Alexa Chapter 10: Merry Christmas Babe
Following the events of Thanksgiving, the drive to live my life as Alexa became stronger. The need to be Alexa had almost completely taken over. The only thing that was holding me back was Jenny. As often as she told me it didn’t matter to her, some part of me felt like it did. I felt like if I was Alexa, I was not giving her everything she deserved as a companion. I spoke with Dr. Burke about this at every session we had. She would always tell me that I needed to believe Jenny and what she was saying. She did understand my concerns, but said that I had to live my life for myself and the other things would work out.
The whole Jenny thing was the least of my concerns at this time. On top of my love life, both school and family were ready to rear their ugly heads. The end of the semester was on us. That meant final papers and final exams. Thankfully I only had one final exam, but had two lengthy papers to write. And it wasn’t like I was only person going through these things. The atmosphere around campus took on a very tense feel following the Thanksgiving break. Everyone seemed to be on a bit of an edge. It was evident everywhere. People at the library, at restaurants, at stores just seemed to be wound a little tighter than usual. And this carried over to my job. Not only were the customers a little more demanding and a little less forgiving of mistakes, the staff was having issues as well. All of us at the coffee shop seemed to be distracted and we started to get on each other’s nerves a little easier. While the harassment over my change had lessened, the attitudes of some coworkers changed. Even Dannii had changed since our company’s little Christmas Party a week after Thanksgiving. I wrote it off as Finals nerves but she was no longer the person who was constantly hanging on to everything I did or said or following me around like a little lost puppy.
And the finals nerves extended into the home life as well. We had slowly been moving things into my apartment from the girls’, but there were still ‘discussions’ on what should go where and how we should decorate things. And it wasn’t like it was just one or two of us against each other. A discussion of what to hang on the walls of the living room turned into an all-out screaming match with each of us going to our own rooms at one of the two apartments to get away from each other. Jenny proved to be the most stubborn in all of this and I had stood up to her which she wasn’t completely appreciative of at the time. However, she was the first one to make the peace between us. It came the following day and when I returned home from class, I found Jenny spread across my bed in her long red nightgown holding a balloon that said “I’m Sorry” on it. She was quickly forgiven and the rest of the afternoon was spent making up with each other, much to the dismay and humor of Katie.
My family was going to be the next fun. Debbie had urged me that if I wanted to truly move on to be Alexa, I had to come out to my family. That idea scarred the shit out of me. I already knew how I would be accepted by my father and I knew that I would be alienated from my family. Debbie felt the sympathy but also advised me that living as two people was going to take a toll on me. I thanked her for opinion, but told at this time I do not see it as an option. Maybe after Christmas I will have gotten the strength to come out. Debbie did not seem very pleased by this answer. I pleaded with her, reminding her of some of the things my father had said in the past that it was in my personal best interest to remain as Alex, my parent’s son, whenever I was going to see them.
It wasn’t long before our finals were complete and the three of us could let loose. I was excited to spend a few days with Jenny with no responsibilities other than having to work a few shifts, and for those I volunteered for the morning shifts. This not only earned some thanks from co-workers, but it also allowed me to spend almost the whole day with Jenny. I needed to get in as much Jenny time as possible, she was leaving on Friday the 23rd to spend Christmas with her family in Florida. I had been invited but told her I had to work and I didn’t think my parents would look too favorably on me heading out. I could tell this really bothered Jenny, on two fronts. She told me she was going to be gone a week and it wouldn’t be the same without me being there. The second was she nervous about me being alone with my father. I was nervous too, but I did feel that it was my obligation to be with my family on Christmas. I might hate the man, but he is still my father I keep saying.
Even though finals were tough and telling Jenny I couldn’t go to Florida was even tougher, neither of these things were the toughest things I had to do. The toughest thing was having to buy a Christmas gift for Jenny. What do you get a girl who has everything? Sure, I knew I’d buy some clothes and of course shoes, plus some sexy lingerie but I needed something more personal. I didn’t know what to do. I enlisted Katie’s help one day as Jenny was at one of her finals. The two of us wound up at a jewelry store downtown. It was not a place that was overly expensive, but it was still pricey. Katie kept directing me towards diamond bracelets and diamond earrings. I out right refused to look at rings, even though Katie kept teasing me to look. While we were looking around, one thing caught my eye. It was stylized pendant and chain. that was an “A” and “J” intertwined surrounded by a heart. There were several others that were similar of different letters, but to find an A and J was almost like a miracle.
I called the gentleman behind the counter over and asked him about the pendant. “That is one of the first we made, as a special order. Based on this we had our jeweler create a special line. Unfortunately, the gentleman who ordered it never came to claim it.” The older man explained.
