Copyright© 2012 Angharad
All Rights Reserved.
The meal we had as a snack was totally delicious, and I found it astonishing how tasty strips of ham and a mixture of vegetables can be when stir fried and then presented with a mild cheese sauce.
Simon who’d been trying to recover some of the garden with Tom, wolfed his down and demanded seconds—there weren’t any, but David had made a beautiful fruit and nut cake in the bread machine. We had a slice while it was still warm—usually you wait until it cools to slice it, but Simon was licking his lips as David took the cake from the machine. I’m well aware you can make cakes in them, but I never seem to have the time or inclination.
In some ways it was lovely to have someone else doing the cooking and he’d agreed to do the shopping as well, as the two go together it seemed reasonable. Simon arranged for him to have a card to use for domestic things, but for obvious reasons required an account to be kept of money spent.
Sammi, set up a spreadsheet on an old computer and David was shown how to use it. This was already beginning to feel like a holiday, except I kept falling asleep. On the Monday, Simon and Sammi went off to work and I left Catherine to the tender mercies of David while I checked over my Specialized and went off for a short ride. I couldn’t do it before, as Simon would have murdered me, but I felt I needed some sort of physical stimulus to get better. I did the slowest ten miles in history—I’ll bet it was even slower than that old bat with the unpronounceable name who writes Gaby fanfics based over the border in Dorset—she says she’s dead slow on a bike, well I was super slow. At one point while crawling up a slight incline, I’m sure I was passed by a racing snail doing about half a mile an hour. I then had to stop to get my breath back before heading for home.
On returning home, I felt completely washed out and had to go to bed. David seemed happy to keep an eye on the baby who was apparently enjoying his company: she was giggling and gurgling when I crept past going for a quick shower and a lie down. Of course, when I woke up my hair was a disaster so I had to wash it again. By the time Si and Sam got home, I was looking a bit better—but then I had slept for four hours.
David could see how I was struggling to do things and offered to do longer hours to help out. I jumped at the chance. Being a generous sort of fellow, he agreed to do a few hours a week cleaning as well as the catering. It looked like we’d found a real gem.
While cleaning one day he came across the scrap book that Mr Whitehead had put together, we had quite a discussion later. “I can’t believe you’re not a biological female.”
“I’m AIS, so that helps, although not the classic form because they thought I was a normal child at birth. However, my testes didn’t develop properly and I didn’t have a male puberty. So when I started oestrogens, I had a female one which was an interesting experience to say the least.”
“I’d never have guessed—I mean, I’d heard rumours of someone who was married to a wealthy citizen who’d been a boy—but I never dreamt it was you. I mean you’ve even got broad hips—or are you wearing those padded things?”
“No, what you see is all me—all home-grown with a help from some pregnant mares wee.”
“Ugh, oh don’t. Those poor horses.”
“They’re supposed to be well cared for, but I’m not an expert in such things. So what’s your story then, seeing as you’ve read mine.”
“Where do I start?” he said.
“At the beginning,” I suggested.
“Okay, I was supposed to be a girl—my mother wanted to smother me in frills and lace and I didn’t want any of it, it just felt wrong. I know I was a disappointment to my parents, but they did have another daughter to play with who was happy to indulge them. Ironically, she’s now a lipstick lesbian.”
“She still loves girly things like make up and clothes and is very feminine but she prefers girls.”
“Ah, gotcha.” I thought that was what it meant but had never really met one to ask, I suppose I could have asked Siân, but it seemed impolite.
“I tended to do boy things, loads of sport, fighting with other boys and so on. At age six, I cut all my long hair off and started calling myself David after the character in the Bible who slew the giant with a slingshot. I had a catapult made of model aircraft rubber and a nice Y shaped stick. I was pretty lethal with it until I got caught smashing the windows of a boy who’d run off when I beat him in a fight. I suppose I was hyper masculine trying to compensate. All it got me was trouble.”
“I think us lot do the opposite or deny enjoying any male things, but I got into trouble in nursery for fighting with another girl over the dressing up clothes—it was my turn to be the princess and she didn’t like it.”
“Wow, you started early, too?” he gasped.
“I was never comfortable with the term boy or male, though I wasn’t sure why. I seemed to identify with my mother more than my dad and for a while she seemed happy to indulge me, then Dad got cross that she was making me into a milksop and she stopped and I got dragged off to do sports and things. I was total rubbish, except at cross country.”
“No, that came later. My dad used to take me for rides and then I had to learn how to mend things like punctures and change tyres, fix brakes, put mudguards on and off and so on. Then I was encouraged to build my own bikes and soon became better at it than my dad. I took up racing when I was at uni, although I was never good enough for the men’s team. All that did was cause me to train harder but I never made the grade because half of them thought I was either a butch lesbian or a poof. I started to get a bit girly then.”
“You had long hair already though, didn’t you?”
“Yeah, from school—hence the Lady Macbeth stuff.”
“The local paper thought you were a girl.”
“Yeah, but they also seemed to believe in flying saucers and the Bristol Channel Triangle.”
“What was that?”
“Oh like the Bermuda Triangle but even more preposterous and smaller. We didn’t have the Sargasso sea, just the river Severn and Weston Super-Mare.”
David began to laugh, “You sound like that Bill Bryson bloke, you ought to write you know.”
“Haven’t got time—I did do a book on dormice to go with the film we made.”
“We? I think you did most of it, didn’t you?”
“I did much of it, but without Des and Alan, I’d never have managed it.”
“The ever generous Cathy, you really need to be a bit tougher.”
I let it go, I didn’t want to talk about the fact that I’d killed someone in anger—how much tougher does it get?
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