SEDA AND I sat beside each other looking across a broad wooden desk at our insurance agent who kept her eyes on the form she was filling out in our stead to request a new life insurance policy. Every frank question she posed required an answer of inscrutable honesty.
“Have you, in the last six years, seen a doctor or psycholo- gist?” she asked Seda.
“Well, yes, both,” Seda answered. “For?”
“Yes, Seda, what’s on the books?” I asked.
“Depression, I think. Yes, that was it. Then the doctor for hormone therapy,” she said.
The agent scribbled quickly, looking relieved.
“Will they take you off the preferred rates for having gender dysphoria?” I asked Seda.
“I don’t think so. I don’t know,” she said. The agent declined comment. “It was never an official diagnosis, and the gender psych I see in Portland is on a cash-only basis. No paper trail.”
“They probably won’t even notice,” I told her. “Unless they look at that little box that’s now checked female. Then they’ll probably wonder. The name change, you know. But, hey, no for- mal diagnosis. It’s an at-home transition. Something in your Wheaties.”
Our agent suppressed a giggle, and kept her eyes on the paperwork, unsure about our relationship and how she should respond to us.
“Come to think of it,” I added, “it must have been the Fruit Loops. I thought I warned you about those.” Seda and I laughed out loud.
“Have you been advised to have an operation?” came the question from behind the desk.
“Yes,” said Seda demurely. Then she turned to me. “Is that the right answer?”
“NO,” I told her.
“Oh,” she said, and folded her hands in her lap. “Well, the Association of—but then no, I’ve not been personally advised by a doctor to have an operation.”
She’d have one, of course. And by the time the policy was up, the physical exam itself could not argue with that little box marked female.
Not that it would matter if the attending physician did argue.
She is who she is, though certainly not the man I married.
“Are you—will you . . . stay married?” the agent asked uncertainly.
“It looks good on paper, doesn’t it?” I said. “That’s about the extent of it,” said Seda.
“For as long as we share children and a sense of humor, maybe.”
The ancient Chinese blessing-in-a-curse: may you live in interesting times.