All We Are - 4


A Sequel to You Are You

I kept falling over
I kept looking backward
I went broke believing
That the simple should be hard

Previously, at Cristyn Edwards’ house…

“No.... I.... I don’t want to be like this all the time,” Dylan said. She looked down at herself again in a needless reproach.

“I’m sorry you that all the time....” Gary stammered. He looked away even as he added in correction,

“You don’t feel like anyone will..... like how I treated Hailey at first and even you at the camp when we met. That no one would accept you? That... oh fuck,” he continued.

“I just want....” she started but stopped in mid-sentence with a gasp.

“I .... accept who you are, Dylan and.... I’m sorry I didn’t see that sooner.... since it.... since I hurt you. I.... oh fuck,” he repeated.

She winced; not at the words, but at the never-hoped-for sentiment. She put her head down only to feel an unfamiliar touch on her cheek. More brother-to-sister at that point, but leaving room for both to look forward to the possibility of more. She raised her head to find him smiling. He leaned closer and gave her a Galadriel-like kiss on the forehead. And she did exactly what she did only minutes before; falling into his arms in now relieved tears....

A short while later

“Hello? Gina?” Mefus sighed; half-relieved, but anxious as well.

“I… I know this is asking a lot…. Your husband is back….. We’re having dinner with my in-laws… yes, that’s right. Hailey…. Yes…my niece…. You understand more than most I’ll bet. Hailey’s …. Yes…. She’s needing some help, and I think if your husband met my niece?” she paused as Gina answered.

“What… did I hear you right? He wants to …sure.” Mefus turned to Hailey and smiled.

“Your father wants to talk to you.” She handed the phone to the girl.

“Dad….?” Hailey shook her head; the very first conversation with her father would seem to be so impersonal over what ironically was a smart phone, since she didn’t feel smart at all. She winced in anticipation of the rebuke that not only didn’t come but never would again.

“Dad….. Daddy? What? You…. I’m not your son?” She winced again until she realized what he was telling her.

“I’m….I’m a girl? I’m your girl? You… accept me?” She turned toward her friends; shaking her head once again.

“He….accepts me….”

It wasn’t a bad thing, but a revelation of such importance should have been done face to face. Mefus looked askance; feeling confused; even helpless as to what to say. Hailey’s eyes teared up, but not in anticipated joy.

“I….all he had to say…. All he needed to tell me…..He accepts me? He hasn’t… still the same…all about him…” She began to shake. Mefus went to hug her and but the girl turned her back.

“Nooo…” she stammered but still reached back as Mefus placed her hand on the girl’s shoulder.

“He still thinks…..fuck….he accepts me?” Hailey repeated

“Like he’s doing me a favor? I hate myself and ….he hates me too. Why can’t he just love me? What the…..It’s not my fault I’m this way…. I just want him to love me!”

She handed the phone to Mefus and ran down the hall to the new safety of her girlfriend’s bedroom. Mefus shook her head in continued frustration; worried for how the girl would be received and fearful over how Dylan’s family might react tomorrow.

“Hello? Oh…. Hello again, Gina. No… She…. She’s down the hall crying her eyes out. I know…. I was … yes? My daughter wanted to know if…. No….yes? One sec?” Mefus said. She turned to Danny.

“They’re coming over to pick up the twins. Can you let them know?” He nodded and walked down the hall….

Danny knocked on Cristyn’s door. A moment later his daughter appeared. She smiled weakly and opened the door further; inviting her father in. He kissed her forehead and walked over to the bed. Dylan and Hailey were sitting in a sideways hug; it was hard to determine who was consoling whom, since both had tear-stained faces. Gary sat in the armchair in the corner of the bedroom; his face cast down and almost hidden.

“I … I don’t know what to say, Mr. Edwards,” the boy sighed.

“Why did God make us this way?” It seemed odd, since Hailey was the twin with the problem, but Danny understood Gary.

“All we are? We are who we are, Gary. You’re exactly who you were meant to be. Your sister has discovered who she was meant to be. Just like my daughter and her cousin.” At Danny’s words, Gary lifted his head and looked at his sister and her new friend. He turned back and looked Danny in the eyes and shrugged his shoulders in shame; not for his feelings for Dylan but for his behavior.

“I’m so sorry, Mr. Edwards. I’m….” He stood up quickly and went to walk past Danny and out, but the man stood his ground.

“I know, Gary. I think everyone knows. We’re all learning about ourselves, and that’s a good thing. And we all change; for the better, God willing.” Gary shook his head no.

“Sorry, but you’re caught, and there’s nothing left to do but agree. You’re a fine young man and I bet if you ask your sister she’ll say you’re a good brother as well.” The boy turned and looked at Hailey and Dylan, and both girls were still crying, but two welcome smiles had crossed both their faces as they nodded at Danny’s words.

“Your Mom and Dad are on their way over to pick you up. I’ll be back when they arrive,” he finished and walked out and down the hallway.

Danny walked into the kitchen and grabbed two bottles of water before walking into the living room. Mefus was leaning on the arm of the couch, staring at the cell phone. Danny tilted his head in question.

“Well…. Gina said that her husband… Chris…. Realized how…. How ….” Mefus stammered; her voice mixed equally in tones of sadness and anger.

“I pretty much figured out … It’s new. He’s sorry… So he just blurted out his acceptance after how many other times of telling her how wrong she’s been. No wonder she was bawling her eyes out.”

