Smoke And Pantyhose 2.14

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From all sexual minorities, sfenists are among the only ones blessed with the power to make children. And children are the most important thing for a couple, the reason to go forward and the shiniest gem stones on the crown that is a family. However, children born from sfenists are different then children born from any other families and any other people.

A conversation with a sfenist couple, 2004.

Fifteen years have passed since we met, since Alia - Atan, my husband, went to our village, looking for a place to stay the night. So many things happened in all this time. The most important thing of all, is that we managed to have children. Now, we have 3 children, which are all happy and healthy. This is the most important thing to us. First came Aisha, which now is 10. She is a beautiful little girl, smart but a bit quiet. At school, everybody notices her to be very good learning and very polite. Then came Adge, our son, which now is 8. He is far more polite then other boys in his class and also learning very well. And then comes Abidet, our little daughter. She is 6. Not yet going to school, she is full of energy and surprisingly smart.

As I am a convinced smoker, I smoked during all my pregnancies. I know what people in the Civilized World say, that smoking can affect children, but honestly I never believed that. After all, my mother gave birth to four children and smoked during all her pregnancies. The only difference I noticed is that my children were born a bit smaller. Nothing else. Well, here things are far different from the Civilized World. First, children are born at home and not in a hospital. There is no medical service. I know that in other places doctors check the mother and her unborn child from time to time. Here, nothing like that exists. Nothing, at all. If, for example, you cannot get birth, you die. Well, my addiction to smoking goes beyond any limit, up to the point where, when I was getting birth to Abidet, I wanted a smoke. There was my sister Cemis smoking near me and she took her cigarette to my mouth. With all that pain and forcing, I still could inhale... and this helped. When Abidet was getting out of me, smoke was also getting out. Well, I am Nicotiana, that's my official name and has been so for 15 years.

It is said that humans are born out of sin. And it is true. No human, nor animal, can have a child without sex. There really is no way. Maybe, in future, technology will reach a point where artificial children will be grown in incubators, but we still are very far away from that day. There is only one exception in this world: sfenists. We are a rare sexual minority. About one human in 3000 is a sfenist. We are victims of a sexual abuse or other kinds of trauma, that affected us beyond recovery, so that, having sex becomes impossible. It simply is not possible. If we could, we would have done it in 15 years. In some sfenist couples, after some time it becomes possible, but it is only pain. We tried and found out it is beyond our limits. All our children are made artificial... and this is the best way. Each time we wanted to have a child, we masturbated, then I poured his fluids inside me, with my own hands, with the help of a syringe usually. Is masturbation a sin? I think it is, but one far smaller then sex. So, our children are born without sin. Well, there is one, but far smaller then in other couples.

Another thing that is surprising, is that in my language, the word used for 'pregnant' is sfena. The word used for 'sfenist' is in fact sfenikh (sort of, we use many sounds that are not found in English and my transliteration is not perfect). Are we the only sexual minority able to have children? Homosexual couples cannot. Two gays cannot, as no man can be pregnant. Lesbians, as women, might be able to, but still they need a man to get pregnant. In case of a transgender couple, as long as the transformation is not complete and the genital organs are functional, children can exist. At some point, I was thinking about a man that becomes a transgender woman. Even if somehow he/she has a perfectly functional uterus (even up to this day I don't know if it is possible to build one), there still is something missing. You need to take from somewhere an embryo and insert it there. Other sexual minorities, like zoophiles (people that make sex with animals), eterophiles (people that are in love with love itself or virtual ideas), panophiles (people that are in love with objects) or virtualophiles (people who prefer virtual sex, in the virtual world), will never be able to have a child this way. One can argue that women still can have children via artificial insemination. Also, adoption is another possible way. But still, these children are not clearly yours.

And speaking about children in sexual minorities, there is one thing that has always been in my mind. A child adopted by a homosexual couple (or by any other sexual minority) will be strongly influenced by what it sees at its parents. The child will do what its parents do. There is a high chance for that to happen. I've read about panophiles. I heared about a man that was in love with a tree, about a woman that was in love with a road. Some might argue that those guys need psychological treatment. I don't. As I also belong to a sexual minority, I understand them. The problem is, when one of them will want to have a child (be it artificial or made through adoption), what will that child do?

I also wondered for a long time, what will mean for our children to know their father is a transgender. The thing I didn't put into the equation is that he also changed over time. He had two faces: one was Alia, a woman, while the other one was Atan, a man. At home and while being with me, he used to be Alia. He dressed as a woman and used make-up, fake breasts and anything earrings. While at work or when we were alone, he was Atan. He used men clothes, but beneath, he still worn pantyhose. His hair is not long and not short, just nearly touching his shoulders and painted green, like mine. In time, I removed his beard and mustache completely. It was very painful, but working with one piece of hair every day, in two years, I managed to epilate him completely. What will children say about this? Other children will laugh, hearing that "daddy looks like mummy". Not at elementary school, which is in the village. When they will go to high school or to an University, if they will.