‘May I see it?” I asked. He looked a little shocked but pulled it out. It was even more beautiful than it had appeared under the showcase glass. It was not real big, but was unmistakably an A and J with small clear jewels around it. When I asked what they were, I was told that they were just cubic zirconium, as this was the original sample. While it wasn’t diamonds it was still beautiful and might not meet up to Jenny’s taste but I had to have it. “How much?” I asked.
“350 dollars” the jewelry salesman informed me.
“That’s more than I could afford” I say dejectedly handing back the pendant to the salesman. I don’t know if it was the sad look on my face, but the salesman offered me a deal.
“I’ll let you have it for $250. Pay me what you can now, and we will set up a payment.” The offer was more than generous And I offered him up $150 with the agreement to pay the rest over the next 2 months. He readily accepted the deal and Katie and I left with the final piece of my gifts for Jenny. It might not be flashy, but it was something from my heart.
As I said the three of us were ready to let loose, like the 30,000 plus undergraduates at the U. The Saturday night following finals was to be our night out. Rather than hitting the usual college haunts in and around campus, we three girls decided to hit the bars downtown and go clubbing. This is something I had never done, period, let alone dressed as a woman. To celebrate this, Jenny decided all three of us needed new dresses and hauled us down to see our friend Sarah at Nordstrom. This girl is getting some good commissions from us. She helped us each pick oit a dress and we headed home for a night of fun. Following a long shower, with Jenny I might add, we began dressing for our night out.
With Sarah’s advice, I had chosen a Maroon lace flare dress that stopped a few inches above my knees. Underneath I wore a matching color bra, thong and garter belt set with nude nylons. Jenny warned me I would get hot at the clubs, but I didn’t care. One I wanted to be warm on this seasonable, but still cold night and two I wanted to excite Jenny which was quite evident by her actions as I was getting dressed. I finished this off with tan stiletto heeled sandals and a large gold necklace. As I stood in front of the mirror checking myself out I was in shock. I couldn’t believe how far I had come from geeky old Alex in just a few short months. Jenny came up behind me with and wrapped her arms around me. “You are absolutely stunning Lex. I am not leaving you alone all night because someone might steal you.”
I turned and looked at my girlfriend. She had dressed very similar to me, at least underneath except in turquoise to match the dress she was wearing that was of the same color and very similar in design to mine. She had decided to wear her hair up, while I had decided to keep my natural hair down, but pulled back. I pulled Jenny close to me and planted a large kiss on her before replying, “Not as stunning as my girlfriend.” And the kiss begins to get longer and deeper and before the inevitable happens.
“Would you two get out here! I want to go.” We hear Katie yell from the living room of what is now our apartment. We have pretty much completely moved in here although there were still a few items to move. Jenny and I share one more kiss and a giggle before locking hands and heading out to the living room to join our roommate. Katie stood there looking as good as Jenny, well maybe not as good but still very hot. She too had opted to go with lace, but hers was a Black yoke dress with cap sleeves. Unlike us, Katie went with classic black pumps. With a smile Katie begins her inevitable lecture. “OK you two. I have been studying my ass off for three weeks. I want to go party so if you two can put your libidos on hold, can we leave?” Jenny and I giggle before I begin to tease my ‘sister’.
“Someone feeling a little anxious tonight Katie? Like they might be on the prowl?” This not only elicits a giggle from Jenny but one from Katie as well.
“Maybe. But if we sit here talking about it, you’ll never know. So, let’s go ladies. Time to celebrate!” Katie replies
“Party!” Jenny and I yell in unison.
We have the cab driver drop us at Brady’s Pub to start the evening festivities. We have a couple of drinks before moving down First Avenue, hitting a couple of other bars before we arrive at our ultimate destination, Lacus. Jenny had called the other day and using her family connections got us into the VIP section of the club. Not only did that guarantee we would have a table in the VIP section, but also allowed us to avoid the long wait outside the club. I felt sorry for some of the other women who were standing out in the 20 degree temperatures just to get in. The cold sweeping up under their clubbing dresses. But once we entered, I could understand why they were waiting. I had never been in a place like this and I don’t think that Katie had been either. There were people everywhere and the music was almost hypnotic. The lighting was both intimate and entertaining at the same time. After the first couple of glasses of complimentary champagne, the three of us were on the dance floor.
While Jenny had been working with me at home, this was the first time I had been out dancing in stiletto heels. At first I felt like an elephant on ice skates, but soon found my grove, pardon the pun. Jenny kept telling me to loosen up and as time passed I did. The Jägermeister shots the three of us took also helped. Soon Jenny had me moving in step with her and when I caught myself in one of the mirrors near the dance floor and realized I looked every part of a woman out on the town. Jenny caught sight of me looking at myself and whispered in my ear “You are the hottest person here tonight” I turned and gave her a kiss right there on the dance floor that soon evolved to a little more until Katie stopped us, but this time teasing us.
