Is everything it seems
But for now I find
It’s only in my dreams
Previously… in Naboo dreams
“I am not worthy of service, my Queen,” Taradme protested even as shameful tears fell freely. The Queen of Naboo waved away her protest in dismissal; more angry at the shame that had been placed upon Taradme’s shoulders than at the young woman herself.
“The time for shame is over. It matters not to the Goddess nor to your Queen how you started. You are here now, and you are worthy because you were created that way. I know you fear that your beginnings disqualify you, but you are a woman in every way but one, and that one way matters not in the scheme of things. Perhaps even your beginning is part of a divine plan? Come…. Please?” The Queen was not known to ask, but she asked none the less; a peek under the curtain of the monarchy to reveal the compassionate woman.
Anya looked at Lisa. Her friend had been crying all day, but had recovered enough to remain strong for her daughter. Her only child and now? While the morning would bring new challenges as every day begins for the parent of a transgender child, nothing would have ever prepared Lisa Richmond for the task at hand; to tell her beautiful baby girl that fate had once again visited upon the Richmond household as Sandy’s father would not be coming home to his second daughter because that morning, in an ambulance in Stuttgart, Germany, he had been reunited with Amanda Richmond.
Lisa walked into the kitchen where Anya was sitting; two mugs of tea already empty and another kettle of hot water plugged in.
“They’re asleep… do you think?” Lisa looked away. Anya pointed to the other empty chair at the small table and smiled tentatively.
“Of course? I can drop by early tomorrow if you like? I think Mika would want to be here.” Anya lowered her head slightly in thought; hoping she would be able to help the girl and her mother through this horror. Lisa lowered her head as well; almost shameful.
“Would… could you…. “ She glanced up briefly as if wanting company was wrong. Anta smiled at her.
“Stay? Of course. What was I thinking….” Anya stood up and hugged her friend and helped her get seated before grabbing her cell out of her purse. She hit the pre-set and spoke.
“Ginny? Oh… I’m glad I could … I have a family situa…. Yes…. Actually a friend but near and dear as family? You can? You’re a sweetie. Thanks. I’ll talk to you tomorrow …after lunch okay? Thanks.”
“The day I learned Sergei died I had no one. Both my Mom and Dad were already gone and my brother wasn’t ….. He came around a few years later and things got much better, but for most of Mika’s life she’s been without a Dad. I wish there was something...” She looked away; the tears for her own loss mingling with the sadness she felt for Lisa and Sandy.
“Just having you and Mika.…. Sandy Sr.? He’s been away more than not the past seven years. We never married because …. He…Well he didn’t… Most of Sandy’s cards and gifts… birthdays… She told me last year she pretty much knew all along he didn’t care, but a child hopes ….hopes her Daddy….” The last few words were followed quickly by sobs as she put her head down on the table. And all Anya could do was rub Lisa’s back.
“I know, Lese…. I know.”
Sandy lay awake; still staring at the ceiling. The idea of the convention and her cosplay partnership with Tiffany and Mika still pulled at her, but amost as if they were living out the script in real life. Maybe to anyone else it would seem foolish or stupid or even childish, but in some simple ninth-grade girl way, Sandy stillidolized Tiffany.
“Mika? Are you awake?” Sandy rolled around and found her friend had been crying, but was smiling at her. Sandy bit her lower lip and frowned; the “I don’t deserve love” apple having fallen too close to the family tree. Without a sound, Mika pulled the covers aside and crawled into bed; hugging the girl.
“I…. you must….”
“No, Sandy. I know we’re not girlfriends…. Not in that way. We’re sisters. Even if….I’m just … I want someone to hold like Daddy held Mommy, but not … not us. I understand.”
“I…” Sandy buried her face under Mika’s chin and began to cry; evoking a gasp from her best friend/sister. Sandy put her hand on Mika’s cheek.
“Not you…..I just…. I can’t remember my Dad ever loving my Mom …. Loving us that way.” She began to sob deeply enough to shake them both.
Dreaming….Later that evening….
“My Queen?” Taradme had lowered her gaze; not wishing to presume to engage her ruler without leave.
“What is it, child?” The odd royal personage treating the young women before her as children.
“We’ve been through this already,” Jamillia said; almost a rebuke, but her smile belied her gruff assumed tone. She stepped off the throne dais and reached out; lifting Taradme’s chin with her right hand.
“In this room….away for the few moments we may grab from our schedule…. We are friends.” Jamillia nodded to the girls and smiled. Her gaze lingered as her smile faded; an uncomfortable feeling sending a shudder up her back. A mixture of premonition and hopeful anticipation. She looked away before continuing.
