and my nipples are likely to go into hiding the next time someone even mentions me having a medical
This is the story of Penny. A closet Transwoman thrust into the outside world 24-7 when she would rather go and hide away. Perhaps the title should be Welcome to Penny’s Paranoid World…
From part Ten
Mother’s enjoying the train ride. Pointing out to Fred whose sitting on the table anything of interest she sees out the window. The odd person looks a bit funny at her as they pass looking for a seat, but most just smile and some stop and admire Fred asking his name. All who do are women. The men just glance and hurry on looking embarrassed. There is a little girl about Em’s age sitting opposite us on the other side of the carriage with her mother. She has abandon her colouring book and is watching Mother open mouthed as Mother talks to Fred.
Finally she asks her mother for something and her mother takes a pretty doll from her backpack and hands it over to her. The little girl holds her tight and cradling her in her arms starts to whisper and point to things she sees out the window.
I glance between the two of them. They are close enough mentally the same age at the moment. Both totally lost in what they are doing. Her mother smiles at me and I smile back. We both sort of connect recognising the fact.
And now as they say, read on…
We sit waiting about twenty minutes before we see Ann alone in a small examination room. She tells me what is going to happen today and then leaves. A couple of minutes later a nurse comes in to take some blood saying she will be back after. I always make bad jokes when nervous, apart from when terrified like now, where I just go quiet.
I nearly joked to the nurse along the lines of Tony Hancock’s The Blood Donor (A Pint! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXplfDguC9k) but I think she has probably heard enough Blood Donor jokes to last a lifetime by now. And then again she is young enough to maybe have never heard of Tony Hancock and will think I’m nuts and trying to chat her up!
That makes me smile, I’m me now, female. So just nervous, not seen as a randy male.
Anyway most people did not spend part of their childhood listening to old radio shows with their father on audio cassettes after Sunday lunch. Being at sea most of his life he had audio cassettes and then CD’s of all the BBC Radio comedy shows from his childhood. It meant me and my sister were brought up on recordings of The Men from the Ministry, The Navy Lark, Hancock’s Half-Hour, The Goon Show, Round The Horn, etc., when he was home. So ever Sunday he was there, after lunch he insisted we sat down with him on the sofa with a dish of ice cream and listened with him to two of the shows just as he had done with his parents as a kid every Sunday listening to them on the radio after lunch.
Soon as Ann had started the medical she wanted to know what had happened to the side of my bum. The result was she had the dressing off and sent the nurse off for medical supplies. She scared me when she started talking about putting stiches in, but settled for a row thin strips of something called sterri-strips that held the skin together to heal. After everything was covered up with an even bigger dressing than I had put on. Ann got on with the medical.
My man boobs got a working over and seemed a big interest to her, and my nipples are likely to go into hiding the next time someone even mentions me having a medical. She asked me again if I had taken anything, maybe experimented when pre-teen like taking my mother’s birth control pills. But that does not make any sense to me. Surly if they are to stop you getting pregnant, they must be a kind of anti-female drug thing, not flat out girly-girly hormones?
“No” I shook my head.
“Okay, I had to ask, you understand. To be sure.” I nodded back again, just being polite really. We carried on. Ann was intrigued by my narrow waist. Way to narrow for a male she said. Adding I could have been a model with it and my long arms and legs.
I think she is forgetting how old I am and my sex. I know there is a guy who models as a girl on the cakewalks in Oz I think. But I don’t think it was done when I was that age. She’s friendlier now, easier to talk to. She’s skilled at it as well. She slips in the odd question every now and again about my childhood. As she does so, I keep hearing the Robots voice from Lost In Space in my head, “Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!” I still find it hard to talk about my childhood. I’ve locked so much of it away in my head and am very protective towards my Mother and Father. Nowadays be very easy to criticise them I think without remembering how people thought about boys wanting to be girls, in those days.
When she is down between my legs I’m scared stiff I will have a reaction, but instead poor old Will seems to have decide to shrink down to the shortest he can be. My balls have retreated up into me as well as if they know this is a dangerous place to be around at the moment.
There is a knock on the door and a porter and wheelchair comes in to take me to the ultra-sound suite.
“I can walk.”
“Against Hospital rules, love. Insurance and all that.”
“Fraid so, Penny. You have to ride.” Grins Ann. “It is a hospital rule I’m afraid.”
“I need to push mother, she will have to come too or she will panic.”