“You two keep that up, every guy in the place will be around you two.” Katie says laughing.
“You can have them all Katie, I only want Alexa.” Jenny confirmed giving me a quick kiss before getting back to the dancing. And Katie’s words proved to be prophetic as the three of us were surrounded by several guys asking us to dance. I instantly panicked, which thankfully Jenny saw and she stepped in and told the guys “Sorry boys, this one’s all mine.” Katie how ever did take advantage of the chance to dance with several of the guys but always coming back to our little group. After about an hour of dancing, the three of us headed back to our reserved table to enjoy some more of the free champagne. And even of though Jenny announced that she and I were off the table, we were followed by a flock of men wanting to be with us. But for the most part they left us alone as the two of us cuddle up together at the table. Katie however is reveling in the attention that she is receiving. She is flirting with every single guy and amusing Jenny and I at the same time. After a couple of glasses of champagne, we return to the dance floor.
The dancing and the drinking slowly took a toll on us, and Jenny and I wanted to head home, but Katie wanted to continue partying. We begged her to come back with us, but she wanted to stay out for another hour. She assured us that she could handle herself, besides she knew the one guy she seemed to be getting close with, Wyatt, from one of her classes. As we were walking out Jenny stopped at the bar and ordered us a couple of Chambord Kamikazes to finish the night. As soon as we took the shots, our concerns about our roommate washed away and the giggling girls came back to life. The bouncer got us a cab and we poured ourselves into the back and directed the driver to take us back to the apartment. Soon Jenny and I were attacking each other in the back seat. I did notice the cab driver checking us out the rear-view mirror and it made me want to give him a little more of a show and soon I had my hands up Jenny’s dress. I whispered to her that the driver was watching. She began to giggle and the next thing I knew her hand was up my dress. Luckily we made it home without the cab driver going off a bridge. We paid him and stumbled into the apartment attacking each other all the way to my/our room.
The next morning, I awoke with a mass of blonde hair in my face and a pounding head. A sense of déjà vu came over me. But unlike the last time I didn’t have to convince myself that it was all a dream. I moved the hair from my face and cuddled up to Jenny. My movement must have woken her because a low moan came from her side. I lifted my head to try and kiss her but the throbbing stopped me in my tracks. “Jenny do you love me?” I asked as I laid there dealing with a massive hangover.
“Yes, why?” Jenny asked.
“Will you shoot me please? I just want to die.” I respond. I am not exactly a rookie at drinking, but I had never felt this way before. This elicited a laugh from the blonde lying next to me. She didn’t move at all, because she had to be feeling the same way I was. The two of us had gone drink for drink. I could see her slowly starting to rollover and face me, the whole time groaning from the pain. Normally I would pull her over into my arms but this time I just laid there dying from my hangover. When she was finally facing me, she opened her eyes and looked at me.
“We are never doing that again.” she states.
I laughed at that comment because I knew it could start some fun. “I’m blaming you for all of this.” I tell my girlfriend. “You were the one who thought we needed the kamikazes before we left. That was the last thing we needed.”
Jenny was feeling a little defensive, in playful way, I could tell and I waited for her reply. “But you were the one who thought we needed Jägermeister shots AFTER we had been drinking for 3 hours.”
“Ok you win. I’m too hungover to fight. We need some coffee and water. Who’s going?” I ask. When Jenny says we will flip for it I reached over to end table to look for a coin. I managed to roll completely out of bed and hit the floor with a loud thud. Jenny couldn’t stop laughing. “OK I guess I am going since I am already out of bed” I state and try pull myself of the floor. Eventually, I found my footing and found my blue robe and made my way first to the bathroom to brush my teeth and take care of other needs. As I leave the bathroom, I grab Jenny’s toothbrush and a tube of tooth paste and toss them at her as she lies in bed. “You’ll want this” I tell her and make my way to the kitchen to start the coffee and grab us some bottles of water.
As I waited for the coffee to brew, I heard the sound of keys opening the door to our apartment. I turned in time to see my ‘sister’ drag herself through the door. Katie looked terrible, which as a loving younger sister I told her. I was greeted with a “Fuck off Alexa. Can’t you be kind to a dying woman?” she asked as she closed the door behind her. Both she and I winced from the loud noise made by the closing door. From the back room, we hear an angry question of who was making all the noise and then are greeted by Jenny walking out wearing my hockey jersey and wrapped in a blanket.
