Blind Ambition –
The bride and groom looked radiant to all but one. Their journey to this moment started a while back, at the end of the junior year in high school for one of them. The three of them, mother, father, grown up child getting married reflected on the journey to this moment that began about seven years earlier.
Sorrel scooted along past the alley ways around to Ocean avenue from his home. He had one objective, to get to the Coach store to buy his mother a Mother’s Day gift. It wasn’t bad enough that it was in two days, but his classes at Carmel High School had been throwing too much homework at him at the end of the year, when he should be planning for summer break. Plus, he had completely spaced on getting her something for Mother’s Day. Good thing he could walk to the store. He reached into his pocket and grabbed his money roll. He counted what he had. Good, he had about four hundred dollars. He couldn’t disappoint her like he had last year.
He looked up and down the street and caught a glimpse of their sign at the corner. He crossed with the many tourists who frequent Ocean avenue and went into the store. The smell of tanned leather was intense as always. That was something he appreciated about the store. The smell of fresh leather was intoxicating. Almost like the tack room at the stables he worked at in the Carmel valley during the summer.
The older clerk noticed him and asked, “May I help you, son?”
“Yes, I would like to find something for my mother. I know she loves items from Coach.”
“What price did you have in mind?”
“I was thinking around one hundred and fifty. She has a ton of Coach purses. But, I was thinking about something for her cell phone would be nice.”
“What kind of phone?”
“A Motorola flip phone.”
“I know just the thing.” She pulled out a drawer of cell phone holders that attached to Coach purses. Sorrel looked them over and pointed to one with a smile on his face.
“How about that one?” he asked.
“One hundred and ten dollars.” she said half expecting him to say no. But he was desperate. His Dad was very firm that he not blow it this time.
“I’ll take it.” he said and handed her the money. “Can I get it gift wrapped?”
Impressed with the young man’s money and his acceptance of the cost of the item, she added, “Yes, and can I interest you in anything else young man?”
“No thank you, Ma’am. I have some other errands I need to do. Like find her a card or maybe some perfume.”
She wrapped up the holder in a box and put a ribbon around it. Then she placed it in a bag and handed it to him. “Saks has a stored on this side just a few blocks down. I think they have a nice perfume selection.”
“Thank you, Ma’am. That is what I was just thinking.” He lied. He knew he had gotten her all he needed to buy her except for the card which he was going to print on their computer. Going down to Saks was for a different reason. He wanted an excuse to look at the dresses while he tried sniffing different perfumes. When he was younger, his mother would take him into the store and shop. He would look at the dresses and see himself in them. They weren’t like the dresses his younger sister wore. No, they were elegant and stylish. They were adult dresses for ladies. His Mom would ask him which one he liked and he would enjoy telling her. He missed those days. That stopped when his mother began losing her vision from a genetic eye disorder. He wouldn’t have that problem because all four of the Stewart’s children were adopted.
Natalie Stewart’s growing blindness was one of the reasons for the cell phone holder. It was to make it easy for her to find her phone. The corners of her world were turning black and she could see less and less of Sorrel. Her son Rupert had gone on to become a doctor. Her son Stan was up at Stanford studying law and wanted to join her husband's law firm. That left just Sorrel and Leslie at home. So, as Mom, she could still bring up a phone number and call someone to take her to my school or a doctor’s appointment and still raise her children.
Sorrel spent about an hour down there checking out perfumes before he said no thank you. The scent of perfume and the time looking at dresses and ladies trying on dresses was nice, but now he had to go home.
Sunday, after Church at the mission, Dad, Joseph, drove them home, because she couldn’t drive anymore. His sister Leslie and he presented their gifts first. Leslie bought her a nice summer hat for lounging at the pool. Mostly to protect her eyes from the sun she could no longer see as well. It was a practical gift too. Mother smiled at daughter, but Sorrel and Leslie knew she didn’t like it too much. However, she understood why she needed it. She was thrilled with his gift. “Thank you Honey, now I can find my phone easily. You are so thoughtful.” His Dad nodded at his achievement. He had done well.
