. Yes, yes I’m alright.

The young male official gave her a solicitous smile. Glancing at the name on her passport, he waved her through. Have a nice trip home “Jane.” Beautiful, pale white-woman in her late 20s, platinum blond, Marilyn Monroe bob, a figure hugging dress tight around waist and knees, lipstick and eye makeup perfectly applied on wide full lips, the vintage scent of Channel #5 wafting lightly from her clothing: M was gorgeous.

As she passed by, women tidied their hair, stood a little straighter and glanced at their companions suspiciously. It was a delicious irony M had waited a very long time to taste.

From the impersonal seating area, Jane, in a loose fitting sweater, dark wig and ugly sun-glasses watched her young doppelgänger revel in the attention she had taken for granted most of her life. I wouldn’t be caught dead in a rig like that, she thought angrily, and then bit her tongue as she smiled at the accidental irony of her thought.

She’d spent months following M, watching her take control of her new gender, her new look, photographing herself as Jane in the new series: Jane in China. She, not Jane, was the one standing in waterfalls of pink flowers, timeless amidst the ravaged walls of ancient buildings and sluggish winding rivers: It was M who posed, alien and mysterious in the narrow doorways, darkened stairways and neon confusion of China's enormous, unknowable cities.

She would have loved to do this series, had planned it out, each shot, each moment, in her journals, and M had been beside her all along. They'd laughed together at the fun it would be. She raged with the injustice of it, raged with the betrayal, the desire for revenge. So many of her memories had returned, but the time between their last photo shoot on the beach, and waking up in a fishing boat, was still a blank..

She remembered sitting in the red boat, afraid to turn around for fear of losing the shot. M’s voice becoming increasingly tense as the sun began it’s descent and the light came and went behind clouds, maddeningly uncooperative. “I just had to keep pushing him, pushing him.” Had Dick really slept through everything, lying just a short distance up the hill. Had it all been an accident? Why had he played along with M. And his own work, taking off now, had she really been holding him back all this time.

Inwardly, she wept with frustration at her own stupidity and blindness, her inability to get past this last mental barrier and see the truth. Outwardly her face never moved, holding on to an impassive smile, a trick she’d learned from her new pirate friends. It didn’t matter. No one had the right to take her name, her reputation, her life. So she was a bitch, a perfectionist, self-absorbed, insensitive, they’d all asked for it, they’d clung to her like leeches, followed her like dogs. They’d no right, and no reason to use her like this. M needed to be stopped and Dick: she’d loved him so long she didn’t know how to hate him. Of course she knew about his past, he didn’t even know she knew about the Temple, but it still didn’t explain the boat. There had to be an explanation, and she had to know it.