Summer Wine

Originally posted 2006-12-08
Synopsis:

Summer Wine

Strawberries cherries and an angel ´s kiss in spring
My summer wine is really made from all these things

Mmm-mm summer wine

by Dru

Story:

Summer Wine
by Dru

I stand here wondering how it came to this and how my life has changed. I wonder what might have been, but then realize that I am in fact happy with my life as it is.

* * *

I remember when it all started. It was in the summer of 1967 when I was twelve years old. I was your typical young boy. I grew up in a small Midwestern town in Indiana. I was the only child of my parents. Back then I did what all young boys did during the summer, played pickup games of baseball or basketball, threw footballs around and rocks at each other and hung out with my friends. Girls were not an issue yet, but they were on the near horizon. My best friend Jim Harris and I lived a block from each other and if I wasn’t at his place he was at mine. Jim had a sister, Liz, who was two years older than Jim and me. At fourteen she was going to be a Freshman in high school in the fall and considered herself to be all grown up. Since Jim and I were going into seventh grade we weren’t worthy of her notice.

Me, I was just a scrawny kid. I was five feet-four and a proud ninety-five pounds. Hey, for a boy going into junior high that wasn’t too bad. Since we lived in a small town most of the boys played sports. Jim was big for his age and was our pitcher, quarterback and center on the basketball team. Me, I was the second baseman, halfback and point guard. It was a good time to be a boy and summer was the best time of all.

Both of Jim’s parents worked. The result was that Liz thought she was the head of the house when Jim and I were there. Normally, that wasn’t a problem. However, sometimes she just had to push an issue. Jim being bigger than I would stand up to his sister and tell her no. However, for me it was another issue. Liz and I were about the same size, but she was just enough bigger that whenever we wrestled I would normally end up on the bottom.

It all started one day at lunch in mid-July. Jim and I had eaten lunch at Jim’s and I were on our way out the door to meet the guys for a pick up game of baseball. Liz made it clear that we weren’t going anywhere until the dishes were done. I made the mistake of saying that doing dishes was “women’s work.” With that I found myself spun around by Liz, pushed up against the sink and an apron around my neck. Jim fell off his chair laughing and Liz stood there while I did the dishes and then wiped off the counter. We finally beat a hasty retreat out of the house. Of course when we got to the ball field, Jim had to tell everyone what happened. Being one of the guys I had to laugh with them, if I had pouted about it the teasing would only have gotten worse.

After that day, if we ate lunch at Jim’s house and Liz was there it was my job to do the dishes. Hey, if I’m eating their food, I guess it was only fair that I helped clean up (at least that’s how I rationalized it.)

***

The first two weeks in August Jim went away to a camp. His parents were a little better off than mine and I was told we couldn’t afford for me to go. I didn’t really now what I was going to do for two weeks. Yeah I could hang with the guys but it was always Jim and me and the guys. Something didn’t feel right with Jim being gone. Shortly after Jim left for camp Liz called one morning and asked if I could come over and help her move some things. I didn’t have anything else to do so I agreed. When I arrived, she called down from upstairs to come on up. I went up the stairs and then into her room. She wanted to rearrange her bedroom and wanted me to help move her furniture. I wasn’t thrilled but since I was already there I decided to help.

Things went well until I was backing up carrying a small table. The floor rug had gotten balled up and as I stepped backwards I tripped over the rug. I had the table in my hand and couldn’t drop it so I fell backwards on my back. I learned later that I had fallen against her makeup table and then landed on the floor. Apparently a bottle of perfume fell off the table, hit the table I was holding and broke open. The perfume soaked my tee shirt, shorts and underwear. I don’t think I passed out, but I was kind of groggy. As I was coming around and trying to focus, Liz was hovering over me asking if I was all right. When she decided I would live she yanked my tee shirt off. I asked her what she was doing and she said I needed to get out of the clothes and she would wash them to get the perfume smell out of them. She told me to strip and handed me a short robe that was hanging on the back of her closet door. I reluctantly agreed and handed her my shorts, socks and tee shirt. She told me to put the robe on and take off my underpants. Once I did that off she went to put my clothes in the washer.

I of course stood there looking around wearing her short silky robe and wondering what I had gotten into. When she came back, she told me to go take a shower since I smelled like a French whore house. She told me she would get me some clothes to wear and would put them in the bathroom. While I was in the shower, I heard the door open and then close. Even after scrubbing for ten minutes with Ivory ® soap I couldn’t get all the perfume smell to go away.

