I do wish I was a girl - I do.

I do wish I was a girl - I do.

Wishing every day - then being offered more than you ever wanted - how do you resist temptation?
Temptation - The choice between Getting what you want and Getting back at everyone?
Sometimes good things happen.

So this is Christmas. Hah. What a merry time someone must be having – because I’m not.

I sat there on Christmas Eve – and I prayed as usual. Maybe it wasn’t the church type of prayer – “Oh Wonderful God who never makes mistakes – please give unworthy me a wonderful gift that I have asked for so many times. I know that my prayer may not be granted because you aren’t there, or because you don’t care or because I’m not ‘doing it right’ or because it’s not time and I’ll never know if you’re granting my prayer anyway or if it’s just one of those things. To me these just sound like ‘no, not yet and woops you’re a lottery winner’. I don’t want to sound unreasonable – but I’m hurting – and it’s not fair’ … but it hurts so much not to be able to be the me I feel inside. ……. ”

“Fair” booms a loud manly voice [in my imagination] “Why should I be fair. Your fellow creatures tell me that I’m in charge of everything, that I decided how everyone should live even before I began the universe and you expect me to change my mind about a silly little bit of flesh. Hah, As if,”

So – I have begged, and prayed, and asked, and hoped for so many thousands of times. Every morning when I wake up; every evening before I go to sleep. I’ve had dreams where I been praying. I beg and hope so many times during the day. And on the outside, I’m still a boy – well, I’m aged 24 now so I have to call myself an adult man. Like the voice said ‘as if!’.

As if I wasn’t about 5 foot 6 inches, weighing about 125 pounds soaking wet; I had none of the body characteristics of what they tell me is a ‘real man’. No muscles, no beard, barely any pubes, my voice was still mid-range, my adam’s apple barely visible, my skin soft and my body-shape was, shall we say, androgynous. I did have erections – oh so often – about twice a month. With considerable encouragement, I could even ejaculate – but it looked nothing like what came out on the porn pictures that even occasional visits to the porn (via merely ‘beautiful girl’ sites) could provide. Yukk. And I didn’t enjoy it like the stories said I should.

Dammit – I knew I was a girl. I related better to girls; I liked girls better; I knew how they felt, how they reacted, how their emotions worked. At least, that was my opinion. Boys and Men – Hah – sport – zero points and almost zero understanding (although I had played rugby and been quite good out on the wing where I could / had to run fast) ; cars – zero points and less interest; drink – rare and little interest; girls as sex objects – urgh, just wrong; guys as sex objects – no thankyou; gays as sex objects – go away, no. Truly, I had little in common with the majority of males I knew.

But, somehow, I got through the days. Sometimes I felt that the whole world was ganging up on me. I would have a wonderful job and – bang – something would go adrift and the blame would drift in my direction. And I would be encouraged to leave. Exams at school – all going well until sudden illness; or on one occasion, my pen just exploded in the last few minutes spoiling three sheets of really good answers; and could the teachers be bothered to press for a re-mark, hah.

So much of my life was punctuated by ‘oh no, not again’. I felt like the bowl of petunias in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. In my worst moments of depression, I wondered if someone had it in for me. Yeah, cue the Kenneth Williams joke.

Time passed from my early years at kindergarten where I had first been separated from the girls where I was comfortable and made to do things ‘with the other boys’. Over twenty years of knowing that my outside was out of kilter with my inside. My name was Mallory Devlin – and one day of vaguely surfing the internet drifting from site to site as one so easily does I had looked up the Meaning of Names. To my amazement they both meant bad things.

Mallory – derives from the old French Mal Heure – the Bad Hour.
Devlin - derives from the Gaelic dobhail-in – then small unfortunate one

Looking further I found that the Job in the Old Testament was another with the same meaning, and my aunt Ghislaine, who had died the day I was born, came from the Hebrew Hila and one meaning was ‘anguish & pain’. What a dreadful set of labels.

How had my parents given me such ominous names. I asked that evening. Dad answered, “we weren’t really looking for meaningful names – but there’s not a lot of choice with surnames and your grandfather’s name was also Mallory. I think he said his father liked the stories of King Arthur which were first written down by Mallory. But you could have been called Ghislaine after your aunt. That was a hard day. She got killed in a car crash by a drunk driver – and a few hours later, your mum delivered you.”

“I never knew that part of the story, Dad, thanks. But I’m glad you didn’t call me Ghislaine – after all that’s a girl’s name.”

