I Hate it!

I Hate It! –

Two children, Melissa, almost eleven, and Johnny almost ten, were the only ones left in the pool. It was so hot that they continued to swim around. The other kids in their group at the day camp had congregated underneath the canopy of trees and were enjoying hamburgers and hot dogs while the two children swam.

Johnny got out of the pool and sat on the edge of the pool with his foot on the ladder in the pool and with his knee on the pool deck. Melissa was wading in the pool just below him. She looked up and laughed at Johnny. “Why are you laughing?” Johnny asked innocently.

Melissa coyly smiled and squeaked, “I can see up your bathing suit and see your thingy.” Johnny turned a beet red and withdrew from the pool. He was so embarrassed and flustered. He stormed off towards the showers. Melissa got out of the pool and was embarrassed too. She didn’t want to hurt Johnny’s feelings. Quietly, she went to the showers too and got rinsed and changed. The showers were open air, so she thought she could hear Johnny crying on the other side of the wall. She must have terribly hurt him.

She sat at the entrance to the entrance to the showers for the boys and girls. She saw Johnny poke his head out and go back in behind the open door. “It’s okay Johnny, I just wanted to say I was sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.”

Slowly, he came out. Now she could tell he had been crying. “Johnny, I am sorry. I didn’t want to make fun of you. He sat down next to her. He wrapped his arms around his waist and crossed his legs. His head was low. “I-I f-feel hurt. But, I forgive you. My mommy says I need to forgive those who hurt me.” He kept his eyes down holding back tears.

“Johnny, thank you. I didn’t mean to hurt you. Most boys when I have told them that are pleased and like to show it off and then make me show them mine. You are the first boy I have ever met that reacted this way.”

“I am not like other boys. I hate it. It does strange things that scare me. It’s ugly and stupid looking. I wish it would go away. I don’t even know why I have it.”

“Anyway, I just wanted you to know I was sorry. I want to get something to eat. You should too.”

Johnny watched her walk away. He thought about it and went to a section of the day camp where a councilor was reading a book to first graders. It was a neat story. Johnny sat on the ground and crossed his legs. The younger kids were smaller than he was and looked up to him. When they saw he loved hearing the story too, they started to enjoy it more. The councilor was grateful that Johnny came by and listened.

Counselor Peter said when he was finished, “C’mon boys and girls. Let’s go grab something to eat.”

“Can I help?” said Johnny. He took one of the little campers hands and led her along with the others to the tables where hamburgers and hot dogs were being cooked. Johnny loved helping the younger campers like this.

About eight years later, John was coming home from community college. Nobody called him Johnny anymore. Well, his mom did, but she was allowed. “Hi Mom.”

“How was school today?”

“Great. I have the coolest psych teacher. He is a very smart man. He even puts up with my sense of humor.”

“Now Johnny, I hope you aren’t disrupting class.”

“No. He passes around a blank attendance sheet. I sometimes fill in a few names. For, example, Attila the Hun, Sigmund Freud, or Vincent Price. As the list gets passed around, I see students look around to see who did it. Finally, one day, during lunch, Dr. Crisman came up to me and said thank you for doing that.”

“Why on earth would he?”

“Well, it turns out that he was watching the students. He knew I did it and he wanted to see who would react. It became a kind of test for him too to see who was paying attention.”

“Okay. Anyway, I am going out tonight. You will be all by yourself. I won’t be back until midnight.”

“That is okay. I have homework.”

The old home was lonely. His older siblings had left long ago to go off and get married. He was the oops baby. Six years behind his nearest sibling, he had little in common with them. All, except the one who left a box of her old clothes. He couldn’t believe that at eighteen, he could fit into her dresses. But, he could. After his mom left, he went in and put on a dress and a blouse. He didn’t put on underwear though. He knew he could change the moment he heard his mom’s car in the driveway. He was too afraid of being caught to go that far yet.

