Copyright© 2012 Angharad
All Rights Reserved.
Despite my husband and son’s apparent male bonding, it was still muggins here, who had to get Danny off to bed. He was quite tired and didn’t do more than put up a token protest when I told him to go to bed. When I checked on him a short while later he was fast asleep, as were the girls.
I felt pretty tired myself, but thought I’d be able to do a few minutes on the survey and settled myself in the study. I’d only just started when Jacquie tapped on my door. “Could I have a word, Cathy?”
“Of course, sit yourself down.” She sat in the chair alongside my desk, I just hoped it didn’t feel too much like a doctor’s consulting room.
“It’s probably a bit silly, but you know those books the girls like?”
“They like several.”
“The Gaby ones, you have three or four of them.”
I knew which ones she meant from the beginning. “Oh, those, yeah, they do like them.”
“Why do they like stories about a boy who ends up dressed like a girl much of the time?”
“I suppose because the plots are reasonably simple and the characters are straightforward most of the time and they have a strong sense of right and wrong, so I consider for the most part they’re okay for younger children. They sometimes get a bit fed up with the race descriptions, but I enjoy that, and I mostly read to them.”
“I didn’t even know such stories existed, although I hear the odd story of gender confused kids in the Daily Mail or Mirror.”
“This is in strictest confidence,” I started.
“Of course,” she confirmed.
“The little girl who died out cycling with me? She was born a boy.” I hoped that I wasn’t deceiving Jacquie, but at this stage, I wasn’t sure how much to tell her, and I knew Billie wouldn’t have minded helping protect Trish and Julie.
“Oh gosh, I’d never have expected it in a family of this status.”
“Why not? It can happen at all levels, I believe one of the Sainsbury family is transgender, or was.”
“Was?” she looked a little bemused.
“Well yes, if someone has had gender surgery to help them move from one group to another, or presents convincingly in their new gender, they cease to be labelled as trans anything and become male or female as they prefer to be.”
“I hadn’t actually thought of it that way, but, yeah, why not? You’ve obviously thought about it, having a transgender child.”
“Just a bit, and I suspect we’re all a bit more sympathetic than some might be, as a consequence. As long as people don’t adversely affect me or mine, I don’t much care what they say or do. If you’re not happy in your body—change it.”
“Yeah, I agree. Thanks for explaining that.”
“No problem, is Si still about?”
“I think he’s still watching some corny martial arts film.”
“He does like his action movies, it’s a boy thing I expect, a way of dissipating violence or aggression, perhaps?”
“Yeah, maybe. I’m off to bed—mind if I read one of these Gaby books?”
“No, not at all, they’re relatively easy reading, so good bedtime stuff.”
“Goodnight, Mummy.” She bent over and pecked me on the cheek.
“ Goodnight, Jacquie.”
About half an hour later, I’d just collated some results about otters—why they’d sent them to me, I had no idea—I’m the rodent catcher, not mustelid amasser, when Si walked in. “We going to bed tonight?”
“Dunno, I might not if I get a better offer.”
“Ha,” he jibed, “Some chance of that missus.”
“Well you never know.”
“Yes we do, Johnny Depp is busy, so is Tom Cruise, so you’re stuck with me.”
“Is that so, how d’you know I haven’t got someone hidden in the bike workshop?”
“If you did, they’d be chimed up with the bikes, just in case they tried to steal one.”
“This is true, I probably would chain them up. Bikes come before bodies any time.”
“Unless the bodies happen to be your children?”
“Our children, Si, how many times have I got to tell you?”
“Okay, okay, our children. Bugger I’ve lost my thread now.”
“Well here’s a new one, I told Jacquie that Billie was transgender.”
“She started reading one of the Gaby stories and wondered why I let my children read them.”
“I thought they were our children?”
“Sorry, I mean our children—particularly the girls.”
“But she hasn’t twigged you, Trish or Julie?”
“I can’t say an unqualified no to that, but it would seem that way.”
“Poor old Billie,” he said and looked rather sad for a moment.”
“I’m sure she wouldn’t have minded, covering for her sisters and mum.”
“Probably not,” agreed Simon. “C’mon, leave your wee furries alone and come to bed.”
“I’m not guaranteeing I want to play with your little furry,” I responded, I felt knackered.
“Fine, as long as you let me play with yours.”
“You have to promise not to wake me then?”
“Goodness, is sex with me that bad?”
“No, not at all, but I’m just very tired tonight.”
“Okay, let’s just go for a kiss and a cuddle?”
“Can we just go for the cuddle, I feel so tired, Si.”
“I s’pose so.” The look on his face tended to suggest he felt very let down by me, but I really was so tired, I didn’t care as much as I might otherwise have done. I was pleased that Danny had had a reasonably good time, and felt wanted in the family again. I admit I don’t do as much as I ought to, but I can’t do everything that’s needed here, the others must learn to help, and that includes making the children feel valued.
“Well, c’mon then,” he asserted himself and I switched off the computer after saving my work. I nodded and he followed me up the stairs to our bedroom. Ten minutes after getting into bed, I was zonked, much to Si’s disappointment. He’d have as much response from a corpse and told me so the next day. I told him he was gross and went back to sleep until the clock radio dragged me into consciousness yet again.
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