Mary reached the door of the change room, and hesitated. She stood there, rocking back and forth from one foot to the other for several minutes before Alice came up and took her hand.
"What's wrong, hon?" Alice asked.
"I can't. They'll all see ...." Mary said.
"They wont notice a thing. Come on. "
Finally, Alice took Mary's hand, and led her into the change room. Once inside, Alice began taking of her street clothes, while Mary watched. Alice looked at her, and said, "what, hon?"
"You're able to do that so easily." Mary whispered, "Me, I think about .... not being a real woman..." tears came to her eyes as she thought about the scars on her body.
"Sweetheart, you are a real woman, and don't forget it. And as I told you, nobody will mind at all. Just take the plunge!" Alice said with a bright smile.
"Oh... Okay. Here goes."
Mary quickly got undressed, and put on her swimsuit. Hand in hand the two women left the change room and headed for the pool.
For a while, Mary would flinch every time she saw someone looking in her direction. She felt like the scars would show right through the suit, and everyone would see them. But Alice's joy was infectious, and slowly she relaxed, and began to enjoy being in the water. They swam, and rested, and swam some more before finally calling it a day after three hours in the pool.
Alice led Mary back to the change room, and Mary had another panic attack at the prospect of a shower, but soothing words, and soft touches from Alice got her through it.
When they had dressed and left the building, Alice asked, "Did you have fun?"
"I did. The best day I've had since..."
Alice held her and said, "I know losing a breast to cancer was hard, hon. But as you could see, nobody said a word."
"Thank you for this."
"Oh I'm not done spoiling you yet. Lots more on the menu when we get home."
"Something to look forward to." Mary said, and kissed her wife, who used to be her husband.
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