134 Cards on the Table

I had their attention. “You owe a lot to your victims, you know…”

“Volunteers, you mean,” Brian suggested.

“Test subjects, then,” I conceded. “They need to know what happened. And remember, if you were planning on hurting me, my friend knows where you are.”

The two of them looked as me as though I were crazy. “What exactly did you think we were going to do to you?” Professor Davis asked.

I looked at them carefully. They didn’t look dangerous, or even very hostile. “Well… you guys are being so secretive. I figured you’d see me as a threat,” I said awkwardly.

“I teach in a college! Why would I hurt a student?” he said, sounding incredulous. I just stared at him. “I mean, on purpose,” he admitted.

“You did harm a lot of us, and then you went into hiding, just when we all needed to talk to you,” I pointed out.

“We didn’t have a choice!” Brian put in. “They told us that under no circumstances were to have contact with any Piques students, or anyone from the school except for a few deans!”

“Or they cut off your funding?” I guessed, remembering my conversation with Dad.

The professor nodded. “You see the difficulty.” The two of them exchanged glances. “This research could make my reputation and get Brian his doctorate, but if they stop paying out the grant, we can’t do anything. Neither one of us has any savings, and I can’t get another grant without publishing the results from this one. But we can’t publish without more time to develop the paper…and probably more experiments.”

“More victims, you mean,” I said, angrily. “How can you ethically subject anybody else to… this?”

“Well…” he wouldn’t meet my eyes. “We’re going to be really careful, next time.”

“Are you out of your mind?”

“This is important, Miss… uh… Marsh.”

“So you’ve got a problem,” I told them, deciding that I was wasting my time. “And you’ve no real concern with those you’re hurting. Well, I’m going to give you another one.” I grabbed my things and started backing to the door, making sure they weren’t between me and the exit. “I’m going to let your victims know the truth. If word gets out to the administration, well, too bad. If you want to contact me, reach me on Facebook. Oh, and don’t go anywhere. I know I’m going to have more questions.” I reached the door and let myself out. Then I stopped to listen at the door. They didn’t seem to be in any hurry to chase after me.

I called Nikki back. “See? There was nothing to worry about. So what do you think?”

“Are you out of there?”

“Yes, and… oh, I forgot to ask them if they knew where the jewelry store was!”

“The jewelry store? The one on Fourth and Oak?”

I laughed. “I guess so. I’m heading there now. Jeremy works there and I need to tell him the truth. I’m just happier to be able to tell him the true truth instead of the truth I thought was true a few minutes ago.”

“So you feel good about this, then?”

“Well, I guess it hasn’t really sunk in yet. All of my memories tell me that I’m supposed to be a boy, but my feelings say that I’d rather be a girl if I didn’t feel like a fake – and now, I know I’m not a fake.”

“So it’s all good?”

“Well… actually, I’m going to find a bench and have a nervous breakdown. It’s starting to hit me. I’m a girl, Nikki!”


“And practically of my memories are lies! Or at least… some of my memories, it’s kind of hard to tell if they’re Marshall memories or Marsha memories. Oh this is freaky. I’ve spent all this time wondering if Marsha did this, and envying her that, and… I’m really her!”

“You’re entitled to a breakdown now, you know. Are you sure you’re ready to confront Jeremy?”

“Yes, very much so. I am floating so high, I have to keep looking down to make sure the ground’s still under my feet. I’ll find time for the breakdown afterwards. Nikki, when I get home, I am going to start going through every picture and video Mom and Dad have of me, so I can see what I’ve done. So I can try to get some memories of my life. Oh, I have to call them. No, Dad won’t be home until tonight, and I want to be the one to tell him.” I laughed again. “What am I saying, ‘Dad’? I’ve kept wanting to call him Daddy lately, and only refrained because he wasn’t comfortable with a boy calling him that. Well, guess what, Daddy?”

“I’m really happy for you, Marsh. Or do you want to be called Marsha, now?”

“No, I’m used to Marsh, and that’s what Marsha was called… I mean.” I laughed yet again. “Listen to me. I need to get out of the habit of referring to Marsha as somebody else!”

“I’m sure it’s an adjustment.”

