“NO Way. Your face, your nose. I don't like saying this, but Laurence had a really ugly nose, it sort of dominated his face. You do have the same eyes though.” She leaned forwards and sort of squinted, really examining me closely. My green eyes are relatively unique, but I was beginning to get a bit worried. I didn't know her that well. I couldn't tell her stories from a shared past or talk about a weirdly shaped birthmark that she would have no knowledge of. Maybe my disguise was a bit too good. At least I could explain what happened to my nose.
“That is where the assault comes in. Because of my looks, I have always been teased. 6 weeks ago it went way past teasing. A group of boys smashed my face into a wall and tried to force me to give them a blow job.”
“Shit Laurence. What happened?” She reached forwards. All she could reach from where she was, was my knees, so she stroked them.
“I bit down.”
“You bit down. Well, he fucking deserved it.”
“I don't remember too much after that. I woke up in hospital after being in a coma for a month. I'm not sure if they hit my face any more, it was already damaged when I lost consciousness. I had to have plastic surgery to try and put the pieces back together. They did go to town on my groin. When I woke up I was told they had to remove my testicles.”
“Oh you poor darling.” She got up and tried to awkwardly hug me in my seat. Tears that I couldn't shed before, rose up from deep inside and I had a bit of a break down, sobbing into her chest. We ended up with her sitting on her bed with me wrapped around her like a koala. She was rocking me and stroking my hair. When I had calmed down enough that I could take a breath without it catching. I tried to disentangle myself. She resisted enough to let me know that I didn't have to. So I stayed there.
“Is that why you ran away?”
“No. I wish. The boy I bit, or more accurately, his family, is wealthy and well connected. He hinted to me that he had put a contract on me.”
“Wow. I didn't see that coming. He could have been just saying that to freak you out.”
“I know. I had a good long think about it that night. I reasoned that if it was true my only possible response would be to disguise myself and run away. I had to go into town today anyway. After 6 weeks with no testosterone and high female hormones, my body which was already developing along female lines has gone into high gear. None of my clothes fit me any more. In town, when I came out of the toilet, a guy tried to kill me.”
“Are you alright? Are you hurt?” She started using her hands to feel my body, trying to check it in some way.
“I'm fine. I know some martial arts and running away works too. The thing is, he didn't ask for money, or threaten me or anything. He just attacked me with a knife. My immediate conclusion was the threat was real.”
“Why didn't you go to the police?”
“How could I prove it? Would they offer protection? I would be living my life in fear.”
“What about your mother?”
“I haven't seen her since she dropped me off.”
“What about with the assault? Surely, she was there then.”
“I don't really know. I was unconscious. When I did wake up, she was too busy. I think the nurse did say she came in when I first arrived. My relationship with my mother is.... maybe not the best.”
“So you really think disguising yourself as a girl and hiding is the answer.”
“I couldn't think of a better one. I don't really think being a girl is a disguise, it is more removing a disguise, my boy disguise. I have always been waiting for my body to shift and become more masculine. I have to face facts. Apart from a small imperfection at the front, I am a girl.”
“Being a girl is more than just how you look.”
“I know that. I have read about the differences between male and female brains, and transgendered individuals and their stories. I know I have a strong feminine side. I have taken tests online. They indicate I am more female than male, but I have never felt the urge to wear female clothing. I discussed all this with my Dad. He said he was the same at my age, but after puberty he shifted to be more male than female. I was expecting the same to happen to me.”
“Can't the doctors do something?”
“Yes, they can. I can go on permanent hormone replacement therapy. This may or may not help with my height. I would get more muscles and hair and a deeper voice. I may end up with anger or aggression issues and I would have to have surgery to remove my breasts. On the other hand, if I leave nature to take its course, I will be the right height, shape and build for an average woman. I can't have any children of my own whichever direction I travel.” The unfairness of that brought more tears. She held me a bit tighter and rocked me again.
“Such a lot to deal with, I don't know if I could have coped.”
“I haven't had a lot of choice. I know I should be dealing with this on my own, but I just struggled to know what to do.”
“Whoa. Like hell you should be dealing with this on your own. Yes. I will help you. Honestly, I don't know exactly what the right thing to do is. You are not alone any more.”
I hugged her in thanks. “I'm not sure you should. I mean it could be dangerous. If I was a hit man I would check you out to see if I came to you.”
“Your disguise is amazing. Even after you told me, I almost didn't believe you. We could do a few things to improve it though.” she said whilst stroking my ears with their lack of earring. “You are welcome to stay here, but there isn't a lot of room. I think I know what we need to do. You came to me because you recognised this was too big to handle on your own. There is nothing wrong with that. That just shows maturity. Well, I think this is too big for me too, but I know someone we can take it to.”
“Someone you trust?”
“Someone I trust with my life and, to put it bluntly, with yours. She would never betray me.”
“How well do you know her?”
“Very well. I am talking about my mother.”
“You barely know me, I don't expect you to know about what happened with my parents. My mother is a bit of an oddball. I think of her as a modern hippy. She has become more and more spiritual and that really pissed off my father. The only thing is, you need to be sure of what you want. If she is on your side and believes something will make you happy, she will move heaven and earth to make it happen. She has a tendency to go over the top.
“When I was 8 I thought I wanted to play the piano. My friend could play a bit and I thought it was really cool. She pretty much remodelled the house to create a suitable room, purchased a really expensive piano and found an expert teacher for me.”
“After 2 months of lessons I really wasn't enjoying it, but did not want to give up after all the trouble she went to. She noticed though and just asked me if I was having fun and when I admitted my lack, she praised me for giving it a good go. She said, if I hadn't tried, I would have never known. It did teach me to be very careful with what I asked her for.”
“She wasn't angry or anything?”
“She has a very different view of money. I was feeling guilty about it so I asked her and she said to not think of money being spent, more circulated. The piano maker was paid appropriately for making a great piano, the teacher was employed to do something that they loved, the renovations to the house made the house a better house and worth more to the right buyer.”
“She sounds awesome.”
“I am biased, but I kind of think she is. She also sees signs for everything she does. I will make a prediction with you. This is part of what I meant by her spirituality. If we go to her and tell her our tale and that you are happy being a girl. She will claim this all happened so that you could become the girl you were meant to be and more than that, we are at her door so that she can help to make it happen better. As I said, you need to be certain because once we get my mum involved, she will likely take control and make it happen fast. All for the right reasons, as in, all she will want is to make you happy and to live your truth. So.....are you sure.”
“I know it has been less than a day, but really, I have been thinking about this all my life. I have nothing in my old life that I want to keep. I have no friends and the only relation who has shown me any love, I have only known for a few hours. Yes. I am sure.”
She gave me another squeeze. “OK. Let's do this.” I crawled out of her lap. I tried to put my wig back on and she helped me. She changed her outfit to a more outdoors type. Jeans, T-shirt, jumper, coat and hiking boots.
“Where does she live?”
“She is living in a houseboat on the canal. It can get a bit muddy. I think you should be alright with your trainers. We will both go, but when we get there, I will want to explain everything, try and get her on your side. I know my mum and I think I know how to approach her the right way.”
“I could go for a walk along the canal if you like.”
“That would probably be best, if you are sure that is OK. Can I talk about your medical condition?”
She phoned her mum first to check she was in and then for a taxi. We headed down to it carrying all my stuff.
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