In his room, there was a built in cabinet above his closet used for storage. The neat thing about it was that his mother never could check it. It was too tall for her and she was old enough now that she would not even try. He got on a chair and stashed his girl clothes up there long ago when he realized this. He pulled down a long skirt with a flower print. He then pulled down a blouse. Quickly putting them on, he went to the kitchen and put on a tea kettle. He loved tea. Particularly Earl Grey. Pulling out of his book case a catalog of clothes for women, he sat down to thumb through it. He knew his mom wouldn’t think anything of it if she cleaned his book case because it was one of her many catalogs. For him, it was special.

It wasn’t just the clothes. The models in it had become his surrogate girlfriends. Each one had a name and a back story. He would imagine talking to them like his mother talked to her friends or how the girls at school talked to each other. He would often listen in on how the girls talked at the lunch table at school. Then, when he had a chance, like tonight, to pull out the catalog, he would ponder how he would to talk to the girls in the catalog and what lovely mundane things they would discuss.

When the phone rang, John was quick to answer it in case it was his mother saying she was on her way home. He was relieved when it was someone asking for her. “Hello. No, she is not in. She went over to Alice’s home for a drink and then on to Bingo night at the church.”

The sweet voice at the other end of the phone went on to say, “Well, please have her call Melissa Hanson. It is about my mother, Audrey Hanson. She is in the hospital.”

“Melissa. Your name sounds familiar. Didn’t we go to day camp together?”

“Yes.”

“I am so sorry to hear about your mom. May I ask what the matter is? I don’t mean to pry”

“She had a stroke.”

“Oh my word! What is her prognosis?”

“Uncertain at this point, they say. The doctors will know more in a few days. But, they think they caught it in time due to my fast action and it might be totally reversed quickly thanks to using the ‘fast’ lesson I learned in my Red Cross classes.”

“Fast lesson?”

“Yes. Fast. F is for face and smile. A is for arms. S is for slurred speech. And T is for telephone right away and waste no time. So, if you notice someone’s face looks odd like they lost control of a muscle, or if they can’s smile right, they may have had a stroke. You can test them by having them raise their arms. If one drops because they can’t control it, then they may have had a stroke. Then telephone as quickly as possible.”

[ To learn how Act F.A.S.T. saves lives click here --> http://www.stroke.org/understand-stroke/recognizing-stroke/a... ]

“Is that what happened with your mother?”

“Yes. Her smile this morning looked tilted when I came back into the kitchen after taking a quick shower. It wasn’t tilted when I went into my shower. I had her raise her arms and her left arm drifted down. That was the same side of her mouth that was askew too. I called 911 immediately. They say my acting fast may have saved her life.”

“Amazing! I will have to learn more about it to protect my mother too.”

“You are Johnny, aren’t you? I remember you. How are you doing?”

She couldn’t see the other side of the phone. She didn’t know that he was exploring his feelings of femininity.

“Just going to school. I am hoping to get a job soon. My mom is getting close to selling the home. Dad ran away years ago and it is just us now. A five bedroom house is too big for just two people.”

“You have been a good son to her. She is lucky to have you.”

“Well, I think I can say the same thing about you. Your mom is lucky to have you too.”

“Would you like to grab a bite to eat. I would enjoy catching up. I want to find out how my Johnny has been. Plus, it would get my mind off my mother for a while. Do you mind?”

John couldn’t help but smile. Hearing no objection, she quickly added, “I could swing by your place in fifteen minutes. I really can’t do anything more at the hospital. Honestly, I do need a break. It has been an intense day.”

“Sure. I’d love to.”

John hung up and went to change quickly. He left a note for his mom explaining what happened and that he was going out with Melissa. When she arrived at the house, he was waiting on the front porch for her. He jumped in her front seat and they drove off together to a local IHOP.

“I think about you every so often. I remember that day when I embarrassed you. I am still sorry about that.”

“Oh, it’s okay. Water under the bridge.”

Melissa realized she hit a nerve, so she changed the subject. “What are you taking at school?”

