He turned off the telly with a muttered oath.
Frank couldn’t bear to watch the Sunday football anymore it hurt too much even though it had been nearly five years since the event that caused the bitterness had taken place.
Daisy, his wife of 25 years sighed. He’d taken it hard, they all had but it had been particularly been hard on Frank, losing a son as well a dream he’d cultivated since the birth of that child and probably even longer knowing her husband the way she did, he played hard and didn’t do things in half-measures which almost guaranteed that he would be disappointed so much more than the average person.
But who could blame him. Having your boy throw away everything you’d taught him and if everyone was to be believed heaps of talent to become one of those thingies who minced around dressing as women was enough to depress anyone.
She tried her best to be objective but it just didn’t make sense. No one in their right mind could do what Alan had done. Reading about it in the Daily Mail was one thing having your own child do it was another altogether.
How could an eighteen year old boy decide he didn’t want to be a man?
It beggared belief and sounded like a script from a soap opera except it wasn’t so funny when it was your own kid involved. Basically Alan had told them he was really a girl which was ridiculous, a strapping lad of 5’10 like that. He was going to start living as a woman and hopefully get the sex change itself in a year or so.
Never mind that he was throwing away a perfectly good future as a footballer. He had been very good and some premier league teams had been sniffing around along with a few teams from the Continent. Naturally they had pleaded with him not to be silly but he’d stood his ground which had made Frank blow his top clouting him in his face. Alan was gone the following afternoon.
Daisy’s eyes misted as she thought about it. It bloody hurt it did and it had shattered all of them not just Frank. She wondered about her child all the time and asked herself where they had gone wrong with Alan. His brother and sister were as right as rain. Richard 25 was engaged to a lovely girl while Trish 20 had a steady job as a hairdresser. Ordinary with ordinary futures but Alan the one with all the talent and the chance to change his future so that he’d never want for anything had to throw it away.
The sad woman wiped a stray tear and retrieved a lager for her husband and joined him on the sofa.
Ellen Hayes was driving to her team’s training centre at around the same time half way across the world in the States. Life was good she thought as she caught her reflection in the rear view mirror of her s.u.v or whatever these American cars were called.
Two years here hadn’t taken away her surprise at the cultural differences Brits and Yanks had and she could hardly get around to speaking like a local. Still life was good and fate had been good to her after dealing her a bad hand when she’d been born.
The second child of Frank and Daisy Hayes, she’d been born and bred in Norwich. Her father had got all of them into the game as soon as they could walk, taking her with him to the footie and getting her playing. She’d lived and breathed football for as long as she could remember just as passionate about the game as her da.
It helped to blunt the confusion then later on the pain she felt and didn’t understand. On the pitch as she dribbled past centre halves and scored goals she didn’t feel so uncomfortable and abnormal. She didn’t envy the girls like she did at school or get a chance to wander about wearing skirts and dresses or dream about what it would be like to wake up without that accursed thing between her legs. The beautiful game was her escape, her therapy which was why she spent so much time playing anything had to be better than the anguish she felt lying in bed or on seeing her naked body in the bathroom.
Awareness of what she was came at 14 in a lesson in class when some group had visited in their Social studies period. They’d talked about gender and sexuality and it was then that everything clicked and made sense. The answer to why she loathed her body and life in general so much, she was transgendered. She listened attentively as they talked about how it was treated, hormones then surgery which was when she’d realised she could fix this and didn’t have to feel depressed forever. A ray of light shone in her life for the first time ever.
She’d done her own research afterwards and furthered her own knowledge of it. It made perfect sense; she wasn’t really a boy and could never be one. Knowledge as well as giving hope can be dangerous too because she became even more sad when she realised she could never tell her parents at that juncture, they would never accept it. So she bid her time while her body went along staging its mutiny and taking her down a road she didn’t want to follow. It was terrible and the knowledge that all this was preventable made harder to bear. Still she’d been lucky, not bulking up a lot like her brother Richard and the hair only reached her knees while there was no facial hair or chest hair either. Getting to 5’10 was sad but she knew it could be worse so she accepted it and waited to finish school. Watching Trish become a young woman hurt a lot though, life seemed so cruel at times.
The footie helped allay the depression somewhat and she was really good at it. Norwich signed her and by the time she was sixteen people were touting her as the next Rooney or something, she was quick, had a wicked left foot, good in the air and had what the pundits like to call a good footballing brain, that sense of knowing where to be and when to be there before anyone else did and it couldn’t be taught it was just inborn, something her brother never had. She’d stayed in school till she was eighteen (a record in her family) despite this knowing she’d need an education if what she planned was to work.
Meanwhile her parents were already dreaming of having Premier league footballer in the family with the terrific pay that went with that status. Her dad even hoped to see his kid in the white strip of the three lions if all went well. The sky was the limit.
