A Mississippi River Romance - Part 17

A Mississippi
River Romance

What Just Happened?

by Andrea Lena DiMaggio
What if I told you it was all meant to be
Would you believe me, would you agree?
It's almost that feeling we met before
So tell me that you don't think I'm crazy
When I tell you love has come here and now

Romance Along the Mississippi

Previously…at the Pearson home…Sunday evening…

“You…you look….wonderful.” It was the first time ‘Elena’ had spoken to anyone other than her family. Tori, for that is what she came to prefer, smiled and laughed softly.

“You do too…I’m so glad you could come.” Miri and Giada had done their best to repair Elena’s ‘deconstruction’ with a hasty makeup job and a wig that they had at home.

Miri stood in the kitchen doorway, unable to contain herself. She turned to Adele and grinned.

“I guess that settles gender, huh?” Adele nodded and smiled as the two girls stood facing each other, speechless.

“Mir…please!” Elena turned to her sister and shooed her away from the door. She turned to Tori, who shuddered a bit before grabbing her hand, pulling her in for a kiss, a beautiful first girlfriend kiss that was witnessed by Miri, who was leaning into the kitchen once again.

“And that settles orientation!” She laughed. The two girls stopped kissing long enough to close the kitchen door.

The Office of Megan Ferguson…

Everything changes, but beauty remains.
Something so tender I cant explain.
Well I may be dreaming but til I awake..Can we make the dream last forever?
And I'll cherish all the love we share for a moment like this.

“I don’t know what I should be talking about first.” Vinnie looked down at the floor. Rather, it was Tori this morning as the girl sat on the couch dressed in her femme mode.

“First off, who do you want to be today?” Megan was being intentionally provocative by asking an unanswerable question.

“That’s just it, Meg…I don’t know who I’m supposed to be.” She put her head down once again.

“What ‘should’ you be doing? Who are you ‘supposed’ to be? Those are tough questions for me and I’m almost forty-three. It must be hard for you to fit into a mold, huh?”

“I…they were really nice on Sunday…don’t get me wrong, Meg, but…I’m still trying to figure this all out.” She used her hand in a broad gesture.

“Sounds like you feel pressured.”

“Yeah…and…” The girl looked away and began to tear up.

“What’s going on right now…this moment?” Megan leaned closer and looked at the girl with a welcome expression, her voice almost a request rather than a direction.

“I….I feel….” She bit her lip and looked at Megan. The expression on her therapist’s face was accepting, but the girl felt anything but accepted.

“I…” She put head down and shook it.”

“We’re all about acceptance here; no judgment, right?”

“I…I…” She began to stammer as the tears flowed freely.

“Listen…okay.” Megan was almost speaking in a whisper at that moment. The girl nodded but shrugged and sighed in doubt.

“You have nothing to explain to me. Whatever it is you’re feeling…you don’t have to worry.”

“I…feel….Oh God….why do I feel this way?” She turned away once again and began to cry harder. Megan gave her the time she needed. After a few moments she turned back and her face was almost a mask of grief, but it went beyond that.

“I miss…I miss Daddy….why the fuck do I miss him? He….It’s not right…this is so fucked up…” She put her head down.

“You feel guilty because you miss your father?”

“I should hate him…I do hate him…but I love him, too. It’s not right….I should…”

“You feel like you should hate the man who hurt you….Do you remember what we talked about last time?” Megan leaned closer. The girl needed to see she was accepted no matter how she felt or what she expressed.

“Ye…Yes….” She was almost apologetic, as if the question was part of a quiz she needed to pass.

“What sometimes happens with girls and boys who are hurt like you were?”

“They…” She put her hand to her face; almost to hide.

“They what?” Again, a soft request with a half-frown; the ‘I understand’ look that she needed to see.

“They…they miss…” She began to sob….”They….miss…the…attention.”

“That’s right…because that’s what?” It was old ground, but a territory yet to be reclaimed by the child as her own.

“It’s….the only attention…?” Again, an answer seeking approval; the girl was still dealing with the shame of her own actions, even though they weren’t her actions to begin with.

“Yes…so when it stops…even though they hate it?” Fill in the blank.

“They miss it?” A sad frown accompanied by the warm flare of nostrils and the odd feeling in the back of the eye that says, here it comes.

“So…what happens.”

“They…feel bad that they….” Megan nodded yes, ‘you’re on the right track.’

“They feel bad that they feel good….that they….I miss Daddy…This is so fucked up…I’m so sorry….”

“Tori? Honey… You don’t have to apologize to me…right?”


“So…you miss your father even though he hurt you…right?” The girl choked back a sob and nodded reluctantly.

“And you feel guilty about missing him even though he hurt you, right?” Another nod.

“Did you have a choice, Tori?” She wasn’t trying to push her toward one persona or another, but the words and questions needed to be personal and accepting, and the girl was in femme mode.


“And you miss him…but it still…what, Tori…how does it feel right now?” Another invasive probe, incapable of being soft and painless no matter how the question was asked. Megan took a deep breath as the girl met her question with silence.