“I am in the process of getting my associates degree. I hope I can find work soon. I have been applying everywhere.”

“What do you think you might like to do?”

“I thought about becoming a nurse or a physical therapist. What is your field of study?”

Melissa leaned back and said, “I am gong to take psychology. I would like to be a school councilor one day, like my dad. You know, I did notice you in High School, even though you tried to hide. I wish I had the tools to reach out to you back then. You seemed so lost.”

“Yeah, well, in my sophomore year in High School, Dad ran off with his secretary when the economy faltered and money was tight at home. Mom took it hard. She found comfort in Bingo night at the church. That is where she is now. She goes once a week, sees her friends, goes out for coffee with them afterwards, and then goes back to work during the week. I help out at home. I do laundry, help clean the house, and maintain the yard.”

“Well, that isn’t so bad.”

“I am blessed that she didn’t find comfort in a bottle of whiskey, that is for sure. And Bingo is cheaper than a night at the movies. The only thing I hate about is that she plays bingo with a bunch of smokers.”

“How do you feel about your dad leaving?”

“We weren’t close. I was never the star athlete that Todd was. I couldn’t catch a football or throw a baseball worth a damn. And it bothered Dad that I loved ice skating. He promised me he would let me take lessons. Turns out he was using the money he might have spent on my lessons to woo and dine his secretary. At least he paid child support until about six months ago. He now works for his new in-law’s construction firm in Seattle. I hear from him that the downtown has seventy cranes now because Amazon is busting out big business.”

“Is he going to pay for your college?”

“No. Dad says ...” I made air quotes. “… ‘it will make a man of me’ … I am supposed to earn my own way. Never mind that he paid for Todd’s college and Arlene’s degree too.”

“So, what he is really saying is that whatever he makes is for his new family and you are on your own.”

He rolled his eyes and said, “Something like that.”

“And your mom?”

“She wants to sell the house and move into a smaller place. She says she can invest the difference and when Dad’s pension kicks in – she gets half of it from his old work place’s pension fund when he hits 65. That with her social security income and the income from her investments should keep her comfortable for the rest of her life. She is about twelve years from being able to retire, I think.”

“But, what about poor Johnny?”

John hesitated and realized he needed to get it off his chest. “He is lost and scared in a big bad world that may have no place for him.”

“Do you need a friend? I mean, someone just to talk to about it.”

“I-I guess. It is just everyone around me seems so able and capable. And here I am just a scared little bunny rabbit who runs off when anyone comes near.” He tried not to look at her. He knew he needed to be honest.

Melissa took a bite of her omelet and looked lost in thought about the pool incident and how that description fit so well. She felt her heart melting. John quickly added, “Sorry, I shouldn’t burden you right now. You have your own problems with your mom. It isn’t fair to you.” Melissa turned and smiled at him. She gently caressed his arm tracing it with her fingers. She looked at him and smiled demurely sending a very clear signal that she was interested in him.

John found himself a little flummoxed and unable to know how to respond. He wanted to stop her, but didn’t want to hurt her feelings either. She was a sweet person. The problem for him was that she was the kind of girl he wanted to be in real life. In a stroke of what he thought was genius, he explained away his reaction. “I appreciate the offer, but I think you need a friend more than a boyfriend. And, I don’t want ever to lose you as a friend.”

Melissa hung her head down a little and then looked back at him, “You could be a friend with benefits? I wouldn’t hold it against you. After all, fair is fair. I have seen yours, so you ought to be able to see mine.” she giggled.

John blushed and stammered out, “B-But, I-i would. I need a friend. All my friends have gone off to college and I have no one with whom I can just talk, laugh, or cry. Truth be told, I need you. And, that is more important to me than a good cuddle right now.”

“Well, you could cry better than anyone I know. I understand. Still, the offer is open. You are cute, you know.”

“Well, I wouldn’t know about that.”