The porter sees mother with Fred in her lap. He grins and bends down to her and winks. “Hello love, what’s his name?”
“Fred.” Mother says quietly.
He nods, and adds with a grin. “Just a mo, love. Let me get you a chauffeur for your limousine there.” And sticks his head out the doorway.
“Hey Bill! You free for five minutes. Need you to push a wheelchair.”
We go down the corridor side by side as mother panics when she sees me being wheeled out the door. To make sure we are not separated she fiercely grips onto my arm when back beside me. The porters Bill and Dunks are unperturbed as everything parts in front of us with Ann walking behind us talking quietly on her phone.
The ultra-sound technician, Sally. Has to pull the examination bench away from the wall as mother insists on keeping a hold on my hand. So I have Ann and Sally on one side and mother on the other. It is hard to keep listening to what Sally is telling Ann as mother keeps wanting to talk to me to make sure I am ok. But I am sure I hear Sally tell her “there are the ovaries, and the uterus, both underdeveloped, the v”. She says more, but mother is talking louder as I’m not playing her enough attention to her.
I can only think, hope I heard her right as that means I AM FEMALE! I want to shout it out. I’m a FEMALE!
Two different porters wheel us back. They still have to wheel us side by side, but mother has relaxed enough not to have to hold onto my arm. But watches me all the way back keeping a firm hold on Fred. Back in the examination room Ann lets me get dressed before moving us to a sofa where she sits with me turned towards me rather than at the doctor’s desk in the room.
“Now, let’s talk about what we found out back there, and then you and mother can go and get some lunch. And then this afternoon there is someone I would like you to have a chat with about all of this, before we meet up with Malcom around three-thirty.”
I settled mother at a table with a space for a wheelchair and one of those little cardboard wheelchair signs on the table, and went and joined the que for food. I get chicken soup for her and child’s roast beef meal for me. In the past it would have been the adult’s full plate without a thought and I would have happily consumed the lot, but now I am aware of every morsel I swallow and the effect it could have on my flat tummy and wonder why on earth I put on this clingy summer dress this morning. Of course I wanted to look feminine and sexy didn’t I, and now I think about it, I wonder how many trans girls before me did just the same thing. Thinking about that stopped me thinking about what Ann had said for a moment. Even if just for a moment. Anyway I still leave half of the meal. I have no appetite. I even drink only half of my cup of tea.
Ann takes us to another part of the hospital. It is quiet here, higher up, there is even carpet on the floors. And no nurses, or at least ones in uniforms. She pushes open a door that has been left ajar and beckons me in.
“Go on in.” Thinking she is going to follow, I push mother in, but she closes the door behind us. My head kind of swivels back at the closing door before turning back to be shocked at who is moving towards us from around his desk, his hand out to greet us.
“Hello, Penny. Nice to see you again.” He is beside me and does the French cheek to cheek air kiss thing, then bends down to mother. “Hello, you must be Jenny. And this must be Fred.”
His smile is warm, friendly. He is nothing like the man I met at the week-end.
He takes Fred’s floppy paw and shakes, “Hi Fred.”
“Yes.” Mother beams, then adds. “He’s mine.” Just to make sure Alec knew who Fred belonged to and he cannot have him.
“And I should think so too.”
Alec stands and waves towards a curved sofa with floor to ceiling glass windows behind it showing a balcony outside with a view across the Thames. A couple of garden chairs with a small table between them sits invitingly there in the sun.
“Why don’t we sit down here.”
I park mother at the end and sit beside her. Alec drops some papers in the space between us and sits down leaning back on the sofa with that soft relaxed smile still on his face. I look around his office. Nice carpet, big modern desk. A glass Conference table and chairs. Alec is not quite the person he made out to be at Trish’s, and this has to be his office. There are photographs of a Europa kit plane flying on the walls. The kind of plane Malcom told us at Evie’s dinner party Alec built.
“You have a very, nice office.” I nod towards the balcony. And then with a small grin, I add. “And a room with a view. I hope you don’t have any jumpers off there.”
I’ve said it before I realise it. My mouth drops as my hands shoots up to it. It just popped out.
“O my god, I’m so sorry I said that. I do apologise. That was inexcusable.” I can feel myself going red as my face burns.
Instead of looking shocked at me, he laughs lightly glancing at the balcony outside. “Actually, we gave that a lot of thought when it was decided to put psychiatry up here. It was felt with the view of the city and with the sound of London’s traffic below us just a mummer. It would help people relax, be more open, and when the weather is fine, we can sit outside in private to talk.”
