The next few days at school I did my best to concentrate but it was quite difficult because there was so much on my mind. When I saw Tom in the distance during class breaks, I felt awkward talking to him now I was back in boy mode again. In fact I was feeling more and more like a girl dressing as a boy rather than the reverse. However to avoid him completely was awkward too, but how could I, dressed as a boy, sit next to another boy that I had kissed twice? I never thought for a moment that either of us was gay (not that there's anything wrong with that), but I couldn't wait to meet him again when I was Mandy – it made things so much simpler.
Saturday came, and I felt nervous and excited at the same time. So much rested on Tom's mother accepting me as a girl, and I had only one chance to get it right. Mum sensed my feelings and sat down with me to decide what I should wear.
“It's important that you look like a girl of your age, so I've selected some clothes I think would be suitable.” She produced a tartan skirt that Bessie had worn, and a white blouse. “I know you like to wear stockings but I think on this occasion you should wear ankle socks and Mary Janes. We'll put just a little padding in your bra and you can have just a touch of pink lipstick.”
I did not argue with her – 'mother knows best' – as I really wanted her support. She was right about what I should wear. A more sophisticated look might well have scared Tom's mother off. This way I looked like an innocent little girl in her early teens, which of course I was!
We walked to the Shore's house which was only a few streets from our place and knocked on the door.
Tom answered and said “Hello Mrs Collins, Mandy, please come in.” He was obviously on his best behavior too. “Mum's in the kitchen” he said as he showed us into the lounge room, and a few moments later Mrs Shore came in, looking slight flushed as if she had been bending over a hot stove, which in fact she had been. She greeted us both and I saw her eyes widen slightly as she saw me as Mandy for the first time. I wished then that I had never been there as Michael, but it was too late now. 'What's done is done.'
“Thank you so much for coming over and bringing Mandy, Mrs Collins.” she said.
“Please call me Jane.” said Mum.
Mrs Shore smiled, “And you must call me Pam.” she said.
“What a lovely house you have.” I said, and Mrs Shore looked at me almost suspiciously. It wasn't something a boy would say, and I think she thought for a moment that I was trying to be funny. When she saw I was serious she said “Thank you. It takes a lot of hard work, especially with a boy as messy as Tom.” and everyone except Tom laughed.
After a few minutes more chat on such illuminating topics as the weather, and how school was going, Mrs Shore got up and said “I hope you would like some tea?”
“Yes please.” Mum and I chorused, and I got up and said “Can I give you a hand Mrs Shore?”
“Yes thank you Mandy, that is a very kind thought. Tom can keep your mother company.”
I was taking a calculated risk here, but I felt it was important to speak to her on her own,and I was right to do so. When we entered the kitchen and were out of earshot of the others, she turned to me, and said, “Well young miss, if I hadn't seen you with my own eyes I would never have believed it. But for the fact that I've seen you as Michael you would have fooled me completely.
I felt tears starting in my eyes, I was afraid this might be her attitude.
“Please Mrs Shore, I'm not trying to fool anyone. I have felt from a very young age that I should have been born a girl. I started dressing in my sister's clothes a while back and my father found out and that might be part of the reason why he left us. My mother is letting me do this to see if it is a phase I'm going through, but I can assure you it's not. I want to live my life as a girl and then a woman, and although I know that's not totally possible, I will do the best that I can. I know that it's not going to be easy.”
Pam Shore's expression changed as I spoke, and she said “I'm sorry, perhaps I spoke a little harshly, but you must see that I am worried about Tom having you as a friend.”
“I understand what you mean Mrs Shore, and believe me I've told him he would be better off having a girlfriend who was born as a girl. If you are concerned that he might be homosexual, I assure you he is not. He sees me as a girl, and not as a boy dressed as a girl. You can't blame me for liking a boy like Tom when he treats me the way I want to be treated.”
“You are a very mature young person,” Mrs Shore said slowly. “I had quite made up my mind before today to forbid Tom to go out with you, but what you say has made me think about it again. Now! The others will wonder where on earth we are. Would you carry this plate of scones into the lounge room please?”
When we entered the lounge room, my mother said “We were just about to send out a search party for you.”
“We had to wait for the scones to cool.” said Mrs Shore. We sat down to eat the delicious Devonshire tea. As a boy I would no doubt have wolfed down a number of scones, but as a young lady I felt it was only appropriate to have one – after all they were quite large!
“These scones are delicious Mrs Shore.” I said and Mum nodded her agreement.
After we finished eating scones, jam and cream, and drinking our tea, Mrs Shore said “Tom, perhaps you'd like to show Mandy your model railway?” I had seen it very briefly when I had stayed there before. The fact that Mrs Shore specified where we should go, especially not to Tom's room, said to me that she was finally accepting me as a girl, since there had been no such direction when I'd visited the house as a boy.
I followed Tom into the spare room where a magnificent model railway layout went around all four sides of the room.
“Wow, this is amazing Tom, did you do it all yourself?”
Tom's face fell as he said “No, my Dad helped a lot with it.”
“You miss him don't you?” I said softly. He nodded and looked like he was going to burst into tears, so I stepped forward and hugged him.
After a few moments he straightened himself and said “Come on, I'll show you how it works.”
We spent a happy fifteen minutes working the trains until I said “All these models are amazing, did you build them yourself?”
“Most of them. Some are kits but I have to paint them. Would you like to see how I do it? Maybe you'd like to have a go?” He pulled out a small table from under the layout. Several half-finished model houses were there and also some complete but half-painted. There were a number of small tins of paint and some very fine brushes. After a little tuition, and taking great care not to spill paint on my clothes, I was soon busy painting a Tudor-style public house, as the railway layout was of a fictional English countryside.