Puzzled, Melissa asked, “Not that it matters, but are you gay?”

“No. It’s just that I don’t want to end up like my dad. His chasing skirts was something I never liked. Especially how it hurt my mom. He moved on to his fourth woman when he left my mom. Mom says she will be the last, but I see how he looks at women.”

Melissa sighed as she looked away for a moment. “Of course!” She looked back at John. “I forgot about that. Of course you would be reluctant to being a friend with benefits. That was pretty thoughtless of me. I feel stupid. I was being selfish.” A wave of sullen regret passed over her.

Seeing this, John responded with a great deal of empathy for her. “I would hardly call you selfish. But I can’t say yes to someone I care about when I play for keeps and they aren’t on the same page. I wouldn’t want just one cuddle. I would want all of them exclusively.”

“You care about me?” She smiled warmly back at him as the wave of regret left her. “Some lady is going to find a rare man when she lands you. Well, there is my other back up plan for today. Now I have to find someone who is willing to go shopping and deal with my worry that way.”

John beamed. “I would love to go shopping with you. That is a skirt chasing I can get behind.”

Melissa looked at him with a genuine smirk and teased him, “Get behind? Really, after what you just said about skirt chasing. Really mister!”

Johnny’s face turned bright red. “I didn’t mean it that …”

“I know. But you laid yourself wide open for that tease.” John grinned at her tease realizing that she was pulling his leg.

After dinner, they went to North Fenster Mall where they started by window shopping. John was having fun. “Oh, that pant suit would look so cute on you. I like the Chelsea collar. It is still very professional though. Of course that sheath dress would make a great business outfit too. I think it would hug your curves very nicely while looking professional also.”

“Yea, um John, I love your enthusiasm, but I am still wanting to wear teenage clothes. Nothing professional yet until I graduate. But, you are right. I need to start acquiring clothes for the end of college and beyond. And I like your eye. Your thoughts may turn out to be useful yet.” Melissa found herself intertwining her arm with John. Not like he was her boyfriend, but more like he was her girlfriend and they were intimately walking with each other.

“So, tell me little lost boy, who did you want to be when you were a kid?”

“Oh my. In elementary school, I didn’t really know who I wanted to be. I guess I thought I would be an office manager like my dad.”

“Okay. So, who were your favorite characters in books?”

“Oh my. I remember wanting to be Harriet the Spy or Pippi Longstockings. I either wanted to have a notebook that had all this salacious information on the kids who were tormenting me or a horse that I could ride which I could also lift with one hand. I guess I liked her because she didn’t have to go to school and no one could bully her.”

“No guys? Not even Johnny Tremain or the Lone Ranger.”

“No. Not really. I don’t know why. Just none of them interested me. My only male heroes were Albert Einstein and Dr. Von Braun of NASA who got us to the moon on his rockets. I liked science. In science there really isn’t any need to be a rough and tumble athlete to be a great scientist. They are quiet and think a lot. They are the ones the heroes run to for answers in all the Sci-Fi movies too. Especially those awful and fun Godzilla movies.”

“You mentioned tormentors? I am sorry to hear about that. Tell me about them.”

They stopped and sat on bench just to watch people. “I was picked on so much. I don’t know where to begin. I didn’t get along with anyone it seemed. I wasn’t invited to birthday parties. I had only one friend and when a new student showed up from New Zealand, he dumped me and I was all alone.”

“So, you retreated. I am sorry. After day camp, I didn’t see you again until High School. I saw how out of it you were then, too. You wore old ratty clothes everyday along about your sophomore year.”

“That was when my dad left. Mom had to make ends meet. I couldn’t tell her that I was a social pariah because there were holes in my shirt. I was so embarrassed. I just wanted to hide everyday when I went to school. And that our school was the rich kids school didn’t make it easier.”

“Did I hear that you were picked on by Sean Albert in English class?”

“That got around, huh?”

“Yeah, some girls were telling me how he bullied you one day in class. They said it was brutal.”

