After the incident with Lindsey I couldn’t help but wonder what my friends back home would have thought about the new Mark? Because of the accident I hadn’t played with any of my guy friends since Dad went into the hospital. Being a small community word had spread quickly of my father’s accident and not being seen by anyone didn’t cause a stir. Now that my hair had been styled and not cut could bring the attention I had hoped to avoid, mainly me becoming a female model. I wasn’t too worried about being teased because whom ever did that to me knew what the result would be, a bloody nose courtesy of tough as nails, Mark James.
Mrs. Meyers paid for dinner, as I knew Mom couldn’t afford anything this extravagant. I would later learn Gloria wrote it off as a business expense and paid for with money earned from her fees for my services. Finishing dinner, we drove home, but with more conversation than usual. Most of the time we went to San Francisco our conversation ebbed by the time we reached Richmond as sleep over took our tired bodies, by not tonight. The excitement of dinner and being recognized by Lindsey kept us deep in conversation until we reached home.
“I couldn’t believe that girl coming right up to our table to ask if you were Amanda Flowers,” Cindy said.
“You’d better get used to it Amanda, you’re a celebrity now and this may have been the first time, but it certainly won’t be the last. It might even become a distraction in your life,” Gloria said.
“I didn’t mind, I thought it was kind of cool.”
“Speaking of distractions, school starts in another month and I’d like to know what we’re going to do with Amanda then?” Mom asked.
“That shouldn’t be a problem, Mom, My hair will be longer and I’ll just muss it up, no one will know.”
“I’m afraid that’s not possible,” Gloria said. “You’re Amanda Flowers now, and Amanda Flowers doesn’t let her hair look messy. You’ll be having it styled every two weeks until you opt out of your contract. You have two photo shoots scheduled already and as word spreads you’ll have many more. That signing bonus from Lush will look like beans compared to what other lines offer you. You’re going to be a very rich young lady.”
“Mark’s fellow students and his teachers will never put up with him being Amanda at school. He might be tough, but he’s not stupid and the bullies will just gang up on him. You know they could care less if a fight is fair.”
We sat quietly for several minutes. Mom was right about the bullies and I might have kicked Frank’s ass twice, but if I showed up at school as a girl even the non bullies would be more than happy to give Frank a hand. At the moment I didn’t feel so pretty anymore, I felt betrayed.
“I think there’s a solution,” Gloria said. “There is a private school in Auburn where rich parents send their kids just so they can avoid the unpleasantness of bullying in the public schools. Amanda could attend school there.”
“Gloria, there’s no way I could afford that, what with Lance in the hospital. I’m worried enough that his insurance is going to run out before he finishes his rehabilitation, so the added expense of private school is out of the question for Mark.”
“Rachel, we’re not talking about Mark here, we’re talking about Amanda and what’s best for her. Amanda could pay for the school out of the money she already has and barely make a dent in it. With the new clients she has that money will seem like a drop in the bucket. I can’t think of another solution other than Amanda giving up her career, but that’s your decision to make.”
“But what will happen to Mark?”
“I’m afraid Mark will have to be Amanda everyday for this to work. The school wouldn’t put up with a boy showing up when a girl is supposed to be there.”
“Gloria, I’m going to have to think about this. I don’t like what we’ve been doing to Mark so far and making him live, as a girl wasn’t what we signed on for. This modeling thing has gotten completely out of hand and if we continue with it, I don’t know what will happen to my son?”
“I know Rachel, and I’m sorry, but if you decide to have Mark back you can kiss Amanda’s career goodbye, that and the millions of dollars she will earn. If you decide to have Mark back I’ll understand and will support you any way I can.”
“Thank you Gloria, you’re a special friend.”
Gloria dropped us off and Mom got the mail. It was after one in the morning. She opened a letter from the Insurance Company handling Dad’s accident.
“No,” she wailed.
“What’s wrong Mom?” I asked.
“It’s the insurance company. They say Dad’s benefits will run out August seventh. He just started therapy and has shown slight improvement. We can’t stop now,” she said as her eyes filled with tears.
“Isn’t there something we can do?”
“Mark, honey, we don’t have savings and what little we have in the bank barely pays the bills as it is. We might have to sell the house to pay your father’s medical bills.”