He smirked “That would have been complicated to explain at school, wouldn’t it. Can’t see Rough Tough Mr Enderson accepting that one of his boys had a girl’s name.”

We both laughed. Mr Enderson was notorious for demanding that boys were boys and girls were girls and never etc etc . The two groups sat separately in class, sat separately for lunch, sat separately in assembly and whenever possible had different lessons. ‘No sharing reduces the overlapping of interests or the risk of contamination’ – Mr Enderson had been heard to say. What an old-fashioned attitude. Nobody dared guess what he would do if any of his flock trod too close to his rules on gender division. Not one boy or girl had ever dared to mention homosexuality or bisexuality. Heck, most of the school wouldn’t dare mention the syllable ‘sex’ unless it was unavoidable.

There was even less chance of anyone contemplating any form of gender ambiguity. Gender-suicide might have been more likely. And I didn’t open up to anybody that I knew I was a girl. Perhaps my name should have been Ghislaine. I liked the variation Gilly or Jilly for myself.

But I kept all this secret from everybody. I almost kept it secret from myself. I never wore my mother’s clothes. I never pretended to be a girl. I never used girlish gestures (as far as I knew), I never did very much at all. I drifted through life even while, if anything, being sometimes friendly with the girls because I liked their company and then being unkind and nasty in order to ‘prove’ I was nothing like them. What a waste. How stupid.

I did let my hair grow quite long – well to the bottom of my ears – but no longer. I wasn’t going to let anyone give me the ‘long-haired poofter’ label. But I liked the way my hair tickled my neck as I tossed my head (in private). I made sure not to look after it too well. I kept it clean but I didn’t bother with conditioner or such. It was a tiny part of my life of which I was fractionally in control via my girl-self.

I wasn’t actually that dim, and because I had a lot of time by myself, I worked. When I did give myself a break, I read too many books, a lot of sci-fi and fantasy. And I did notice that a lot of my favourite characters were women or girls. I wonder why? Many of Robert Heinlein’s lead characters, Tamora Pierce, Elizabeth Moon, Honor Harrington, Lois Bujold, Anne McCaffrey, and so many more. There were good male role models – but they used force rather than brain-power. So much testosterone.

-----o-----

Anyway – back (selfishly perhaps) to writing about me and thinking about me and hoping about me.

Like I said – so this is Christmas – another year nearly done. Another year of being, at best, only fairly adequate as a human being and less than average as a male. I had nerved myself to go into the local second-hand shops looking at the clothes there – but never having the extra mental energy to buy something to try on at home. I had at last bought a pair of panties at the supermarket – but somehow I knew that people were looking at me as if I had done or was about to do something perverted and vile.

But, as regards trying to be kind, decent, honourable, unselfish or even ‘good’ – I do believe I considered the possible effects on other people before I acted. Sometimes. But perhaps more than some, and obviously less than others. Overall, I thought I was balancing towards Good if Piers Antony’s Incarnation of Death were to catch up with me.

That night I had a dream different from any before

I was in a department store, somehow I knew that my bank account was full to overflowing and I could buy anything I wanted – and all the clothes on the racks looked wonderful. All in colours and shades and shapes and materials that were absolutely correct for me. Dresses, blouses, skirts, skorts, leggings, panties, bras, camis, vests, bikinis – come on, girls, you know how the list goes on and on.

A voice spoke near me – a very dapper young man with black hair, black eyes and a crisp cut shirt to match a sharply tailored grey suit. Doesn’t that all look so excellent. Almost exactly what you might want if you were the woman you want to be, the woman you pray to be, the woman you need to be.”

His voice had a flavour of enticement, almost erotic in a way. It was soft, creamy, enticing, attractive, gorgeous, arousing even – and yet.

“I can provide you with everything you have ever wanted. Your own true body, for a start. With a pretty vagina and the hips and breasts and hair and other accoutrements that you might feel necessary. I can arrange for you to have periods, pregnancy, babies, suckling infants mewling and puking until they are of an age. I can arrange a lover, or lovers or a husband as required. All these things I can arrange for you.

“You can have all these clothes that are in front of you – and whatever else your mind can imagine, thus it will become available. You will not need to worry about money as a variety of excellent and pleasing jobs will open up before you as soon as you say you want all this.”