John turned a beet red and clearly was still emotional about it. “He kept attacking me with a rubber band snapping it at my neck. I tried to move and he moved to being just behind me again. I asked him to stop and he wouldn’t. It was the last period of the day too. When the bell rang, I couldn’t wait to get out of there and did. I was walking toward the bus, I thought I tripped and righted myself. I was told later that he punched me in the face as I was walking. A teacher grabbed him to talk to him or else I would have been beaten up I guess. I saw him working in a grocery store years later. He looked embarrassed to see me. I knew in my heart that he was ashamed of what he had done. I pretended not to recognize him so he won’t feel like I had a grudge. I could tell he was sorry. I wish I had stopped and told him he was forgiven. He looked like he was in pain.”

Melissa marveled at John’s compassion for others even when he had been bullied by them. He was a sensitive and kind man. “But, suddenly, I didn’t see you anymore. Where did you go?” she asked.

“My mom must have heard something about that incident. She arranged for me to go to another high school through a former professor of hers at university. I transferred to Wilshire High.”

John brightened up. He went on to say, “It was rough in the beginning. But, the kids there were lower middle class and didn’t care about the holes in my shirt. I was relieved and did much better with my grades too. I started to make friends and have a good time. Well, a much better time than I had at Garfield High. Garfield was a brand new high school and had all the bells and whistles. Wilshire was fifty years old, so out of date, and I loved that old school. She was so kind to me when I needed it most.”

“Good. I am glad to hear it. I worried about you after hearing about your problems with Sean.”

As a couple of tears flowing down his face, John suddenly felt like changing the subject and direction of where things were going. “Come on. There is a Forever 21 store calling your name. We came here to do some shopping, right?”

“No John. I want to do some shopping for you. I think you need a new outfit more than I do. I think you should look at getting a new suit. Even if you don’t buy it.”

“But, I really don’t want or need a suit yet.” He hung his head down and kicked the floor. “I don’t know where I could wear it even.” He was trying his best to stop her from pushing him into the men’s areas.

She started to turn around and point, “See, there is a Banks, Brothers, and a few more good stores for men.”

As she was turning, he mumbled in a soft voice, “But none that would give me a new birthday suit.”

Melissa stopped and gazed into one of the stores. She heard what he said under his breath and all of a sudden, all the facts started to come together and add up. She took a deep breath and had an idea.

“Okay then, we will go shopping at a lady’s store then. Come on.” Melissa was on a mission. She knew what she needed to do. For the next few hours, they found her some nice clothing. But, she carefully eyed John as he reacted to other clothes. She sized him as an 8 or a 10. Strategically, she bought an out fit that might fit him.

When she took him home, it was 10:30, she asked, “Can I get a cup of coffee. It has been a wonderful night. Mind if I bring in the packages. I want to make sure that the receipts match the bags before I turn in for the night. But, I also want to talk to you more.”

John gave her a cup of coffee and looked over her shoulder. “Oh, I like this one John. You were right. The color does look very nice on me.” She carefully folded it and put it a bag.

“Good. I had a lot of fun with you tonight. I used to go with my Mom and my sister to the store and help them shop. It was so much fun to spend time with them.”

“So, that is how you know so much about clothes.”

John blushed. “Yeah.” Without him noticing, she isolated one bag and pushed it under the table without his knowing. It had a few surprises in it.

After she was done, “Could you help me take this out to the car?”

John obliged, “Thank you for stopping by. I had a good time tonight. I pray your Mom gets better.”

“Thank you. I needed to have someone. And, I found a guy I can shop with who will tell me the truth about how I look. Truth be told, that just could be better than friends with benefits.” She winked and leaned over and gave him a kiss on the cheek. John laughed and blushed again.

As she was pulling out and headed off, John’s mom drove up. “Was that Melissa Hanson I just saw in front of our place?”

“What, you were watching us?”