I lowered myself onto the sofa and crossed my ankles to keep my legs together. In the dress I was wearing, exposure of myself was a real possibility, and even though Mom knew everything about me, I had become used to being a lady and not showing everything I owned.
“Mom, I think there’s something else we can do. We can use the money I make modeling to pay for Dad.”
“Mark, I won’t hear of it. That money’s for college and I won’t have you paying medical bills with it.”
“Mom I have more than enough for college, college and that private school in Auburn and Mrs. Meyers said I’m going to make a lot more.”
“But it’s your money.”
“I know Mom, and I want to spend it on Dad. I love my father so much and if I can help him get better than that’s what I want to do.”
“You’re so mature for a twelve year old boy.”
“Mom, I’m almost thirteen.”
“Of course, that does make a difference,” she chuckled.
Mom accepted my offer with hesitation and but the relief was clearly visible on her face. Her most serious concern, though, was what would happen to her pretty, pretty boy.
Mom informed Gloria that I would have to attend the school in Auburn, starting in September. Gloria was ecstatic because her meal ticket would continue to bring much-needed funds into her bank account. It’s not that Cindy’s father didn’t make good money, it was just that Cindy’s mom spent more than he made, so her little sideline, mainly me, allowed her to live the life she wanted to live.
The next two weeks were very busy for Amanda. We had two photo shoots, one for Lush and the other for a clothing line. Both were fun at first, but grew to be tedious by the end of the shoot. The clothing line wanted to shoot over two days so Mom and I stayed in the City so we wouldn’t have to drive back and forth to Colfax. I noticed the busier I got the more time I spent as Amanda, not that I’m complaining as I’ve grown quite fond of being her, it’s just that I miss being Mark. As much as I love being a girl a part of me misses the boy just as much. I’m not sure if it’s the boyish activities I miss or I actually just want to be a boy and Amanda is all an act? I’m sure I’ll know more after school starts and I have to be Amanda twenty four seven. This year is going to be a very interesting experiment for me.
With the photo shoots finished, Cindy and I just did kid things and spent lots of time watching our birds raise their babies in the oak tree. Our time at our special place was a wonderful distraction to all that was happening to me. I didn’t spend any time with the boys like I used to, mainly because of my hair, which was styled once again before the clothing shoot. Now I was able to be Mark again, only with a girl’s hairstyle, but I was still a boy once again.
Mom concentrated on enrolling me in school. The school in Auburn accepted me, well the Amanda me, and all I needed to enroll was a physical. Apparently Gloria had been spending time on that, knowing it would become an issue at sometime in the future.
“Rachel, I have a doctor in San Francisco that specializes in gender issues willing to take Amanda as a patient. I explained that Amanda needs a physical to enroll in school and she said it wouldn’t be a problem, so I made an appointment for next week. Dr. Williams asked if you could have Mark’s medical records forwarded to her before you saw her?” Gloria asked.
“I’ll call right away. I’m still very apprehensive of what we’re doing.”
“Don’t worry Rachel, you’re making the right decision and to be honest, how else would you afford to pay for Lance’s therapy?”
“I know Gloria, I feel so bad about what Mark is doing with his money. I just wish there was another way.”
The following week found me in the doctor’s office. I was dressed as Amanda and the appointment had been made in her name. The latest issue of Teen was on the table and I saw my picture on the back cover. I still had a hard time thinking of the girl in the picture as being me.
“Amanda, the doctor will see you now.”
Mom and I were led to a small room with an examination table, a chair and a computer monitor.
“Please put this gown on, the doctor will be right in,” the attendant said, handing me a paper gown, before closing the door.
I removed my clothes but left my panties on hoping I wouldn’t have to remove them.
The door opened and a woman in her early thirties entered the room. Her hair was pulled into a ponytail revealing a plain but kind face. Her eyes sparkled as a smile crossed her lips. I like her the moment I saw her and felt I could trust her.
“Hello Amanda, I’m Dr. Williams,” she said.
“I guess we should start with why you’re here today?”
“Amanda needs a physical for entry into her new school,” Mom interjected.
“I see, but why didn’t you go to your regular physician. I sure you’re aware that I specialize in helping children with special needs?”
