‘What’s up Tommy, you look like you’ve seen a ghost?’
Previously from Chapter 2…
Eventually my home came into view. My heart started pounding, as I got closer. I was dreading what I might find. I didn’t think that I could take any more in the shocks department.
I stood at the gate and looked at the cottage. It all looked a bit shabbier to be honest and the garden wasn’t as well kept. Behind the windows were some rather drab looking deep red velvet curtains. The windows looked like they could do with a bit of paint too.
It was my home and yet it wasn’t.
I opened the gate and it squeaked.
Our gate was always well oiled, I knew that because it was my job to keep it squeak free.
Walking up the path, I dreaded what was going to happen. Would mum recognise me? Would she ask who I was? Would Nan be there and reject me?
I hadn’t seen my face. Maybe I looked different. I might not look anything like the boy they knew, even though my nametag said that I was Thomas Tucker.
Another thought struck me.
Perhaps they didn’t even live there.
I swallowed and then hesitantly knocked on the door.
I knocked again a bit louder.
I heard footsteps coming towards me and I thought about the possibility of running away. But I was a boy and girls run away, boys don’t.
I stood there and waited.
The door opened and…
And now the story continues…
He looked at me strangely.
‘What’s up Tommy, you look like you’ve seen a ghost?’
‘Come on in. where’s your key, not lost it again?’
‘No, I mean, I don’t know.’
I followed him into the cottage. It all looked a bit different form the other cottage, if you know what I mean. It was somehow a bit darker and not so feminine. I looked around, wondering where Mum was, maybe in the kitchen?
Dad went off into the sitting room, which was good, as I didn’t fancy explaining away the unbelievable sight of him there after being dead for over a year.
I went into the kitchen and I nearly died of shock. Mum wasn’t there, but Nan was and she didn’t look ill at all. She had had a stroke and she should have been in the nursing home, but here she was as large as life and to be honest, looking as fit as a fiddle.
The last time I saw her, she was in a nursing home following a stroke. She had been frail for some time and had gone from a fit, vibrant person to close on a vegetable and now she was here and looking the picture of health…
She turned towards me and smiled.
‘Hello Tommy, you look a bit pale love, are you okay?’
‘Well, don’t just stand there, peel some spuds for me. I’m staying for tea and then I have a meeting at the Women’s Institute.’
Although the kitchen was of a different design to what I was used to, luckily the drawers seemed to hold the same stuff and I grabbed the peeler and then did as I was asked.
‘Have a nice day at school Tommy?’
‘I said did you have a nice day at school today?’
‘Oh, no, I mean yes, it was all right, I suppose.’
‘Did those boys give you any grief?’
‘Erm, Mike Furbin and Tony Hart, I think that’s their names.’
‘So that’s who they were,’ I thought.
‘They did try something, but I managed to get away from them.’
‘That’s good. If they don’t stop what they are doing, your dad swears that he is going to talk to their parents and give them a piece of his mind.’
‘Right,’ I replied, not really knowing what my response should be.
‘Don’t forget that you promised to go to the cemetery later.’
I looked up at her as she busied herself at the cooker.
‘Why?’ I asked.
She looked at me again and she looked sad.
‘You were going to tidy up the headstone and memorial, remember?’
‘Erm headstone and that?’
She sighed and then turned to me.
‘Tommy, I know that your mum has been dead for a long time now and you don’t really remember her much, but it won’t hurt you to go and look after the grave and change the flowers sometimes–Tommy, what’s the matter?’
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, my lovely Mum dead?
I burst into tears.
This was all too much. I had somehow been transported to another place where everything I knew was different. I had gained my dad and my nan was well again, but against that my mum had died years ago.
What did it all mean?
I was in my nan’s arms as she tried to make me feel better.
‘What’s up?’ said my dad from behind me.
‘Tommy’s upset about something.’
‘What’s wrong Tommy?’
‘What about her?’
‘Of course she is.’
‘She died of cancer when you were three. You know this. Why are you upset all of a sudden?’
‘I…I miss her.’
Dad came over then and we all had a group hug. It was nice to feel them close to me but all of this was still a big shock to me. Everything that had happened in the last few hours didn’t make any sense. Why was I here and what had happened to make me cross to over to this place; a place that was so much like my other life, but at the same time, oh so different?
Somehow I found myself in the sitting room, which once again was the same but differently decorated.
Dad had gone off somewhere and it was my nan who comforted me.