“I can improve all the other aspects of your life that have sucked away at you and made you open to the vileness of depression. Such a nice, kind girl as you [and his voice went a little frosty as he said that] should not suffer so. If you go to your parents now – they will welcome you and they will say they did not understand and they will love you. Your siblings will follow their lead, as will your other relatives and the disappeared friends and acquaintances. You will have new friends, better friends who will stick with you. All this can be yours.”

“Better, I can ensure that all the people who have ever hurt you or been unkind or intolerant – that they suffer exactly as much as you did. Family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, casual but viperish strangers - I can arrange it that they suffer for every hurt that did to people like you or I can match their pain exactamento to yours. Each and every one that caused you pain, whether they meant to or not – they will suffer as you did.”

“The women who have said you will never be a proper woman because you will never have periods and nor can you get pregnant – I can match their suffering. Some will get pregnant when they wish it not; others will never get pregnant despite their needs; some will get pregnant and lose their foetuses or their babies, some will cease their periods, others will endure enormous outpourings and public humiliation. I can promise that a carefully selected yet identically suitable cruelty will be theirs for what they did to you. They were cruel and nasty and vile and unkind – so shall it be for them to offset what they did to you due to the malice and unkindness in their hearts and souls.” He almost spat the last word.

“The boys and girls at school and the teachers, now grown older like you. Whatever they have done it shall turn to dust. You know how unappealing they were and you know they will not have changed – from their mindless brains to their mud-grubbing feet – ugly through and through. Any quality of life that they have will have been built on nastiness, cruelty, abuse and bullying. They deserve nothing – and so it shall be. Look at the eyes of the homeless in the street in a year’s time – you might recognize some of them. Or watch the court records and the local newspapers as these people are degraded in the way they did to you.

“As I promise, so shall it be – life, family, friends, and revenge for the past,” he purred. “You can have all this as soon as you agree that these others merit this equivalence of unkindness for what they said and did to you. As someone once said ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. They deserve this – don’t you agree?”

I hesitated. I really did. It would be so right, so fitting, so suitable and so satisfying to get back at those who had hurt me so much over the years.

But I found I couldn’t say it. I could not say ‘yes’. I could agree, oh how easily, that there were many, too many, who had hurt me deep in my soul. And, yes, I could easily want them to get the equivalent pain for what they had done to me. By word and action, by non-word and non-action. There had been so many hurts and they had been so deep and so painful. But I couldn’t say ‘yes’.

I knew that some were the kind who gained genuine pleasure from the misfortunes of others; some gained a perverse excitement from the abuse of power. Others delivered pain because they knew no better. Others gave pain because they hurt inside so much that it overflowed, that it was a side-effect of their own damage.

I could not do it. I would have had to change my whole relationship with myself in order to be that unkind, cruel and nasty. I could not do it. I may have a quantity of bad habits, of ugly behaviours of vile attitudes – but I could not do it.

I turned to this man – and I could sense his eagerness. “No. I can’t do it. Your offer is hateful. I’m far from perfect yet you cannot persuade me to hurt others on purpose as you wish me to. For me, the difference between error and sin is one of deliberateness. A sin requires a deliberate effort, a choice, a willingness to be vile. Not me. I can easily agree that many of those who have hurt me do merit some form of retribution. But I cannot say that everyone of them deserves the outcome of my hatred. For that is what it would be. You are asking me to blindly hate these people – many, perhaps, of whom have only touched on my life. Even if their unkindness was carefully aimed at me and even if, in their twisted view, I somehow deserved it - I cannot condemn them unheard and blind. I would not be the me that I am if I could do this. I would hate myself.”

“So I say ‘no’”.

And in my dream, the clothes turned to rags, the cars and palaces into piles of toying rubbish. All that had been paraded I front of me - trash. And the man beside me spat at my feet. I glanced at my shoe in case it was messed – and he had gone. Softly and silently vanished away. And part of me was glad that I could not condemn so many people for their faults and a tiny part of me regretted that not even one would suffer. There were a few whose names leapt to my mind from the recesses where I had hidden them. There had been that little thrill of ‘I have the power to retaliate ….. but greater than that was the warmth of knowing that such a flagrant violation of my real feelings could not be endorsed by my heart or my soul or my gut or my brain. Hooray for me.

But all those promises had been so enticing.

And then I got angry with myself – and if you can reject that even in a dream then why can’t you make things happen in real-life. You demonstrated power and confidence and strength – do it for real.

And, for once, my prayer as I went to sleep was ‘Give me the confidence, give me the strength.”

