If I Could

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If I Could
A take your daughter to work tale

By Patricia Marie Allen

When you consider the circumstances in my life, it’s easy to see how things turned out the way they did. My dad was killed in action in Afghanistan when I was eight. He was through with his active duty time and had joined the National Guard and his unit was called up when the Taliban launched a major offensive. There are no male relatives that I know of so I haven’t really had any male influence in my life since then.

We went to live with Grandma since Mom had to go back to work. Grandma; I love her, but she’s a relic from the past. She was quite young at the time… high school I think… but she was caught up in the feminist movement and really never gotten over it. I’m told she quite literally burned her bra. She’s fond of saying, “A woman needs a man, like a fish needs a bicycle.” She attributes it to Gloria Steinem but I’ve since been told it was some other woman in Australia.

Mom had trouble finding a stable job that really paid well. With Grandma providing free housing, she struggled with part time jobs for our personal expenses while she took a few college courses and turned her BA degree into a Master’s degree and with that she landed a job the year before last at a woman owned business that Grandma knew was hiring, before it was advertised. Grandma served on some committee with the owner and got mom an interview.

I had been out of school for the summer for only a few days when mom came home in a kind of strange mood. She tried to act as if nothing was bothering her, but Grandma could always read her emotions.

Mom was in the kitchen getting an after work cup of coffee while Grandma put the finishing touches on dinner. I was in the nook that Grandma had set up as a mini office. Rather than the usual table and chairs most kitchen nooks held this one had a small computer desk and a two drawer file cabinet. Grandma’s computer sat on the desk and her printer on the file cabinet. I was playing a computer game when Grandma chose to confront Mom about her mood.

“Something is eating you,” Grandma said to Mom, getting right to the point. “Work not going well?”

“No; work’s going fine.”

“Well something isn’t setting well in your life. I pretty sure that what’s going on at home is not the problem. That leaves man trouble or work. Unless you’re troubled about not having a man, man trouble it out. That leaves work.”

Logic was always Grandma’s strong suit. Process of elimination narrowed it down pretty quickly.

“OK, the owners have decided that since part of our mission statement is to make a better future for women that we need to do something for the next generation. Anyway the last Friday in June has been designated as ‘Bring your daughter to work day.’”

“That’s an old idea, but I’ve always liked the concept. I was sorry to see it fall by the wayside in the last several decades. I’m glad to see someone reviving it. I don’t see how that could bother you.”

“What bothers me is that at the close of business, there’s going to be a get together for all those who’s brought their daughter to work. It’s going to be held at a hotel downtown. It’s sponsored by a consortium of women owned businesses.”

“Again, that’s great idea, but I still don’t see why that should bother you.”

“The shindig itself doesn’t bother me. It’s the fact that I won’t be able to go. These other companies that will be there represent a large part of our prospective customer base and it’ll be great opportunity to network. I could really use the chance to meet these people. You know I’ve only been in job a short while and I really need a boost. This soiree could do that for me, but I don’t have a daughter; hence I can’t take her to work, therefore, I won’t be there.”

I wasn’t actively trying to eavesdrop on the conversation, but it was taking place less than ten feet from me. I couldn’t help but overhear it.

“Gee, Mom, if I could, I’d pretend to be your daughter for the day, but…”

I let the statement die half said. I didn’t mean to say anything. It just popped out. What I wouldn’t give it I could do that, but neither Mom nor Grandma knew that I liked to wear girl’s clothes. For several years, I’d been sneaking Mom’s panties and sometimes other things, like her half-slips and nighties and wearing them in my room with the door locked. They also didn’t know that I’d borrowed one of my school friend’s sister’s clothes for about a week to play dress-up. I’d taken them back because I’d heard her talking about how one of the things I had “borrowed” was missing. I was afraid they’d investigate and discover that I’d had opportunity to take them.