A smile took over Jenny’s face as she starred down our roommate “Just getting in Kate?” Jenny asked as she made her way to the kitchen and grabbed a bottle of water from me. I could see the evil in her eyes as she gave me a kiss. “So Kate, how was your walk of shame this morning? Does Wyatt live very far?” Katie said nothing and pushed past us and heading for the fridge to grab a bottle of water and she went and collapsed on the couch. Jenny giggled and moved off to talk to Katie. I poured three mugs of coffee and headed out to join my roommates on the couch.
Jenny kept trying to get Katie to tell what happened after we left. Finally, Katie breaks, I think just as much to shut Jenny up as to get it off her chest. “Yes Jenny, I went home with Wyatt and NO nothing happened. I passed out on his couch. All I know is that I am never drinking champagne again and I am never going out with you two ever again!” Jenny and I have seemed to have recovered enough to begin teasing Katie some more about her night. Eventually she pulls herself off the couch yelling “Enough you two” and then breaking into a grin. “I will tell you all more later but I need to sleep because I have to work tonight.” And with that Jenny and I were alone on the couch where we spent most of the rest of the day wrapped up in a blanket watching movies, occasionally the Vikings game, as we just spent a day alone the two of us.
The rest of the week was pretty much one big ‘Jexy Fest’ as Katie called it. Shopping and lunch in the afternoons, cuddled on the couch at night. After our little Saturday night adventure, clubbing was not an option. I worked in the mornings and life was grand. Katie eventually did admit to liking the guy she went home with, Wyatt. They went out on the only night Katie had free that week and promises were made between the two to see each other when Wyatt got back from Montana. I was happy that Kate had found someone. She deserved it and the fact that Jenny and I were together I know made her feel like a third wheel at times.
Thursday night was my and Jenny’s big night to celebrate our Christmas together. I told Jenny I would cook, but she told me no way, she was taking me out for the best dinner in town. She asked me to wear the LBD she had talked me into buying a few weeks back while she slipped into her own LBD. I had no idea where we were going but she told me to just look stunning. She slipped off to her old apartment to get ready while I stayed at ours. I talked Katie into helping me before she left for work and at 5:00 I felt I was ready. Katie had helped me with a little up do and pointed out what I should do with my make up for a glamorous evening look. As I came from the bedroom with my clutch purse full, I heard a knock at the door. I looked through the peep hole to see Jenny standing there looking absolutely stunning. I opened the door and the two of us just stood there staring at each other. Jenny was the first to speak. “Alexa you look beautiful tonight” in an almost hushed tone.
Barely speaking above a whisper, I remark “Jenny you are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.” I am completely blown away by how beautiful she is. Her hair is in a little up do as well, with little tendrils of hair dropping down and framing her exquisite face. We lightly kiss before she tells me to turn around and slips my long black coat over my shoulders, and I do the same to her. We link arms and head downstairs for our waiting cab. The whole time we are going down to the lobby and in the cab, I keep asking where we are going, but she won’t tell me. As we begin entering downtown Minneapolis I begin playing the restaurants through my head but go into overload as there are so many options. Eventually we stop in front of a building I don’t recognized where a doorman meets us as we are let of the cab and into Sáile. A restaurant I had only read about. The maître d leads us to a semi private curved booth that sits in the main dining are. I loved the fact the that we were able to sit next to each other and enjoy our meal, which we did. It was probably the most romantic place I had ever been and I had never felt so special in all my life. I wonder if this could get any better. Here I was dressed as I had always dreamed with the most beautiful woman I had ever known enjoying a romantic dinner. A tear came to my eye as I thought of this. Jenny just smiled at me and whispered, “Merry Christmas babe.” And we share a kiss. I am in heaven!
We finish our meal and take a cab back to our apartment where we begin to exchange presents. Jenny basically overwhelmed me with clothes, lingerie, cosmetics. She even got me another work out outfit, even though we had hardly used the one I already had. Jenny simply said I looked cute in it. It was my turn to give Jenny her gifts. I almost felt bad that I did not spend as much, but as she reminded me she had a little more money to spend. She absolutely loved the grey, oversized cowl neck sweater I had gotten her and went crazy over the floral print Ivory belted dress with flare skirt that Sarah at Nordstrom helped me pick out. I took a deep breath as I reached behind me and pulled out the last gift. I was almost shaking as I handed Jenny the small red velvet box that contained the pendant and necklace. Her eyes grew wide as she removed the ribbon, opened the box and looked in. She slowly extracted the necklace and teared up. “It’s beautiful.” She exclaims and gives me a big kiss. I try and explain that it’s not real jewels, just zircon but I don’t think she heard me as she leapt over the gifts and gave me a huge sensual kiss before handing me the necklace and turning around and asking me to put it on her before turning around and restarting the kiss, soon we are headed back to our room where we spent the rest of the night. As I laid there trying to catch my breath after experiencing one of the most intimate moments of my life, I finally figured out the adage: It is better to give than receive.