I know I slept. At least I think I slept.

----------

I dreamt. I was in the shopping mall – and there was a poster. I looked at it – and thought ‘yeah, that’s pretty close to what I think'.

…..The Unthinkable Horrors of Human Existence :-

……… .There is no Afterlife
……… God does not answer prayers
……… Life is Chance
……… Life is not Fair
……… There is no eternal justice
………..A single mistake can ruin your Life
……… Humans are not Special
……….God is the invention of Man.
……… There Is No Absolute Morality or Truth

I walked on thinking - 'well after that dream I think I'll be able to resist any of the lesser temptations. But it can't have been real. There's been no answer from whatever gods there are - so it doesn't make sense to believe in a devil if there's no gods, eh. Hah. I've managed so far - even if my wishes haven't come true. I've got a reasonable job, well, until they gave me the sack as 'not making enough contribution to profit' and some bull about 'not fitting in'. Can't really grumble. I'll just keep on trucking, doing my best. I'm confident i can find a new job from the various offers I have had in the past. Oh, bollocks, why can't something change - but I can't expect it to 'just like that'. Perhaps my New Year resolution should be to make things happen for myself.'

Looking back, it's strange that I can remember so much of what I was thinking. It was almost 'stream of consciousness' rubbish - but I could feel myself building up to a decision.

There were three days of work to attend between Christmas and New Year. Even though I had been given my cards and told to leave, they - ‘they’ were still finding makework to do. What is an expert on statistics going to do with three empty valueless days to waste. Then there would be the almost complete waste until mid-February when my time was up.

The internet is such a remarkable resource. I had been looking for a new job and so I researched one or two of them thoroughly. It must have been a fluke because just as I hit the key for one subsection, another screen popped up with a news story. My job may be called statistics – but really I am a pattern-finder. I look at odd bits of data and I can see links and structures that others only see eventually.

We all know people like this. The mechanic who can tell what is wrong purely from how you drive up to the garage and the noise of the engine; the almost psychic builder who can detect cracks and leaks as if by magic. The auditor who leafs through a hundred documents (of which you are confident they are all sound and solid) and yet the one he pulls out has an error.

My skill is patterns – and the news story told me that the company I was looking at had a risk and an opportunity. So, the new slightly-bolder me took a big step. I used the company computer to email (on my personal email) the new prospect about the problem. They needed to get some support equipment (for which they were one of the few in Europe) to the dam. Just to emphasise my concern, I tracked down a personal email for one of the senior directors.

I signed the email only with my initials MD.

The next day, two days after Christmas when so many are already building their break into nearly a fortnight, to my amazement, there was a reply. “Please come for a meeting at 2.30pm”.

Okay, I lied. I told my two fellow Christmas colleagues that I was going out for a post-Christmas social as I had done all my work and I might overrun my lunch by maybe half an hour. They couldn’t really argue as both of them, the day before, had had a 3-hour lunch and been absolutely useless all afternoon.

So – to this extraordinary meeting with people I had never met.

I still find it difficult to believe that there is a god like the Christians tell us – but I do accept that something beyond my comprehension occurred at the change of the year. And, similar to what Arthur C Clarke said ‘anything that cannot be understood will be described by some as magic’.

I love me.

I went to the meeting and they met MD. Although when I arrived, there had been a mix up and reception thought I was asking for Emma Dee.

Being a word-player, I replied, “I’m as near as you’re going to get today. My initials are MD so somebody must have misheard. The name’s Devlin, initial M - I often sign my emails as MD. Okay?”

“Doesn’t worry me as long as I make sure the right people meet the right people in the right place at the right time. But you could easily be an ‘Emma Dee’. Your hair is so well looked after and so glossy – and you’re short and quite pretty in a way. You could be an Emma if you wanted. “ She smiled. But I had rehearsed and delivered that spiel more than a few times. But it was the first time anyone had grinned at me like that.

I was confused. In what version of my existence was anything like this happening – lovely glossy hair ! (I knew that was wrong), pretty !! (I KNEW that was wrong), you could be an Emma !!! (I knew that was WRONG – whatever I wished for).

What sort of comment was going to deserve FOUR exclamation marks. I’d be going for the ‘I don’t believe it’ Meldrew score any moment. Eeek.

The moment passed. I sat in the sofa by the coffee machine which fortunately gave me the good-quality caffeine jolt I needed. [Yeah, yeah, don’t be picky – I did have to select and push some buttons.]