Grandma looked at me. I was really sorry that I let the idea slip out. I had no way to justify saying that without admitting that I enjoyed cross-dressing. After studying me for a while, Grandma spoke.

“You know, that could work.”

“What?” Mom asked in surprise.

“Never mind. We’ll talk later. Dinner’s ready. Arron set the table while I put it into serving dishes.”

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The following Thursday, I was surprised when Mom came home in the middle of the day. Grandma was off to some committee meeting and I had just borrowed some of Mom’s undies and was just about to lock my door when she walked through the front door.

“Arron? Where are you?”

“I’ll be right down Mom.”

I quickly stashed what I’d borrowed and charged downstairs.

“What’s up? You’re home already and it’s only 1:00.”

I hoped that there wasn’t any evidence of the adrenaline coursing through my veins because I’d nearly been caught indulging in my little hobby.

“It was kind of slow at work, and I felt like skipping out for some ice cream. Want to go to Cold Stone with me? It’ll be more fun with you along. We don’t get near enough time one on one.”

“I’m always up for some ice cream and Cold Stone is the best.”

This was so unlike Mom. I knew something was up but I wasn’t about to turn down ice cream. That would have been way out of character for me.

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We were sitting outside at one of the tables in front of Cold Stone. Being June it was a little cool, but Mom insisted that it was crowded inside. I’ll grant you that Cold Stone is not the roomiest place, but really six people make it crowded?

I was about halfway through my “Germanchökolätekäke” sundae when Mom finally revealed why she brought me there.

“Arron, did you mean what you said the other day, about pretending to be my daughter for the ‘bring your daughter to work day’?”

That put a stop to the enjoyment of my sundae. As a matter-of-fact, I froze with the spoon halfway to my mouth. ‘God, if I could do that what a dream come true. How do I answer without being too eager?’

“If you didn’t, that’s OK. It’s just that your grandmother has this crazy idea that if we bought you the right clothes and did just a touch of make up on you that you could pass as a girl. I told her that you probably didn’t think before to spoke.”

“What… what kind of clothes would you buy?”

My heart was beating like a trip hammer. ‘Do I sound reluctant enough?’

“Well, you know a dress some shoes and tights and so on. The kind of things a girl your age would wear. Your grandmother thinks that you hair is long enough to style so you wouldn’t need a wig or anything. Are you thinking of doing it?”

She sounded hopeful. I really wanted to; I really, really wanted to, but what would that mean? ‘What would happen to the clothes after? Could I get away with keeping them? Would they include silky underwear?’ A million questions I couldn’t ask ran through my head.

“I… I… really would like to help you, but I don’t know. I mean, I don’t really look like a girl and I sure don’t know anything about being a girl. All those people would see me. What if they realized I was really a boy?”

“It’s OK, I told her that you weren’t thinking clearly and that it probably wouldn’t be something you’d really do.”

‘Augh! My chance was getting away from me. I had to salvage it somehow.

“Can ahh, can I think about it?”

“Of course sweetie. It’s just that Mom wanted to go out tomorrow and get the basics of you outfit for the day. I told her I’d talk to you about it and we’d let her know at dinner tonight.

Mom dropped me at home and went back to work. I went right back up to my room and got her things. I put them back. The prospect of wearing something that a girl my age would wear made an hour or so in Mom’s ill-fitting undies seem insignificant. Besides Grandma could be home any time now. I really didn’t know how long she’d be out at that meeting.

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It was a good thing I didn’t indulge because Grandma came home about a half an hour later. She bustled in and started on dinner. Grandma fancied herself a gourmet cook. And she wasn’t far from it. Nearly everything she cooked was really good.

At dinner that night, Mom turned to me.

“Did you get a chance to think about it?”

Somehow I knew that Grandma knew that Mom had talked to me and that I’d promised to think about it.