“And I need to tell the Strangers. But not anybody else. Oh, are you going to tell Ben, now?”

She suddenly sounded awkward. “I don’t think he’d believe me; we’re only getting along now, because I’ve stopped mentioning it. But… if you wouldn’t mind… he might believe you.”

“Me? He has no idea who I am. I mean, you haven’t told him about me, have you?”

“Certainly not. But he came to see Mousetrap and he was very impressed. I think he’d love to meet you.”

“OK, Nikki,” I agreed. “I’ll do it for you. Besides, I owe him for borrowing his guitar.”

I was getting close to Oak Street, so I said good-bye and prepared myself to see Jeremy. My heart was beating a mile-a-minute. I’m a girl for real. For just a moment, I imagined the Blue Fairy from the story saying, “You’re a real boy, Pinocchio!” and giggled. Automatically, I stopped myself – and then remembered that it was perfectly normal for me to giggle. I was bouncing on my feet.

Be serious now, Marsh, I told myself. You’re going to tell Jeremy something very important. But it was so hard to be anything but ecstatic. I spotted Felton’s Jewelry on the corner and picked my way through the snow as quickly as I could.

The shop was pretty much empty, of course. I’m sure the young man behind the counter would have been just as happy to have a day off, and didn’t expect any business. His face lit up when I entered.

“May I help you?” he said eagerly.

“Is Jeremy here?” I asked, my eagerness easily a match for his.

His face fell and I felt sort of sorry for him; I’d just let him know that I wasn’t a customer. But he recovered quickly. “Barker!” he called. “You’ve got company!”

It took but a moment for Jeremy to push through a curtain in the wall behind the counter, a puzzled expression on his face. He was holding a towel and his hands seemed to be a bit discolored. “Why would–” then he spotted me and smiled. “What are you doing here?”

I didn’t give him much time to talk, but threw my arms around his neck and kissed him enthusiastically. “I came to see you!” I kissed him again, although he seemed to be trying to pull away.”

“Hey, get a room, you two,” cracked the clerk.

“I’m up for that,” I whispered in my boyfriend’s ear.

He extricated himself and whispered back, his eyes staring at me, “Marsh’s what’s gotten into you?”

I rested my head on his chest and purred, “The question is who’s going to…”


This time I could see that I’d gone too far. But I wasn’t going to give in to his phobia. Not today. “You are not going to get away with refusing to kiss me in public,” I insisted, looking up at him. “Not any more. But right now, I’m taking you out to lunch. I have a lot to tell you.”

“Uh…” he stammered, looking at the clerk. “It’s only about eleven-thirty, and I sort of have work, Babe. I was planning on working through lunch to catch up on things. How about tonight?”

The clerk seemed to be on my side, fortunately. “The lady wants to take you to lunch. Go with her. We’re not exactly overwhelmed, today. You can finish up later.”

That’s right, I smiled at him smugly. Go with the lady.

It took him a few minutes to wash up, grab his coat and join me. “Burger King OK?” he asked as we stepped out the door. “It’s just a few blocks.” I nodded, and he put out his arm for me to hold.

“So,” he asked as we crossed the street. “What’s up? Does this have anything to do with that secret you didn’t want to tell me?”

“Mmhmm,” I nodded. “Um, let’s wait until we’re eating.” I wanted to do this just right.

He gave me a long look. “You were pretty nervous about telling me, before. Now you seem excited. So something’s changed. You sure this is the same secret?” I nodded again, but also waggled my hand to show uncertainty. “Huh. So it’s almost the same. And you don’t want to tell me until we’re sitting down because it’ll be more dramatic that way.” I giggled and nodded. It felt so good to do that without being self-conscious about it!

He sighed. “I guess this is what it’s like when you’re dating an actress. Am I allowed to guess?” I shook my head. “Well, you’re in a really good mood, and you’re holding tight to me, so I guess it can’t be anything really bad.”

“I hope not,” I said.

We ordered our meals and then we had a small argument about who was going to pay. I wanted to pay, since I had invited him out; he felt that since he was getting a paycheck that he should pay. In the end, I let him pay, since I remembered Marshall feeling uncomfortable when his girlfriends insisted on paying for meals. I promised myself that I would find another way to spend money on him.