He looks back at me, then turns and looks outside again. “If you were to look over the edge, you would see what looks like a rather flimsy looking candy striped window blind below you. However the blind has two purposes. First, to disguise the fact that there is a further balcony down there. And second that the blind is really a jumper trap. If someone jumps they will hit the blind, which has been carefully designed to promptly fold up with them in the fold of the blind. By the time they have got out of that, there will be plenty of people around them to make sure they don’t try for another chance at flying without wings."
I nod, still embarrassed at saying what I had just said.
“So,” he says turning back to me, still with that gentle smile on his lips. “You’ve had quite a morning yourself, I think. Had quite some revelations about yourself. How do you feel about them?”
I looked away, I was unable to meet those eyes for the moment, and my mind had frozen anyhow. I was afraid to think about it really. Afraid of what my reaction really would be once I let it sink in. So I looked around Alec’s office for something to divert my attention, and settled on one of the photos of his little Europa kit plane. Only to be a little confused for a moment as my eyes briefly refocused on the long haired blonde reflected in the glass. I still half expected to see Paul, not Penny.
“It’s alright,” he said softly, “I understand. It’s hard to talk about at the moment. It’s a lot to take in after all the time that has past.”
He waited, and when I still did not say anything, he changed the subject.
“Malcom said you had flown a Biz jet. How did that come about?”
I looked over to him with I think a faint smile and nodded.
“The pilot was ex-RAF, he had been flying VC 10 and Tri-Star re-fuelling Tankers at the end of his time with the raff. Had got bored flying 737 holiday jets as a civilian. So, he quit the flying cattle trucks as he called them, and got a job flying Biz-jets for a company out of Biggin Hill and in his spare time worked as a spam-can instructor at the flying club on the airfield. We became friends as fellow instructors. I’d told him I’d flown one of Stelio Frati’s original Falco’s from the UK to Italy for a guy I had taught to fly.
So when he was asked by an old mate to ferry two SF.260’s back to Coventry where they would be fitted with long range tanks for the flight to the US from Marrakesh. He asked me to fly the other one and I jumped at the chance.”
I grinned and suppressed a laugh.
“Care to share?”
“Mike knew I was Penny sometimes, and wanted to play a joke on the RAF air traffic controllers in the tower at Gibraltar. Even though its mostly commercial airliners landing there now, it‘s still an RAF airfield. We intended to park the planes their overnight to get them out of Africa, ASAP on collecting them.”
I saw confusion in Alec’s face.
“He wanted me to have on a mini dress under my tee-shirt when we left Tangiers for the hop across to Gib. He knew they would be watching us as we got out the planes and wanted them to see me in a mini-dress and high heels.”
I looked over at Alec, he was smiling. “And did you?”
“Oh yes. I wore a Tee-shirt dress bunched up in my shorts, so I just had to lose them and pull down the dress hem. More difficult to do than you think when flying in a sf260 cockpit."
I looked over at Alec. “I was twenty-nine at the time and looked about twenty-three with a body to match. Mike said they would fall over themselves trying to impress me. Before he did the big reveal. I didn’t really like doing it, being exposed like that. But I owed him big time for the gig, and I was getting a very nice payday from it. And I was broke.”
Alec nodded. “And did they?”
“Oh yeah, but it sort of backfired on him. The paperwork was done by a girl in the office below the tower, so she was the one who saw my passport. She thought it would be great fun not to let them know, period. And made Mike promise not to tell.”
I grinned, nodding. “Oh yes. The four of us went out for a meal and they were very attentive.”
He smiled. “Is this your way of telling me Penny flew the Biz-jet.”
I nodded. “He said no-one would think anything of a pilot taking his girlfriend along for a positioning flight.”
“In a mini-dress and high heels, I take it?”
I grinned. “Yes, I think he liked looking at my legs. I took the heels off to fly of course.”
“He sounds more like a boyfriend?”
I shrugged. “No. He was a colleague I was friends with. Still am.”
“But he knew about Penny.”
“Yes.” I looked at Alec. “I use to drive a taxi three nights a week to help pay the bills. On one of my free nights I would do my shopping at one of the 24 hour supermarkets as Penny. He was in the car park one night and recognised my car pull in and saw Penny get out. He was curious, came over and we sat in the supermarkets café and I told him about me.”
He nodded. “You said you in touch?”
