The Fedora Kid by R. T. Saunders
She walks into the weekly support group meeting. A young girl. I assume she’s a girl, or female identified, since this is a male to female transgender support group. Her long shoulder length, unkempt brown hair, dark, dark glasses obscuring what must be pretty eyes, and rumpled corduroy jacket set her apart from those who make a studied effort to establish a female persona. She wears a black man’s fedora, stylish, very Madonna-esgue in its fashion sense. Pulled down low to the eyebrows and meeting the top frame of the dark sunglasses, it shields her face, making her as much a hidden icon as she can manage. She comes in late, forcing her to grab a chair in the center of the room. She does this often I am told, a hidden object in plain sight. She says nothing, gesturing occasionally.
At the end of session wrap-up, a time during which members take their turn talking about impressions from the evening, what strikes them at the moment, and what’s on the agenda for the week, she waves on to the next person, declining to speak. Yet, at the end of the meeting, when some of the more social members gather in the lobby for informal chat and make their way out, she hangs around, listening in on others’ conversations, occasionally making a one or two word comment. You can tell she’s listening. She’s reacting. Things are getting in there.
I join some of the group members and move out of the building and on to a local diner to expand on the evening discussion and get to know one another more; she follows. Saying nothing, she tags along, and being the kind of group it is, she is welcomed. We cross the busy Avenues of New York City, reassembling on the corner having been briefly separated by the ever rushing City traffic. Her absence is noted. She’s no longer with us.
I inquire as to whether or not she ever joined the after meeting social, this being my first time with them. I am told, no, she tries, but never quite makes it all the way to the restaurant, peeling off some blocks before.
I ask who she is, what her name is.
No one knows. She never tells anyone.
She’s just The Fedora Kid.
Originally published in Cactus Heart Press, Vol. II, September 2012 www.cactusheartpress.com
© 2012 R. T. Saunders