We sat down and unwrapped our food. He took one bite from his burger and looked at me, expectantly.

“Do you remember an article in The Messenger about students waking up in the wrong bodies?”

He chewed quickly to clear his mouth and swallowed before asking, “You mean the time travel hoax? Vaguely. Were you in on that?”

“Um, not the article, no. And it wasn’t time-travel and it wasn’t a hoax.”

“But that’s what–”

“There was a real experiment, Jeremy, and people really did think they’d been changed, but it wasn’t time travel. I just found the experimenters – they’d been in hiding – and they explained what they had actually done.”

He stared at me as though trying to figure out if I was kidding him. He even tried a bit of a smile, but let it die when I didn’t smile back. “You’re serious. You were practically bouncing all the way here, and now you’re serious.”

“I’m serious,” I confirmed. “I volunteered for the experiment, and thought I was in the wrong body for months. Until about half an hour ago, in fact.”

He gave me a long gaze this time, opened his mouth to say something, and closed it again. Then he tried again with no success.

So I continued. “I thought I was supposed to be a boy, Jeremy. I woke up over midterm break thinking that I was a boy who had been turned into a girl.”

He stared some more, opened his mouth yet again and shook his head as if to clear it. “You’re serious.”

“I’m not crazy, Jeremy,” I said. “I really have memories of a life I’ve never lived. I proved it some people who’ve known me practically all my life. I showed them that I knew things that there is no way I should have known.”

“But you’re not saying that you actually were a boy.”

“No. This is who I am and always was. I just had these memories. Check with my sister; she was one of the first ones I told.”

I told him what I’d learned about the nature of the experiment, and then he seemed finally to believe me. “So, when we first met, and you told me you were Tina’s brother, you were serious?”

“I really thought I was,” I nodded. “And it took a look time before I could even imagine myself dating a boy.”

He looked thoughtful. “And all the time we’ve been dating, you thought you were really a boy?” At my nod, all he said at first was “Huh.” Then he laughed, but it sounded forced. “So what does that say about me, that you thought you were a boy, but still wanted to date me?”

“It says that you’re so manly that my subconscious was attracted to you, even though I thought I shouldn’t be,” I said firmly. He relaxed visibly and laughed quietly at that. “Does it bother you?” I asked, concerned.

“Well, I don’t know. I mean, the first thing that comes to mind is, I want to punch whoever did this to you in the nose. And then… I really don’t know what to think. I don’t remember you doing anything that struck me as… well, overly masculine. Was this guy you remember being… um…”

“He had a lot of girlfriends, if that’s what you’re asking.” I thought it better not to mention that I had his memories of having had sex with those girls.

“Wow. That’s really a lot to think about, isn’t it?”

“I’m sorry,” I said, suddenly worried about how he was taking it. “I just thought I should be honest with you.”

“No, no, I mean, that’s OK. I just… yeah.”

He ate thoughtfully, as I peered at him and tried to figure out what he was thinking. He wasn’t talking, that was for sure. I didn’t get that much more from him before we finished. He collected all of our trash and threw it away while I put my coat back on, and then we started walking back to the shop.

“So they must have set up some kind of resonance between your brain and that of your counterpart – Marshall,” he said thoughtfully. “Enough to let you absorb some of his memories. But why don’t you remember your own life?”

“I have gotten glimpses of my past,” I remembered aloud. There’d been Cherise, and Terry’s reaction last Founder’s Day, and maybe that Girl Scout meeting, at least. “And Marshall’s life and mine are close enough that sometimes I don’t know for sure if something is my memory or his.”

“Hmm… so at least some of your memories are still there?”

It was a hopeful thought. Neither of us knew that much about how memory worked, but he didn’t think that new memories overwrote old ones; maybe they were still there, somewhere. Of course, with an experiment like this, who knew?

We kissed good-bye and he went back to work. He’d seemed distracted; who wouldn’t be. At least he hadn’t run away screaming from me. I turned back to campus and started walking. I had my own mission of mercy to plan.