“Ahh, yeah. But I have some concerns. You might be able to make me look like a girl, but actually going out somewhere dressed as a girl and meeting people… I’m not sure I could manage it. Girls are different from boys and I don’t mean just the obvious physical stuff. You said a dress. I know that girls have to keep their knees together when they sit. For a girl, it’s no big trick to remember to do that. They’ve been practicing that for years. I’m afraid that I’ll forget and show off my underwear in a very un-girl-like way.”

Grandma stepped into the discussion.

“That’s a very valid concern. You’ll just have to get some practice at doing that. The event is three weeks away. If we start this weekend, and you practice every day, I think you could get in the habit of it.”

‘Three weeks? Every day? Oh my God; three weeks wearing girl’s clothes.

“You mean wear a dress every day all day?”

“Well, yes. Total immersion.”

“Total immersion? What’s that?”

“Everything you do, from the time you get up ‘til the time you go to bed, you do as a girl,” Mom informed me.

“Why exclude the time he’s in bed? It will help start the day off right, if he wakes up in girl mode,” Grandma stated.

“OK.”

‘Oh God, total immersion; 24/7. Even sleeping in a nighty.’

I’d done that once. As I often did when in the bathroom, I looked into the hamper. There, under just a pair of panties and a bra was Mom’s one and only frilly nightie. I couldn’t take it right then, it was too close to the top. I waited until bedtime when more things were on top and hid the fact it was gone. I snatched it when I got ready for bed. In my room, I locked the door, donned the nightie and crawled into bed. I sat an alarm so that I could be sure to wake up early and get the nightie back into the hamper before Mom or Grandma would have any reason to look in there. It was wonderful… dangerous but wonderful. And now they’d be buying me my very own nightie. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t under any delusion that it would be frilly like Mom’s, but I hoped it would at least be silky like Mom’s slip.

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When I woke in the morning, Mom had gone to work as usual. I got downstairs just as Grandma was putting her coat on.

“There’s oatmeal in the pan on the stove. I trust you can dish it up by yourself.”

“Ah, yeah. Where you going?”

“I want to get to the mall before the crowds. It’s likely to take a while to find everything we need for your make over.”

I ate my breakfast and pondered just what was going to take place over the next three weeks. I could see that in that much time I could get very comfortable wearing a dress, but just how was I to get comfortable being around people in girl’s clothes? Heck, I was nervous just thinking about it. Being dressed in front of Mom and Grandma would be enough of a challenge.

Maybe I’d get right down to the day and still not be able to leave the house dressed. Mom would be disappointed and so would Grandma. She might even be angry. She was taking time out of her day to buy girl’s clothes for me. ‘Am I committed to go through with it, or can I change my mind?’

My day was filled with such thoughts. I tried to distract myself by playing a game on the computer, but to no avail. I probably played my worst game ever. I had no more luck surfing the net. I couldn’t find anything that would hold my attention more than a minute or two. I decided to watch television. I went to the Sci-Fi channel and found a movie that I liked and settled in. Luckily, I’d seen it before and that allowed me to pick up on the action whenever I could break free of those thoughts.

I don’t know how many movies I sat through and I couldn’t even tell you the name of even one of them. Finally Grandma came home. She seemed excited.

“Come on up to your room and I’ll show you what I got.”

I tried to make a show of being disinterested, but I’m not sure I pulled it off. I tried to look off into space as I leisurely stood up and shuffled toward the staircase. When Grandma was out of sight, my posture became more alert. It took everything I had to keep myself from taking the steps two at a time.

On getting to my room, I saw Grandma had already laid out her purchases.

“Take off your shirt,” she commanded.

I did and stood there bare chested before her. She picked up a bra. It was considerably smaller than what Mom wore. She fastened it around me with the straps over my shoulders and fussed with it for a while.

“I kind of thought that would be the case. You don’t have enough even for an A cup. Not to worry. I have a contingency plan.”