What I didn't know at that time, is that things will change. First of all, after a few years, Alia - Atan started to mix his two faces. He started to go to the mines in unisex clothes. He found a way between. He can pass as something between genders, only his voice clearly shows he is a man. Everything else resembles something belonging to both genders. He now wears what most people wear here: cheap tennis shoes or plastic sandals in summer. In winter, he often walks with women booties that have no heels and can pass both as male or female. He still wears pantyhose anywhere he goes, only that now this is not a secret. In summer, when people wear shorts, he also wears shorts and his pantyhosed feet are exposed. He no longer wears fake breasts. He wears unisex sweaters, blouses and shirts. About the earrings, he made an interesting decision, to wear only one earring in one ear. So he wears one day in an ear, the other day in the other one.

There are a few exceptions. When we go further away and need to cross a border, he dresses as a man, but still wears pantyhose. And sometimes, when we are alone, in our romantic moments, he wears the fake breasts and a woman dress. There is one place where he always does this: at the lake, at the forgotten reservoir. And each time we go there, we both try to dress in the same way.

Also, since we are together, I worn pantyhose every day and every night. I promised him that I will wear them all my life, just as he promised that he will smoke all his life.

There is another thing that is important: his parents. For nearly an year, they prayed to their gods and begged for Alia - Atan to return home. I could feel all their tears, all their suffering. Nothing happened. He did not return. Then, they abandoned him. It passed a long time and we received no more messages from them. Anything. Things only changed when Aisha was born. At that moment, we sent them a message about. They answered, saying that they want a picture. Well, if there is something I hate a lot, it's pictures. I hate to be on a photo. And anyway, how can we make a photo of her? We just couldn't. When Adge was born, they again wanted a photo. I agreed finally. We found an old camera, but it made pictures on a film. I went to Jupiter and paid for the film to be processed. Then, I sent the picture via post mail and not through my laptop. Given the fact that the picture needed to pass many borders, it arrived very late and degraded. When Abidet was born, we no longer sent them any picture at all. Well, as time passed, they seemed to forgot their hate for me. Very slowly, they accepted us as what we are, a family. They understood that we will never leave these mountains.

Many things have also changed. Now my sister Abida has four children and my sister Cemis has two. With 10 nephews, my parents are very happy.

Talking about our children, they are different. It is not because of the huge doses of nicotine they received before birth, in the milk while breast-feeding or later, as passive smokers. My sisters also smoke, even if not as much as I do. I think the difference comes from the fact that we are sfenists. As I said above, children born from sfenists are not made from a sin (well, in fact they are made from a little sin). I know that the difference also comes from the fact that sfenist couples are different, but I strongly argue that the major differences come from the fact that they are born with only little sin.

Since Aisha was a baby, I noticed that she did not cry as much as other babies. First, I thought that she is different, but later I've seen other children behaving the same. So, I asked myself what is going on. Then, as they grew and started to walk, they were a bit more polite, more listening to what we were telling them. Like any child, they did a lot of dumb things. For example, they heard about scuba diving and took a duck into the river, keeping it below water until it drowned and died. That was the first time in my life I've seen a drowned duck. Another time, they took our hair paint and painted our two dogs in green. Another time, they heard about astronauts and placed a cat in a plastic box. Then they threw the cat up in the air and... it landed on the house, instead of hitting the Moon.

There are two major differences between our children and their cousins (children of my sisters). When they play together, I see it very clear. The first difference is that our children are more listening to adults and are more polite. Even as they play together, they stop when the others do things that are too bad. The second difference is that they are very united. I remember when I was a child, it was a headache for my mother. It didn't take 15 minutes and we were fighting. Some of us was crying or some of us stolen someone else's toy. Now I realize what a headache was for our parents. Well, my children are very different. They don't fight, don't steal the other's toy. And if one has done something bad, the others are covering the tracks. This happens almost instantly. For example, when they killed that duck, it took me a long time to find out what they have done. I found out in fact while listening to them playing, as they had no idea of my presence.

Another fact is that as I work at the railway station close to the house, I always have an eye on them. I spend much time with them, playing with them or working in the garden. At their age, they know well how to do gardening and how to make handmade cigarettes. Alia - Atan, when at home, also spends a lot of time with them. He is teaching them a lot of things. The fact that we both have graduated an University is very important, since we can help them at school. Our children know English, which is a very rare thing in these mountains. From a young age, we stimulated their curiosity and started to feed them with a desire to learn new things.