  1. von says:

    Who is this new Marsh? Besides the rather bizarre idea that this type of experiment vs the one he has been imagining happened the whole time has changed something at all, he is a whole new person… deciding, acting, thinking about others…

    I’m a bit disappointed that the confrontation with Jeremy wasn’t more dramatic. And of course I fall into the ‘techy’ contingent which want more science, but still, overall, not bad IMO.

  2. TJ says:

    I am really smiling right now. Marsh being so happy as made me also feel good.

  3. scotts13 says:

    Meh. 133 chapters of angst, and the most important thing on her mind is rushing out the door to have lunch with her boyfriend. “Oh, it’s alright, guys, as long as it was only a little memory transfer.” But in her haste to leave, she forgot something crucial – she told them not to go anywhere, but failed to have them PINKY SWEAR not to; that could cause trouble.

    On the plus side, the dialogue made me throw up in my mouth a little only once – “You’re so manly…”

  4. Wei-Hwa Huang says:

    The new Marsh is the same as the old Marsh — someone who believes that the identity of a person is defined by history instead of by memories.

    Two chapters ago, Marsh thought that she/he was originally a boy, and that some time-travel experiment had caused him/her to change into a girl. Hence, as far as “history” was concerned, she/he was a fake; a boy in the body of a girl.

    But now, the new Marsh has learned that she was always a girl, and that it was only her memories that were from a boy. This is a fundamental difference in her worldview. Now she’s not a fake; just a person with false memories.

    Now, while I feel I completely understand her, my personal philosophy is completely different. I believe that a person’s identity *is* defined by one’s memories. If you replaced my memories with that, say, of Barack Obama, then I believe that a copy of Barack Obama would be in my old body and the old me would cease to exist. (And yes, I would also believe the obvious corollary, which is that as I experience new things and form new memories, my identity changes.) So if I were in Marsh’s situation, learning the true nature of the experiment would have done nothing to change my viewpoint — but then again, I would also be significantly less distressed over feeling like a fake.

  5. Wei-Hwa Huang says:

    Actually, upon reflection, I realized that I misrepresented my own beliefs. I do not actually believe that a person’s identity is defined by one’s memories. Rather, I believe that the notion of “identity” is actually an illusion, a placeholder term that is useful for predicting behavior and conveying ideas. In other words, in real life, we can mentally assign an “identity” to each human being, and this is a useful concept for us to model human behavior. But as soon as we start changing the nature of memories, this concept of “identity” becomes harder to be consistent, and it becomes a philosophical debate as to what definition of “identity” continues to be our best model of human behavior.

    So, within that understanding, my philosophy is that associating identity with memories is more pragmatic (predictive of human behavior) than associating identity with history, in the event that history and memories conflict.

    That’s a pretty complex philosophy, so I felt it was easier to just say “I believe one’s identity is defined by one’s memories.”

  6. von says:

    I fail to understand your distinction of history vs memory in *this* case. In both the ‘time travel’ and the ‘alternate universe’ explanation we have, basically, the same ‘history’… ie in the ‘other’ universe (either the time travel one or the alternate one) there was a ‘Marshall’. The memories of that ‘Marshall’ are now present in this universe where there is no physical ‘Marshall’ but a physical ‘Marsha’. So I don’t understand why the difference to Marsh. Of course, he never was the sharpest crayon in the box.

    Now, my own version of identity is very different than both of you, and concerns God and the soul. But I don’t expect Marsh to share my views.

    @ Scott, I didn’t analyze the dialog to that extent, being more c oncerned that Marsh was finally doing some thing, and seeming to care for others outside of himself. To repeat my earlier comment tho, I would have liked to have seen these two chapters (with some revisions, including the ‘science’ issue,) about a hundred chapters ago. (And, to those who think I may be exagerating, I can assure them I am not. I haven’t gone back over the time line but I would easily have liked to see this at about chapter 30 in the story, or even chapter 15, and not wasted here at chapter 134.)

  7. von says:

    Heard a great quote today, which I thought was relevant here:

    A critic can only review the book he has read, not the one which the writer wrote. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960

  8. von says:

    « I had their attention. “You owe a lot to your victims, you know…”

    “Volunteers, you mean,” Brian suggested.

    “Test subjects, then,” I conceded.