While I drank, I noticed the receptionist was looking at me – very thoroughly it felt. It made me feel uncomfortable in one way but I enjoyed the attention.

“I’m being a bit pushy, but after your meeting I’d like to meet up and talk with you. If it goes well, I’ll help you celebrate, if it doesn’t then I’ll help you recuperate. My name’s Yvonne Perry – in case you wanted to know,” she grinned again and I smiled back. I may be poor at social skills but any human would return that open, relaxed, confident grin with immediate pleasure.

“Perry? My friend’s went to a local school where Mrs Perry was the Headmonster.”

“Don’t be naughty. Mummy’s not a monster – she’s just determined, insistent on perfection and confident that every one of her pupils can be and will be a credit to her school. Note – that is not might be, could be or should be but WILL be. Her methods may seem kind of restrictive but the results speak for themselves. It has been the best school around for over 10 years. I’m proud she’s my mum – and I will be cross if you tease me like that any more.”

I enjoyed the clear offer that there would be more time for me to spend with Yvonne. So, just to make sure, I ticked the final boxes. “Thanks for that, Yvonne. I know nothing about your mum except gossip and rumour – and we know what those lying dogs can do. I would be delighted to meet you after my meeting/ I have no idea how long it will take – so, er, ….”

Yvonne took over. "If the meeting goes on for more than an hour or so, someone will want tea and coffee. That’s probably going to be my job unless Charity is available – so I’ll pass you a note about where to meet if it looks like you’ll be here for a long time or until after I’ve done my shift on the desk.”

And so it came to pass. The meeting did go on. They were very interested in my analysis and in my suggested solution. They completely agreed that their in-house systems would probably not have seen the opportunity in time due to the need for two if not three departments to have liaised and meshed together. They were extremely grateful even though it was going to take a special effort at a busy time of year when many staff were already pressurised. But – yes, they were grateful and they wanted to reward me.

This was potentially difficult as I was already employed by a firm which had a very small overlap with their activities – but of sufficient importance that a conflict of interests could be argued. I knew this was a false argument but any argument would have wasted a lot of my time and energy. One of the directors suggested that I set up a small one-man limited company as this would be open to my current employers as a separate activity but the purposes of any company are very vague and conflict would be easily camouflaged. I was uncomfortable with this but saw no alternative.

He said, “We’ll ring the accountants and take one of their off-the-peg companies, change its name and the directors, shareholders and so on. It’ll be done by tomorrow lunchtime. What do you want to call it?”

“er, MD Enterprises.” I said

“Did you say Emma Dee or MD?”

I hesitated a moment. “Just to disguise things a little more, let’s go with Emma Dee, that’s going to be e m m a space d e e.” My brain spun for a moment. Why had I made that decision. Who or what was this Emma Dee that had suddenly come into existence.

I had thought they were going to give me a bonus of some £5,000 or £10,000 and I didn’t think all this palaver about conflict of interests and so on was significant or indeed relevant. Then my world blew apart.

The chairman smiled at me, “Do you have any idea how much we are talking about as a bonus?”

“Well, no. But you’ve been talking about usual bonus, usual rate even if it was you that said ‘special circumstances’.”

The man was a shrewd operator, he said, “You’ve been thinking in terms of some £10,000 or so, haven’t you.”

I nodded – not indicating that that was my top-end estimate.

“This contract in ordinary circumstances would be likely to bring in some £12 million in turnover. We wouldn’t be doing it without an expected profit margin of 20% minimum. At this time of year, with the special situation you’ve brought to our attention – we are going to expect nearly £20 million and the cost will actually only be a little more – so the profit will be closer to 40% or £8 million. Any consultant who brought a project like this to us would expect a bonus in the region of 2%. In case your arithmetic is lagging, that would be £160,000. But this is special and you have done us an enormous favour which I think is worth real money – so the bonus will be £100,000 today whether the deal gets signed or not – and a further £200,000 if the deal is agreed.”

I tried, I really tried to keep any expression of shock or surprise out of my face – but I failed as we both expected.

“Wha, wh, what ….how much, how much.” I nearly squeaked the last word out because somehow I had no breath to speak with. I gasped and shook my head. “Is that for real?”

“Yes. Real money for a really good idea which you have given to us, willingly and openly. We would be stupid not to be open and willing in return. Now we come to the next issue. We’ve already told you that our various departments would have missed this opportunity because of time-consuming inter-departmental rivalries and sloppy communication. I personally want to employ you.” He held up his hand as I was about to interrupt.