Ellen of course was focused on one thing, transitioning as soon as she was 18. She was aware her family had high hopes for her and that she was going to disappoint them. There was no way she could become a footballer and then transition if she ever wanted a peaceful life for herself or her family. The tabloids would have them for breakfast. Living as a man for the rest of her life wasn’t on the cards either, instinctively she knew she’d rather die than have to do that.
So she’d saved most of the money she was earning and planned out what path her life would take when she was eighteen when school was done and her contract was up for renewal.
Telling her parents had been the worst part.
Her ‘A’ levels had come out the week before and she had passed with two B’s and a C, she was also due to start renegotiating her contract with her club later that week.
“Mum, Dad I have something to tell you,” she’d announced.
“Sure son, have you decided which team you’re joining. I’d love you to play for the Canaries (Norwich) but you have the final say,” Frank replied.
“Um, okay that’s kind of what I want to discuss,” replied Ellen before swallowing, “firstly I’m not going to be playing football anymore,” she announced.
Frank and Daisy where astounded. Hearing your child say he was abandoning something that he loved and was very good at would shock anybody.
“But why, you’re so good luv, you’re going places” Daisy responded, still staggered.
“I love playing but I can’t do it anymore,” answered Ellen before Frank cut in.
“What’d you mean, did you injure yourself?” said Frank.
Ellen wished it was that simple.
“No. I can’t continue playing because I want to do something that I will be unable to do if I carry on playing,” replied Ellen.
“Really and what would that be?” asked her father, sounding unconvinced.
“I want no actually I need stop living as I am. My life is a lie and I can’t fix it in the public eye,” remarked Ellen.
“What on earth on are going on about? Stop pussyfooting and say it like a man,” said Frank, beginning to lose patience with her.
“That’s just it Dad, I’m not a man. I’m a woman and I want to sort that out. I’m going start living as a woman and then get surgery to fix my bits,” said Ellen softly, her courage waning.
“Nonsense I gave birth to you you’re a man not a woman,” said Daisy indignant, still not understanding.
Frank who’d understood looked pale.
“You said what?” he remarked quietly, simmering.
“I want to be a girl. I hate being male and I can’t go on like this,”
Daisy gasped which was when Frank decked his son.
“How can you? Are you a bloody poof? I won’t have it, you hear, I won’t bloody tolerate it. Ever!” yelled Frank as he punched Ellen repeatedly.
Ellen blocked as best as she could before Daisy intervened and stood between them. Frank didn’t dare touch his wife.
“Alan, stop this nonsense. You can’t do this, it’s silly and you’ll ruin your life. You’ll never be a woman,” said Daisy holding an enraged Frank’s arm.
“I don’t have a life. I’d rather die than go on like this,” said Ellen, crying before leaving the room and leaving the house.
“I’ll kill you myself,” said Frank angrily.
Her father’s reaction had made it clear she’d never be accepted for who she was. There was nothing for her in her childhood home and as her father had never lain a hand on her till that day she was in no doubt that she wouldn’t be safe at home. The next day she’d packed her things and went off to London.
All my life I’ve known something was wrong with me. I figured it out when I was fourteen. Inside I’m a girl though you see a boy on the outside. It’s horrible to go through life feeling like you don’t belong and hating your own skin forever uncomfortable with the body you were born with. If it wasn’t for the footie I’d have killed myself ages ago. So thank you for that. You might ask why I don’t try to forget it but I just can’t it eats at me day and night whenever I undress or take a shower or see a pretty dress or a bunch of girls just walking. I could never tell anyone and after what happened yesterday I think you know why I kept quiet. I know you think I’m crazy to throw away a chance at making a good living but it would be nothing but an empty life something I did that never fill the hole in my life. I have to be true to myself and this is what I’m going to do.
I will start living as a woman; change my name to Ellen Hayes and see a doctor. If everything works out I will begin taking female hormones and something to stop me developing any further as a man. After living full time as a woman for a year or so I’ll qualify for the surgery to fix my bits and make them a woman’s.
I know this hurts you but I have to do it or I’ll die and I don’t want that just a fair shot at life. I love you and Dad and Richie and Trish very much and if you never want to see me again I’ll understand.
Lots of love
Ellen had found a job at a sporting goods store and had told the owner her situation. Luckily he understood her situation and the fact that she’d played football helped as she he wanted at least one expert in the store to help.
So her transition had started in a huge city she barely knew with no friends or family to help. The hormones helped a lot turning her slender form into a feminine shape, softening her face substantially. Not having a beard helped a lot and despite her height she passed quite well as the sporty chick she hoped to present as.
By the end of that year only intense observation would give away Ellen as someone born male. She had nice ‘B’ cup boobs, long defined legs that went on forever and a small waist. Her sun kissed blonde locks swept down to her shoulder blades. She’d had a nose job that looked just right in her heart shaped face.
Eighteen months after coming out she had the surgery that would remove the penis she hated so much and construct a vagina in its place. Her surgeon assured her she would look no different to other women and in time would probably experience the big ‘o’.