They packed up and went into the forest to the Beach and Tennis Club. After turning onto Seventeen Mile Drive, his Dad missed nearly hitting a deer. “Damn deer. They are such a nuisance in the forest.” The valet parked their car and they sat next to the window with a great view of the sixteenth green and the tee to the seventeenth hole. Once again, Dad regaled them with the story of how he had been standing in the gallery when Tom Watson chipped in his second shot thus assuring him the U.S. Open title in ‘82. Sorrel looked out the window. It was nothing but golf carts and duffers out there playing now. The view out to Stillwater cove was bright and sunny. The fog of summer had yet to arrive. Every student knew it. As soon as school ended, the fog would roll in and blanket the peninsula until September. It would be another cold summer. He wished he could wear cashmere and wool dresses.
The school year ended and Sorrel was relieved. He could focus on the upcoming summer performances at the Forest Theatre, an outdoor theater within walking distance of his home. He was the costume coordinator’s assistant this year meaning that he would be bringing home outfits to wash and clean. Made sense since he lived around the corner. Many of his friends worked at the theater too. Some went to Robert Louis Stevenson school in the Forest. Sorrel was supposed to go, but trying to save his mother’s eyesight, they decided to save the money and send him to Carmel High School for free. It wasn’t a bad deal, really. They were almost as rigorous academically as RLS and many of their students graduated and went on to attend Stanford and other elite schools.
Lesile and his Dad went up to Stanford to spend a week with Stan. It was his Mom’s request. Sorrel was unnerved at the prospect of taking care of his Mom for the week, but he knew that it was to give Dad a break.
“Sorrel, could you come into the living room and talk to me for a moment, please?” His Mom called out to him in his room where he had gone to hide and listen to his iPod. He knew he shouldn’t fake not hearing or else she would panic. They had had that discussion before. He crawled out into the living room like a banana slug and with about as much enthusiasm. He plopped down into a chair across from her so she could see him better.
“Son, we need to talk. The doctors are telling me that my stem cell treatments aren’t working and all the high tech attempts to save my vision are failing. Your Dad and I have decided to let happen what is going to happen.”
Sorrel began to tear up. He really did care for his mom. “Because of that, I need to talk to you about what Dr. Shaker has said to me about you. It was hard to ignore your important issues a few years back and put them aside except for the one medication we could give you. But I have come to understand it isn’t easy on you either to watch me go blind and I thank you so much for your support. Dr. Shaker says you need to spend a year being a girl to confirm your diagnosis of gender dysphoria and move your transition forward. Are you okay with starting that now?
For the first time in months, Sorrel began to feel good. He had been swept under the rug, understandably, by his mother’s condition. He loved his parents, but saving her sight was their top priority. His problems seem minuscule in comparison.
“Oh, yes Mom. Thank you. Is that why Dad and Leslie went away for a week, Mom?”
“Yes. So you and I could bond and get to work on you and your issues. But, one other thing is driving this special time I have arranged for us to have. I have an ambition to see you and Leslie all grown up. And this is your week with me. I have seen you in a tux for the prom, although, you took your cousin Jill. I have seen you at a wedding of your other cousin as a groomsman. In all other respects, I have seen you grown up as a man if I really think about it. What I haven’t seen is you grown up as a woman. If that is what you are going to become, I want to see it now before I lose all my vision. That is my ambition. I hope it is okay with you. I love you so much.”
“I love you too. How is that possible, Mom? I haven't grown up yet.”
“You work at the theater, right?”
“Well, I called the costume coordinator and talked to her about my problem and yours.”
“Mom, you didn’t! I really haven’t told anybody about my gender issues. Now the whole place will know. Although, they will find out soon enough anyway once I show up dressed as a girl. So, I guess there is no real harm. Sorry, Mom. Please continue.” He realized the moment he complained it was a moot point anyway. Stupid mouth, he thought.
“I’m sorry, I should have let you make the announcement. That was wrong of me. But I have this desire and I am scared. Can you forgive me?”
He went over and hugged his Mom. Tears flowed down his face. She was so kind and gentle. “Sure Mom. I really understand. I love you and trust you.”
“There’s my girl. I love you too. You have had to sacrifice so much to be a nurse maid to my eye sight. It really doesn’t seem fair, does it?”
Sorrel smiled, “Okay, Mom, what did Ms. Jackson say?” There really was excitement in his voice.