“But I am not going to employ you ….not directly anyway.”

I felt puzzled.

He could see this – and continued. “All by yourself you are a Consultant on Unexpected Opportunities or perhaps Unintended Consequences – on this occasion, it’s been remarkably to our benefit. But working just for us would be far too limited for the skills you have demonstrated. That, in part, is why I gave Jim the idea of setting up a company for you. I have no doubt that selling your skills would be extremely difficult without a portfolio of demonstrated successes – but you have done one such project within 24 hours. This company is willing to support you and promote you. We can ensure that you have access to experts in almost any field. We may want first call on your services – but I believe that you will be flying far and wide in no time at all.” He smiled, very kindly. “You are young and are still optimistic. Do you want to take this chance.”

“Er, no, yes, no but, yes but …. gulp,” I gulped. “Can I do it like the Dragon’s Den and ask for advice from some of you when I need it.”

“We’d be foolish not to say yes. You’ve just made us a profit of some 7 or 8 million. We can spare some time and effort for you. Perhaps you’ll do the same for us again – or better. At this moment, I have enormous confidence in your skills at finding patterns where no one else expects them.” He paused, “Has your brain caught up yet?”

“er, er, clunk, whirr, nearly!” I managed to answer with a smile to match his.

“So – a pattern you did not detect in advance, ha.” He used a pseudo-German accent to add a little more humour. “A piece of advice, my friend. Never display humour unless you are in control of the situation. Never display hesitation. Never let anyone get the impression that you are anything other than an expert in your very specialised field. You are the magic man – and the magic fails if the observer is not certain of your skills. But, just for now, that humour is exactly right. It actually reinforces my certainty that you are a good thing and this project will be a great success. And you will be a great success.”

I took a deep breath. “Well, I’d better go and resign from my proper company.”

“Don’t be silly. You don’t do that yet. Not until you have lined up some new patterns and spotted some new – and invoiceable – projects for new clients. Use the time with your present company to look for such gaps. As certain as eggs are eggs – there will be some to find now that you have new eyes to look for new angles. Go seek, young hunter. Find the new opportunities.”

I was getting excited now. I could see that with the next few days at my desk, there would be hiccups to detect. What I had to do was ensure that I got to grips with this new idea.

On the bus trip back to the office, my mind played with the new company name Emma Dee ….. Emm urgent Dee / emergency / emergenDy; emergency R & D, emergent Dee - I could see some playful options.

The my mind hit a block – what about Yvonne. Was there a message? Had I missed it? Just at that moment, my phone pinged …. And it was Yvonne.

How had she done that I wondered. But the intricacies of the receptionist’s semi-psychic uber-network was to my uncertain knowledge well up in the Bunter-invisibility score. Somehow she had my number – both in reality and psychologically. What could I do but give in to her uncanny skills.

“MD here.”

“So, I learn that my bosses think you are wonderful.” Her enthusiasm was infectious.

“Yep. And their confidence is actually inspiring me and driving me to contemplate things I always thought were beyond me. It’s a sort of miracle really.”

“That’s wonderful. So – taking things a step further – are you wanting to come out with me for a drink or a coffee or something.”

“My brain wants to plan and plot and think, my heart want this wonderful experience to keep building onwards and upwards, my stomach says ‘feed me’ and whatever is left says ‘don’t be stupid go for a drink with this friendly pretty girl’. So – yes. Let’s meet for a drink and see what happens. I’m getting off the bus and I’ll be back near your office in about 10 or 15 minutes.”

Actually I caught a bus going back almost immediately – so I was back at the office plaza in barely 8 minutes. Yvonne was waiting, sitting on a bench just where the bus pulled up.

“Hello, my new and shiny friend who makes my bosses so happy. If you were an Indian, Sioux or whatever – they would make that into your new name.” Once more, that delightful, entrancing, lovely giggle.

“We can go to this winebar on the corner. They do excellent coffee as well. I’m going to make one suggestion thought – let’s plan to stop this and go home after say one hour. It would be silly to go from never having met to overwhelming on the first time we meet socially. I’ve seen it go wrong before – the first evening goes on to the late evening – then every day is …… more and more pressure. No – let’s set it so that we can cut off early enough that we are both looking forward to another time together.”

“Yeehhss …. I can go with that – but I’ll negotiate a half-hour extra if we’re in the middle of something worthwhile.”