“Well, when I was about to turn the corner, I could see you both talking. I turned of my lights and waited. I am surprised you didn’t notice. She gave you a kiss on the cheek.”

“Aw Mom. Her mother is in the hospital with a stroke. She needed someone to hang out with tonight.”

“I am sorry to hear about that. Well, why the kiss?”

“Oh, we just got a bite and went clothes shopping.”

“Is that all?”

“Yeah. It was a friendship thank you.”

“Too bad. You two would make a cute couple.”

As his mother turned in, he got a text on his phone from Melissa. ‘Mother is really improving. :-D Package underneath table is for you.’ John went to check the bag underneath the table and looked in it. It was a beautiful beige pull over cashmere sweater and a simple twill brown wrap skirt. He had looked at them in one of the stores while she was trying on clothes. But how? Why?

He texted back. ‘I am confused. For me???’

She texted back, ‘Yes, you are confused. Want to talk about it? I promise to listen. Do you like what I got for you?’

Before his mother came out again, he scurried off to his room and laid the cashmere sweater and skirt on the bed. She texted. ‘What time is your first class?’

‘11:30’

‘What time does your mom go to work?’

‘7:30’

‘I will be be at 8:15. Can you wear outfit for me, pls?’

‘No benefits still.’

‘I was thinking you wuld say that. Just wear it. Trust me. You will be safe. K?’

He put the skirt and sweater back in the package. In the morning, his mom left for work as usual. He had already been showered. This time, he took time to shave his legs and what little hair he had on his chest. After drying off, he put on a camisole and some panties he stole from his sister a while back and put them on. Then, he put on the skirt. It was a little lose in the waist, so he found a long thin belt in his mom’s drawers and tightened it up. Then he pulled over the the sweater and looked at himself in the mirror. He liked what he saw even if it was flat chested.

Next, he put a dry towel around his shoulders and sat down in front of his mothers make up desk. He brushed on some foundation, put on eyeliner, mascara, and then pulled out of a secret stash in the back some red lipstick. He put it on, blotted it, and put it on again. His lips looked lush and inviting he thought. Going back to his room, he put on some flats he had found in a Goodwill store. Looking at the time, he went to the kitchen and put on a pot of coffee.

Before he could change his mind, the door bell rang. Holding his breath, he opened the door. What he didn’t know was that he opened the door to his future. Melissa smiled. “You look very nice. I thought that outfit was you.” This was it, he thought, the cat is out of the bag. And the bag is so shredded, he can never go back in to hide.

“H-How did you know?”

“I hate it! Isn’t that what you said way back when. I hate it! You didn’t call it your manhood. You called it ugly and said something about removing it, I believe.” She titled her head and exclaimed in a soft wistful voice, “Aren’t you going to invite me in?”

John was a deer caught in the headlights. “Oh yes, please. I am so sorry.” Melissa giggled when she came in.

“Oh, the coffee smells wonderful.”

“Would you like a cup?”

“Yes, cream and sugar too, please.” Melissa went and sat down at the breakfast table. She watched as John poured her a cup of coffee. He put it on a platter and poured cream into a small carafe. He then put a spoon and a small bowl of sugar on the platter. For himself, he poured some hot water into a ceramic tea kettle and put another cup and saucer on the platter. He then put some tea biscuits and a couple of small jars of strawberry and raspberry jam on the platter too. As he walked over to her, she marveled at how feminine he presented himself. He was elegant and graceful. She felt stupid for not having noticed it before. In her eyes, he had always been a he. So, his movements were by default like a man. But now, with the proper framing, she saw that he was a she, not a he.

John put the platter down on the table, swept the skirt underneath him, and crossed his legs adjusting the skirt to be over his knee. He sat back and smiled at her. His face betrayed a sense of relief at having been found out. “Thank you. I really can’t call you Johnny, can I? What is your real name?” She over pronounced the word ‘real’ to emphasize how she accept him as a her.

“I have debated what to call myself. But, I love my great grandmother’s name, Joyce.”