Friday morning, I awoke to Jenny kissing me slowly and sliding herself on top of me. It was the greatest way to wake up, but also one of the saddest, as I knew that I wouldn’t see her for 6 days. Soon we were up and getting ready. Katie and I had both volunteered to drive Jenny to the airport. As we made our way down to the car, a feeling of sadness came over me. I handed Katie the keys as Jenny and I took the back seat. The goodbye at the airport left both Jenny and I in tears as I spent every moment I could near her before she went through TSA. Soon I was left standing there crying while Katie comforted me. I couldn’t believe how sad I felt over Jenny leaving for just 6 days. She had become my whole life. Katie led me away and tried comforting me. As we were getting in the car, my phone rang. “I just wanted to say I love you Alexa.” I heard from Jenny. I tried to pull it together but I think I might have set her off, because she was crying on the other end. She assured me she would call me as soon as she got to her grandmother’s.
Katie was an angel during all of this. Putting up with my emotional outburst. I wanted to thank her so I told her we should go get something to eat and do a little last minute shopping. My treat. And so, it was one last trip to the Mall of America where we enjoyed an early lunch and hit a few stores before we headed home. We both wanted to get things organized for the next day, since we were both heading out. Katie had taken the night off so we decided it was pizza night and our personal gift exchange. I had also used Sarah to help me pick out a nice skirt and sweater combo. I was dreading seeing my Visa bill next month, but I felt like I owed both Jenny and Katie everything I could muster up for them helping me become what I always wanted. The shopping trip put us in a better mood and soon the two of us were leaving the elevator of our building giggling away and sharing stories about things encountered while at the Mall. It was just before we reached the door of our apartment that all time stopped.
“I fucking knew it.” Were the words that came out of my father’s mouth. For me, time just simply stopped. I could only sit here with my mouth open as thoughts of what was about to happen swirled in my head. I don’t think I have ever been so scared in my whole life. When I looked at my father, the normal dismay he displayed towards me had been replaced by pure anger. Like I had done something to him. He almost began shaking as the anger began to boil over and it starts to spew out of his mouth. “Not only are you a little fag, you’re a woman now too. Bet your sucking dick now you little queer!”
I stood there and just let my father’s anger envelop me. I wanted to run but my legs would not move. I wanted to speak but the words would not come out. I had been yelled at by father and been called names by him many times. But this was something new. His words were no longer just meant to ‘toughen‘ me up. These words now were ones of outright loathing. Somehow as all of this is running through my head I was able to squeak out “Dad I wanted...” as I tried to move towards him. But the anger intensified from my father.
“I don’t want to hear it. Get the fuck away from me! Don’t bother coming home. Ever. I now only have two sons and NO DAUGHTERS. I don’t ever want to see you again. How the fuck could you do this to our family. And you Fahey, I should have known. You’re just as fucked up as your mother! And where is the little rich bitch? I am sure she had a hand in this.” And with that he stormed off. I completely lost it. I crumpled to floor of the hallway. All control of my body left me. My mind was completely blank other than the fact that I now had no family. Katie just stood there in shock and then started screaming down the stairs at my father. Soon though, she was back at my side trying to help me to the couch. I was useless. I could barely walk, I could not speak, I could not think. I had turned into a zombie. All I heard coming from my mouth was “Jenny” over and over again.
Katie quickly deposited me on the couch and started making phone calls. Her first, as I found out after the fact, was to Debbie. The person one the other end of the line informed Katie that Dr. Burke had gone home to England for the Holidays, and could someone else help? Katie left her number and asked that a counselor call back ASAP. I could hear Katie’s next call for only one word “Charlotte”. I had slumped into a ball on the couch. Every being of my life seemed to be leaving me. I don’t know how long it had been, but I felt Katie’s presence at my side. She just simply held me as I the realization that I had been completely abandoned by my father washed over me. I could hear him now, screaming at my mother to cut off all communication with me. That they now only had two sons. I didn’t know how my mother would react. She had never stood up to my father and with the venom he was spewing I don’t know if she could. For the briefest of moments, I gained control, got up and threw myself on my bed. I could still smell Jenny on her pillow and pulled it close to me. Eventually I cried myself to sleep.
