Campfire songs Chapter 6

Chapter 6

I must have fallen asleep in her arms. I found myself waking up in a large bed with a low ceiling. The low ceiling made itself known when I tried to sit up. When I checked myself I realised that she had removed all my clothes apart from my undies. My wig was lying on a vanity table. I found my rucksack near the door, with most of my clothes but not my jeans. I put the dress on to try and preserve my dignity and took the rest of my clothes with me to the bathroom. There was no sign of Tracy. I really wanted to have a bath, but I was worried about whether there would be enough hot water. Ever since my assault I found taking a shower a nervous experience. Mostly I had been taking sponge baths, but they never really left me feeling clean. I put my jumper on, fitted my wig as best I could and slipped my trainers on. I went outside to see if I could spot Tracy. She was next to the path going through some Tai Chi form. With my martial arts training I had learned one Tai Chi short form, but it was different to what she was doing. I didn't want to interrupt her, so I sat on one of her outside chairs and watched her. When she had finished she turned to me.
“Good morning, beautiful. Sleep well?”
“Fantastic. I don't even remember falling asleep.”
She chuckled. “It was so cute, falling asleep in my arms. Just as well you don't weigh that much.”
“Thank you for looking after me. I was wondering, could I have a bath. And do you know where my jeans got to.”
“Yes, you are welcome to use the bath, there is plenty of water. Your jeans are in the wash. Do you want breakfast before or maybe a cup of tea?”
“That would be lovely. I can help, just show me where everything is.”

We spent a very pleasant half hour, chatting, having tea, and making and eating breakfast. We agreed that tomorrow I would try and follow her Tai Chi form and then she would follow mine. While I was having my bath, she would be going out to get a few things and would probably be back around lunchtime. I was welcome to help myself to anything in the cupboards.

I ran a bath and luxuriated in the hot water. Feeling totally alone was also a great feeling. For so much of my life I have been aware of people around me, judging me. Almost like it was a constant pressure, a persistent stress. Sometimes, when you are in enough pain, its absence almost feels like pleasure. It also gave me time to think.

My eyes were quite sore, so I wet a flannel with cold water and lay back with it pressed over my eyes. I didn't think I had ever cried that much. My Dad never told me boys don't cry or that I had to toughen up, but, from a young age there is a peer pressure that way. If you hurt yourself, and started crying, you would immediately be labelled a cry baby. Thinking back, I know I repressed myself. I had enough problems and crying would have only added to them.

I needed a release though, so in the past I used to sing. I would chose a song that reflected close to my feelings and learn the words. I used to sing with Dad and just let the emotion out. I dared not do it at any other time. My voice has never broken and when I sang, it definitely sounded like it was a girl singing. Right at that moment though, I realised, I was a girl. I was allowed to cry as much as I needed to, and sing to my hearts content. It was now a good thing that my voice had that feminine quality. It was a very freeing moment so I sang Beautiful by Christina Aguilera. I stayed in the bath until my fingers looked like prunes and it was too cold to stay any longer.

I got dressed in my limited choices, at least my underwear were clean. I was getting a bit bored. I decided to go outside and practice my kata and Tai Chi short form. I also did some on the spot aerobic exercise and strength training using my body weight. Then I made myself a hot choc and sat on one of the chairs near the front. There were a few dog walkers who passed with a friendly wave and a smile.

Tracy came back with lots of bags of shopping, so when I saw her, I rushed up to help. The bags were not that heavy though, mainly filled with clothes.
“I have a bit of a confession to make. Your jeans weren't in the wash, I don't have a washing machine on Lucy (Lucy was the name of her houseboat). I just needed to borrow a few things to get your sizes.”
I felt a bit bad about her spending money on me. With my real situation, I had no way to earn money. Any money I had saved from my allowance was in Laurence's bank and I had deliberately discarded all access with all of Laurence's things. With that it really hit me, just how much I was asking. I was completely dependant on Tracey's good will. I had, in effect, by asking for her help, asked her to become a surrogate parent. And she had agreed. With a smile and a hug. Wow.

Throughout my life I had been bombarded by how awful humanity was. What man was willing to do to his fellow man referred to terrorism, racism, abuse of all kinds, hate and more hateful action. My father was a good man and he loved me. He was my father, that was, sort of, his job. Tracy was no blood relation. She was showing me the other side of humanity. The love and giving that we were all capable of and only so few displayed.

By now we had placed all the bags on the bed. I turned to Tracy with tears in my eyes and hugged her. “Thanks Mum.”
And she hugged me back. She hugged me back.

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This story is 1063 words long.