“I can go with that. So, drink or coffee?”

“I want to celebrate – and that’s not coffee – but I don’t drink much so champagne would be far over the top. Perhaps a shandy?”

“No – not for a celebration. I’ll talk with Danny behind the bar and get you a non-alcoholic cocktail. He can design you one called what …. ‘The Winner’ ‘To the Future’ what d’you think.”

“I’m not a winner just yet. Let’s go with ‘To the Future’, and tell him to invent another one called …… ‘Sudden Opportunity’.”

Yvonne smiled as she swayed up to the bar. I watched both her, and the sway.

Yvonne returned and said our drinks would be with us soon – she was having the Sudden Opportunity to see what it was going to be like – and I was getting the To the Future. We could share a little to see which was nicer. “Did you enjoy the view?” she smirked.

“I saw in the mirror that you were watching me – or was it just my glorious figure as it swayed towards the bar perched on these 3 inch heels and encased in this knee-length jersey dress?”

I refuse to answer on the grounds that I will incriminate myself.”

“Smarty.”

We smiled at each other. It was really pleasant to feel this relaxed with a beautiful girl. I can’t say that it had happened too often to me before. Most girls couldn’t get to grips with the undefinable similarity that I knew I shared with them. Too often I would know what the right girl-response was – and that’s not the right response from an apparently male bodyshape. But tonight just felt nice. Nice and comfortable too.

“Do you want to be told that you’re different and I like you – or that I like you and you’re different?”

“Sneaky – you’ve offered me both at once. And you’ve managed to say that I’m different in two possibly different ways. So I won’t answer – except that it’s kind of nice that you’re already saying you like me. You first saw me, what, not even four hours ago.”

“Oh kay, I’ve told you one secret already. Now I’ll up the ante and tell you another. One of the reasons I like you is that you’re the sort of man who is especially interesting to me because you’re so very much not a testosterone-overloaded macho pig.”

“Is this more of the ‘you’re so pretty’ stuff you spouted earlier?”

“I dislike the word ‘spout’.”

“Sneaky – you didn’t answer my question.”

“Oh, I never noticed. What was the question exactly?”

“Are you accusing me of being ‘pretty’?”

“Oh, I’d never go so far as to accuse you of anything.”

“Come on, stop wriggling – answer the question.”

“But I saw you – you were concentrating really hard on all the bits of me that could wiggle. I tried my best to catch your attention.”

“Okay, okay. You’re not going to answer. What is special to you about me being pretty?”

“It’s a bit unusual, k’know – but I don’t want a sporty bloke, or a booky geek. I want a boyfriend who has a tiny bit of understanding of me as a girl. And, it’s become clear to me over the years that pretty boys – as a group – most often display the characteristics I want. And you – you’re just what I’m looking for. You’re bright – but not way above me. You’re fit, but you’re not wasting your time in the gym or on the sports field. You’re interested in girls – but in a nice way. And you don’t smell. Or fart or belch in public.”

“Anything else that catches your interest?”

“I’ll tell you when you do it right – and I’ll tell you when you do it wrong. Somehow I get the feeling that things are going to be not just alright but all right. It’s almost as if God was smiling at you and me.”

I almost told Yvonne about the dream where I was tempted by the vile, purring devil. But something held me back. It wasn’t in me to boast like that – even if there was a sort of truth about it. All I knew was that my life had changed within hours of rejecting him.

If there was such a thing as ‘luck’ then I’d be grateful to have good luck for a while. If it was rather the decision of an incomprehensible God who was presented to mere mortals as a patriarchal autocrat with an unusual willingness to adore sacrifices, self-effacement and bundles of prayers – then others could believe what they wished.

I know that I do believe in good and evil – and the dream seemed to endorse those thoughts. I knew that I believed in love, kindness, loyalty and virtues like that. The rules and laws that others pulled out of their religious books concerned me greatly. Do no kill, do not lie, do not covet – understandable in any society at any time. Do not eat shellfish, do not mix wool and leather – what on earth is the rationale for such a ruling?

All I knew was that my future was suddenly looking so much brighter than just 24 hours before – and I would build on that and hope the future continued to be bright – and with Yvonne.

Then life got even better. Yvonne leant over towards me and whispered , “And if you want to dress up as a pretty girl for me, then I’m going to kiss you all over and aim to make you my lover – for ever and ever until death us do part. Can you go with that?”

There was only one answer available …… “I do.”



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