As I stepped out of the shower, I noted the pile of clothes laying on the bathroom counter. There was a tan pair of shorts a purple tee shirt and underwear. The only problem was they were girls’ shorts, tee shirt and underwear. I also noticed that the robe I had been wearing earlier was gone. I yelled through the door at Liz and asked her what she was thinking. She said that Jim’s clothes wouldn’t fit me but since she and I were about the same size I could wear her clothes. I resigned myself to the inevitable and started to get dressed. She had given me a pair of white lace underpants. They weren’t cotton but I didn’t know what they were made of at the time. All I know is as I pulled them up my legs I was amazed at how nice they felt. I then grabbed the shorts and found that they fit well. When I picked up the tee shirt, something fell on the floor. It was a bra. I yelled at Liz and she giggled and then claimed that I couldn’t wear that tee shirt without a bra. After a few seconds I struggled into the bra and looking in the mirror I saw a young girl looking back at me. For some reason the bra looked like it belonged and as I pulled the soft purple tee shirt on I smiled at the person looking back at me from the mirror. I tried to get a grip on myself but I couldn’t deny that I liked what I saw and how I felt.

I slowly opened the bathroom door and there stood Liz. She didn’t laugh, she merely looked at me and said I looked nice. I said, “yeah for a boy wearing girl’s clothes.” She then wrinkled her nose, smiled and said I smelled good too. I shook my head and wondered if it could get any worse. Yes, and it did. Soon I found myself in front of her makeup table. She worked on my hair and wound up putting it in a short braid. Then she put on some eye makeup, mascara, blush and pink lipstick. I just set there mesmerized. A pair of short socks and sneakers and we were done. She stood me up in front of a full length mirror and pronounced me done. All I could do was stare at the apparition in the mirror. As we were standing there, she turned to me and said, “it’s nice to meet you Cathy Martin.”

As it was close to lunch time, we went downstairs for lunch. We threw together a couple sandwiches and went into the living room to watch TV. As the afternoon went on we became girlfriends. After lunch we spent the afternoon talking and listening to music. Finally, it was time for her to start getting dinner ready before her mom got home and it was time for me to change back into being a boy. As I changed back into my clothes, I felt that I had left something behind. As I went to leave Liz kissed me gently on the lips, hugged me and whispered in my ear that she would like to see Cathy again tomorrow. Where did that come from? I said we’d see and walked home a very confused boy.

That night as I lay in bed trying to go to sleep my mind kept replaying the day’s events. I liked being a boy. I liked the sports and everything. However, there was a comfort I had not experienced before while spending the afternoon with Liz. I knew I was a boy, but when dressed as I was this afternoon I knew that the view I saw in the mirror seemed right. As I finally fell asleep looking out my window at the stars, I really didn’t know what I was going to do.

When I got up in the morning, I was intent on finding some of my guy friends and hanging out for the day and doing whatever boy things we chose to do. Just as I was ready to leave the house the phone rang. Mom let me know that the call was for me. It was Liz. She wanted me to come over to her house. I hesitated and then said I’d be there in ten minutes. As I walked over to her house I wasn’t certain what was going to happen but I found as I got closer I felt more at ease and happy thinking about what lay ahead.

When I got to her house we sat in the kitchen. I think we both knew we needed to talk before we did anything. Liz said she thought I made a very pretty girl and that I was nicer as a girl than a boy. I admitted that I had enjoyed dressing as a girl, but I was still a boy. Finally, we agreed that we would both dress up for the day. Why this was decided, I can’t remember, but I’m sure it made sense at the time.

That day was very different from the day before. Liz got out two of her fancy dresses and under things. Then we got dressed. I had never seen a girl in her underwear before. The boy part of me was very interested in taking in everything there was to see. The girl part of me looked on with envy and wonder at Liz’s body. She was a very pretty girl. Her hips and chest went out where they should and she had a thin waist. I particularly noticed her petite hands and feet. For the first time I think I understood the difference between boys and girls and thought that the girls had gotten the better part of the deal.

The dress went to just above my knees and felt soft. The underwear and slip were soft and lacy. I wore pantyhose and when I walked the feeling of the hose, slip and dress was amazing. In the end she put my hair in some hot curlers, did my makeup and gave me a pair of shoes with two inch heels. As we stood in front of the mirror I was amazed at how grown up we both looked. There was not question but that two pretty girls were standing side by side. We went downstairs hand in hand, sat in the living room and acted like proper young ladies. We watched TV and talked about girl things. I had never done this before and at times I found it totally alien.