“I’m sorry we’ve been so busy, but the needs of our people outweigh even our own needs,” Jamillia shook her head slightly. She hadn’t meant to use the royal ‘we’ between the three of them, but it was important for all to remember that even a Queen’s needs must often be set aside for the benefit of her subjects. Areleni bowed her head and Taradme followed her lead. Jamillia stepped closer and touched each girl’s chin softly.
“But for these few moments, let us take comfort in the knowledge that even our creator deems that her creations need rest…..” She paused before stepping closer. She kissed each on the forehead, but her lips lingered as she felt the urge to embrace Taradme. She shook her head and now it was her turn to cast her visage down, but in shame. Even a Queen can feel pulled in directions unknown, and she was grateful that both girls still were bowed in respect. She raised her head slightly and sighed….
At Tiffany’s house… that same night…
Tiffany and her mother and father were sitting at the kitchen table. Al was working on his second cup of coffee after a very long day at work. He patted his daughter’s wrist and nodded. Eileen smiled from across the table as she touched Tiffany’s other hand.
“What’s the worst part of this for you, honey?” While she was a guidance counselor at an out of district school, she still was a mother first and foremost. Still, the night promised a lot of open ended questions and careful empathy. Tiffany grabbed her mug of cocoa; sipping it slowly as her mother and father held her free hand.
“He…he lied.” She pushed her lower lip out in an entirely sincere pout. Al pulled his hand away; downing the last of his coffee. He held the mug up and Eileen shook her head no. He laughed at himself and placed the mug on the table before continuing.
“Let’s just say for argument’s sake that Sandy is a he? Does that make a difference or that he didn’t tell you?” Tiffany shook her head.
“You don’t understand. I…We…” Eileen had no intention whatsoever to bring up the subject of Puppy Love, but she did keep that in mind as she replied.
“You really liked her.”
“Him, Mom…HIM!” Al covered his face; ostensibly to yawn, but he did not want his daughter to see him smiling, Eileen continued.
“Sorry, honey…Him. You really liked him. When you thought he was a girl?” Tiffany put her head down and nodded slowly.
“I’m so sorry, honey. You’re very disappointed that your friend …” Al paused in thought.
“What about him being a boy…how does that disappoint you?” He paused again and Eileen figured where he was going. She nodded reluctantly; not in disagreement, but in the anticipation that their talk was destined to be an all-nighter. All took a deep breath and asked the question the question.
“Isn’t Sandy…. You know…. Just like your cousin Eric?” Tiffany lifted her head slowly. It was no secret within the entire extended family that Al’s sister and brother in law started out with two girls, but that somewhere along the way Erica had realized….not just wondered….but realized that she was a he. Even so, it wasn’t something they talked about. Tiffany spoke haltingly.
“I don’t….I guess? Maybe?” Eileen patted her wrist again.
“And you love Eric… your brocuz, I think you call him?”
“But…she’s not a boy… you know…. Just….”
“Eric lives as a boy… he’s not changing but that doesn’t make him less of a young man, does it?” Al asked. Truth be told, their nephew’s choices were confusing, but Eric’s Mom and Dad supported him in every bit of his voyage, and that really settled it for Eileen and Al. How their daughter received it would help them discover just how much fence mending they all needed to do.
Tiffany sighed; her resolve to be the hurt party was ebbing. She was a kind girl for the most part, as her mother had already reminded her. But like a lot of kids….most humans, as a matter of fact… she needed to be reminded. She looked back and forth between her parents before bursting into tears; not exactly the effect Eileen had been going for, but as she liked to say, she ‘could work with that.’
“I’m really sorry Mommy….Daddy?” A wee bit of residual hurt seemed to reinsert itself until she pause.
“Mom? I’m…. sorry,” she said softly; the confession that spoke of the hurt she had caused her best friend. The apology that Eileen and Al knew was in their daughter.
“What…What should I do, Daddy?” She looked away; being ashamed rather than filled with shame and guilt, so to speak.
“I think maybe we all need to take a break and look at this again tomorrow? How does that sound to you?” Al’s words seemed a bit forced; owing to the over-consumption of caffeine. Tiffany took it the wrong way and stood up.
“You hate me. I’m such a fuck up. I hate myself.” She ran down the hall into her bedroom without closing the door. Al went to stand and Eileen waved him off before kissing him on the cheek.
“You still working on your teenspeak, dearest? Let me?” She didn’t wait for an answer, but walked down the hall and into Tiffany’s room. The girl was lying face down with her head practically buried in the space between two pillows and a large Teddy Bear. Eileen walked over and sat down on the bed and began to rub the girl’s back; all the while musing at the irony, since Tiffany had heard Sandy’s near identical cries even as she left the crowded school hallway.