Well, despite the fact that sex almost does not exist, sfenist couples are extremely strong. It is a powerful love, only that there barely is some sensual love. In 15 years, I never had a fight with Alia - Atan. The only one occurred soon after we met, when I almost killed him, to convince him to start smoking. Since then, we never had any fight. My sisters had so many fights in their families, that they came to us to learn how is it possible to live without screaming one at each other.

Sometimes I find the reasons for fights really stupid: for planting a tree, for not changing the shoes when entering the house, things that really are nothing. Well, from a nothing like this, tensions can grow and keep on growing, even up to a divorce. Well, for us, this never happens. We always try to please each other in any way.

The railway collapsed many times, but each time it was repaired. Overall, things are like they were, but technology is slowly advancing. Cell phones have arrived to here. And when this happened, railway stations were equipped with them. We linked the megaphones with their speakers, so when a train is coming, they will make a lot of noise. Now, every train engine has a cell phone. But even with this improvement, derailments are still frequent, because the rails are still badly maintained. Cigarette contraband is still very important. Sanders still wonder in our land from time to time, as they pass to other lands. Just this year, they made a suicide attack in the Land Of Nomads. Contraband still flows through these mountains, as it always did.

In one day, I check the mail, to see if there are any messages from his parents. Surprised, I see this:

Dear you two, we are getting old. We don't know for how long we will live. Before we get too old, it should be better to give you a visit, to see you and your children as we still can.

I talk with Alia - Atan about this and he accepts. So, we explain them how they can reach us. Also, I tell the news to my parents and my sisters. In two weeks, they will be coming. I explain them all the steps, from the airplane they have to take to the Land Of Ice, how to move all the way while avoiding danger, how to move in the cities, what train to take and how to pay in each place. Even how to pass borders. It doesn't matter if your papers are ok, every custom will expect some bribery, mainly from someone that seems to be an outsider.

Finally, after 15 years, they come to our place. They step down at the railway station. I notice them immediately. After all this time, I cannot remember their faces, but I notice they are not from here by the way they move. We await them on the railway platform. We hug. When they see their son, they start crying. I also see that they are by far no longer the people I remembered. They are far older and thin, almost skinny. In their eyes, I see a long suffering and much loneliness.

They look at the children and bring a lot of gifts to them and to us. How many things they have brought here! Many! But most then everything, their tears speak for them. Alia - Atan also cries to see them after all this time. The children seem to try to be friendly. Soon, his parents are surprised to see that our children speak English.

Then, I invite them to the kitchen, where anyone would invite guests. We smoke, they don't. I send Aisha to my parents and my sisters and they all come to see. Also, they bring a lot of food. This is a rare occasion.

With so many people, the kitchen is too small for all of us. So, we go outside and sit on the grass. We all eat, from what we have. I explain his parents that we don't speak when eating and they understand. They seem to enjoy our cuisine, based on milk products. Today, we have some meat, because it is a rare occasion. Of course, we also have a big metal pot with milk and a huge plate with cookies that I made for the occasion.

His parents seem so happy to see this place, but even more happy to see all these children. All our 10 children are here and they sit around us and eat. Seeing them, their eyes are flown with tears. They just cannot stop watching so many children. And after finishing eating, all children start playing around. In the distance, other children can be heard.

As we finish eating, I light a cigarette. Alia - Atan does the same, so do my parents, my sisters and their husbands. Abida also has two bigger children that smoke. Now, I watch amazed how his parents accept this. They don't smoke, but accepts us all as we are. They don't comment anything seeing Alia - Atan with his hair painted green.

The only problem language. Only Alia - Atan understands their language, but since he never spoken it for 15 years, he finds more easy to speak in English. Also, only his parents and our family understands English. My parents, my sisters and their families understand nothing. So, we have to translate.

His father looks at the landscape. Behind our house, behind the garden, mountains rise, covered with dense forests. On the other side of the river, he can see the railway. Beyond it, there are other houses and gardens, then the mountains rise again, covered by forest. A few cliffs rise from the trees. It is a beautiful day, with nearly completely blue sky. Anyone can hear the birds singing and the river flowing.

"You live in paradise", says his father. "I never imagined these mountains are so beautiful".

"We are all born here", says my father. "For ten thousand years, we've been living here".

"The air is clear here", continues his father. "The water is clean. Where I live, people pay a lot of money to visit such places only for a few days".

"And all the food is natural", says his mother. "You live much more healthy then we do".