However, as the day went on, I found that it was natural for me to smooth my dress as I set down, brush my hair out of my face in a feminine fashion, swish my skirt when I walked and wholly and completely act as a girl. I knew that this might cause me a problem later but didn’t care. I had found a part of me that I hadn’t known before and I liked it. I liked the taste and feel of the lipstick on my lips and how I left marks on a glass when I took a drink. The feel of the hose on my legs, the bra on my chest, and how the slip slid on my legs was so fascinating that I wondered why only girls got to wear these clothes.

I also realized that my relationship with Liz had changed. Two days ago I was a bratty twelve-year-old friend of her younger brother. Now I felt I was a girlfriend with whom she could share her thoughts and dreams. I wondered where this could possibly go. I knew that if any of our parents or friends found out about this that I was dead. I would be grounded by my parents for the rest of my life and I would be the laughing stock and punching bag of the Junior High. I knew I had to stop and told Liz what I thought. She made it clear that she liked her new girlfriend and would figure out a way to keep her around.

You know what, she did, for the rest of the two weeks while Jim was gone I was at Liz’s house every two or three days. On off days I would hang with the guys and she would hang with her girl friends. On the other days I was at her house early in the morning until just before her mom came home. We never went outside and kept the drapes closed so no one would know what we were doing. It was so much fun and I learned a lot about being as a girl. Liz and I became very close friends during that time.

There were times when I worried that she would “out me” but she never did. On the last day before Jim came home I was at her house and we were listening to music on the radio. A new song called “Summer Wine ©” came on the radio. I had heard it before, but this time I really listened to it. As I listened to the lyrics a strange thought came to me. The song, in part, went something like this:

Strawberries cherries and an angel ´s kiss in spring
My summer wine is really made from all these things

I walked in town on silver spurs that jingled to
A song that I had only sang to just a few
She saw my silver spurs and said lets pass some time
And I will give to you summer wine
Ohh-oh-oh summer wine

Strawberries cherries and an angel ´s kiss in spring
My summer wine is really made from all these things
Take off your silver spurs and help me pass the time
And I will give to you summer wine
Ohhh-oh summer wine

My eyes grew heavy and my lips they could not speak
I tried to get up but I couldn’t find my feet
She reassured me with an unfamiliar line
And then she gave to me more summer wine
Ohh-oh-oh summer wine

Strawberries cherries and an angel ´s kiss in spring
My summer wine is really made from all these things
Take off your silver spurs and help me pass the time
And I will give to you summer wine
Mmm-mm summer wine

When I woke up the sun was shining in my eyes
My silver spurs were gone my head felt twice its size
She took my silver spurs a dollar and a dime
And left me cravin’ for more summer wine
Ohh-oh-oh summer wine *

*song by Lee Hazlewood

My thought was that it would be wonderful if when I drank the Summer Wine and my eyes grew heavy and couldn’t feel my lips that when I woke there was long blond hair in my eyes and I was a girl. I started to cry and Liz came and hugged me. She wanted to know what was wrong and I told her my thoughts. She apologized for dressing me and causing the problem. I told her that I would always be in her debt for letting me experience the joy of dressing as and being a girl, if only for a short while. We both knew that tomorrow I would have to go back into boy mode and be David again.

Later I changed my clothes, hugged my very special friend and headed for home. I as got to the edge of her porch she said, “Cathy, I’ll see you later girlfriend and I’ll have some Summer Wine for you.” I smiled a sad smile, turned, walked slowly down the steps, and made my way home.

***

Jim was home, school was ready to start and it was football season. I was a boy. For the week before school I was in full boy mode playing football and roughhousing with the guys. The Junior High was in the same building as the High School so Jim and I would walk with Liz to school in the mornings. I think Jim noticed the change in how Liz and I got along but he never said anything. Liz and I would talk when we walked and I would complement her on her clothes but we never let on to anyone about what we had done.

Liz tried out for the JV cheerleaders and made the team. Jim and I were both on the Junior High football team. Many nights I would go over to Jim’s to study. Liz started sitting with us to do her homework. We would talk about different things and when Jim went to get something Liz would make sure things were okay with her girlfriend. I would often be the one to listen to her problems and concerns. However, I never let my guard down. I wasn’t going to let Jim find out what I had done while he was at summer camp.