I awoke in pitch blackness. Not only was I alone physically, but mentally I had never felt so alone. The whole scene of my father’s rejection played through my mind. It was like it was a video on a permanent loop and the words seemed to become harsher and harsher every time it played. I wandered into Jenny’s room and just stood there, wishing that the occupant of this room was here now. I walked over to her closet and opened it. It was like a rush of her aroma enveloped me. I started to cry a little as the enormity of my isolation from her and my family hit me. As much as I wanted to just wrap myself in all of Jenny’s clothes I knew all it would do is bring me down even lower. I left my room and began searching for my phone. I found it still in my purse but it was dead. I went back to my room and plugged it in. The sudden urge to get out of this place hit me. I pulled on a pair of leggings and a sweatshirt. I slipped on my UGG boots and silently snuck past Katie’s room. I grabbed Jenny’s parka and slipped out the front door and out into the night.
I just began walking and thinking of all the events of the day. I had never gone through such sadness in my life. I couldn’t believe how someone leaving for 6 days could hit me so hard as Jenny’s departure did. And just when I was feeling recovered from it Dick-head appears and everything comes crashing down. A light snow is falling but I don’t even notice it. It is all I can do to just keep one foot in front of the other as it seemed like my life had completely slipped away from me. I continued to walk through the night, not even paying attention to where I was going. All I knew was that at this point I really didn’t care. It was at that moment I realized I was standing on the Washington Avenue bridge. I wondered what had brought me there. I just stood and looked down at the river, still flowing free of ice. My mind began to race and I stood there shaking. Not from the cold but from fear. Fear that that my life was over. A voice in the back of my head started whispering jump and it slowly got louder. I tried to fight it but the urge seemed to overtake me. I seemed to be losing control of my body as my mind seemed to take over, and then suddenly I just screamed out “Fuck Off!”
I knew I could never do it. I knew that while I had seemed to have lost everything in my life I still had Jenny. And Katie. I had the best, most beautiful girl in the world who had accepted the new me and I had a sister. A sister who cared for me. I grabbed my keys out my pocket which had the attached ID pouch. I reached in and found my student ID. I looked at the picture on it. It was a picture of an eager yet lonely 18-year-old boy that looked completely lost. I felt sad for him as he appeared to be someone who was destined for a lonely life. I took one last look at the ID and tossed it over the side of the bridge. “Good bye Alex” I whispered into the night as I watched the ID float down to the ice-cold rushing river. I began to wander back towards campus and my apartment. I didn’t get far when I heard a sudden screech of tires and looked to see Katie standing there with Jenny’s car. She left it running and rushed over to me, taking me in her arms.
In the most sisterly way possible Katie began screaming at me. “Where the fuck have you been? What are you doing here?” God Alex, I was so scared that you would come here. It’s not that bad. Alex, you have me, you have Jenny who loves you more than anything. Get these thoughts of your head. Fuck Dick. If he can’t accept who you are, screw him!” With that she enveloped me in a tight hug. After a moment, I wiggled free and stood back and looked at my sister. The concern in her eyes made me realize that there was so much more to my life and if I had gone through with the thought that entered my mind I could have hurt more people than helped myself. But that moment also strengthened one resolve.
“Katie, why do you keep calling me that name. Alex is dead. My name is Alexa. Alexa Marie Quinn.” I tell her with some resolve to my voice. Katie just smiled and hugged me even tighter, I was so lucky to have someone like Katie as friend. She had been there through the best of times and worst of times for years. And now here she was again, while I am at what felt like the lowest imaginable point in my life. I kissed her on the cheek and whispered a thank you to my big sister as she led me to the passenger side of the car. As we drove off, I said nothing except asking if she had talked to Jenny. She told me no and asked if I had and I told her my phone was dead. Other than that, I just stared out at the snow-covered campus as we made our way back to the apartment. Katie helped me to my bed where I just kicked off my boots and laid down. The only thought in my mind is where is Jenny when I need her the most.
I was awoken at 5 AM as the alarm on my phone went off. I had to work at 6:00 and debated calling in. But for some reason I just went into autopilot and moved towards the bathroom. I emerged clean and refreshed in body, but not in spirit. I looked for my phone and found two missed calls from Jenny. My heart instantly leapt as I hit the speed dial for Jenny. But my happiness was short lived as all I got was her voice mail. Just hearing her recorded voice put a little smile on my face. I proceed to get dressed for my job. As I was looking at my clothes I realized it was time. Rather than the black jeans I had always worn, I grabbed a pair of black leggings. I also put a camisole on underneath the black shirt that made up my uniform, but rather than tuck it in, I let hang loosely and grabbed a belt to cinch it in. After some very light makeup around the eyes and my hair pulled back into a ponytail, I looked like any other female employee. The only thing that gave me away was my name tag. I smiled at my reflection as I strode out of my bedroom to face the day as Alexa the barista, not Alex. I didn’t think I was loud, but soon I was stopped by Katie in the hallway. “Where do you think you are going?” she asked.