    Sigh (c). That’s the old Marsh. Would have freaked me out to have him it read:

    “Victims!” I insisted. “None of us ‘volunteered’ for anything like what you did to us!

  9. Don says:

    @von: Indeed – the level of indignation that I would expect from Marsh just isn’t there. [b]Every. Single. Memory.[/b] prior to four months ago has just been revealed to be from someone living in a parallel reality – heck, the vast majority of her personality is now Marshall’s, so where’s the righteous indignation bordering on homicidal rage?

  10. von says:

    BTW, this ‘research’ won’t be able to get these two anything except being thrown in jail. To get a degree you have to publish your research. This research can’t be published without getting half a dozen people arrested and prosecuted.

  11. Don says:

    Certainly seems to be highly unethical at the least, though prosecuting them might be tricky – how would you prove ‘memory transfer from parallel reality’? Civil suits would seem a more likely route, but even there it’s gonna be hard to convince a jury that this is a real effect. That said, it’s gonna be virtually impossible to publish anything from their research that wouldn’t cause them and/or the college a whole lot of trouble…

  12. von says:

    @Don, you missed my point. My point was ‘if they publish’… ie if they essentially admit, in writing, to their crime… then they will be persecuted. Mind you I think there is already plentious evidence for at least a civil suit but probably a criminal prosecution… witness of the strangers themselves, their freinds and families, etc. Talk about emotional distress!

  13. Don says:

    What’s the crime, though? Exactly what statute have they violated, and how could you prove it to a jury if they contest it? I suppose there might be some medical testing statute that could be used to prosecute them, but it’s a very outlandish claim they’d be making and most likely they’d be dismissed as cranks or trying to perpetuate a fraud.

    If they contest any charges of violating medical testing/ethics, they’d have to then claim that their research was fraudulent in the first place, and they could likely be prosecuted/sued for that… no matter what, it’d be a big mess. They obviously don’t realize that there’s no way they can publish without getting themselves into deep kimchee.

  14. von says:

    Actually I would charge them with assault. As a medical person myself I know that any medical procedure that is carried out without the patients ‘informed consent’ is considered ‘assault’… the same as if you took a stick to them and beat them about the head. It doesn’t have to be a fraudulent procedure, it can even be helpful, but if it is done without ‘informed consent’ it is now considered assault.

    The classic case of this, the one that changed the course of this kind of experiment, was Stanley Millgram’s ‘Obedience to Authority’.

  15. Don says:

    But how could you prove it if they contest? It’s a far-out claim worthy of the “X-Files”, and they might be willing to accept a fraud charge if it has a lesser punishment. Self-incrimination may also come into play here, making a ‘fraud’ charge the more likely outcome. And as for ‘informed consent’, I’m sure the “volunteers” were informed of the known and perceived risks, but it was an ‘experiment’ – if the scientists knew what was going to happen, there wouldn’t have been a perceived need to run it.

    Russ has written them such that the scientists got blinded by their desire to explore something totally new and unexpected, and that apparently couldn’t be perceived any other way. Ethically, they were/are totally in the wrong, especially now that they have realized what they had done and are still apparently interested in pursuing this research.

  16. von says:

    >>But how could you prove it if they contest?

    They would have already proved it! It would be in their dissertation! The dissertation would have to prove the assault in order to have anything to publish at all. That’s my point.

    And, as far as informed consent I am 99% sure that these bozo’s could not show a legal and adequate, signed, informed consent document. Those take teams of lawyers and list and describe all the risks in detail ‘up to and including death’. There is no way a bunch of college students signed up to a document that listed ‘having their memories replaced’… and that is exactly what the dissertation would show what had happened.

    I would love to take this case. Love it. Even without a dissertation. But with it? Slam dunk, open and shut, millions in damages, jail time. Sure thing.

  17. Don says:

    And if they then say it was all total crap? Honestly, which is easier to believe, “alternate reality memories” or “fraud”?

  18. Don says:

    There have been plenty of scientific papers in the last decade or so that have been subsequently shown to be total crap, so what if they omitted a certain necessary detail so that nobody else could duplicate their work?