Things went along with no changes. However, when Halloween approached Liz started working out what costumes the three of us should wear. She got her mom and my mom involved, which meant Jim and I had no say in what was decided. Jim was now almost thirteen, six feet tall and a hundred seventy pounds. I had grown an inch to five feet five inches and gained seven pounds so I now weighed one hundred two pounds. Liz and I were virtually the same size which our moms noted. I don’t know how it happened but it was decided that Jim would go as a basketball player and Liz and I would go as cheerleaders.

The costumes were easy. The hard part was getting me to leave the house. I loved the costume, but I was scared out of my mind at what everyone would think of me dressed as a girl. Luckily my dad wasn’t home while we got ready. I don’t think my knees stopped knocking all the way to the school. When we got out of the car I tried to climb back in but Liz slammed the door shut. Jim thought it was hilarious. I was ready to run home or deck Jim, I couldn’t make up my mind. Just then three of Liz’s girlfriends came up in costumes just like Liz’s and mine. They all hugged Liz and then me. Apparently Liz had told them about the costumes and they thought I was brave to do what I was doing. Hey I was a seventh grade boy and I was hanging with Freshman girls. Even if I was dressed as a girl it was really neat. The six of us set off for the gym and the party. Probably the best thing that happened that night was that no one recognized me and the girls told them I was a cousin of Liz’s from out of town. That was probably the only thing that saved my skin.

I had a lot of fun. One of the sophomore boys apparently thought I was cute. He danced with me and tried to kiss me good night. Somehow I avoided that and swore that would be the last time I would ever go out in public. Unfortunately I didn’t know how true that statement was going to prove to be in the future.

During that school year Jim, Liz and I came to do a lot of things together. We all had other friends, but many a night would find us hanging together. We would go to the movies together or with other friends and down to the local burger place. This made Jim and me two of the cool Junior High boys. We got to hang with the JV cheerleaders and even most of the High School guys weren’t upset because we were too young to be a threat to their dating interests. Liz and I would find time to sit and talk. She told me about her crushes and I was there to comfort her when she had her heart broken for the first time. I knew I was her girlfriend and confidant and that was really neat.

The next summer Liz went away to cheerleader camp. Jim and I went to football camp and the coach had us on a weight program. When Jim went away to basketball camp Cathy returned. I will always remember those two weeks and the time Cathy got to spend with Liz. Cathy blossomed and Liz and I became even closer. Liz tried to talk me into walking down to the burger place and recreating the role of her cousin. I pointed out that Jim knew who her cousin really was and if when he came back from camp he found out his cousin had visited I would be a laughing stock. We still had fun, talked about school and different couples, did each others makeup, painted our nails and generally acted as teenage girls. Once again Jim returned home and Cathy went away. Little did we know at the time that puberty and life would make this the last time Cathy would see the light of day.

Just before Labor Day my voice cracked. My dad let me know that this meant that I was becoming a man. We had an abbreviated “father-son” talk and by Thanksgiving with the football weight training I was five feet eleven and one hundred fifty-five pounds. I started shaving. My legs, arms and chest got hairy as I matured into a young man.

Over the next two years I grew two more inches and bulked up to one hundred ninety-five pounds. Both Jim and I started as Sophomores on the football team. Jim was the quarterback and I was the middle linebacker. I also played part-time at fullback. We had a lot of fun that year. Liz was a senior and captain of the cheerleaders. She had a steady boyfriend who was also on the football team. We still studied and hung around together. Jim dated a lot. What would you expect for the star quarterback? I dated some but never had a steady girlfriend.

Liz understood why. Once when we were sitting and talking and everyone was too busy to pay attention to us she noticed me watching Debbie Williams. She accused me of having the hots for Debbie and then she looked in my eye and I saw that she understood. She looked at me and all she said was “Summer Wine.” I smiled sadly and nodded. I had the hots for Debbie’s body, not like the other guys, I wanted it to be my body.

I realized that night that Cathy had to go away. As they say, you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Here I was the big tough linebacker all big and muscled, shaving every day and full of testosterone. But, I wanted to wear a dress, hose, heels, makeup and be pretty. It just wasn’t going to happen. One look in the mirror and it was clear, I would be one ugly looking girl.

