Dan, Dana

I met Dan through Jim, who I met through Chris in the basement of a frat party. Dan made friends with Jim as a regular in the sub-shop, where Jim worked, in Pittsburgh. We all wound up living together along with Greg, his dog, and my two cats.

I started going out with Dan for drinks on my days off. He was quiet, had a Christian Slater quality to him, drank canned beer, and fried everything he ate.

Dan moved out to a small apartment on the South Side Flats, and rarely had company. He had a Metallica poster tacked-up in his kitchen, featuring the band waving their middle fingers at the camera. He was a guy’s guy, his apartment full of CDs, unfolded laundry, bright light.

Many years later, after I moved to Seattle, I got an email from Dan at work. I started reading, and realized it was one of those emails he had cut and paste for a large audience. It detailed the fact that Dan was getting a sex change, and the reasons why. He explained that he was a woman born into a man’s body, due to a chromosomal mishap at a vital time in his development, while in utero. Something didn’t happen the way it should have at the right moment.

I read the message, and tried to call to say I was happy for him, to say whatever I could say, but didn’t know how. I got his answering machine and it was the same old Dan, with his upstate New York, ‘dis-is-Dan greeting.

Then it was like the end of the movie The Sixth Sense, where all the previous details start to connect: Dan at the Halloween party that year, dressing up as a woman, and how everyone remarked the next day, how weird that he looked as good as he did.

Dan, quiet and skating the periphery of the social scenes, seeming distracted as he drank, seeming far-off. The night we got into a spat in some strange bar with a couple guys in referee uniforms, watching The History Channel, and how we were convinced the woman at the door had a bug’s face. The intricate mix tapes he made, was he trying to tell me something?

Now, Dan was changing his name to Dana and beginning estrogen treatments, required to work as the opposite sex for a minimum of one year in the state of New York before they’d let him get the procedure.

That was nine years ago, and we haven’t talked since. We were good friends. I found Dana online and saw pictures of her, and I’m going to contact her to reconnect and see if she wants to be friends, still.


Note: I wrote a post about another friend named Dan earlier this week. They are different “Dans.”

About pinklightsabre

William Pearse publishes memoir, travel journals, poetry and prose, and lives in the Pacific Northwest.
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7 Responses to Dan, Dana

  1. alesiablogs says:

    glad you cleared that up about the Dan’s… I can not even imagine what Dana has gone through. I would be utterly speechless. It is good you are trying to reach out. I wonder what the response will be. I find people from my past want the past to stay there unless it is family.


  2. LetSdeG says:

    Wow! That isn’t your typical reconnect. There are some major elephants in the room you will have to deal with if he does agree to it, but how wonderful that you may have the opportunity. I had my 20 year high school reunion in October 2011 and was so disappointed that most people HAD NOT changed. They did not seem to evolve. The few that did have become a major part of my life today so, I wish you luck and blessings with your potential renewed friendship. It’s always exciting to visit part of your past.


    • pinklightsabre says:

      You’re right…not your typical reconnect. Funny, I think I unknowingly wrote a self-help call for advice here, or something…thanks for tapping into that. Not to be undertaken lightly. I would have had my 20 year reunion a few years ago, but changed my name since then, and my ex girlfriend is in charge of the invites, so combine the two and, well, I didn’t get invited! Lucky me! Have a great week and thanks for stopping by, and offering your thoughts. – Bill


  3. LetSdeG says:

    Make that *she, (sorry) 🙂


  4. As always great details. I hope Dana still likes Metallica! And send me your email!


  5. drew says:

    Imagine my surprise when seeing this post. I suppose we met through Dan, yes? He will always be a great friend of mine. So many fun memories. So many experiences. Parallel musical tastes (so rare).

    Friendship proved too big a burden for Dana and me.

    Thanks for the writing.


    • pinklightsabre says:

      I am happy to imagine your surprise. It was between this and the story about you rescuing a young black boy from an oversized valve in a thumping heart exhibit. That one is coming soon. Thank you for the reading, my good friend.


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