‘Look Tommy, it’s terrible that your mum is no longer with us, but we have to just go on and muddle through like we have for years now. I know your dad has never recovered from loosing her, but we had hoped that as you were so young when she left us, you wouldn’t feel the same pain. She was my daughter and I too have had painful moments. But life goes on and we must look forward and not back.’
‘I…I know nan, but, oh, I can’t explain.’
If I told her all that had happened, I would have a one-way ticket to the funny farm.
Tea was a strange affair, as I didn’t want to say anything that might give the game away and the others were concentrating on feeding their faces. However, I could tell somehow that both my dad and nan were upset about my little outburst earlier.
I was let off washing up, as I had to go to the cemetery to visit mum. I took the flowers that nan had bought earlier and with a quick goodbye, I made my way out of the cottage, down the lane to the village and then up the short hill to the church.
The churchyard was as well kept as it had always been. As I went under the arch, I shivered slightly. It was a place that never held happy memories to me. My father had been buried there and I had visited his grave regularly with and without mum.
Somehow I just knew that my mum in this reality was going to be buried in the same plot and I walked down the path with dread at what I might see. I still couldn’t believe that she had died here and that I was visiting her grave rather than that of my father.
As I walked, I glanced to my right and left and noted that the gravestones all looked pretty much the same as before. So it appeared that much of this world was the same as it had been in mine and only appeared to be different in respect to my family and home.
Without thinking I had arrived at the graveside and there she was.
1984 – 2005
There is no death!
The stars go down to rise upon some other shore,
And bright in Heaven’s Jewelled shine forever more.
I collapsed in a heap, the flowers dropping on the ground around me. I was oblivious to everything around me and couldn’t understand what was happening. After all I had gone through, I was now confronted with my mothers resting place. I had prepared myself for that, but I had not envisaged seeing what I had just seen on the gravestone.
In my mind’s eye, thinking about the many times I had visited my fathers grave in my other life, I had the final resting place of my dad, etched on my memory.
Over there, my dads’ grave was the same as this one here, apart from the dates and the name difference and also the fact that the stone was more weathered. Also, unbelievably, the epitaph was exactly the same wording as my mothers one here!
I sat on the grass for a few moments, my thoughts all confused. What did it all mean? Were the two realities somehow linked?
Over here, my mum had died several years ago, over there; Dad had died just over a year ago. So reality and time-lines were different, but there was a strong link, otherwise why was this grave so similar to the one over there?
My head was spinning with all this going on. It almost seemed like a side issue that I had not only been transported here, but that I was also changed physically from being a girl and into a boy.
You could say that all my dreams had come true by my now being a boy instead of some travesty in female form. But I had lost so much too; more than anything my lovely Mum, who I loved dearly. I wondered what was happening over the other side.
I tried to pull myself together. I had to be strong and not a weakling. I had suffered for so long, living as a girl. Now I was a boy and I would have to make some sort of sense about what had happened to me and to those people around me who I loved.
I had to assume that I had swapped bodies with another version of me. Nothing else made any sense.
I had crossed over to this reality and had changed physically from a girl to a boy. Somehow, I knew, whether by some sort of sixth sense or other mumbo-jumbo, that the Tommy over here had changed to Tanya on the other side.
So, here I was with my dad alive and nan fit and well, but my mum dead for many years.
I sat and pondered that for a while. After a few minutes, I pulled out the dead flowers from the vase in front of the headstone and replaced them with the ones that I had brought with me.
There were a few weeds about the memorial and I pulled them out of the grass and then cleared everything up and placed the discarded weeds and flowers in the bin by the path.
Then I returned to my mothers’ grave and sat down on the grass again. As I traced my finger along the name etched onto the marble, I felt a slight tingling sensation through my fingertips. I shivered slightly and then I felt calmer than I had since all these strange things had started to happen to me.
I realised that my mum wasn’t dead in the other place; she was alive and that gave me some comfort as did the fact my nan, here and now, was not sick, but well and full of beans. I had to accept my situation. I was here now and it was probable that I would never have the chance to return back from where I came from; just as my alter ego would be in a similar situation and would have to make the best of it as well.
I could not change what had happened, but must make the best of it. There was no point in telling anyone what had happened to me, as no one would ever believe such a fantastic tale.
I got up and looked down at mums’ grave.
‘Bye Mum, I’ll be back lots of times and I’ll tell you all that happens to me.’
I walked back down the path, through the arch, and out into the lane.
