A/N: Prompt: “Which is the most urgent demand we need as asexuals to be protected?” The Carnival of Aces submissions post can be found here. CW: discussion of compulsory sexuality and a bad divorce.
The summons froze Cassie in her seat. Ms! She didn’t say out loud. It’s Ms! The old, dead title from her old, dead life slipped like slime down her neck and spine and felt like it dripped into her shoes and left her feet cold, wet, sweaty. The old, hated name from her old, dead life made that old, hateful laugh of that wish-he-was-dead man resound in the back of her mind. When would the corpse of her past no longer be dragging along behind her? She had tried so many times, so many ways to cut the rope around her neck.
When she turned, Olga’s cornrows hung over the shoulder of the young man who’d called her. The relief of not having to correct anyone herself this time flooded her system, flushed out the ice clogging her veins. She trudged over to accept the intake paperwork. New specialist, same form.
She paused over the block asking for her marital status. She wavered between “single” and “divorced.” It felt wrong to be so defined by her past on a piece of paperwork. Ticking “single” was almost as bad. It felt like a lie, when she woke up to Peter’s smile and cuddles and stupidly tasty breakfast on the weekends, when she went mini-golfing with Minnie’s arms around her every other Friday. She swallowed, gave in, ticked the least-bad box.
Near the end of her visit, she sighed when that question came up. She knew testing for STDs was helpful for most people, but she hated where the question led. Every time. “No, I am not having sex.” Now, or ever again.
The psychiatrist frowned up at her over his glasses “It’s been quite some time since your divorce…?” The inquiry trailed off, more delicate than most about suggesting she needed to jump into bed with someone for her own health, or revenge, or proof of sexual freedom. “If you wish, I could give you a prescription?”
“It’s not…” She swallowed. Started again, going for something less defensive. “I’m asexual, it’s an orientation. There’s nothing wrong with my libido.” Hoped it was enough. Her sort were included in awareness training these days, weren’t they? They must be.
Oh no, not the pitying look. “I read in your file that the grounds for divorce were related-“
He stopped when she slammed both hands on his desk. Would she ever be free from that man? He could have gone for a no-fault divorce, but oh no, not mister ‘I put up with you so fulfill your conjugal duties.’ “Doctor Singh, would you tell a gay man to fuck women?” she asked, officially done with being polite.
He blanched. “Of course not, ma’am-“
“Then don’t tell me to fuck. Capiche?”
He apologised, asked her a few questions, and then he asked her for some resources, which was more than the last guy had done. She decided not to try for another specialist quite yet. Arguing with her insurance had been difficult enough to change to this one. Because it couldn’t be discrimination. There was no A in LGBT.
He shook her hand. “I’m so sorry,” he said again, “I can relate, even if not precisely. I’ll do some studying and be a little more prepared next time, hm? I’d never heard of it before.” He waved at himself, five feet of handsome Indian-American man, and at her tall, pale chubby self, while he talked.
She blinked in confusion, for a moment. Then, oh, right, racism. She felt very ashamed and very, very white, stuttered out a flustered and probably over-the-top thanks and sprinted out of the office. Had to hover awkwardly in the waiting room for her after-visit paperwork. Olga, with her pride-flag pin, handed it over with a wide smile and a wink. “I’ll talk to him and get him hooked up, alright? He’s a good egg.”
In the summary, her orientation read “Other*” with “Asexual” in the space for notes at the end of the section. Her eyes felt warm and her mouth as sweet as if she’d taken a big bite of red velvet cake. Her body floated out of the office, light and free, that man and her bad memories firmly in the past, where they belonged.
She started typing a new message to Minnie as she walked out of the hospital, into the Spring sunshine.