Alexa B-Side: #24 - Fireside Chat
“You should see the bruise. It looks like someone punched her.” Nicole said with a slight giggle. “I have never seen Debbie wear so much make up!”
“Is it really that bad?” I asked.
“She is trying to cover it up, but the yellow is seeping through” Nicole told me. I had come to the Program on Human Sexuality to pick up Alexa and to get a bit of gossip around the office. I had made several friends during my brief stint here last summer. I missed the day to day banter with some of these people and it was always good to see them. Just as Nicole was finishing up, Lex and Debbie came into the lobby. I don’t know what that woman has done to me, but every time Lex enters a room, my whole world lights up. As we shared our standard kiss, I could sense something was on Alexa’s mind. Now was not the time to bring it up, and I wanted Alexa to tell me on her own. As we broke I noticed my former boss standing there.
“Nice shiner Debs” I said, teasing the woman who had been a godsend to Alexa and me.
“Watch it Miss Thompson or you may need to get that CV updated. Can’t have the help being cruel to their superiors.” Debbie said with smirk. I just laughed it off. I know Debbie was just having some fun, but that fun was lost on Lex. She seemed preoccupied by something that must have been discussed in her session. We said our goodbyes and made our way down to the car.
As we drove down 394, I could see that Alexa was struggling with something. The car was not the place to have this conversation, so I decided I should ramble on about my day. Maybe that would get her out of funk. I don’t even remember what I said, it was mostly just babbling. When Alexa’s expression didn’t change, and I asked her if she was OK. “Huh, what?” she asked. “Just a bit tired. Didn’t sleep real well last night.” She completed the thought, but I knew that wasn’t true. I didn’t hear her stir all night and the one time I was up in the middle of the night she was as peaceful as always.
It was when we were at the grocery store that I knew there was something really wrong. When it came to our food choices, she was the one who took control. Not today. Today she moved listlessly through the aisles as we picked up the few things we wanted for the weekend. The same was true when we stopped to pick up some wine. I tried to ask her if she wanted to pick up some vodka and she just shrugged her shoulders. I was beginning to get nervous that something had happened or been said in the meeting. I was tempted to call Debbie, but I knew she wouldn’t tell me anything. I drove the two of us to the house and as we finished unpacking the bags, I took a surprised Alexa by the hand and led her out to the great room. I had texted Thomas to start a fire and watched as he slipped out the back when we showed up.
We took a seat on the sofa in front of the fire place. I finally had Alexa in spot where we could talk with out any disruptions. I looked her in the eye and asked what she and Debbie had talked about. At first Alexa looked at me and then down at her lap. She began to squirm a bit as we sat there. Did she relate some secret to her counselor about her feelings towards me? Now I was panicking. Lex let out a long sigh before blurting out “She brought up SRS”
That’s it? God I really was worried about nothing. “Are you going to do it?” I asked. While we had never talked about it, I knew that it was the probability. The idea that Alexa would have surgery had never been a question in my mind, it was just when. But her reaction to the whole thing surprised me. She seemed extremely conflicted. Maybe she wasn’t going to have it. I knew that I had to tread carefully here. But for some reason my brain couldn’t control my mouth “It is what you want, isn’t it? It would complete your journey. Have you talked with Nikki about her surgery? Or Paige and what she has had to go through as she gets ready for hers?” I wanted to kick myself. I had to let Alexa come to me with her feelings and not push it. I tried to calm myself as Alexa tried to formulate an answer. All she could say was that she wasn’t sure and rested her head on my lap, starring at the fire. Something was really bothering her.
I let her take time. I did try and assure that no matter what she chose, she would still be a woman. That got her going. “But that’s it Jen. Some people will still think I am some sort of weirdo just pretending to be a woman.” she said. She’s scared of what people will think? That is not right! All that matters is what she thinks. But this wasn’t about my views, but hers. I needed to try and bring out her fears. I needed her to know I would be there for her. I asked her if she was scared. “Petrified” she told me, but what was she scared of? Was it perception or was it the process? I had to know. She buried her head in my lap and began to cry. Nothing broke my heart more than the love of my life crying. I rubbed her back trying to comfort her. It must have worked a bit, because she turned her head and spoke up. “I am scared you will leave because then I will really be a freak. I will have been mutilated.”
I love Alexa more than anything in the world, but there are times she could be the most frustrating person on the face of the planet! And just as I was about to lecture her, I stopped myself and remembered what I said last spring. My comment about not wanting to be around as she planned her own mutilation was coming back to haunt me. But this would be different. It would be us going through it together, not some whim because of frustration. It would a struggle. She would be laid up for a good six weeks I bet. And from what I heard from Sarah, it will take some time before a more ‘normal’ life returns. That would be the toughest part, but I was willing to do it if that is what this wonderful person wanted. I loved her and wanted her happy.
Just as I was about to say something, I realized that our sex life being put on hold would not be the toughest thing I would have to go through. Watching the person I cared for more than anything be in pain would be the hardest part of all of this. The accident last summer was hard to bear, but that was minor compared to what would happen if Alexa had the surgery. Could I hold up to that? I knew I had to. The vows we will take this summer say, ‘in sickness and in health’. Those simple worlds seemed to strengthen me. I would do whatever it took to make this incredible person happy.
I reached down and gently lifted her up, so I could look her in the eye. The sadness there melted whatever was left of my heart and I had to fight every instinct I had to lecture her. I told her that no matter what she decided I would be there for her. “If you decide you don’t want to have the surgery, that’s what you have decided. I will stand by you. If you decide to have the surgery I will be there too.” I went on to say that I would do everything I could to comfort her and love her “Whatever you decide I will be there. Remember I love you and you are stuck with me forever.” I kissed her and repeated forever to her. That seemed to calm her a bit. She smiled at me before cuddling into me.
As the two of us stared into the fire, I knew that the path our lives were going to take had taken a new turn. But it was a path we were going to go down together. Hand in Hand. Sharing the love we had for one another. Now if I could just get Alexa to realize that.
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