Melissa took the carafe, added a little cream, and some sugar, and then stirred the coffee. She took a sip. “Thank you Joyce. The coffee tastes wonderful, by the way.”

The elephant in the room was troubling Joyce now. She calmly poured out her tea and put a spoon into it to let it cool. “I suppose you will want the whole story.”

“Eventually. But, I need to know some basics now so I know where I stand with you. Are you doing this way because it sexually excites you or do you find it exciting being the female sex?”

“I find being the female sex exciting.”

Knowing how her boyfriends have typically behaved, her next series of questions cut to the heart of the matter. “I thought so. Tell me, honestly, have you ever jacked off?”

Joyce shook her head no. “I have heard the other guys talk about it. To tell you the honest truth, I hate my erections. It is why I avoid dating. The erections, for lack of a better way of explaining it, exhaust me. I can’t wait to get rid of them. The idea of having one fills me with dread.”

“Have you had wet dreams?”

Joyce again shook her head no, “Never. I mean, I heard about them in health class. I know a few guys said they had one. But, I have never had one.”

“Have you had an orgasm?”

Joyce blushed. “Oh yeah.”

“How do you ejaculate if you don’t jack off?” Melissa sounded confused.

“I don’t have to be erect to orgasm and ejaculate. I found a way to massage down there along the base while I am limp and I feel it pretty good. Up until puberty, I could orgasm multiple times. I loved the feeling back then.”

“That sounds similar to how a woman does it.” It intrigued her that he was masturbating before he hit puberty.

“I know. At least, I have read about it.”

“What do you fantasize about when you do it?”

“That is getting a little personal, but, to tell you the truth, I have a few Harlequin Romances that my sister left behind I quite enjoy.”

“Do you see yourself as the man or woman in those?”

Joyce breathed a heavy sigh. “As the woman. I like the idea of being forced and being overwhelmed. But, frankly, not in real life. Does that answer your questions.”

In her eyes, she was Joyce and all girl. “More than answers them. So, can I help you?”

Joyce was a little teary eyed, “Somebody has to. I can’t keep hiding. I don’t know what to do. I want so badly to have boobs and a vagina. I have thought of ways I could castrate myself and make it look like an accident to force the issue.”

“Please don’t do it that way. I can help you. You need real doctors to do it right. I want to help you. I hope you haven’t thought of killing yourself.”

“Why? Why do you care?”

“Oh gosh. How do I explain it. Years ago, I hurt you. I hurt you so badly. I saw the pained look in your eye. It has haunted me ever since. You were so deeply hurt and all you ever were to me was kind and sweet. I never. No, I have never seen a look like that in any boy I have ever dated or been with. And now I know. I was looking into the face of a hurt girl. A hurting girl who was crying out for help because she had no one to help her on her special journey.”

Four years later, Melissa took the bouquet from an elegant bride, adjusted her train, and watched as she took her vows. The bride’s dress was a beautiful trumpet style which hugged the bride's body down to just below her waist before it flared out and spilled into waves and a splash of fabric followed by a train. The scoop neckline revealed a nice bosom and allowed the bride to wear a push up bra that accentuated her small but still growing chest.

Melissa was the Maid of Honor at her best friend’s wedding. The two had known each other since day camp so many years ago. She watched her friend Joyce journey from saying ‘I hate it’ to ‘I love it’ to ‘I do.’

“I hate it.” she thought later about her being alone now, but then she caught the bouquet. It was only a little later, when she saw Leopold catch and fight for Joyce’s garter that she knew what she wanted.

As the reception went on, she approached Leopold and showed him the bouquet with a coy smile on her face. Looking at the garter, she quipped, “You know, these two things go together.”

Leopold, smiled broadly at her. “You know, I was just thinking the same thing. In fact, I think they are meant to go together and ought to stay together.” She nodded and smiled back at him.

Leopold took Melissa’s hand and then they walked off the dance floor together hand in hand.



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