(aka Bike, est. 2007)
Copyright© 2013 Angharad
All Rights Reserved.
Some semblance of normality returned to the family over the next day or so, we were without Pia or Cindy and I wasn’t sorry about that, though Danni seemed to be here to stay for a bit longer. Given what had happened in Scotland, I wasn’t going to pressure Danni in any shape or form. If he was still running about in skirts in a week or two, I’ll pull him out of school and have him home educated or send him to St Claire’s. I wasn’t happy with the idea but there was no way I was going to cause him to do what Alice had done, which still saddened me and disturbed the children. Stephanie had been calling by each day to check on them for which I was very grateful.
We’d been home a few days when had a call from Mrs Cuddy. Apparently Alice’s father had turned up the worse for drink and demanded to speak to the Sassenach woman who’d corrupted his son and caused him to kill himself—which was a mortal sin.
Paul was at the castle at the time and he went ballistic. He told MacDuff a few home truths—that it was his failure to recognise his daughter’s needs and loading her with all sorts of guilt and negative feelings about herself and her life that caused her to take her own life. Not only that, but I was as Scots as he was. He tore the man off a strip for being drunk and told him that he had a week to pull himself together or he’d sack him.
I told her, “Good for Paul, I’m glad he was there to deal with it.”
“Och that’s nothing, he bumped in to Callum and his mum and he had a go at them tae. Callum’s mither told him whit wis whit, and when he accused Callum of being gay and corrupting his son, Callum punched him, knocking him doon.”
“We’re havin’ a service in memoriam to Alice, pity ye’ll not be here.” I took the date it was in two weeks, I’d have to see how I was fixed for a quick dash up and back by air.
I related all of this to Simon who sad Paul had told him he’d had a run in with MacDuff, and Simon agreed that he could sack him if necessary which seeing as it included a tied cottage, would cause the MacDuffs some discomfort. Paul had only relented from sacking him on the spot was because he knew the man was suffering from the death of his child, not wanting to kick him when he was down. I agreed which surprised Simon.
I was in my study, still analyzing and processing data from the survey when Danni came into my study and sat down on the sofa. “Can we talk, Mummy?”
“Of course we can, sweetheart.”
“I still don’t know what I want, I quite like being a girl, but I like playing football too.”
“You could play football as a girl, Trish does—in fact with both of you in the St Claire’s team, they’d probably win everything.”
“I don’t want to play girl’s soccer, I’m a boy really and I want to play boy’s soccer.”
“I see, you’ve a bit of a dilemma there haven’t you?”
She nodded. “I dunno what to do.”
We discussed what she thought she wanted to do most—play football with the boys, and what that entailed. I told her she could be a girl at evenings and weekends if she wanted, but she thought that wouldn’t be feasible as she played at the weekends and trained in the evenings.
I asked her if she’d spoken to Stephanie about it and she had briefly. Stephanie had suggested she talk it over with Simon and I but she didn’t want to discuss with her dad, feeling she was letting him down already by being all girly.
“Danni, sweetheart, your dad doesn’t feel you’ve let anyone down, especially him. He thinks you’ve been very brave in exploring this side of your life and he told me that you should take as long as you like. He wants you to be happy.”
He burst into tears and we hugged for a while. “When I saw her, hanging there, I knew she was dead, she looked awful—her face was all purple and her tongue was hanging out. I don’t want to die like that, Mummy.”
“There’s no reason you should, is there? Alice was tormented by her father’s inability to see her as she really was.”
“Like your daddy did with you?”
“For a while, yes, though I was more fortunate than Alice because I had more room to manoeuvre and I was a bit older thus able to resist my father and become myself.” I didn’t say that he’d nearly beaten me to death and that I’d tried to finish the job mainly because I didn’t want her to think it was the normal thing to do if life got very tough.
“I believe Alice became overwhelmed by the prospect of living as a girl and while much of her wanted to do it, she was frightened of doing it by herself.”
“But she had us, Mummy.”
“For a week or two, it would take months to learn to become a young woman.”
“She coulda come an’ stayed with us, then we coulda looked after her.”
“It’s a very kind idea, sweetheart, but not feasible.”
“Why not, she coulda shared my room.”
“It isn’t just about having a room, it’s also about the fact she’d have left everyone she knew behind, Callum and his mum, Mrs Cuddy even her family, for all the grief they caused her—she still loved them.”
“But it’s not fair, Mummy, she died because her dad was an arsehole.”
That’s not a very ladylike expression, is it?”
“But it’s true.”
“He might well be one, but I don’t wish to hear you saying it about him or anyone else.”
“She died because she got herself all muddled and couldn’t see the wood for the trees. It all looked so frightening and she couldn’t cope, which is so sad because she would have coped in time. All these things take time, but young people are in too big a hurry and don’t realise the implications and consequences of their actions.”
“I wish she hadn’t of died.”
I ignored the grammar and hugged her. “We all love you and want you to be happy, so you have to choose what you wish to do—which of these things is the priority and then we’ll try and sort out how you achieve them. You haven’t got to decide today have you?”
“Good, then let me know when you have to and what you decide and I’ll help you if I can.”
She nodded and the asked, “Is Pia going to become a girl?”
“I don’t know, kiddo, Pia isn’t my responsibility so I presume she’ll talk it over with her parents and then act upon it, but I suspect she might try to become a girl, though I don’t know if she’ll succeed. As you’ve discovered, it isn’t as easy as slipping into a dress, is it?”
“No it isn’t, it’s hard.” She examined her painted fingernails, “Look,” she urged me, “I only did these last night and they’re a mess already—now I’ll have to go and do them again.”
“You could always take the polish off and just go bare nailed.”
“Ugh no, I like painted nails.” With that, she wiped her eyes, blew her nose and went off to do a repair job on her manicure. Oh boy.
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