“Dr. we know that and I’m sure you know Amanda is really a boy who needs digression with regards to his sex and medical needs?” Mom asked.
“So I gather her usual physician has never met Amanda?”
“Okay, let’s get the school problem out of the way and then I think we’re going to have to talk about some of Amanda’s other needs. Amanda, you’re going to have to remove your gown and I’m sorry to say, your panties too.”
I did as she asked and my examination began. I was poked and prodded, weighed and measured for height. The only part of the exam I didn’t like was when Dr. Williams felt my private parts, and even though she did it gently, I didn’t like it.
“We’re finished Amanda, you can put your clothes back on. Mrs. James, Amanda is in fine health and there’s no reason that she can’t attend school in the fall, but there are other issues we should address. Amanda has grown four inches in the last year and is just short of five feet tall. She’s going to turn thirteen in another month and I can almost guarantee her growth won’t stop for sometime. This brings us to a different problem for her. Amanda hasn’t started her puberty yet, or maybe I should say Mark hasn’t, but it could be any day now and if your wish is for Amanda to remain as feminine as possible, you shouldn’t let that happen. Amanda is a very pretty girl and if puberty was to start, that could all change. When I fist saw Amanda she looked familiar, and I still can’t place her?”
There was a copy on last months Teen in a magazine holder on the wall. I pulled it out and showed her the back cover with my picture on it.
“Of course, Amanda Flowers, the Lush girl, and they don’t know you’re a boy?”
“No, and I like modeling for them so I would hate to start looking like a man if I didn’t have to.”
“There is something I could do for you that would delay your puberty, but your mom will have to agree with what I would do to you. I could give you hormone blockers to delay puberty until you went off of them. There won’t be any damage to your body as long as we don’t keep you on them forever, but the sooner you decide the better the outcome will be. Now, there are other issues we need to discuss if Amanda is going to attend school as a girl. I can do my part with regards to your body, but there are legal issues that must be taken care of before you attend school. First is your legal identity and old school records. You’re a minor so changing your driver’s license won’t be a problem, but we’ll need to change every thing else about you. The only thing an attorney won’t be able to fix is your birth certificate, that is until you have surgery to change your sex. I’m not an expert on the legal aspect but I know a little about it and I have a friend who’s an attorney that handles issues like this. I’ll give you his number so you can take care of the legal end of your problem. Another requirement I have is that you see a mental therapist to work with you to find out who Amanda James really is? So, what do you think, do I start you on your blockers today?”
“Mom, can I, please?” I pleaded.
“Are you sure it won’t damage my son?” Mom asked.
“No Mrs. James, and from what I see of your daughter it would be the best thing you could right now.”
Mom’s face quivered with indecision. I knew what was going through her head; she didn’t want to lose her son.
“Mom, let Dr. Williams give me the shot. We don’t know how long Dad’s going to be in the hospital and you know what modeling means to him and me.”
Pulling the Dad card was playing dirty pool, but if I didn’t, I felt Mom wouldn’t go along with what I wanted, and that was to live as Amanda to see if I really wanted to be a girl or go back to being Mark when I tired of the femininity I was drawing myself into. I saw Mom’s face give in with a look of defeat.
“Okay, go ahead with the treatment and give me the names of the people you want us to see. I hope we’re not making a mistake Amanda.”
We left the doctor’s office, me with sore buttocks and Mom with a scowl on her face. I wish she would be more accepting of what I was doing, but I could see her point of view too. I was her son and Dad’s too, even though he couldn’t remember me as Mark. We were a happy family, and Dad was a loving husband and father who adored his son, a mother who thought she had the prettiest boy ever for a son, and me, a well adjusted boy, who was being taught how to be a real man, by a man who knew how to treat people with respect, no matter how they lived their lives. He taught me to avoid a fight, unless it couldn’t be avoided, and then fight for all I was worth to gain the respect of my opponent, never hurt anyone or say hurtful things. My father was the best teacher I ever had. Now Mom had made the decision to not allow me to mature into the man my father hoped I would be and to make things worse he didn’t even remember his son, but loved his daughter to pieces. I just hoped my mother would come to love her daughter as much as my father does.
Mom filled the prescription for my daily doses of blockers and called the attorney. He said he would forward all the paperwork to us and to drop it off at our convenience. Mom explained that time was of the essence since school would be starting in less than a month. He said he would take care of everything.