At the end of my Sophomore year Liz headed off for college. She was going to Indiana University and was majoring in nursing. She had summer classes she had to take so she left shortly after her graduation. We had one last afternoon together. We spent it in her room. She played with my hair and even put some makeup on me. However. I was now six inches taller than she and a hundred pounds heavier. There were no shoes, dresses, skirts or anything that would fit me. When I looked in the mirror the pretty girl I had seen before was no more. I was just a boy with makeup on his face. I cleaned off the makeup, hugged my friend one last time and said I would see her when she came home from college. As I was leaving she played “Summer Wine ©” on her phonograph and said goodbye to Cathy.

For the next two years of high school I was all boy. I continued to play football, baseball and basketball. I dated some. By that time Jim had a steady girlfriend. There were times we would double date, but there were many nights when I sat home alone, studied and listened to music. Mom and dad were very supportive parents. They were always there for me and encouraged me in anything I tried. They let me know if they liked a girl I dated and told me how nice she was. However, no matter what I did or whom I dated we were just friends.

Some nights when mom and dad went out for dinner or over to another couples’ house to play cards I would close the drapes and sneak into mom’s closet. Mom was a little bigger than Liz, but nothing would fit. There was one skirt that had an elastic waist, one slip that stretched to fit my waist. My hair was still fairly long. It was the early seventies after all. However, I was reduced to slippers for shoes and a short robe for a top. I would get all excited as I dressed, but when I looked in the mirror there was just a man in drag standing there. Everything would come off and I would swear that I would never do it again. But, a couple of months later I would try it again with the same results.

We made the state playoffs in Football and Jim was named to first team allstate. I made honorable mention as a linebacker. Jim was offered a scholarship to Nebraska, a national powerhouse. I was offered a partial ride to a small IIA school in Missouri. Jim and I had a great senior year. We were on the basketball and baseball team together and remained best friends. He tried to talk me into coming to Nebraska and trying to be a walk-on, but I decided I would be more comfortable with where I was planning to go. My folks tried to talk me into going to Indiana State and not playing football, but I wanted to get away and try to find my future. Missouri seemed like as good a place as any.

Liz was still at IU and had been accepted into the nursing program. I had seen her a couple of times when she was home from college. She stayed at school in the summer as she worked at the hospital. We had talked on the phone a couple times to see how each other was doing. We hadn’t grown apart as much as time just moved on. When we were together it was like we hadn’t been apart. But, I knew I had to move on and David had to get a life.

After graduation, Jim left early in the summer to go to Nebraska. He had to learn the playbook and work out with the other players. Since I was going to a IIA university I didn’t have to report until mid-August. I got a job working for a local construction company and made some money for college. Liz was home for a couple weeks and we got together several times. One night she pulled out a bottle of wine and said we should have a drink for old times. She told me it wasn’t Summer Wine but it was strawberry wine and it was a close as she could get. After we finished the bottle we kissed and hugged each other. That was when Liz told me I kissed like one of her girlfriends when they were saying goodbye. I wondered what that meant as I walked home. We didn’t try to find Cathy because we knew it wouldn’t work. We decided we could still be good friends and we were.

The next year and a half went by with nothing changing. I enjoyed school and had a good circle of friends, both male and female. I didn’t have any as close as Jim or Liz, but I felt like I belonged. Interestingly, I often found myself sitting with several girls and just talking at many of the parties. Other guys would come up and try to hit on them but I just enjoyed spending time with them. That’s just the way it was.

I was red-shirted my first year so I focused on my school work. I did play quite a bit my sophomore year. I played outside linebacker and was on the kick-off team. I was the guy who ran down the middle of the field and tried to get to the returner first. During the next to the last game of the season I was running full out when a player from the other team rolled into my left leg. My ligaments in my left knee were badly torn and that ended my football carrier. I had never planned to make football a carrier after college, but I had hoped to play all the way through college.

Since my football life was over I refocused on my studies. It was the fall of 1974 and computers were being touted as the future hot spot for employment. I had been majoring in business and now focused on a dual major in business and computer science.

Jim started for Nebraska as a sophomore and had pro scouts looking at him by the end of the year. He went on to start the last two years. We would get together if we were both in town at the same time. However, each Christmas break Nebraska was off to a bowl game. Since it was an eleven or twelve hour drive from Lincoln back home, Jim usually only made it home for spring break and a couple weeks in the summer. From what I knew he had a great time in college and certainly was what you would consider to be the big man on campus. Looking back I remember when he called me during his senior year and we talked for a long time. It was kind of funny, we hadn’t called each other on the phone more than a couple times in four years and out of the blue came this call. He finally told me he thought he was going to ask his steady girl friend to marry him at Christmas. We talked for a while about what a relationship meant and what type of commitment it required. I don’t ever remember talking with Jim about those things before, but we did that day. I found out later that he decided not to ask her and she broke off the relationship.