She pealed the straps off my shoulders and extracted some rubbery flesh colored things that were hooked together from a plastic box. She unhooked them and one at a time she pushed them against my chest, one on each side, just above the bra. They were kind of sticky on the back and stay there. She then pull the catch together and fastened it and then placed the straps back over my shoulders. I looked down and saw that my chest skin was pulled together and it looked kind of like cleavage that I’d seen on older girls. After fussing with the bra, adjusting things, Grandma then handed me a pair of panties, she had taken from a pack of three, and a full slip.

“Go into the bathroom and put these on and then come back.”

That was a novel idea. Taking panties and a slip to the bathroom to put on was just the opposite of what I usually did. Back in my bedroom I was beginning to feel self-conscious about wearing girl’s clothes in front of Grandma. She, on the other hand, was focused on a goal and didn’t hesitate or waver.

“Hold your arms up,” she instructed as she bunched up a dress. Sliding it over my arms and head she let it fall around me and zipped up the back. Next came a pair of thin white tights. Almost thin enough to be pantyhose.

“Sit on the bed.”

I complied. She knelt down and I lifted a foot while she slid one leg part way up my calf. She repeated with the other leg and one leg at a time she worked them up to my knee.

“Did you see how I did that?” she asked. I nodded. “OK, then pull them up to your waist. Next time you can put them on for yourself.”

I stood and put my back to Grandma and tried to get them up my legs, but I found that it wasn’t as easy as it looked. It had to be done a little at time. Get one too far and the other one was difficult to move because it was pulled so tight. At last success. I didn’t have time to revel in the feelings. Grandma pushed on in her quest to turn me into a daughter to take to work.

“I couldn’t decide. Which pair of shoes do you like best?”

Grandma was holding two pair of shoes. One was something I’d heard called Mary Janes and the other had a more pointed toe and a slight heel. Not as much as the cowboy boots I’d had a couple of years before, but more than what my dress shoes had. About twice as much I think.

Shoes; I’d never tried to wear Mom’s. Mom’s shoes were kept in a neat row in her closet and I was afraid that I’d mess them up and she’d notice. Besides I think my feet were wider than hers and I’d probably stretch them out. Either way, it was sure recipe to get caught by messing with her shoes.

“I think those,” I said, indicating the ones with a heel.

Fully clad in girl’s clothes, Grandma led me to her room and into her en suite bathroom. (Mom and I shared what was the “guest bath.”)

She spent a good amount of time messing with my hair. She shook her head.

“That’s going to require more work than I thought. Let’s go down to the kitchen.”

In the kitchen, she wrapped a towel around my neck so it covered my shoulders.

“Hold that there.”

Using a spray bottle, she wet my hair and brushed it around a bit before cutting a little bit off the ends and more off the top of my head above my forehead. A little work with a blow dryer and a round brush and she declared herself finished. Reaching into a pocket she came up with some lightly colored lip gloss and coated my lips.

“Want to see how you look?”

“Ah… yeah, I guess." She led me to the front hall where we had a full length mirror.

Anyone who knew me would recognize me, but I really did look like a girl. The bumps on my chest turned the tide. In all fairness, I’d say I looked like the sister I never had.

“So, what do you think?” Grandma asked.

“I’m surprised.” I turned a little one way and then the other. “I think I do look pretty much like a girl and I suppose that people who didn’t know me might assume I was a girl.”

“Well that’s the first attempt. I’ll think on it and see if I can come up with a way to improve. Meanwhile let’s get dinner going.”

“You’ve never asked me to help with dinner before.”

“You’ve never been a girl before. Total immersion, remember? If you’re going to be a girl, you need to know about girl things. Girls your age should have helped out in the kitchen. Actually, I should really have had you in the kitchen before this. There’s no reason to grant you special privileges just because you were born a boy.”

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“Well, look at you. You certainly look the part,” Mom said when she walked into the kitchen. Turning to Grandma, she continued. “You know Mom; this crazy idea of yours just might work.”