The last thing Mom did was call the mental therapist and made an appointment for me. I would start seeing him the next time we visited dad. The last thing on the menu was getting me sorted out clothing wise for the fall season at school. Mom suggested we wait until Cindy could come along as she had much better clothes sense that my mother had. I agreed.
Cindy, Gloria, Mom, and I went shopping the next day. Gloria directed us to a mall in Sacramento that had some nicer stores, like Nordstrom’s and Macys. You get what you pay for was her mantra so we spent the next six hours shopping till we dropped.
“Couldn’t we have found just as nice clothes at Wal-Mart?” Mom asked, as Gloria paid the bills with the funds from my bank account.
“Rachel, Amanda is going to a school where the students would never be seen dead in a store like that. You can tell from the quality and fit they’re from Macys, no Wal-Mart just wouldn’t do.”
Thus started my life as a girl, not that I wasn’t a girl before, but I had been Mark trying to be Amanda. Now I would be Amanda and Mark would be the forgotten one. Could I really forget that I was Mark deep down inside? Maybe, maybe not.
The following week I met my therapist. He was a medium height man, probably five nine or ten. I had expected him to have a goatee and wire rimed glasses, just like in the movies, but I was wrong. Dr. Adams had a kind clean-shaven face, merry brown eyes and a cheerful smile. He carried and extra ten pounds that gave him a softer look with out looking overweight. His voice was soft but carried authority.
“Hello Amanda, it’s nice to meet you, I’m Dr. Adams and we’ll be visiting regularly for a while, I hope,” he said.
“It’s nice to meet you.”
“I understand you’re quite the popular young lady?”
“Umm, I don’t know about that.”
“No need to be modest, Amanda, I researched you before you came to see me and I know about Amanda Flowers. You’re a very pretty young woman.”
“I also know about your former identity and I’m sure that’s why you’re here. I have quite a number of patients like you, trying to sort out their gender concerns. Today, I’d like to get a feel of who Amanda James is and we won’t be talking much about why you want to become a girl, but what your likes are and why you’re dissatisfied with your life.”
“I’m not dissatisfied with my life.”
“Maybe I phrased that wrong and should have said dissatisfied with your sex?’
“I’m happy with my sex, it’s just that it’s complicated.”
“And how’s that?”
And so it started, as I explained how my mom and I had our little ritual and my father teaching me to be a man. None of what we had done when I was younger had anything to do with how I felt about my sex and that I fell into modeling by chance, but now that my father was in the hospital I needed to be Amanda Flowers to help pay for his treatment.
“And how do you feel about this kind of responsibility?”
“I don’t mind, he’s my father and I love him dearly. I’d do anything for him.”
“Even change your sex?”
“If I had to, to make him better I would.”
“I see, and would you change your sex to make yourself happier?”
“I don’t understand the question?”
“What I’m asking is whether or not you would change your sex right now if given the opportunity?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Then why are you here?”
“I want someone I can talk to about my concerns of being a girl and whether I really want to be one. I love being Amanda, but I love being Mark too and I’m going to start living as Amanda for reasons other than my sexual concerns. It’s something I have to do so if I come here and cry my heart out I hope you’ll be able to help me?”
“I want you to feel free to say what ever you want when you’re with me. Anything you say stays in this room and I won’t share it with anyone, even your mother.”
“Yes, I promise. Amanda, I’m sorry if I sounded harsh with you but I wanted to get to know the real you, and I think I have some insight now as to where you’re coming from. The next sessions will be much easier from now on and I look forward to seeing you next week.”
“Thank you, Dr.”
Mom and I returned home and I called Cindy.
“Hey, I’m home,” I said, when she answered the phone.
“What did the doctor say?”
Cindy has always one not to mince words so you always knew where you stood with her and also knew she didn’t want to waste time before getting to what she wanted to know.
“Nothing much, we just talked.”
“Did you tell him you’re a girl inside?”
“Of course not, even I don’t know that for sure.”
“Yes you do, you just won’t admit it.”
“Cindy, I don’t know why you keep saying that?”
“Because you are a girl, everything you do is how a girl does things, you just don’t see it.”
