It was about two weeks later. I had been away for a week of school holidays staying with a girlfriend on the coast at Tom's insistence. Before I left I told Tom I would be back to see him on the Sunday. I arrived at his house, bubbling with excitement and ready to show him my holiday photos. Mrs Shore opened the door and from the look on her face I knew that something was wrong.
“Hello Mrs Shore, here I am again.”
“Hello Mandy, I..I'm sorry but Tom isn't here.”
I was puzzled “How do you mean?”
“Please come inside,” she said “He's left a letter for you.”
I followed her into the house. My heart was thumping painfully. What did that mean? She took me into the lounge-room and handed me a sealed envelope with my name on it.
“I'll made some tea while you read it.” she said and left the room. I sat down slowly, holding the letter in my hands. I noticed, almost as though I was looking at someone else's hands that they were trembling. Slowly I opened the envelope and unfolded the single sheet of paper.
You will think me a terrible coward writing to you instead of telling you face to face, but if I was looking into your beautiful blue eyes, I would never have had the strength to say what I now must write.
I am going away for a while. Please do not ask me where or try to get my mother to tell you. I'm doing this for both our sakes, but mainly for yours. You deserve so much more than I can ever give you now. By leaving, I am giving you the chance to be the wonderful woman I know you are, and find a man who can give you all you deserve.
You are my dearest friend, and in my heart you always will be. I know that you would never have left me if I had stayed, you are too good and selfless. Now spread your wings and fly. Please think kindly of me sometimes.
I sat staring into space for a long time, before carefully folding Tom's letter, replacing it in the envelope and putting it into my purse.
Mrs Shore came back into the room, carrying a tray with a pot of tea, milk, two cups and saucers and some biscuits. She poured the tea out silently, waiting for me to speak first.
“You knew what he wrote?” I asked quietly.
“I didn't read the letter, but yes, I knew what he was going to write to you. Mandy, I'm so sorry. Tom agonized over it for weeks. He cares about you very deeply – you know that?”
“Yes.” I said sadly “He signed the letter 'Love, Tom'. We never spoke about love, but I think we both knew.”
I sipped the hot tea. It's surprising how comforting it was, and at that moment I needed all the comfort I could get. There didn't seem anything more to say, but then I thought of one thing.
“If I write Tom a letter, will you see that he gets it?”
“Of course I will my dear.” She held me in her arms for a moment and murmured “I'm so sorry my dear.”
“It's not your fault or Tom's, it's mine.” I said sadly.
I left the house, my world shattered. It was my fault my Dad left, not that that bothered me, and now it was my fault Tom had left, and that bothered me more than I could say. Was I feeling sorry for myself? I suppose I was. I walked down to a local bar. I was under-age but they wouldn't know, or possibly care. Girls can always get away with looking older than they are provided they dress that way. Right now, getting drunk seemed like the ideal thing to do. I ordered whisky, and the fiery spirit nearly made me choke, but then it felt like fire in my veins. Then I ordered red wine and took the glass to a corner booth where I slowly sipped it and stared into space.
I was into my third glass and feeling light-headed when I looked up and saw a man in his forties standing there and looking at me. “Mind if I join you?” he said and I nodded. What the hell? Tom had gone and I was 'free'.
He introduced himself as Jack. Three drinks later and he was nuzzling my ear and telling me how pretty I was, and after another drink his hand was under my skirt. With Tom it had been an unspoken agreement that he went so far and no further, but Jack wasn't Tom. Before I realised what was happening, he had found my secret and even in my befuddled state I expected him to recoil, but he didn't.
“Well well,” he said “I never would have guessed.”
“So what happens now?” I said, slurring my words slightly.
“Well that depends on you my dear, but I've always been curious about special girls like you. How about we continue this conversation somewhere quieter?”
“Alright.” I said. I had been saving myself for Tom, but it seemed a bit pointless now, and Jack didn't seem in the least disappointed that I wasn't like other girls, in fact he seemed rather pleased. He took my hand and led me out of the bar to where his car was parked. We got in, and this time there was no restraint. His mouth descended on mine and he forced his tongue into my mouth. His hands were all over me and mine all over him.
He drove us to a motel, and for just one moment I hesitated before entering the room, but again I thought -'What the hell?' and I went inside with him. When he entered me the pain was so intense that I cried out, but he didn't pause for a moment, and after a while I started to enjoy the feel of his urgent thrusting. So was this what it was like to be a woman? I liked it.
I'm ashamed to say that I thought of Tom at that moment, and I said in my mind 'To Hell with you Tom. This should have been you and me.' and I urged Jack on to a shuddering climax. Now that I had lost my virginity as it were, once was not enough for me, and not long afterward I was using my fingers and mouth to get Jack into a state of readiness once more. This time he took me as I lay on my back and it felt even more like it would to be a woman, and this time he was not the only one to reach a climax.
I awoke to see the sun streaming in through the window, and for a second I didn't know where I was. I had a thundering headache and my mouth was dry. I looked around, but I was alone. On the bedside table were two fifty dollar notes and a short handwritten message.
'You were great. Thanks for everything. I hope this defrays your expenses. Jack.'
'My goodness,' I said to myself 'I've just been paid for sex. I'm a whore.' I got off the bed and had a shower, and then I used the mini-kitchen facilities to make myself a cup of strong coffee and I breakfasted off the packets of sweet biscuits they provided. Then checking around the room to make sure I'd left nothing behind, I picked up my bag and left the room. I walked a few hundred yards up the street, having no idea where I was, until I managed to hail a taxi and get him to drop me off one block from my street. It cost me twenty dollars for the taxi so I was still eighty dollars in profit.
Fortunately for me, Mum had already gone to work when I arrived home. She left a note saying 'I don't know where you stayed last night Mandy, but please give me a ring at work when you get in, otherwise I'll be worrying all day. Love, Mum.'
I picked up the phone and rang the office where she was working.
“Mandy! Where on earth did you get to last night? I was worried sick.”
“Sorry Mum, Tom has left home and I was upset, so I visited a girlfriend and I fell asleep on the couch. She didn't know I hadn't told you where I was, so she covered me with a blanket and let me sleep.”
“Oh I see.” she said and I wasn't sure if she believed me or not. “Anyway, you'd better hurry up and get to school.”
I went to my room and quickly undressed, cleaned off my make-up and put on my school uniform. I would probably be a bit late, but it couldn't be helped. There was something surreal about the situation. Last night a man paid me for sex, and this morning, I was a schoolgirl, heading off to classes. Just as well Jack didn't know that, he could have been arrested!
There was one more thing to think about. I had asked Tom's mother if I could write to him, but how could I do that now when I had effectively been unfaithful to him? I decided to 'think about it', and in the end I didn't write at all.
Next time: Starting my transition.
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