She was delighted with the results; it was like a burden had been removed from her shoulders. It wasn’t ‘back to normal’ as she had never felt normal before but every time she went to bed or woke up she felt this sense of rightness, everything being in place. Some say the euphoria would never end and Ellen thought it was great seeing as the dysphoria she’d suffered is the opposite of euphoria.
Transitioning didn’t magically solve all her problems but it allowed her to face the world on her terms as herself not as the construct that Alan had been, she was more confident and outgoing and she learnt to live not exist and for the first time she could recall she was in control of her life. No she didn’t have boys falling over themselves to date her but she did join the human race and learnt to socialise with people. She managed to make friends from both sexes for the first time in her life and as a result became less of a loner.
Her lucky break came at 20, Dave her boss ran a Sunday football team for the firm he’d insisted on her playing for the team. Though with the hormones regimen she’d lost some of her power she was still fit enough to shine amongst the boozers she played with, sometimes skill is everything and she had plenty of that. It didn’t take to long for her establish herself as the team’s star player and the league’s top goal scorer. Playing for fun seemed to bring out the best in her and after one game where she’d begged a hat trick a man approached her.
Lance Devlin coached a women’s varsity team in the U.S and was visiting his daughter who lived in London when he’d taken a walk that Sunday and stumbled across a Sunday League match at ground near her home. A true fan he’d paused to watch. Imagine his surprise at seeing a young woman the only one on the pitch at that moment run rings around the men there. She was so skilled, so good he wondered why she wasn’t playing at a higher level as her talent was clearly wasted here. Mesmerised he’d watched till the match ended before approaching her.
“Hi. Good game,” he told her.
Ellen registered the American accent and smiled.
“Thank you I enjoyed it,” she said graciously.
“You’re a good player. Why aren’t playing professionally. I believe women’s football is professional over here,” said Lance.
“Long story,” she said simply before shrugging.
“How old are you?” he asked.
“Twenty in a week,” Ellen answered wondering why she was talking to this complete stranger.
“Hey El are you coming we’re going for a pint,” yelled one of the lads in her team.
“Just a sec Jimmy,” said Ellen.
“Look I’m a coach at a varsity in the US and if you graduated high school I can get you a place on my team, full scholarship,” Lance told her.
“Oh I don’t know,” said Ellen quietly. She didn’t doubt his interest would evaporate when he learned she wasn’t genetically female but he didn’t know that.
Seeing her doubt he pulled out a piece of paper and gave his number to her asked her to call.
Ellen never called but Lance wasn’t a varsity coach for nothing. He knew she might not call and he wasn’t going to let such crazy talent slip out of his hands without a fight.
Eight days later he showed up at her workplace after doing some detective work of his own.
Ellen was surprised to be called into Dave’s office and find Lance there.
“Morning Dave, what’s the matter?” she asked curiously.
“Well Mr Devlin here wants to take you to America to play football. He says he made you an offer and you never got back to him, it’s up to you but I think you should hear him out. It’s not every day that you get a free ride at university doing something you love,” remarked Dave.
Lance then made his pitch; she would play football or soccer as it was known over there and get a full scholarship all expenses paid even if she was injured and an assurance of employment from the alumni should she not go pro after graduation.
Ellen listened politely until Mr Devlin was done.
She then asked Dave,
“You haven’t told him right?”
Dave shook his head.
“Told me what?” asked Lance.
“Mr Devlin I’m flattered but there’s something you should know. I wasn’t born a girl, I had a sex change,” said Ellen.
“Oh, I thought you were going to tell me you’re pregnant but that’s well surprising. Look let me make some phone calls and I’ll get back to you,” said Lance a bit taken aback.
He made his goodbyes and left.
“Well that’s the last I’ll see of him,” joked Ellen though inside she was hurting. Dave sensed this and tried to cheer her up.
“You’re still a lovely girl Ellen,” said Dave meaning it.
He remembered the forlorn teenager who’d applied for a job two years before. The person she’d grown to become was someone he admired and was quite fond of. Whatever people said about sex-swops Ellen was the walking example of why some people needed them she’d blossomed in a way he doubted she’d ever achieve had she stayed a boy and he was happy for her.
“Thank you Dave,” said Ellen gently. She’d always be grateful to this man for giving her the chance many would have denied her, Frank Hayes included.
They thought they wouldn’t see Lance Devlin again but two days later he returned triumphantly looking very excited.
Ellen was surprised to see him back because she was certain he’d been put off by her confession. In fact though he’d been taken aback he’d gone to check if transgendered girls were permitted to compete in women’s teams.
The answer was a provisional yes, they could compete after surgery and he was here to tell Ellen that, determined to sign her. She was the forward his team desperately needed and he would do anything to get her.
Ellen was stunned by this and she promised to consider it.
“Take it Ellen it’s a good deal and I know you’re working towards a degree, this will make it easier. Besides you don’t have anything tying you down here and if things don’t work out you’ve always got a job here,” Dave told her.
To be continued??
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