“Like you’re considerate and love the same things I do. It’s like the birds in the meadow; boys don’t like watching the way they live. Boys want to shoot them with a BB gun. You would never do something like that. It’s just the way you are.”
“My father wouldn’t either, but that doesn’t make him a girl.”
“I know Amanda, it’s just, I don’t know, you’re different. I can’t explain it.”
“Maybe Dr. Adams will help me see the same thing you do, or maybe he’ll show me that I’m really a boy who likes girls clothes.”
“Amanda, its not the clothes, it’s you. Even when you’re dressed as Mark, you’re a girl. You’re my best friend and I love you.”
I still dressed as Mark when we were home. Mom didn’t want the neighbors to be shocked to learn Amanda Flowers was living next door, well actually Amanda James because even though we rarely saw them, they had met Mark more than once. What would happen when school started might become an issue, but we would worry about that when the time came.
We returned to Dr. Adams the next week for another session in the life of Amanda James.
“Hello Amanda, I trust your week went well?”
“So, anything you’d like to talk about today?”
“Maybe about me, the Amanda me.”
“You can do that, what would you like to tell me?”
“My best friend thinks I’m a girl.”
“Cindy. She’s the one who saw me for the first time with mascara on. Her mother got me into modeling.”
“I see, and why does she say you’re a girl.”
“She say’s I’m a girl inside because I do things like a girl. I told her I didn’t know if that was true because I like being a boy.”
“I see. I have to ask, you’re here as Amanda and yet you say you like being a boy. Why haven’t I seen Mark yet?”
“It’s a long story,” I said, not wanting to admit I’d rather be Amanda when I saw him.
“We have all hour Amanda and I’d really like to hear your explanation.”
“When I come here I also visit my father in the hospital and after his accident he only remembers me as Amanda. My mom and I think it would be best that I don’t upset him by showing up as Mark. He’s having enough trouble trying to remember things before the accident. He also can’t walk because of the brain damage he sustained so I always visit him as Amanda.”
“I see, and how do you feel about that? Would you like to become Mark just once to see his reaction?”
I sat quietly for a moment before I answered.
“And why’s that?”
“I like being his daughter. When I was Mark my father and I had a special connection. We did everything together, played ball and fished, watched all the sports programs on ESPN; you know we just did guy stuff. Now that I’m Amanda his daughter things are different between us. He treasures every moment I’m with him and when he holds me in his arms I feel as though I’m the luckiest girl in the world.”
“You wouldn’t feel the same way if you were Mark?”
“No, it’s different. I love my father so much and if being a girl will help him then I’ll be a girl for the rest of my life.”
“That sounds nice Amanda, but pleasing your father is no reason to become a girl. That choice has to come from here,” he said, pointing at his head.
“Can I still be Amanda and go to school as a girl?”
“Yes of course. I’m not saying you’re not a girl, what I’m saying is not to rush into something to please your father, or your friend Cindy, or anyone else who thinks you should be a girl.”
“What about my modeling career?”
“What about it?”
“Can I still be a model?”
“Yes you can, but something you should think about is how long you’re going to be one. As you grow older your clients will expect to see changes in your body. I’m sure you should be okay for a few years, until your fifteen or sixteen, but then, if you’re still a girl with a boy’s body you might lose everything you’ve gained. You’re what, thirteen? You have several years before a decision as important as hormones has to be made, and hopefully we’ll have an answer as to whether you’re a boy or girl.”
“Is it wrong for me to like being a girl so much?”
“Amanda, there’s no wrong or right answer to that question. What’s important is how you feel about being Amanda or being Mark for that matter. Our session is almost over, so I want to give you some homework to do before you come back next week. I want you to think about whether you’d rather be Amanda or Mark and you didn’t have a modeling contract and your father was healthy again. Pretend he knows Mark and Amanda and that he would love either person as much as the other. The same goes for your mother and how she feels about Amanda and Mark. Don’t let your friend Cindy influence your decision. Make it for yourself. Who would you be most happy being for the rest of your life?”
Mom and I visited my father after seeing Dr. Adams. Who did I want to be? I knew my mother wanted her son back, and my father wished he could spend more time with his daughter. Most of all I just wanted to be held in my father’s arms and have him tell me how much he loved his little girl.
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