We were both so engrossed that we did not notice our mothers enter the room, and they were probably there for some time.
“Perhaps you'd like to come over again and do some more painting, Mandy? I can see you have a real talent for it.” said Mrs Shore. It appeared I was accepted. “Your mother and I have had a long chat, and we have both agreed that you and Tom can go out together if you wish.” I'm sure Tom's and my smiles positively lit up the room.
“Thank you so much Mrs Shore.” I said, and Tom thanked my Mum too.
Our first 'date' was the following Saturday. We were planning to go to a local park for a picnic, but it was raining, so Tom suggested the cinema instead and I readily agreed. We sat in the back row of the stalls (cliched I know). I can't remember what the film was. We just enjoyed being together, holding hands, and finally kissing, and this time, greatly daring we were French kissing too.
After the film was over, we had a cappuccino, which felt terribly sophisticated, and then, holding hands, Tom walked me home.
About this time Mum took me to see her doctor. He was quite sympathetic to my wish to become a girl. He suggested that I live as a girl full-time for two years and if I was still determined to become a woman, then he would refer me to a specialist who could give me hormone treatment.
If I was to live full-time as a girl, something had to be done about school. It hardly seemed practical to start wearing a girl's school uniform and keep going to the same school, since children can be so cruel, and Mum was concerned for my welfare, so she went to see the headmistress of my sister Bessie's school. Mrs Edwards was very understanding and after interviewing me, agreed that I should attend her school as Mandy.
It was only a few weeks until the end of the school year, so I stayed at school as Michael, and did not mention to anyone that I would not be coming back. I didn't have any close friends, apart from Tom of course, so didn't feel bad about that. I had already started to let my hair grow a bit, but not so much that other boys would make comment, and I hoped that by the time the new school year started, it would be long enough to be styled as a girl. I could hardly wear a wig to school, and anyway it was uncomfortable in summer and I wanted my own longer hair.
There was another problem too. Up to now I had been wearing a bra with cups filled with rolled up stockings and obviously this was not suitable if I was to attend a new school as a girl. There would be occasions when I had to change in front of other girls and my true status would have been instantly exposed. Mum solved the problem by making some enquiries and then taking me along to Dr Fleming and obtaining a letter from him explaining my intention to become a female. A week later we made a trip to Brisbane and went to a company that sold breast forms to women who had undergone mastectomy, and asked them to supply suitable breast forms for me.
They didn't seem in the least surprised at my request and told me that they supplied breast forms to quite a few people who were transitioning. It gave me some confidence to know that there were others like me in Brisbane, and I thought that once I started my treatment, maybe I could meet up with some of them.
A rather motherly woman called Margery took Mum and I into a room and asked me to strip to the waist. She eyed my body and then held a few breast forms of varying sizes against my chest to help the three of us decide which would be an appropriate size. She also checked them with the bra I was wearing. We agreed on a 'A' size cup for the present (I think she was relieved that I didn't ask for the largest ones she had!) and then she asked me to lie down on a couch and set about showing me how they were fixed to my chest with double-sided tape, and the edges concealed with makeup. It was quite a strange sensation when I sat up and felt the weight of the breasts on my chest, much heavier than the stocking-filled bra cups I had previously used. Looking at myself in a mirror, I was delighted how real they looked, and when she helped me to put on my bra I was so thrilled I was nearly speechless. Margery the fitter smiled with real pleasure. No doubt she had seen many other girls like me see themselves with breasts for the first time, and shared our pleasure at the experience. From now on I would have breasts that would pass all but the closest scrutiny. Mum was pleased too and quite impressed by how feminine her new daughter now appeared even when not dressed.
I was readily accepted as a girl in my new school, and made several new friends within a few weeks. No-one asked why I had changed schools and if they had I would have given them a story about being bullied at my previous school. I missed seeing Tom every day of course, but since we had both felt awkward meeting with me in “Michael” mode, it was probably for the best that I was now at another school. It wasn't too far away, and we quite often met and walked home together.
Tom and I mostly went out each week on a Friday or Saturday night and perhaps because our time together was limited, we enjoyed each other's company more. The first time we kissed after I started wearing my breast forms, Tom noticed the difference in my body, and blushing deeply I explained to him about my new 'breasts'. I did not show them to him of course because I can say truthfully that we were quite good kids. Some girls at my new school confessed to going 'all the way' with their boyfriends which of course excited the rest of us, although when one of the girls stopped coming to school and we learned she was pregnant, that dampened the enthusiasm of other girls to follow her example. In the case of Tom and I, of course 'all the way' was not an option, and we had an accepted point beyond which we didn't go. In my case, while I enjoyed what we called 'petting' in those days, Tom knew that I found the 'non-girl' bits of my body embarrassing, so his hands never got too close to them. In his case of course there were no such restrictions, and on some occasions I used my hands to stimulate him to a climax, and that was pleasurable for me too. I looked forward to the day when I could have surgery and be a 'proper woman'.
There was very little in the news-media about transgender in those days. We knew of a few groups like “Les Girls' but whether they were transgendered or just dressing as girls we didn't know. Much later it transpired that the star of the show 'Carlotta' did have SRS some time in the seventies, but the rest of the 'girls' were young men. As for boys who enjoyed dressing as girls, each probably thought he was unique since there was no internet to reveal that he was one of millions.
Tom and I continued to go out for the next two years. I had long ago given up suggesting that if he wanted a wife and kids he had better find a genetic girl, since he seemed totally content with things as they were, and anyway, I was approaching the time when I hoped to be able to take steps to become in body as well as mind much more of a woman.
To be continued
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