“I’m sure it will. We’ve got three weeks to cram enough girl into him to make him believable. I think we can do it.”

“What do you think Aaron, after seeing what Grandma’s done, are you willing to try?”

Now I was in a quandary. I wanted to jump up and down shouting, “Yes, yes, make me a girl.” Only that wasn’t something boys did. I sure as heck didn’t want to blow this chance. I’d dreamed of times to be able to wear real girl’s clothes and not have to worry about getting caught. Three weeks of it every day, all day was just too good a chance to let slip by. But it wouldn’t do to seem too eager.

“I’ll… I’ll try, but if it looks at all like I can’t get away with it, then I want to be able to say no at any time and just walk away.” I wasn’t about to do that, but they didn’t need to know that.

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I was awakened at 8:00 in the morning by Grandma. She knocked on the door, stuck her head in and said, “Come on girly, up and at ‘em. We got lost to do today.”

At mom and grandma’s insistence, I had slept in the slip with bra and panties still on.

“Grab yourself a clean pair of panties and go into the bathroom and get a quick shower. Leave your hair wet, put on your robe. Come down and I’ll fix your hair while you eat breakfast.”

I was glad to get a shower, those things Grandma used to give me a better bust line made my chest itch. I’d have liked to use the shower wand to massage the area for about ten minutes, but Grandma said, “a quick shower,” so I satisfied myself with only about three minutes. I normally use a generic Suave shampoo, while Mom uses something called “Awapuhi Wild Ginger” shampoo by Paul Mitchell. I noticed that my Suave was mysteriously missing and Mom’s was the only shampoo in the shower. I pulled the curtain back and checked the counter to see if it was there, but it wasn’t. So in keeping with the quick imperative I used Mom’s. The first thing I noticed was it smelled like Mom’s hair; a kind of fruity, sweet, tangy smell.

Wearing just the panties and my robe, I sat at the table and ate some Kix while Grandma used a round brush and a blow dryer on my hair. It was a bit awkward and a whole lot distracting to have her working on me while I ate.

“Do you think you can manage to get dressed by yourself? If you have trouble putting the bra on, wrap it around your waist backward, fasten it and then spin it around and pull the straps up over your shoulders.”

“I guess so; I can probably do it.”

“Good, there’s a clean pair of tights in the bag on your dresser. Do you think you can manage them without putting a run in them?”

“I can try.”

“Just take it easy. If things don’t seem to be going right, carefully take them off and start over. The slip should be OK to wear a second day. If you can’t get the dress zipped, do the best you can and I’ll be in my room. You’ll need to come in there for me to do your make up anyway. I’ll finish zipping it for you.”

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“Grandma,” I asked as she was touching up my cheeks with a really light rose colored blush, “what’s with all the hurry?”

“I want to get to the mall by 10:00.”

“Mall?”

“Yes, we’ll need to get you some clothes. You can’t wear the same dress for three weeks. And three pair of panties won’t last either.”

“Well yeah, but I thought you’d just go and get them sometime today or tomorrow.”

“Your Mom will be back anytime now. She said that you should have some say over the clothes we bought you and she’s looking forward to shopping with her daughter.”

“You mean that you’re going to take me to the mall?”

“Exactly. We’ll make…”

“I can’t go to the mall dressed like this!”

“You’ll need to try on some of the things and you can’t very well do that dressed as a boy. Wouldn’t you be embarrassed to do that?”

“I’ll be a lot more embarrassed if someone who knows me sees me.”

“We thought off that. We’ll be going to Clackamas Town Centre. None of your friends will be there.”

My pulse rate skyrocketed and I was near panic. I was about to declare the whole thing off. I was sure I could hear Klaxon Horns going off in my head and a disembodied voice crying out, “Abort! Abort! Abort! The mission has been scrubbed.” I was about to say something when Mom called up the stairs.

“Are you guys ready? I left the car running.”

“We’ll be right down,” Grandma called back.

