Silent Night

She stood on the corner of a street close by, in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. Early twenties I guessed, a bit difficult to tell because of the abundant make up. A simple dress, purple and white, of the material that goes up in flames in one big swoop when you drop a burning match or lit cigarette on it: a life threatening fiber that really should be banned.
R. knew her and engaged in some small talk. With hand gestures and lip movements, because it turned out she was deaf. With cheeky gestures she asked R. if we were a couple. R. laughed and had to gesture her several times that wasn't the case. She didn't seem convinced.
When R. asked her how she was doing, she gestured that she was attacked a few days ago, by a group of guys. She showed us the scar around the wrist of her left arm - a result of the fight that had followed, which she reenacted with fists in the air and an angry expression on her face.
I realized she hadn't heard her attackers approach...
That she wasn't born female was obvious from the start. Her face too rough; too much cheekbone and jaw. But if that hadn't given it away, her arms would have: too long and her hands too big.
I asked her what her name was, and after some typing on the mobile phone of R., she introduced herself with his given name. I typed my name and shook her hand, before we waved goodbye and strolled away...
I thought she was courageous. Not for wearing that flammable dress she probably didn't know the danger of. But for being who she wanted to be, despite the harsh hostile conditions: rather stand on some dangerous street corner earn money than pretend to be something she was not.
She waved back, smiled and concentrated on the people passing by again, a silent night ahead...