“I hate myself.” Tiffany sobbed into the Teddy Bear. Eileen leaned close and spoke softly.
“Daddy and I love you very much. We always have and always will. And maybe you can admit you did something wrong but maybe also forgive yourself?
“How…how do I fix this, Mommy? I hurt Sandy so bad, and I don’t think she’ll ever forgive me.”
“She never wanted to hurt you, so maybe you two can forgive each other for starters?”
“She’ll…she hates me!”
“From what you told me, she hates herself, right?” Eileen rubbed Tiffany’s back again.
“Let’s just get some sleep, and you and Daddy and I can talk about your friend and how we can all show her we care, okay?”
“O…Okay…show her…” Tiffany stopped in mid sentence.
“H….her, Mom? “ The turned over and looked up into wise, loving eyes. Eileen nodded yes and Tiffany did exactly what one might expect a popular if conflicted middle school girl would do.
“Her? Oh, Mom, I’m so sorry,” she said before burying her face in Eileen’s chest as she burst into deep, healing sobs.
“Her.” Eileen repeated softly as she stroked her daughter’s hair.
Theed throne room; just down the fantasy hallway from Sandy’s bedroom…
“My Queen,” Mianami spoke up, seeing the conflict on Jamillia’s face.
“I just remembered some urgent business to which you must attend. Perhaps you can meet your friends later at dinner?” She didn’t wait for Jamillia’s answer and had already placed her hands on the girl’s shoulders as she ushered them toward the door.
“We are here at your pleasure, My Queen,” Areleni said as she clasped her sister’s hands.
“Ye…yes,” Jamillia stammered but nodded in agreement as the two protectors departed. A moment later her advisor was at the Queen’s side, holding her like a mother would a daughter.
“It is forbidden, Jamillia. I’m sorry….”
“Because she’s a…..”
“No, My Queen. Not for that…. Nor for any other reason but for the fact that these two are here to ensure your safety and any ….anything other than that one important reason must be set aside.”
“Is she…. Dear Goddess, forgive me, are they not worth….”
“Every soul is worthy of life, Jamillia, but you are The Queen of all the people. For now ….as you serve in your office as the one who rules this planet? Perhaps one day….. but you know how quickly things turn from joy to tragedy,” Mianami gasped as she recalled her own sister’s sacrifice on behalf of Queen Amidala.
“Will I never be happy?”
“To recall an old proverb? A Queen must remember that happiness is the one luxury she cannot afford.” Mianami rubbed the young woman’s shoulders in comfort, which had the opposite effect as the Sovereign Ruler of Naboo collapsed in her arms and wept bitter tears.
The Reynolds home….
Anya walked into the living room and sat on the opposite end of the couch from Lisa.
“They’re fast asleep.” She said as she looked back to the closed bedroom door.
“I’m so sorry, Anya.”
“You don’t have to keep apologizing, Lisa. I… It’s hard to bear up under everything you’ve been through and now this?” Anya held her hands out; wide and open in invitation.
“I’m so sorry, “ Lisa apologized again. “I wish I could say I miss him, but he’s been absent for so long. Even when he was home, it was either the job or his girlfriends. I stopped loving him a long time ago.” The tears in her eyes belied her plaint, but she shook her head.
“Oh, you know what I mean, “ Lisa said; picking up on Anya’s half smile.
“He was my first and only love, and that will never change. But his neglect? Especially to Sandy> This will make things so much more painful, and I almost think I couldn’t bear it.” She leaned closer; touching Anya’s arm; evoking a start. Anya began to blush.
“Sorry…I guess it’s colder than I thought. The temperature had changed, but it had risen in only a matter of moments. Lisa shook her head as if to disagree, but spoke.
“Yes… colder.” She stood up suddenly.
“I’m going to lie down. Okay?” The guest bedroom was already laid out, so she walked down the hall quickly; leaving Anya without another word. Anya sighed as her gaze followed Lisa’s progress until she disappeared into her bedroom.
“Yeah….colder…” Anya said softly to no one. She had planned to get up since the guest bedroom was already laid out but she was drained by the day’s events. In spite of her best efforts to stay awake, she leaned back against the couch and was asleep in moments; her sleep accompanied by a coo mixed with a sympathetic sob….
But for now I find
It’s only in my dreams
That I can
Change the world
Change the World
Words and Music by
Tommy Sims, Gordon Kennedy, and Wayne Kirkpatrick
As Performed by
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