Nip and Tuck –

Josephine, Josephine, I say over and over again. What a beautiful name for a woman like me. No more ugly duckling like I used to be. Soon after I was born under a bad sign, in 1978, my parents and siblings knew I was different and treated me like an outsider.

My life was a lie and I had to live that lie, until now. I gaze into the mirror and see my flawless face that practically any woman would desire as her own. Amazing what a little surgery can do.

My hated name got changed to Josephine Juliana, because as a dancer a better name was needed, so I stole my sister’s. How she hates me for taking her name, but the whole family hates me for what I am, and forced me to move at eighteen. I went to live in a small apartment, all alone. I could have afforded more, but wanted to save money for the surgery. I recently had. Now, when my image reflects back at me, I almost fall in love with what I see.

I remember when I asked Evander for a date, and the look of horror that crossed his face. Well, when he sees how I look now, with the help of a scalpel or two, I know he’ll never refuse to go on a date with a woman like me.

He plays piano and tries to emulate Liberace’s mode of dress by wearing sequined and ruffled shirts. At first, I thought he was queer, but discovered he liked women better than any man.

He’s playing at a brand new club tonight, and I haven’t seen him for over a year, so I’ll dress my best to impress when I go there tonight. I look through my wardrobe and see I have at least a hundred sequined designer dresses. I choose the red one with shining rhinestones, so I’ll be the “Lady in Red” he’ll play on the piano keys after I send the waiter with my request.

I dress in red and call my limo to take me to where Evander plays. Once there I nervously approach the swinging doors with piano notes tinkling through, falling unheard onto cold cement. For a minute, I worry that I too may end up like those discarded tunes, but I firm and say, Josephine, Josephine, you’re a brand new woman, never used or abused. You can do this. Walk through that door and show Evander what he can have.

I take tiny steps until I reach the doors. I burst through and stride to the piano where Evander plays. Heck, I forgot to request him to play, “Lady in Red”, but too late now. The music stops as every head in the room turns to stare at me in my shinning red rhinestone dress. Even Evander sits dumbfounded as he drinks in my shapely figure outlined in red. I sit beside him and ask, “Don’t you recognize me, Evander?” He stares and stares until recognition opens his eyes wide.

“Is that really you, Joseph?” he breathlessly asks.

“No,” I say. “I’m Josephine now.


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