I arrived home and dad was in the hallway, putting on his shoes.
‘hi Tommy, sorted out mum’s grave?’
‘Yes, sorry about earlier.’
‘What, you getting upset?’
‘Don’t worry mate, I get upset sometimes too. I never want you to forget your Mum; she was one in a million.’
‘Yes she is, I mean was.’
‘Look, I have to pop out and get some milk. Your nan drinks tea like a fish and we’ve run out. Will you be okay for a while or do you want to come with me?
‘I didn’t know that fish drank tea. I’ll be fine and anyway, I think I might have homework to do.’
‘Don’t you know if you have any then?’
‘Erm yes, I have. Anyway, I’ll see you later.’
‘Right, I’ll be off then.’
He smiled at me and then went out, closing the door behind him.
‘Nan,’ I shouted.
There was no reply and then I remembered her saying something about a W.I. meeting.
I went upstairs to Tommy’s, now my room and as soon as I opened the door, I winced. The place was eerily tidy. The walls were of pastel colours and I wondered if I had gone into the wrong room. I went out again and looked in the other bedrooms. The nearest one was the guest room and it looked like nan used it as it had all sorts of knick-knacks that I recognised from the other side. More cross over things for me to think about.
I then went to my dad’s room and opened the door. It was more of a man’s room than anything else, but it was tidy enough and lacked what my Mum would call the woman’s touch.
Going over to the double bed, I noted that one of the bedside tables had nothing on it except a clock. The other one had lots of items that looked like dad’s. Towards the rear of the table stood a photo in a silver frame. I smiled as I saw Mum and Dad together when they were a lot younger and in Mum’s arms was a baby–me– wrapped up in what looked like a white shawl or blanket.
Mum and Dad looked so happy and proud standing there and I got a bit of a lump in the throat...
Turning away, I made my way out of the room and back into what I knew was now my room.
I went over to the wardrobe and opened the doors. Inside were some boys’ things to wear and for that I was happy, although I didn’t seem to have much to choose from, being in the main, boy’s school uniforms like the one I was wearing now. To the side were a few dresses, blouses and other girly items. I noted that they all looked as if they had seen some wear and it was the sight of these that made my mind click into gear as another puzzle piece was put into place.
Before crossing over to this reality, I was a boy in a girl’s body. Now my body matched my mind. What if Tommy had been in the same situation as I was as Tanya? It seemed possible, if not likely that Tommy was now Tanya on the other side and her body matched her mind too!
Once again I had a strange sensation where I just knew that that was what had happened.
Both our minds now matched our bodies and we were both living in the right gender.
But at what a cost?
I had lost Mum and found Dad and she had lost Dad and found Mum, with the added complication regarding Nan.
I shook my head. All this was too confusing. I would give my brain a rest and get back to more practical matters.
My school backpack was on the bed, I had carried it back from the cottage where the change had happened, but not really paid much attention to it. I didn’t much like the purple colour. Mine over the other side had been black and that suited me down to the ground. This one had too many girlie overtones and I vowed to ditch it at the earliest opportunity and then get myself one that more fully matched my boyish tastes.
I pulled several items out of the bag, including a notebook that had pink cover. There were some schoolbooks in the bag including some notes on homework.
The first thing I noted was that the handwriting was very similar to mine, in fact, almost the same. However, it looked slightly more flowery, and maybe girlie. The way the ‘i’s’ were dotted with tiny circles rather than dots and letters like y and g seemed to have more of a flourish to them all pointed to a more feminine look to the handwriting.
Reading the notes on the homework required, showed me that exactly the same questions were being asked of me here as had been asked for over the other side. The two ‘worlds’ if you want to call them that, seemed to running almost identically. Although, I must admit not to knowing the boys who tried to attack me when I fell though the portal or whatever and found myself confronted by those Neanderthals.
That meant nothing as the school was a large one and I knew only a few people well in school.
Still, it was all a bit of a puzzle wasn’t it?
I turned around and noticed a poster on the wall and that made me stop and think a bit.
I had one on my wall over the other side. It was in blue and said the same but ended with boy instead of girl.
Why wasn’t I surprised?
The rest of the day was pretty much doing my homework and trying to sort out what clothes I had to wear. It was obvious to me that the other ‘me, didn’t have much fondness for boys clothes and it was only by sorting through drawers and on top of the wardrobe that I found several items that would be more suited to my manly body rather than the rather feminine ones that that my alter ego seemed to prefer. She, as I now preferred to call her, looked like she preferred panties to male pants. She even had a selection of nighties that looked well used.
