Last night I dreamed we rode bikes through the desert, from the evening through dusk and into the morning. It was beautiful. I mentioned how beautiful it was. Dream-me knew beauty, and me-me thinking back on the dream knows it was beautiful too. We discussed how orange the oranges in the sand were, which blue the blues overhead, the sunsets blazing purple and pink and blood and honey into the clouds, the sky on fire, dawn warming the frozen out of the air. Gazing at a scrubby city from up on a high hill, its grid of empty streets, spackling of lamps going out as the sun floated higher. The air like the cool side of a pillow. The dust crackling quiet beneath our tires. The road barely a hum in our frames.
Then we got hungry and went to a Papa Johns but nobody would look me in the eye or answer my questions, and I kept going from person to person asking to pay them for food they wouldn’t provide. I didn’t know what was up until we were on our bikes again. It was because I was visibly trans, and my visibility made everyone uncomfortable. The realization made me feel we were in danger.
We got on our bikes and headed back to the car, and I lost you almost immediately on a particularly dark patch of road. You took a turn before I did, a car passed between us, and you disappeared. I figured you rode ahead. I rode through a grassy small town for a minute, hit a steep hill, got off the bike, and stared at a beaten down house. White paint peeling off the weatherbeaten clapboard, little weeds growing up through the porch, an off-kilter telephone pole slacking the lines in the backyard, shingles slowly lifting against the hot wind. I looked back, couldn’t recognize anything (the desert was gone), and woke up.