"Yes, we live natural", says Abida. "All the food comes from our gardens and our animals".

"I never imagined such a place can exist", says again his father.

"Only that you smoke too much", says his mother. "Or is that natural too?"

"All is cultivated here", I answer, showing her where the garden is.

"Small Wonder makes cigarettes all summer", says my mother, smiling. "It is her obsession, she made us all to smoke".

"You've been living in this paradise all this time", says his mother.

"Yes", says Alia - Atan. "Now, you understand why I don't want to go? Maybe it is the last natural place still left on the Earth".

"Sure it is", says his mother, "but you live in great poverty. You have 3 children. Maybe, Over The Sea, they will have a better life. Don't you think?"

"There is no place like in these mountains", answers my dad. "They will live here, with us, or in another place, but will not move away from the Land Of Mountains".

"Just look at them", says my mother, pointing at me and Alia - Atan. "They've been in the outside world and they like it here. There is no other land like ours".

"Be sure there is no other place like here", says his dad. "In our mountains, you see roads up to the mountain peaks. You only have a railway... and even that one, I am surprised how those trains still move. I smashed my head to the window a few times".

"If you want, there is a free house close to me", says Cemis. "You can move in it if you want".

"For sale?" asks his dad. "How much?"

"Old houses are not sold", says my mother. "They are given in the memory of the deceased".

"Maybe, we should come here from time to time", says his dad. "But it would be kind if I give the owners some money for this, at least as a gift".

"Why not to move completely?" asks Cemis, surprised.

"Our place is not here", says his mother. "This place is beautiful, but it is not for us. We lived in a world and our place is in that world, just as your place is in here".

For a while, my parents ask his parents about how is life there, about the way they work, how they travel, how they live, how they grow their children. Also, his parents ask a lot of questions, all until I get tired of translating. Then, his parents focus on the children. It looks like they enjoy to see this.

Abida lights a cigarette and comes closer. I see in her eyes, she is up to something.

"Ana, please translate this", she says. "Why did you keep such a distance to your son for so many years?"

I don't want to translate, but I do.

"In the world where we come", says his mother, "parents have to decide and accept marriages. It cannot happen without a bless from both parents. This is because children are not ready to see. They don't have experience and might chose something bad".

"We were looking for a girl with the same social status as he has", says his father. "A woman with the same school level, with the same wealth, coming from a similar family".

"He just left us and abandoned us, to come here", says his mother.

I translate all, then Abida comes a bit closer, so that nobody will hear her, but me and his parents.

"He left you because he is a sfenist", she says.

"What is a sfenist?" asks his dad.

I had no idea things will go this far. So, I have to say.

"A sfenist is a person that was victim of a big trauma, usual a sexual abuse, that affected the person beyond recovery. This is why he left you. He ran away from you, because you forced him to be in a relation that he could not handle. For a sfenist to be in a classic relation, it is pain. You almost destroyed him when you forced him to be with that woman".

"But I see you have children", says his mom, unable to understand.

"All our children are made artificial", I answer.

"And you are a sfenist too", she says then.

"Yes. This is why we are together".

"All these years..." mumbles his dad.

"You just didn't understand him. He ran to the End Of The World to save his life. Even after all this time, he cannot forget the pain you put him into, when you forced him to have a sexual relation. This is child abuse. My parents never did that to me".

Maybe my mouth took ahead of me or maybe it is something in me that wanted to erupt from all those ugly words they said to me. I forgiven them for all a long time ago. Even if my words were a bit too much, someone had to say this. I see the pain in their eyes, as they realize their mistake.

They remain here over night. I manage to make them sleep in the kitchen. Then, at morning, Alia - Atan goes to work at the mine. I remain here, with his parents. Aisha and Adge go to school, while little Abidet remains here. We talk a bit. Then, the children return from school. We all eat, we play with the children, then I have to wash clothes and cook. They look amazed how I wash clothes with my hands in a plastic basin and how I cook using wood fire. And then, I do some gardening with the children. Also, trains come and go at the station and I have to go there from time to time.

Next day, Alia - Atan also needs to go up to the mines. His parents go with him, then take the train back. I see them and they hail me, as I signal the train to go downstream. They are returning to their homeland.

When Alia - Atan returns home from the mines, tells me the last words his parents said, before living back to the Civilized World:

Our loved child, we are sorry for what we have done to you. Sorry for not understanding that you are a sfenist and forcing you on a path that you could never follow. We are sorry for what we done to you. We are all guilty that you now live in these mountains of paradise, for all you suffered and for all the bitter tears we dropped all this time in loneliness. We are not old and lonely, but it is all our guilt that things ended this way.

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