“Well, wouldn’t you,” Mefus snapped at him but shook her head.

“Sorry. It’s just that I’m afraid that your crusader of a brother isn’t going to be understanding. Maybe we should just back off?”

“NO!” a voice interrupted. Mefus turned to find Danny had come out and was sitting at the kitchen table around the corner from where she and Danny stood.

“I can’t wait. I … I need to know. I don’t care anymore,” she said before burying her face in her arms on the table as she sobbed. They walked over and Mefus draped herself over Dylan in a protective hug. When hurt and disappointment are part of anyone’s routine much less a gender conflicted teen, not ‘caring’ all too often means they’re so weary that they are too hurt and too tired to keep trying.

“Bydd yn iawn ferch , gwerthfawr,” Mefus said as the girl continued to weep in her embrace. Dylan was indeed a precious girl, as was Hailey. She could only hope and pray on everyone’s behalf that Dylan’s family would realize how precious and how indeed a girl she was and that everything would be alright.

“Bydd yn iawn ferch , gwerthfawr,” Danny echoed Mefus. She looked up to see him smiling broadly; his eyes twinkling as if to say, you too, dear wife, you too…

At the Venturini home, 9:12 pm…

Chris sat on the couch; sandwiched between Gina and Bonnie; looking less lost than only a hour before.

“She must hate me…” His voice trailed off, but was followed quickly with a rebuke from his daughter.

“No, Daddy. She thinks you hate her. And she...the only person she hates is herself.“ Bonnie went to stand up but instead leaned close.

“Nobody hates you….We’re….so….we’re angry ‘cause everybody has been more important than us. Everything.”

“I’m so sorry I hurt you. I’m so sorry.” He pled. Gina grabbed his arm.

“We know that. But this doesn’t get easy just because you’re sorry.” His eyes widened in hurt until he nodded.

“I just don’t know what to say…to do.”

“I have a brother, Daddy…He thinks there’s something wrong with him because he has two sisters.”

“What? That’s…..’

“Let me finish. He has two sisters that he loves and he’s afraid you…that you are angry with him and that he’s lost you!” Gina gasped at the sad realization of just how sensitive and hurt Bonnie was on behalf of her siblings.

“That’s crazy! I don’t feel that way,” Chris argued. Gina glared at him. She wiped angry tears away with the back of her hand.

“How would he know that when you refused to go to counseling when Hailey first told us? Or how all your letters never once used her name. What did you say? ‘The boys must be such a help to you and Bonnie!’ It’s not about being sorry, Chris.” He stared at her.

“This…“ she spoke even as she pulled out her cell phone and hit called ID.

“Hello? Mefus? Hi… sorry to bother you so late? What? Hailey isn’t….I’m okay with the twins staying overnight, but I have a huge…yes, favor…how?” Gina breathed out a heavy sigh as she listened.

“Tomorrow morning? Ok. Gosh, you’re a lifesaver. Ten? Yes? Th…thanks. Ten it is?” She clicked ‘off’ and leaned into her husband while reaching over to grab Connie’s hand/

“Mommy? Are you okay?” Bonnie asked as Gina began to cry.

“Yes baby….oh yes….”

At the Edwards home, 10:43 pm...

Dylan had fallen into a fitful rest on the couch, and Mefus placed a plush blanket over her. She had cried until sleep took her; comforted somewhat by a very worn stuffed toy do she had managed to smuggle from home. Danny walked over and he held his wife’s hand as they said a quick prayer for their niece before walking down the hall to Cristyn’s bedroom where they beheld a similar scene.

Gary had fallen asleep sitting up in the chair in the corner nearest the bedroom window; a sentinel on guard for the two girls who had drifted off in a still innocent sisterly cuddle. Their faces were a portrait of opposites. Hailey was murmuring restlessly; barely under, so to speak. Cristyn’s countenance, however, was about as peaceful as Mefus and Danny had ever seen her; the quiet confidence that their only child often displayed when even their own faith had waned.

“We can only hope this all comes together for everyone’s sake, my dear bride,” Danny said iin a near-prayer.

“I will not say, ‘God willing.’ I have to believe it already is God's will that your brother and this poor girl’s father will see the light.” Mefus turned away and began to weep.

“What…manner of man?” she stammered.

“What manner of man turns his back on his own child? If we….” She gasped. Danny pulled her into as protective a hug as he could manage; his own grief never more than a thought away as he pictured their other girl. Gwynneth; taken at seven from leukemia before Cristyn had turned five; her absence still painful, and yet a reminder in their sleeping daughter urged them toward a difficult yet needful gratitude at the same time.

“I swear, Danny! If they don’t want Dylan? She….she can be….ours?”

“I know, my love, but maybe…just maybe there’s hope for her and our girl’s friend here? As much as I’d love another daughter, let’s hope it’s in this one here someday with our Cristyn, and that Dylan’s Mum and Dad fall in love with that precious girl asleep on our couch, yes?”

Mefus looked into her husband’s eyes and gained a huge measure of peace, but she still felt the ever-present painful tug in her heart for the little girl who should have been asleep in the room instead of heaven. Danny pulled her closer and spoke softly even as his own tears fell.

“I know….I miss her too….so, so much.”

All we are we are
All we are we are
And every day is a start of something beautiful

To be continued….

All We Are – Reprise
words and music by
Marshall Altman and the performer,
Matt Nathanson

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