“Tori…you feel bad about missing him…but there’s something else…right?” Of course there was, and the girl needed ‘permission’ to open up about it.

“I….I can’t say… I don’t want to talk about it.” She turned away, almost angry, but it wasn’t with Megan.

“Okay…you don’t have to talk about anything you don’t want to talk about.” The girl was slowly regaining control of her life, and nothing was as important at that moment; Megan’s words gave the girl the freedom she needed.

“Well, I don’t want to talk about it.” Assertive; almost contentious, but it was necessary for the girl to establish her own boundaries. And in doing so, she opened them up at the same time.

“Okay…we can talk about something less threatening.” The word was provocative, but it put a description to the moment.

“Okay…I ….” The girl looked in Megan’s eyes and once again saw the acceptance she needed; the safety of no rejection; the security of no judgment or shame. The look gently pulled away the shell of protection the girl had built.

“Why do people have to…the…it was…”

“What, Tori…what people?”

“Danny….I know he meant well.” Megan knew where this was going. Danny hadn’t said anything to her, but the look on his face when they arrived was enough to see there was more than one Pearson child that felt guilty.

“But he…” Two words, but two very important words. The girl pointed to herself again.

“On Sunday…Adele…you know…Jerry’s sister.” She winced at the name.

“Your party…I see.” She didn’t, and intentionally said it anyway.

“You don’t see….he had no right.”

“What did he do, Tori?”

“He…he asked Adele and Mom…they made me up…” She looked down at herself.

“And that upset you?” The emotion was apparent, but the girl needed to identify it for herself.

“Nobody…I didn’t want to have any company…I wasn’t ready.” She put her head down again and began to shake.

“You weren’t ready for whom.” Not what…it wasn’t an event, but a deeply personal moment about someone else.

“Jerry….I wasn’t ready for Jerry to see me….like this.” She looked at her chest.

“Because? You didn’t want Jerry to see you….”

“She’s a girl, Meg…I’m …”

“You feel she shouldn’t have seen you because?”

“If she’s a girl…then….” The girl continued shaking slightly; a tremor that caused her shoulders to bob up and down as she began to weep. Megan sighed, wondering if she should press further, but the girl answered her question for her.

“I have to be a boy…right?” Tori or Vinnie or both? What to do… a dilemma for the girl since she had been controlled all of her brief life. The shoulds and have to’s were rearing their ugly heads once again as the girl sobbed.

“But I ….Meg…what am I going to do. I love her.” Of course, it was a first love; a teen love that was precious even if it likely wouldn’t last in that way…but it was still tearing her apart.

“What do you ‘have’ to do, Tori?” Again, putting the ‘ought to’ and ‘should’ and ‘must’ together while identifying her as the girl she presented gave the girl an opening she stepped through in her own defenses.

“I have to be a boy….and I don’t want to be a boy…but I love her and she’s a girl…right?”

“She’s a girl, yes.” Megan looked away, seeking some solace and understanding that the girl could apprehend.

“But who are you, Tori? Who did you say you were?” Of course she knew…they had talked about this very thing in their last three meetings. A simple complexity?

“I’m…” She was reluctant to speak; if she identified herself, she’d have to make a choice…from where she sat.

“Go ahead, Tori…it’s okay…remember…no judgment…no NEED for judgment, right?” The girl wiped her face with the sleeve of her sweater.

“I’m Tori…” The tears continued to stream down her face as she looked down at herself, almost a cruel metaphor as she shook her head.

“And being Tori is what, honey?”

“A good…a good thing?” Again, seeking permission.

“A very good thing, right?” The girl nodded, less out of reluctance, but still unable to trust herself.

“And who is Jerry?”

“What?” It wasn’t about Jerry, was it?

“Who is Jerry?”

“I don’t know…she’s….” The pronoun was all important, even if she had already forgotten the girl’s new name.

“She’s what?” Not who, although that was all important as well; just not at that moment.

“She’s a girl?” Almost a silly response, but again, the girl needed to identify how she felt and what she believed; not another’s beliefs but her own.

“And you love her?” The word ‘right’ was almost implied as Megan’s question was friendly and inviting and accepting.

“Ye…yes?” The girl put her head down slightly, still expecting the judgment and condemnation that she had grown up with to be present at that moment.

“And is that a good thing or a bad thing?” Megan stressed the word ‘good’ and purposely trailed off as she finished the question.

“A good thing?” Tori’s answer was only slightly emphatic, but her tone was beginning to change.

“What do you think?” “YOU”

“A good thing.”

“A good thing.” Megan echoed softly and smiled as the girl broke down and sobbed, but out of relief finally instead of shame.

Megan breathed out a relieved sigh of her own and smiled once again.

“A very good thing, Tori, a very good thing.”

Some people search a lifetime for a moment like this.
Some people search forever for that one special kiss.
I cant believe its happening to me.
Some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this.

Next: Sorting Things Out

A Moment Like This
Words and Music by
Já¶rgen Elofsson and John Reid
As Performed by Kelly Clarkson

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