I smiled. ”Yes. He’s flying a Cessna Caravan at the moment for a company that fly’s into dirt runways cut into the hillsides to supply the remote hillside villages in the Indonesia interior.”
I smiled. “Very. He told me once he was looking for the same thrill he use to get landing a Hercules in Afghanistan at night doing a steep STOL landing to drop off or pick-up troops with the Taliban firing at them.”
“Sounds like he has a death wish.”
I shook my head, maybe a bit too quickly as my hair when everywhere and I had to scoop it back behind me..
“No. I’ve met RAF and Navy helicopter pilots who after having done a couple of years in Search and Rescue found normal service flying boring and left to pilot civilian rescue helicopters to get the thrill back in there flying.”
Alec nodded, smiled and paused a moment before saying. “So, this morning…”
Mother slept on the train back. Fred tucked up under her chin.
I had told the guard before we got on we would need the wheelchair ramp to get off at Mid-Steeping. He nodded not particularly happy about it. Anyway he came and opened the doors from our carriage and had us out as soon as the commuters had departed like a herd of stampeding buffalo for the carpark. The train was gone before we even made the platform exit. Mid-Steeping like so many small stations was nowadays un-staffed. The goods yard had been turned into a large carpark for the commuters and was packed full Monday to Friday. A nice little earner for the train company at twelve quid a pop for a day’s parking.
Mother was a grumpy bunny getting out at home, as I made her use the loo soon as we went in, but she was fast asleep within minutes of settling in her chair.
“Hello, how are you.”
“Fine, and you?”
“So how did your friend’s dinner party go Sunday?”
“Ok. Trish’s husband Malcom, and his doctor friends wanted me to go to their hospital today, to do some tests they thought I should have. That’s where we have been today.”
“Was Mother ok. She hates hospitals.”
“Yes fine. I was a bit shocked about what they said about me, though.”
“What did they say. Are you alright. Is something wrong?"
“Yes, was just a bit taken aback, that’s all. I’m, I. They said my body is sort of both boy and girl at the same time. But not really developed either way sort of. But basically, I’m seventy-five percent girl and twenty-five percent boy. Roughly. Seems the reason I never had spots as a teenager was my body got bigger, but at the same time. It’s not grown up yet. Seems I’ve not gone through puberty yet. Think that’s why I’ve got a smooth skin and all that. They can’t understand why it was never spotted when I was young. If it had, I would have grown up a girl. It’s that screwed up.”
Silence. In the end I ask if she is still there.
“Yes… it's just.” Her voice is soft, quieter. “Kind of explains an awful lot, though, really.”
“Well, when you were small, you always wanted to play with my dolls. You liked cars and trucks, but you still wanted to wear my dresses. Mother let you until father saw and made her promise not to let you do it anymore.”
Another pause. I do not know what to say.
“I remember you looking so sad when mother took us to buy my party dress for Wendy Brown’s birthday party when I was ten. You would have been seven. I thought it was because you were never invited to any party’s and I always was. But it wasn’t that was it. It was watching me get what you couldn’t have and wanted. To wear a pretty dress, any dress I guess for that matter. I’m so sorry Pau… Penny.
It must have been a living hell growing up.”
“It’s gone now. It’s the past.” I say nearly in tears. “Anyway. They want me to go in next week so they can just have a look inside. You know, just check everything is ok, nothing nasty there. I’ll leave mother with Evie. Mother likes Evie and I’ll only be gone for the day.”
“No, it’s ok. I’ll come over.”
I can hear Carl Junior trying to tell her something. Talking over us.
“Shhsss, in a minute.”
Then she is back with me.
“I never thought I would say this, but I will be glad when that boy can have a driving licence next year. And he’s not getting the stupidly over powered Pick-Up truck he and his father keep looking at, ether. It going to be something safe to drive, something that takes six days to get up to sixty miles an hour. Look I better take him to his football practice or we will never hear the end of it. Do you know what day they want you?”
“I’ll be with you by the week-end. But I better dash, bye. Take care.”
I do not know why, but I was still completely non-plus about it all. I had talked to Alec about things that happened nearly twenty years ago, and I have not flown a plane for nearly ten years now. It was almost as if they had happened to another person. Things that I had forgotten about, or at least hidden away and forgot.
I take a sip of tea, but it has gone cold. Oh well. Mothers still asleep holding Fred. She’s smiling, I wonder what she is dreaming of.
To be continued…
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