I wondered whether my father and nan approved of this, but I didn’t feel like broaching the subject unless they did. Anyway, it was obvious to me that I didn’t have enough clothes to be going on with, as even the male type clothes looked a bit androgynous and not quite what I would have worn, given the choice.
I changed out of my school uniform and noted, with distaste that I was actually wearing panties! How she hadn’t been found out, I would never know, but I quickly pulled them off and then there they were, in all their glory. The things that I had wanted all my life, the things that I had prayed for all my life…
I didn’t want to touch them as they might disappear in a puff of smoke or maybe I might wake up and the dream would have gone and I would still have a slit down there.
Then I was aware that I had to use the toilet anyway, so I didn’t waste any time and making sure the coast was clear, I dashed across the corridor and shut myself in the bathroom.
I wouldn’t normally discuss or write about bodily functions, but you can understand that this was an unusual situation. For those with a delicate disposition, please look away or jump to the next section...
I was about to sit down as usual to have a wee, but then I grinned, realising that I didn’t need to do that anymore. I stood proudly and pointed my equipment down at the toilet bowl and let go.
Of course, I missed and sprinkled wee everywhere except into the bowl. I didn’t realise that this method of going to the toilet was somewhat hit and miss. Eventually, I got the hang of it, but it was always a problem and in the end I preferred to sit down as there was less chance of an ‘accident’ doing it that way.
Mind you, I couldn’t wait for the snow and then I could attempt to write my name…
After cleaning up my mess, I went back into the bedroom, put on a t-shirt, real men’s pants–well boys’ anyway–socks and jeans. I brushed my hair out and marvelled at the fact that I would only need ten minutes to get ready in the morning now.
I went downstairs and found Dad in the sitting room reading the paper. I was still more than slightly freaked out at seeing him sitting there rather than Mum, but I was getting more used to things now and comforted myself that I considered my mum to be alive, but ‘elsewhere’.
Dad looked up as I walked in and the smile sort of froze on his face.
‘Wasup Dad?’ I enquired as I plonked myself down in an armchair across from him.
He looked at me with what looked like some confusion.
‘Erm, not wearing a blouse and skirt then?’
‘No, why should I? I’m a boy.’
‘I need some new clothes, the ones I’ve got are gross.’
‘Erm, more g…girls clothes?’
‘No, of course not, boys stuff.’
He put his paper down; his hands, I noted, were shaking slightly.
‘Are you all right?’
‘Yea, course I am, why?’
He looked at me for a moment, took a deep breath and then spoke.
‘Tanya, I mean Tommy, ever since I found that stash of clothes you hid behind the bath panel, I have let you wear the girls clothes around the house that you wanted to wear. We had stopped you, I know from wearing girls things, but your psychiatrist said that you should be able to express yourself and discover the real you. Your nan and I have let you do that and you’ve been happy. Now you say that you want to wear boys’ clothes all of a sudden. Is this anything to do with the fact that you broke down earlier?’
‘You mean because of Mum?’
‘It isn’t because of that, it’s because I…I need to try to be a boy for a while. To see if I can fit in normally.’
‘Ever since you were little, you have been convinced that you are a girl.’
‘I…I can change my mind.’
He once again looked at me with those piercing eyes and then nodded slowly.
‘All right, we’ll go shopping tomorrow and get you more clothes. Are you sure about this?’
‘As sure as I’ll ever be.’
In bed that night, I thought of all the things that had happened to me that day. I had managed to find some boys pyjamas, obviously an unwanted present, but they were what I wanted now and I knew that they would get plenty of use.
The shock was wearing off now and I was getting more used to being in a boys body. It was strange that I was ultra-aware that I now had boys’ genitals. I could feel them when I walked and sat and even lying in the bed, I was always aware of them. No doubt, in time that would change and I would just treat them as a normal part of my body, but for now, it was all new and rather exciting.
I wondered how things were going with Tanya over the other side. Was she experiencing changes that she never thought she would? Things were so different now for both of us.
It would be my first day at school tomorrow as a real boy. How would I be treated and would the bullies like those that I had encountered earlier be there and try to hurt me.
Tanya would have similar problems and I hoped that she fitted in okay.
One thing was sure; I would not let anyone stop me being who I really was–a boy.
Please leave comments and kudo thingies...thanks! ~Sue
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