“Work” I said. “I need the money.” I could see Katie did not approve of this. She tried to stare me down, but I told her I would be fine. I was sort of lying. I was just going through the motions. My brain was all over the place. I just knew I had to get out of this apartment for even a little while. Katie told me she would stop by and asked how late I worked. I told her 11 and that not to worry, but I knew that she would.
Work was an interesting ordeal. The first hour was just going to be me and the morning manager Jana. I had only worked with Jana a few times before this past week, but she was very nice. She seemed to like me but there was always questioning look to her, like she was still trying to accept me. As I waited for her to unlock the door, I could see a quizzical look on her face like she didn’t recognize me. As she opened the door, she looked at me and asked if it was me. I smiled and nodded at her. At first she was taken aback by my appearance in leggings and Jenny’s parka but she recognized the face. She didn’t say anything but stared at me as I came through the door and began my normal routine. She locked the door and moved back to the office without saying a word about my appearance but clearly confused.
The day went pretty normal but nothing was ever said about how I was dressed. As other coworkers showed up, a few giggles were overheard but nothing was said. Soon it was 10:30 and I had not seen Katie. As it was quiet Jana told me I could leave and head to my family’s and enjoy the holiday. I held it together long enough to get out the door before breaking down in tears again. My family. Those simple words just drove home the fact that I didn’t have any after the events of yesterday. Or so I thought. It was just about then I heard a tapping on my window and looked over and saw Katie standing there. “Let me in” she said, so I unlocked the passenger door and opened it up for her as she got in. I noticed the concern on her face immediately. “Are you OK Alexa?”
“Yeah, it’s just that Jana said to enjoy my family and the holiday. It hit me I don’t have a family anymore.” And with that I broke down in tears. Immediately Katie took me in her arms and assured me that I had a family. It might not be blood family, but it was a bond just as tight. I thanked her and tried to ease her concerns that I would be OK. She even volunteered to stay back, but I told her I could take care of myself. “I’ll be fine. I’ll just sit at home tonight and watch the Yule Log or something. I can’t have you leave your family. Have you talked to Jenny?” I asked.
“I finally got a hold of her after you left this morning. Did you talk to her? She said she was having phone issues.” I told I had not and I would try and call her when I got back to the apartment. I drove the two of us home and then went upstairs to call Jenny again and only got her voice mail. I pleaded for her to call me and told her over and over that I missed her and I loved her. After hanging up I felt the lonely feeling coming back and sulked down on the couch. Katie kept trying to get me to go with her but I told her I would be fine and soon she was giving me a hug and wishing me a Merry Christmas and was out the door on her way to her mother’s. And once again I was alone.
I basically did nothing other than try and get ahold of Jenny. I did try and call my mother once but like my calls to Jenny, they just went to voice mail. I must have fallen asleep,, because soon I realized it was 3:00. I needed to get out here, but where? It was Christmas Eve, where could I go? It was then it hit me. I could go to Mass. But what would the little old ladies say when I came sashaying in there. I remembered reading something about a church in South Minneapolis that was welcoming to LGBTQ people. I looked it up online and found it, St. Kevin’s by Lake Nokomis. I thought for a moment and decided I would go. I looked the church up and saw they had a 5:00 Mass today so I hurried and got ready to go to Mass for the first time as Alexa. I went and dug through Jenny’s closet and found a beautiful Evergreen dress that I matched with my knee high black boots. I grabbed my long dark jacket and headed for St. Kevin’s
When I entered the Church, it was much less crowded than I had expected. There were the few older ladies sitting at the front of the church working the beads and some young families trying to control the little ones who were obviously excited about the impending visit of St. Nick. I took a seat towards the back of the church and knelt and began to pray. What I was praying for I wasn’t really sure of. Mostly I prayed to talk to Jenny. I prayed that I would speak to her soon. I needed her. I prayed for Katie and prayed for my mother. I prayed for Debbie. I prayed for forgiveness. I for prayed for understanding. As the organ began, I stood and watched a somewhat young priest come down the aisle, He couldn’t have been more than 30 years old. I sat through the readings and the gospel. The readings talked about the love of God and family. For the first time in years I seemed drawn in by the readings. But there was still a voice in the back my head telling me I would never be accepted by these people around me, just like my father would never accepted to me.
I went into autopilot again as I went through the motions of the Mass. As the service ended I found myself just sitting in the pew starring at the manger scene at the front of the church. The whole idea of family continued to eat at me. My thoughts were interrupted when I sensed a person in front of me. “Excuse me miss, are you OK?”