I went home each summer to work construction. Liz had graduated from nursing school in May of 1975 and started work in July at a hospital in Indianapolis. We got together a couple times before she moved to Indy. She was the same old Liz, we laughed and kidded with one another. She talked about her boyfriends, bad dates and what nursing school was like. I found myself again longing for Cathy to appear and share this time with Liz, but Cathy didn’t exist anymore. I realized that although Liz and I would always be best friends and we could talk about anything, part of our relationship would have to remain in the past and buried out of sight. We did share a bottle of wine one night. It certainly was not a “Summer Wine” and no matter how hard I wished I knew there would never be any “Summer Wine” for me.

I stayed in the dorms through the end of my sophomore year but then got an apartment. I was going to share an apartment with a friend from the football team but that fell through just before school started. He was placed on academic probation and the only way he could stay on the team was to live in the dorms. I was able to find a single bedroom apartment that I could afford. It wasn’t the nicest place but it was mine.

College life continued and I focused on my studies. I had a good circle of friends with whom I got together with on weekends and special occasions. I went to the football games and even tutored a couple of the players in math for some extra cash. I also couldn’t stop my desire to dress. From time to time I would find myself at Goodwill or a discount store and would come up with all kinds of excuses for buying women’s clothes. It’s also amazing how you can pilfer a lipstick or mascara from a date’s purse or pocket and they think they forgot and left it somewhere. However, every six months or so I would go through a purge and throw everything out. Several months would go by and I’d start over again. No matter what I did there was always a man in a dress in the mirror. I missed Cathy so much, but she was gone.

I remember I had dated this one girl for several months and thought I might be able to explain my need to her. I started but couldn’t finish. I think she thought I was on drugs since I didn’t make any sense. It was clear to me I wasn’t going to be accepted and knew I had to keep my secret to myself. By the time I was a senior I was down to one hundred eighty pounds but I was six one and there was no way I could ever pass as a woman. I thought about going to a Halloween party dressed as a girl. I got everything together, got dressed, but couldn’t leave the apartment. I wished I could stop wanting to dress and be normal, but I couldn’t.

I graduated from college and got a job in St. Louis as a computer programmer. My job didn’t start until the middle of July so I went home to see the folks. Liz was at home for a week. She was going overseas on an aid mission with a group of doctors and nurses from the Midwest. She would be gone for four months. She had been dating a doctor for the last two years. His name was Matt and he was also going on the aid mission. She thought if things went well that they might get married when they returned. As we said goodbye we hugged and she told me I was still her best girlfriend. I didn’t say anything.

Jim was at home and was waiting to see if he got picked up by a pro team. Otherwise, he had another semester to complete for his pre-law degree. We hung out together for the three weeks I was home. It was fun getting to know him again and renewing our friendship. He was the same old Jim. Even though he was the big man on campus he was still my friend. He laughed at my jokes and we enjoyed our time together. Jim did get picked up by the Kansas City Chiefs and since it was just down I-70 from St. Louis I knew I would be going to a few games that fall.

***

I settled into my job and found St. Louis to be a nice City. I still didn’t date much. I liked women but I just wasn’t able to establish a long term relationship. That fall I would drive over to Kansas City every couple weeks and watch the Chiefs play. Jim didn’t get play at all. He was the third string quarterback. He did hold the ball for field goals and extra points but he seemed happy when we got together after the games. Usually the nights after the games were spent at a fancy bar or club with a lot of partying. I remember some long drives back to St. Louis either late Sunday night or early Monday morning. Even though Jim was the third string quarterback he didn’t lack for female company. I even benefitted from time to time when we were out together. I did ask Jim why he didn’t settle down with one girl. He said that he just couldn’t find the right one. He knew she was out there but he hadn’t found her yet.

I plugged along in St. Louis. Work was interesting and I had made several friends. I had a two bedroom apartment and I had again visited the discount stores. I again tried to dress up as a witch for Halloween but again never left my apartment. On Monday everyone at work wondered why I didn’t come to the party. I just passed it off as I just wasn’t up for it. Before I went home at Christmas to see the folks I again packed up all my girl stuff and purged my life again. At New Years I made my resolution, I would find a girlfriend, get serious and get married. I would no longer dress or try to be a girl in any way.