“Well, she is grabbing all sorts of costumes for girls including a wedding dress. She and a few girls are coming over tomorrow and they are going to dress you up and let me see what you would look like as a bride and a mom. Plus, they tell me they have a few surprises too to show me. It is going to be a modeling show of one, just you.”
“Then why send Dad away?”
“Because Leslie is having trouble accepting you as a girl right now. She is at that awkward age where her period is about to start and she is getting too emotional. Seeing you get all this treatment would hurt her ego and she just wouldn’t understand because of her lack of maturity. For lack of a better way to put it, let’s keep this just between us girls. This is our special week.”
“That is great, but I sense there is something more you want to tell me?”
“If you go into the den and open the closet, you will find that I have purchased clothes that fit you. They are everything you need to get started living as a girl for a year. Go in, get your stuff, put it in your room, and get dressed as who you really are.”
In the den, Sorrel found panties, shoes, pants, skirts, blouses, and many other things he knew he would need. He quickly took them to his room and began his transformation to being a girl. Coming out in a simple sun dress, he sat down in front of his Mom where she could see him.
“Oh, that looks lovely Dear. Come over and let me brush your hair. I think we should talk about a girl’s name for you. We named you Sorrel after your great grand uncle who fought in World War I as a pilot and survived being downed by the Red Baron. Your Dad and I like the following names. Sarah, Sandra, Scarlett, and Sylvia. Which one do you like?” She began to brush Sorrel’s long hair.
“Scarlett. It sounds like I don’t give a damn.” Sorrel said whimsically.
“Okay, but you are going to get a lot of Gone with the Wind jokes.”
“Yeah, you are right. I do like the name Sylvia. Where did you get that from?”
“Your great grandmother. She came over Donner Pass and settled in the area here in the late 1800s.”
“Okay, Sylvia then. It has a nice ring to it too. Sylvia Stewart.”
The rest of the day went quickly. They had pizza delivered and watched chick flicks together. The next day, Ms. Jackson arrived around nine. She brought a range of outfits and a couple of girls Sylvia knew from school. She found out that not only had they been informed about her gender issues, many of them were already aware of her reputation as a bit of a sissy at school. They were disgusted with the way Sylvia had been treated.
The gang got together and began to dress her and teach her about make up. It helped that she had been on hormone blockers for several years. She gave up the right to drive for blocking them. Sylvia found what she had learned during her theater classes was wrong. It was designed for spot lights. She needed lessons in morning, daytime, evening, and nighttime make up. They taught her how to walk in heels, how coordinate clothes, and talk.
That afternoon, she did a fashion show for her Mom who had been resting so her vision would be at its best. She saw Sylvia in a prom dress, a cocktail dress, a medieval dress, and finally a tennis dress. The evening finished with him wearing a single piece swimsuit. Each outfit gave her a chance to see how her daughter would look. But, the most important moment was Sylvia’s wearing of a wedding dress.
Her Mom cried and held her. “You make a beautiful bride!” she said. Everyone cried.
During the rest of the week, the gang of girls taught him every morning and then she took her mother on walks into Carmel where they shopped and had meals in eating places. Sylvia was able, thanks to the head start of the girls from the theater, to go into town looking and sounding like a girl.
Over the next few months, Natalie’s eyes failed. Darkness fell. Sylvia went on after a year to began her transition. By the age of nineteen, she was complete and beautiful. She began college late. The good news was that Rupert had opened an internal medicine practice down to the mouth of the Carmel Valley. Stan had joined his Dad’s legal firm. And Leslie was on track for being a doctor herself in pediatrics.
Sylvia took a different track. She enjoyed teaching. She got a degree from Northern Arizona University in teaching and went to work at an elementary school near her parents. It was there that she met Christian Sanders.
Today, with Leslie as her maid of honor, stood Sylvia in the wedding dress she had worn so many years ago for her mother. It was her something borrowed. Her bridesmaids were dressed in dresses that looked like the prom dress that Sylvia wore so many years earlier. Sylvia looked radiant and happy next to her groom, Christian Sanders. But, even better, her mother cried tears of joy because, thanks to her blind ambition, she had seen it all before it was too late.
Copyright © 2017 by AuP reviner
If you liked this post, you can leave a comment and/or a kudos!
Click the Thumbs Up! button below to leave the author a kudos:
And please, remember to comment, too! Thanks.