My trance was suddenly interrupted by the words coming from the priest who was seated in the pew in front of me. I suddenly realized he was talking to me. I noticed the look of concern in the young priest’s eyes has he sat there. I felt embarrassed. “I’m sorry Father, I just needed a moment, excuse me.” And as I tried to get up a felt his hand touch my arm.
“Please wait a moment miss. There seems to be something troubling you. I am a pretty good listener, it’s part of the job description.” He said with a cheeky smile. “What is it? Is it your family? I noticed you here alone.” And as those words came out of the padre’s mouth I broke down for the millionth time in the last 48 hours. I didn’t think it was possible for me to produce any more tears, but here I was again crying over the drop of the hat. The priest moved quickly from the pew in front of me to sitting in the pew next to me. He took my hand in his and began asking me again if I was having problems with my family I looked up at him and could see the compassion in his eyes but was unable to speak. He urged me to tell him what was going on. “I don’t have another Mass until 9:00 and I was just going to go back into the rectory and heat up some soup. I can listen.” There smile on his face and eagerness in his eyes to help.
“Father, first you should know that I am not a very devout Catholic any more. Kind of a CEO Catholic, mostly because my mother makes me go.” The priest smiled and nodded at that admission and made some comment about that being fairly typical of young people. He urged me to continue. It was then that I decided I had to tell him the truth. Somewhere in my subconscious I knew I could never lie to a man of the cloth. I looked at the Priest and said “I am not what I appear Father. I don’t think the Church will like me very much.” A look of confusion crossed over his face as he contemplated my comment. I took a deep breath and stated out loud to a completely unknown person. “Father I am a man who dresses as a woman. My father found out yesterday and disowned me. My girlfriend, yes my GIRLFRIEND, is at her grandmother’s in Florida and my other roommate went home to be with her family tonight. I am alone. I didn’t know where to come and wound up here.” My head slumped again as I poured out my life’s story to this man. A man who by his employer’s rules would have the right to toss me into the street right at that moment.
“You’re a man? Really? Wow, I would never have guessed. I thought you were just a young woman here feeling lonely at Christmas. I might say you are very attractive, even though I am not supposed to notice those things.” He said with a smile. This earned a laugh from me. It felt good but it still didn’t get me out of my head. The priest went on, “I bet you are concerned about being here, right? Well don’t. I am sure that your priest back home would probably begin the rites of exorcism if he saw you now correct?” I nodded. “Let me a guess, your priest back home is about 60 and has been your parish priest forever right? Thinks Vatican II went too far? Well that is something you won’t find here. I am not exactly one of those old guard priests. I have seen the ways of the world, but heard the calling. I think we have forced people away from the faith and I have made it my mission to include those who have felt abandoned. Let’s just say that there are some in the Archdiocese that don’t think very much of me. But I want to help. What is your name?”
“Alexa” I answered.
“A very pretty name for a very pretty young woman. There is nothing wrong with what you are going through. I say be who you want to be. I have known people who were very close to me that were not allowed to be who they wanted to be and they paid for it one way or another. Alexa, you will always be welcome in my church. Bring your girlfriend next time. I will save you a spot. I do have to get going as I do have some things to do, but you don’t have to leave. Stay as long as you want. I wish you well. Merry Christmas Alexa. It will work out.” And with that the priest stood up and offered me his hand. I took it and thanked him for taking the time. He just smiled and moved down the aisle. As he got part way to the altar he turned around. “If you ever need someone to talk to, call the rectory. I won’t make you come in and go into the confessional.” And the young priest flashed a smart alek smile and moved back into the sacristy.
I sat there and felt somewhat better. To be accepted by someone outside of my immediately circle was refreshing. And the fact it was a priest of the Roman Catholic Church astounded me. I reached down into my purse and checked my phone again and noticed I had one missed call. Unfortunately, it was from Katie. I put my phone back and knelt again. ‘Please lord, watch over Jenny. Make sure nothing has happened to her.” And with that brief prayer I stood and left the church, back into the night and returning to the loneliness. I drove home and realized there was virtually no traffic on the roads. Everyone celebrating with their families. Everybody that is but me. I opened the door of the apartment and felt the weight of the loneliness drop even harder on me. I went to the fridge and grabbed a bottle of wine and opened it. I didn’t even bother with a glass. I went and grabbed a blanket and curled up on the couch and lost it. My sadness grew because I kept trying to call Jenny but only got her voice mail. Eventually I fell asleep. I awoke at some point and drug myself to bed. The feeling that I was the loneliest person in the world continued to increase and has seemed to be the norm, I cried myself to sleep.
I awoke the next morning confused and with a headache. I reached for my phone and realized it wasn’t there. I just laid there for a few second starring at the dresser trying to gain my senses. I rolled over and was greeted with the greatest Christmas present I have ever received.
“Merry Christmas babe.”
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