    Admittedly, it would be hard to explain away the ‘victims’, given the number of them – still, getting a jury of 12 people to all believe in implanted memories from an alternate reality? Please…

  19. von says:

    I don’t have to get them to believe that. I just have to get them to believe an experiment without informed consent, results that went beyond the bounds, etc. I have plenty of witnesses as to the emotional distress this caused, etc.

    And the question isn’t whether we prove the science, but whether they admit to the crime… which the dissertation basically would be.

  20. Wei-Hwa Huang says:

    @von: By “history” I don’t mean objective history, but rather personal history.

    When Marsh thought that the experiment was about time-travel, then Marsh’s personal history was “first I was a boy, then something about the world changed, and now I am a girl.”

    After Marsh learned the true nature of the experiment, then Marsh’s personal history was “I was always a girl, but then some other boy’s memories replaced my actual memories.”

    Time-travel stories tend to keep personal history consistent while ignoring problems that objective history would have. For example, the Back to the Future movies follow Marty McFly’s personal history closely as he goes back-and-forth through time, even though the objective history of the world is rife with tons of inconsistencies and illogical problems. Similarly, when Marsh thought that she was the victim of a time-travel experiment, her belief was that the
    entire world had changed, including her body, while her mind stayed the same.

    In some sense, her belief tends a bit towards solipsism.

  21. von says:

    >>When Marsh thought that the experiment was about time-travel, then Marsh’s personal history was “first I was a boy, then something about the world changed, and now I am a girl.”

    So you are saying that the issue was that Marsh thought that he really existed, as a boy, in this universe, until four months ago? And then the whole universe changed leaving him the same (Him, and Vicky, etc.?)Wow.

    I always thought the BTTF thing was because Marty was the one traveling… ie his travels himself protected him from the changes. That is standard stuff, ST uses a similar device (altho their uniforms change, interestingly).

    Oh well, chalk one more ‘clueless’ up for Marsh.

  22. scotts13 says:

    >> So you are saying that the issue was that Marsh thought that he really existed, as a boy, in this universe, until four months ago? And then the whole universe changed leaving him the same (Him, and Vicky, etc.?) Wow.

    I don’t see that as clueless. By any theory of time travel that allows for changing the past, it’s entirely consistent. See Bradbury’s “A Sound of Thunder.” The problem, as I pointed out long ago, is having the protagonists ego/identity/memories stay intact as their own bodies change. Several writers have struggled with this; for the most part unsuccessfully. There are many, many problems with BTTF (slowly fading out? REALLY?) but it was written as a comedy. The continuity of Marty’s identity isn’t one of them; that’s reasonable, given the “method” of time travel shown.

    Russ clearly wanted to tell the story of a male identity in a completely female body; how that was accomplished, I can only assume, was secondary. Having it be an “unanticipated side effect” of time travel OR alternate reality don’t cut it.

    I love stories of this type; over the years, I’ve spent no little time trying to figure a logically consistent way to do this. The results have been unsatisfying – either some sort of cloning technique, combined with memory read/write capability; or the supernatural. Humorously, the closest is found in the Japanese “Kashimashi” anime and manga. Following a horrific accident and injury, aliens grow a new clone body for a young boy… OOPS, they forgot the Y chromosome! Accelerated clone growth and memory transfer are simply engineering trivia. Unfortunately for OUR purposes, everyone still remembers Hazumu was a boy; how do we address that?

  23. von says:

    @Scott, what I see as clueless is Marsh thinking there is something different in his personal identity between these two methods of arriving at the same result. He is void of any kind of moral personal philosophy, so I have never figured out why he cared anyway. But to suddenly be relieved because he arrived at his current state through method A instead of method B… huh? What moral difference is there in these two potential events (even assuming these scientists theory is right anyway!).

    And on a side not, how is it that everyone originally assumed this was some kind of time travel thing anyway? Were they lied to by the experimenters? Was Marsh just lied to by them? Are they, perhaps, a lot more subtle and evil than we give them credit for??

  24. Don says:

    Apparently even the experimenters weren’t entirely sure what was going on, which makes their ethical lapses in testing this effect on other people even more stunning.

