The home of Drs. Gina and Katie Kelly...Ardmore, Pennsylvania...
“Katie? Honey, are you okay?” Gina turned on the nightstand lamp; waking up after feeling that Katie wasn’t in bed. She had been pensive; almost moody at times over the past several days.
“I’m in here.”
The voice came from the living room; a voice that seemed to get softer and lovelier in Gina’s ears with each passing day. A greeting of sorts from one she had known only a few years but that promised a lifetime of joy. Gina rose from the bed and put on her robe over her shorts and tee as she stepped into her slippers. Funny how it never really mattered what they wore; tonight it was silk, but it could have just as easily been cotton pajama footies. The soft and flowing might seem to be more intimate in the heart sense, but really, the clothes were transcended by the mere fact that intimate simply included what they happened to wear.
“Can’t sleep?” Gina sat down on the armchair across from Katie, who sat on the couch with her legs curled beneath her, peeking out from under a crocheted multi-colored blanket.
“Not really.” Katie smiled, but Gina noticed that her face was streaked from where the tear drops had made their way down her lover’s face.
“What’s wrong, honey?” What had been a moment of anticipation for a romantic interlude turned to a sad concern as the mere question brought the tears back.
“I…I’m so sorry.” Katie put her hand to her face as her cheeks grew hot and dark. Nothing had passed between them that should have brought embarrassment; Gina rose quickly and joined her on the couch. She pulled her into a tight embrace and kissed her tears. Gina could only recall one reason for such sadness and shame, which Katie revealed a moment later.
“You deserved more than this.” Katie used her hand to point to herself in a sweeping motion. “I’m so sorry we….I didn’t think.”
“Think what, honey? What’s wrong?” Gina knew it was something so big to be overwhelming; as long and she had known Katie, and she had known Katie in two lifetimes as it were, nothing would bring her to such sadness other than shame, and usually it was undeserved and misplaced.
“I watched you with Deedee and Maureen when we sat for Erica and Maired. I should have….I’m so sorry…” Her face was etched with grief over a loss that neither could have anticipated. And of course, it was entirely her fault.
“Oh,honey…I’m….I was just enjoying them. I’m not disappointed….” Even though Katie had been living as a woman for nearly five years, there were times when she still thought like Ben; not the inner Benjamin who was still very much a part of the whole person, but the male persona that was really the pretend part of Katie’s life for so long.
“Because we can’t have children? Do you think that upsets me?” Gina asked and Katie winced, anticipating an answer neither could bear.
“I wanted children, but it hasn’t been a part of what I...for what we've needed for so long. You complete me, Katie Kelly. We can adopt if we want, but we’re so busy with helping others. My children live in big bodies and dwell in the halls of the high school where I work. Yours live in each of the children you’ve helped become who they were meant to be. The example you have set as a mother to them…” At the word ‘mother,’ Katie’s eyes widened a bit before she shook her head no.
“And don’t tell me you don’t deserve the title! You’re just as much a mother to them as their own, and I am so glad that you’re in their lives. Just as I know that for some at school, I’m a mother to them.”
“But you wanted to have…to bear….you married a fool…a pretender.” Katie turned away and covered her face with both her hands.”
“I married the woman I love, even if she didn’t start out that way. I never told you this…even now I’m almost ashamed for having kept quiet for so long, but maybe it was for just such a time as this that I did keep silent.” Gina choked back a sob as Katie turned again to face her.
“I don’t think I could have married another man…” She paused at the look of shame that once again crossed Katie’s face.
“It wasn’t that you weren’t manly…you certainly were the most wonderful man I’d ever met. But as we grew together, I was blessed with the blossoming of your ‘sister’ after so many years of doubt and guilt and shame. And I was a part of that, just as you were a part of drawing me out to be who I am.” She nodded slowly as Katie stared at her.
“I always knew I wanted to marry a woman…a nice woman who would understand and accept the person I am without question or fear. A woman of character…someone like my mom… noble and bright and caring. As you emerged, I realized just what a blessing I’d received. I couldn’t have found a better woman if I designed her myself.”
“But there’s that part of you that is Ben…the man I love….maybe not as often as he should be or at least be made to know how much I care. You can’t just set that part of you aside; he is a part of who you are…the whole being. But you are Katie; you’ll always have Ben inside you, but it’s time to let go of him…allow him to become you in a sense.” She touched Katie’s cheek.
“You’ve held onto that need to be something you’ve never been, honey. Your mother knew long ago that she might have borne a son for nine months, but she birthed a daughter. Katie was born the moment you drew your first breath…. And you’ve known it all along as well.” She raised her other hand and touched Katie’s temple softly; almost a gesture of blessing.
“I love you, all of you and you alone, Katie Kelly. Do you know how much I love you?”
Katie frowned and looked away once again as the tears flowed freely even as her release came upon her. Gina pulled her close and kissed her; not amorously, but not sisterly either. A healing transformative kiss that finally helped Katie know love as it is truly meant to be known; freely given, accepting, and unconditional. For the first time in her life, Katie gave into being more than just the girl who had been a boy; becoming finally the wife she was destined to be at the moment of her birth.
Moments later the two lay side by side in bed once again…
“I love you so much, honey, do you know that?” And for the first time, Katie did know. She'd always known that Gina loved her, but now she realized that Gina loved her...the woman she'd always been. She nodded eagerly even though the tears still streamed down her face. And she gazed into Gina’s eyes and saw nothing but love even as her own eyes revealed the same.
“I love you, Gina…with all of my heart and all of me.” Katie said.
“Yes.” Gina said and kissed her wife over and over as they drifted off to a dreamy sleep.
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