When Jim and I got together that Christmas he told me that after the season ended he was going back to Northwestern to finish his degree. He realized he would never make it big in the NFL so he wanted to go to law school and practice law when his pro career was over. He also wanted to find a girl, get married and have a family. I said the same thing but somehow it sounded hollow.

I returned to St. Louis and went on with my life. I dated a lot but could never find the right person. Life just went on. In May my phone rang and it was Liz. She called me girlfriend and I said we weren’t going to go there. She merely laughed. She announced that she was getting married at Thanksgiving and wanted to make sure I was going to be there. I assured her that I wouldn’t miss it. We chatted like old times for almost an hour. Just as we were about to hang up she asked me to come to Indy to spend the Memorial Day weekend with her. Apparently her fiancé was going to be out of town and she wanted to spend time with me. Since this would probably be the last time we would spend some quality time together I agreed. I knew that once she got married it wouldn’t work for me to be the other man in her life even if she thought of me as her girlfriend. I did make her promise that she wouldn’t try to dress me up. She told me that she would never try to dress David up ever again.

I didn’t have to work on Friday so I headed for Indy early in the morning. I arrived at Liz’s apartment around lunch time. She had a nice two bedroom apartment near the hospital where she worked. She was a surgical nurse and was off for the entire weekend. I could see that although it was her apartment Matt spent a lot of time there. When I questioned her about it she blushed and said it was time for lunch. She made us a simple lunch and we sat across her kitchen table and talked. It was like old times she told me about her fiancé Matt, how they met, fell in love and their plans. It was just like old times and as the afternoon passed I found myself drawn to Liz and wishing we could be true girlfriends. We decided to go out for dinner. It was a casual place, we had a nice dinner and went home early.

When we got home Liz changed into some sweats, but I just stayed in my slacks and polo shirt. Liz came back out carrying a bottle of wine. A better quality than we had drunk in the past. I kidded her about it and she said it was a special occasion. I opened the bottle as she put on some music. She put on some oldies and we sat there talking about old times and some of the things we had done. As the wine bottle was emptied we reached the topic of Cathy. With the bottle empty I admitted that I had enjoyed my time as Cathy and still wondered what it would be like to be able to relive that time or even now be Cathy. I should have realized that for every glass of wine Liz drank she made certain I drank two. As it was getting late, I decided that I was going to bed. Liz asked me to have one more glass of wine with her. I picked up the empty wine bottle to show her that we were done. She jumped up grabbed my glass and said she had an open bottle in the kitchen and would get me a glass. I wasn’t going anywhere so I sat back down and waited for her to return.

When she came back and before she handed me my glass she said that she had always loved her friend Cathy and wished that she could have been in her wedding. I took my glass and toasted her saying “to my special girlfriend and her happiness” or something like that. The wine tasted different from what we had been drinking. It had a taste of strawberries, cherries and something else. I asked Liz about it and she told me it was a native wine she had picked up when she was on her aid mission. She said she had saved it for this special occasion. This was the second time she had used the term special occasion and wondered what she met.

As we sat sipping our wine, I asked her what we were going to do the next day. She said she had a fitting for her wedding dress and wanted me to come along. I asked her if she had selected her bridesmaids yet. She said she had everyone lined up but her Maid of Honor but she was pretty sure that would be worked out soon. I realized I had probably drank too much and was feeling a little strange. I was getting tired and I couldn’t keep my eyes open. As I tried to speak nothing came out. I tried to stand but I couldn’t move my feet. Liz came over to the couch, laid me down, covered me with a blanket, kissed my cheek and told me she would see Cathy in the morning. That didn’t make any sense. As I drifted off to sleep, I heard the stereo play these words:

Strawberries cherries and an angel ´s kiss in spring
My summer wine is really made from all these things

Mmm-mm summer wine

***

When I woke up the sun was shining in my eyes, but there was something else, there was long blond hair across my face. I reached up to move the hair and saw Liz sitting in the chair across the room with a strange smile on her face. I went to sit up but my pants felt like they were tied around my legs. As I struggled to sit up I realized my feet were only part way down the legs and I was swimming in the pants. Liz started to laugh at my efforts. I told her it wasn’t funny. When I heard my voice I knew something was very different. My male baritone sounded like a woman’s voice. That was when I looked at my body and realized I was a woman. After a few moments I looked up at Liz and she simply asked if I liked her “Summer Wine.” I smiled, said yes and started to cry.