  25. scotts13 says:

    >> And on a side not, how is it that everyone originally assumed this was some kind of time travel thing anyway? Were they lied to by the experimenters? Was Marsh just lied to by them? Are they, perhaps, a lot more subtle and evil than we give them credit for??

    Since this was a widely held assumption by both the Strangers and the readers, I can only assume they were explicitly told it was time travel. Certainly they couldn’t derive it from the test technique, which apparently was just standing next to an odd machine. I can’t believe it was a subtle deception on the part of Davis & co; NO ONE in the TAL universe seems to be that clever, and I wouldn’t trust Davis to clean petri dishes. I’ll go with Don’s theory of complete moral bankruptcy – “What do we tell them the experiment is about?” “I don’t care, time travel, acne treatments… you pick.”

    As to why Marsh cares, at this point (s)he just wants it to be “OK” to do Jeremy.

  26. von says:

    >>As to why Marsh cares, at this point (s)he just wants it to be “OK” to do Jeremy.

    As shallow as Marsh is, I don’t think this is right. He was already very willing to ‘do’ Jeremy. He wants it to be OK to commit to Jeremy, to ‘live happily ever after’. Which makes me hope that that tension will still continue. I think that this could be a real blow to Jeremies ego; I know it would be for me.

  27. April says:

    I assume that “time travel” was what was latched onto simply because it was the theory that made the most sense to the students in the absence of more concrete data. I don’t think they were ever explicitly told, or at least the story doesn’t say so, as far as I can remember.

    As for myself, I had pretty much always assumed that it was far more likely that memories had been altered rather than time travel had occurred. So… go me? Or something.

    Not sure why it would be a huge blow to Jeremy’s ego, though. I mean, here is a cute female that was going through some serious gender identity issues, but whom liked you so much that they were willing to give you up and/or willing to go further (at least sexually). Of course, I don’t tend to get caught up so much in people’s gender as long we have compatible personalities, and I find their body attractive, both of which apply to both characters.

  28. von says:

    >>Not sure why it would be a huge blow to Jeremy’s ego, though.

    Really? You’re not even capable of imagining it? Wow.

    IMO opinion the average normal male would be rather taken aback to find he an object of attraction of someone who thought they were a male, regardless of their exterior.

    (And how you know anything about their bodies is beyond me.)

  29. scotts13 says:

    I’ve gotta say, I don’t see it involving Jeremy’s ego, as such, either – assuming you mean the word as “his personal identity and sense of self-worth”. He might be a little creeped out that his girlfriend is crazy, or that “another male” found him attractive – but I don’t see that as an ego problem.

    Matter of fact, I’ve known girls with stranger ideas than that, and still found them attractive. As far as the latter issue, I DO tend to think he’d trust his eyes rather than Marsh’s words as to “what” was attracted to him, and vice-versa. If he thought about it, he might even find Marsh’s unique perspective interesting.

  30. von says:

    Ego issue: I thot that a cute girl was interested in me. Turns out a cute ‘girl who thinks she is a guy’ is interested in me.

  31. April says:

    Why would somebody else’s attraction — something completely outside of your ability to control — damage your ego? Is it that fragile?

    Why would it ever damage one’s ego to find out that somebody found you attractive, even if they weren’t who you thought they were? I mean, it doesn’t damage my ego when men find me attractive or flirt with me, even though I’m generally not interested.

    (and I have no idea what your “know anything about their bodies” thing is referring to, unless it was one of scott13 or Don’s comments or something?)

  32. von says:

    >>Is it that fragile?


    And your experience has no real similarity to anything Jeremy might experience.

    It isn’t ‘that’ Marsh found Jeremy attractive per se, altho that is bad enough… it is the change from what he thought had happened to what had really happened. Similar to being hit on by a guy in drag… but much worse.

  33. von says:


    You said: Of course, I don’t tend to get caught up so much in people’s gender as long we have compatible personalities, and I find their body attractive, both of which apply to both characters.

    Which I took to mean that you thought Marsh and Jeremy were attractive, their bodies. I might have read it wrong.

  34. April says:

    No, that would be silly. I’ve never seen both characters. 😛 What I meant was that both characters find each other (physically) attractive, which they obviously do.

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