The boy stared at the dresser for several seconds; even without a need for much caution, he was still afraid merely for what he was about to do. His hand trembled as he reached out and pulled the knobs. The drawer moved slightly less on one side, causing it to jam. He began to tremble as his efforts to dislodge the drawer seemed to fail. The need to open it was superseded immediately by a need to leave it looking untouched. Finally the drawer budged and opened, revealing its contents.

He reached in and gently lifted the garments from the drawer; a reverence that might have indicated an attachment to the owner, but rather was more in awe of what the garments truly represented. He had experimented several times before, but this time was different. He knew something about what was really going on inside him and that no matter which garment he chose or if he chose no garment at all, he would remain the person he was irrespective of his appearance. The thought alone brought him to tears as he realized there would be no turning back.

* * *

“Jimmy?” His mother called from the kitchen. He heard the sound of the car keys hitting the ceramic top of the table and the soft thump of her purse. He shuddered and looked at the mirror before walking out of the bedroom and down the hall.

“Jimmy? I picked up some sweet sausage. I thought you might like some peppers and onions and potatoes to go along with it; like Nana cooks them?” He padded down the hallway on the soft carpet; the feel of his feet almost gliding on the fibers felt odd and familiar at the same time.

“Mom…?” A soft voice from a soft boy… She looked up and saw her son standing in the archway of the dining room; an odd vision since the lights in the room were off and he was back lit from the hall light. There was an almost angelic appearance about him as the soft light from behind him produced a halo-like glow around his head.

“Oh…” She put her hand to her mouth to stifle a gasp; the child before her was almost a stranger and yet at the same time was someone she herself had dreamed of from the child’s birth. A girl… Angelina, ironically, she recalled as memories of another time and place filled her with the odd hopes that some mothers have. Not odd in the truest sense, but merely out of most folks idea of ordinary.

“You’re not mad?” The boy nearly whispered. She saw his face was red and streaked with tears; the evidence of a very painful day. She stepped forward and pulled the boy into a hug. Her hand brushed against the soft fabric of the dress the boy wore; touching ever so slightly the 'breasts' the boy had acquired. She noted that he smelled of her perfume as well. Pulling him even closer, she kissed his lips like a mom would kiss her daughter before a first date or a birthday; a blessing of sorts.

“You’re pretty.” Nothing spectacular; a couple of words that spoke of acceptance and pride and love. Nevertheless, the boy put his head down and started to cry.

“Shhhh….none of that. It’s okay, honey. I understand. You know that moms always know, right?” He didn’t know that at all, but her words gave the boy comfort and put him at ease. She stroked his hair.

“I still love you, no matter what, okay?” He nodded almost reluctantly at the words he feared were too good to be true.

“Don’t worry…I won’t tell a soul.” And the irony of the moment sank further in as the boy’s angelic visage seemed to disappear; fading softly but painfully into a future neither wished for him. He heard the sound of soft weeping; a sad reminder of all that had transpired since as things became clearer. He looked around and realized he was lying down in bed. His clothes were wet with perspiration and his face was hot and wet from the tears that literally stained the pillow beneath his head. No longer a boy, but a man well past middle age; the tears had been the product of feelings of hopelessness over dreams that promised nothing but disappointment. The soft weeping had been his own.

A mother’s love is powerful and may even move mountains, but can do nothing to stem the advance of time and sadness when dreams fall by the wayside. Jim had awoken to the sound of his alarm and the sound of his own crying over the fact that, apart from his mother’s heart and his own hopes, Anglina never drew a single breath. Time enough for work and responsibility; he hit the snooze bar and fell back into bed and wept.

* * *

Life is what is is, and I'm okay. But today, I fell into a very fitful dream that began before slumber with me literally crying myself to sleep; unheard in my son's bedroom while my wife and her sister talked in the living room. I felt bad even as I wept and I felt even worse and very guilty that I was selfish enough to be sad over what little hope I still had about 'my' future while far more hurtful, sad events took place today.

The dilemma I feel is one that I know others here and elsewhere struggle with every day; the either/or of our gender vs. family acceptance. No matter which choice we make, we lose despite whatever rewards our choice may bring. I only write this to give voice to how sad things can sometimes feel to me; no other person need feel the same or feel sorry for me, since I'm not sorry at all. But if this fits, feel free to wear it, though I wouldn't wish this dilemma on anyone. Thanks for reading.

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