“Development” by Toni Artuso

Star Pizza by nat raum

My thirty-year-old daughter is visiting me at what feels like my still-new condo. Sitting at my recently delivered dining room table, which she helped me pick out at the furniture store, we’re discussing my ongoing transition. My child—a true transgender ally, unlike my ex, who merely gaslights me—asks about the clothes shopping I’ve been able to do, despite the ongoing shutdown of dressing rooms at retail stores during the pandemic.

Heady with the novelty, the new-car smell, of my openness with my child about my gender variance, I still thrill at trespassing into female realms forbidden me when I passed for male. I can finally legitimately stroll into a Victoria’s Secret looking for a bra-and-panty set for myself and not pretend to be doing Christmas or birthday shopping for my wife. Therefore, I decide to indulge in some girl-talk about shopping for intimates. I report, proudly, that after over a year of replacing a spent pair of Estradiol patches with fresh ones twice weekly, I finally needed a bra. I share that I bought one online from Target, and it fit just fine.

“Really?” Jen frowns into the cup of tea I just made her. “I can’t buy bras from Target. They don’t sell ones with double-A cups.”

Still muddled by female sizing in general and bras in particular, I say, “Really, honey? I only needed an A cup. Surely, if I could get a bra with an A cup, you could get one with a double-A. That’s bigger than an A, after all.” The logic strikes me as indisputable. Double-D cups are bigger than D cups. This I know for certain.

Jen looks flushed, perhaps because the tea’s heating up her cheeks. “Daddy,” she begins gently. (Yes, she still calls me “Daddy.” That’s the only name she’s ever known me by. However, she, unlike my ex, uses the proper pronouns—she, her, hers—and when she calls out to me in public, within earshot of others, she addresses me by my first name, “Erin.”) “A double-A cup is smaller than an A.” She winces as she says this, either because of my ignorance or the fact that her transfemale father has bigger breasts than she does.

“Oh,” I say, ears alight.

Later that week, I’m talking to my therapist, Darby, who, like my daughter, is a cis female trans ally. I begin to explain the conversation between Jen and me.

“Wait,” Darby stops me with a frown clearly visible even through the video chat window we use for telehealth visits, “isn’t a double-A cup bigger than an A?”

While resisting the temptation to inappropriately speculate on my therapist’s cup size, I allow myself to think that, like me, she’s never worn anything smaller than an A cup. In light of this, I sigh—for my daughter’s sake.


Toni Artuso is an emerging/aging transfemale writer based in Salem, Massachusetts. Recently, she retired from a 30-year career in educational publishing and is now transitioning, as well as trying to accelerate the emerging and slow down the aging. She has published short stories in The Pine Cone Review, Penumbric Speculative Fiction Magazine, Mollyhouse, Once Upon a Crocodile, Sledgehammer Lit, The Broadkill Review, All Worlds Wayfarer, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, quip literary review, and Fiction on the Web.

nat raum is a disabled artist, writer, and genderless disaster from Baltimore, MD. They’re a current MFA candidate at the University of Baltimore and also hold a BFA in photography and book arts. nat is also the editor-in-chief of fifth wheel press and managing editor of Welter Journal. They are the author of preparatory school for the end of the world, you stupid slut, and specter dust, among others. Past publishers of their writing include Delicate Friend, perhappened, Corporeal Lit, and trampset.