Liz came over and we just held each other for what seemed like forever. Finally, she told me that when she was on her aid mission she heard a local tale that told of how young men in the village she was working in would change into women. The others in her group laughed at the idea, but because of me she sought out the local medicine man. He claimed that the potion was distilled from local plants and fruits. It was drunk as part of a purifying ceremony. All of the village’s children drank the potion on their 14th birthday. If the essence of the individual was their given sex then the potion merely gave them good health. If the essence for the boy was that of a woman then he was changed to match his essence. She told the medicine man that she had a friend who was a girl but was trapped in a man’s body. He gave her the potion and that was what I had drank last night.

We went into the hallway so that I could look in the mirror. There stood a grown up Cathy. I was five-seven, had blond hair, blue eyes and a nice figure. Except for our hair and eye color Liz and I could have passed for sisters. I again got all emotional and started to cry. Back on the couch Liz said she always knew I was a girl and had always been her best friend. She was so glad that my body finally matched my mind.

All of a sudden I started to shake. I’d just realized that I was going to have to tell, maybe convince, my folks, my boss at work and everyone I knew that instead of a six-one man I was now a five-seven woman. Liz reached over on the coffee table and picked up a purse that I seemed to recognize. She took out a wallet and showed me the I.D. The driver’s license and company I.D. card identified the attractive woman shown in the picture as Cathy Martin. What had happened to David Martin? She told me that according to the medicine man the potion changed the historical perception to match the real person.

Liz announced that we needed to get dressed, eat breakfast and then go shopping. I had no idea what she was talking about and said so. She then informed me that she had to get to her fitting for her bridal gown and I had a fitting for my Maid of Honor dress. I hugged her and cried again. We spent the rest of the day and weekend as two girlfriends shopping and just having fun. As I drove back to St. Louis on Monday, I found myself overcome with amazement at the change that had taken place. Over the next couple weeks I adjusted to my new situation and found that I felt like I belonged for the first time that I could remember. That’s not to say that some of the changes seemed foreign, but let’s say I adapted.

Liz’s wedding was a lot of fun. I never thought I would be a real girl let alone a Maid of Honor. The wedding took place in our hometown and it was strange to be accepted as a woman by everyone. Liz and I were the only ones who remembered that I used to be a boy. My parents were there and when I danced with my dad he called me his special little princess. I guess I was; at least that’s how I felt. Jim had not brought a date to the wedding. He was one of the groomsmen and I guess he wanted to spend time with other members of the bridal party. I admit I did dance several dances with him and we spent time talking about old times and how it was strange that we never dated since I was his sister’s best friend.

***

Now two and half years later I stand here alone looking back on my life and the amazing changes that I have experienced thanks to my best girlfriend. Liz walks up to me, nudges me and asks if I am ready. I look at her and nod. She then starts to walk down the aisle of the church as I take my father’s arm, smile up at him and tell him I love him. As we start down the aisle I look to the front of the church and see Jim, my husband to be waiting for me to become his wife. I forget about the wedding march and find myself humming "Summer Wine".

EPILOGUE:

After we were married, I moved to Kansas City with Jim and we bought a house. I continued to work and Jim stayed with the Chiefs for a few more years. We decided that we would hold off having children until he completed his law degree. He did get his law degree and became a lawyer. We both wanted to move back to Indiana so when he quit football we moved to Indianapolis.

He works for a large firm downtown and I’m now a house mummy. Both Liz and I decided not to work when we each had our first child (two weeks apart). Liz and Matt live across the street from Jim and me. Liz and I are still best friends and sometimes our husbands have to physically separate us. Usually all it takes is a suggestion that its time for bed.

Jim and I are still in love and I can’t wait to feel his strong arms around me every day when he comes home from work. I watch our son and daughter, and Liz and Matt’s two boys grow and hope none of them will have the issues that I had. But, if they do, I know that Liz and I will be there for them. Liz does know where to get more of the potion.

Jim does wonder why every once in a while at night he will find me in our darkened family room, the CD player on repeat and Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood singing “Summer Wine” over and over with me quietly crying. When he finds me there he simply turns off the CD player, picks me up and carries me upstairs to bed. He asked me once why I listened to the song if it made me cry. I told him that I wasn’t crying sad tears, but I was crying tears of joy. I don’t think he understood, but I know he loves me and that’s more than enough.

I hope you too can find your “Summer Wine”.

Strawberries cherries and an angel ´s kiss in spring
My summer wine is really made from all these things

Mmm-mm summer wine

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Summer Wine © by Lee Hazlewood

Notes:

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