She turned me around, patted my rear and said. “Go on down, I’ll be right with you.”

I couldn’t understand why with all my misgivings I was going along with this. I was sure that someone somewhere would realize I was a boy in a dress. And even if none of my friends saw me I’d still face consequences for wearing a dress in public. Yet I went downstairs, out to the garage and got in the backseat. Less than a minute later, Grandma got into the car and we were off.

The bad part about going to Clackamas Town Centre is that it’s over an hour from my house. Over an hour to thing about just what a bad idea this was. I was a basket of nerves by the time we got there. Mom and Grandma, on the other hand were chatting away discussing just how many outfits I’d need whether they should get me any more shoes. They both seemed to be sure that shortly before the event, I should have my hair professionally styled.

Mom found a parking place near Dick’s Sporting Goods. By that time I was beginning to hyperventilate. I wanted to counteract that so I began holding my breath when we exited the freeway. I wouldn’t allow myself to take more than one breath before I held it as long as I could. I usually could hold my breath a little longer than three minutes. I’d timed it many times. But right then, I could only manage about a minute. I forced myself to let it out slow and breathe in slow.

As we exited the car, I nearly had it under control.

“Come on slow poke,” Mom said as I lagged behind.

I hurried and caught Mom by the sleeve.

“Mom,” I said, “I don’t know if I can do this. You expect me to go into stores and maybe try on clothes? People will see me up close and may even talk to me.”

“Baptism by fire,” Grandma observed.

Mom gave her a quick look.

“It’ll be OK. To start out with, we’ll just walk the mall, window shopping, until you feel comfortable. Then we’ll just walk through some stores. There are plenty with more than one entrance to the mall. We won’t actually do any shopping until you are ready. OK?”

I swallowed hard and nodded my head. In we went walking three abreast down the concourse. Calming down was easier said than done. I managed to keep my breathing regular, but I couldn’t keep from looking at every person to see if they were the one who’d freak out. We rounded the corner and there seemed to be no end to the lineup of stores. The concourse veered off to the left so you couldn’t see where the end was.

As we made the turn Mom leaned down and said, “If you don’t quit doing the imitation of a bobble-head doll, people are sure to notice you.”

I stopped and looked up at her. She glanced around and said, “Let’s sit and rest for a minute. I want to show you something.”

She led the way to an area that had benches and the three of us sat with me in the middle.

“You need to realize that the whole world isn’t interested in you. They’ve got their own reasons to be here and that doesn’t involve checking to see if every person in a dress is female. Just sit here and people watch for a bit. And for God’s sake don’t swivel your head around trying to see everyone in a half second. Just look down the mall and observe what people are doing.”

I followed her instructions. It seemed like the whole town was at the mall. OK, it wasn’t that crowded but there was scarcely a stretch where there wasn’t someone or group of someones in a ten foot section. I mean while it would be easy to keep from bumping into some one; it would be hard to throw a baseball down the aisle and not hit someone.

After a short while, Mom pointed out a young couple. “Look at them. Where are they looking and what are they doing?”

“They’re walking and talking to each other. They keep glancing at each other and back down the mall.”

“That’s right. They are definitely too wrapped up in each other and why they are at the mall to be concerned with you or what you’re wearing. What about that woman with the shopping bag over on the right?”

“She’s just walking.” As I watched, she glanced at displays in the windows of some of the shops. “She sometimes look in the windows of the store.”

“She’s window shopping. She could care less about what other people are wearing. You’d have to be naked before she took notice of you.”

“That’s not likely to happen.”

“No I don’t suspect it is. What about those two guys over there,” she nodded toward the left, “the one with the Blazer’s shirt and the other in the red hoodie?”

“They look like they are on a forced march. Bet they are headed for Dick’s Sporting Goods.”

“I’d say that’s a pretty good guess. They are focused on where they are going and unless you’re in their way they aren’t likely even notice you’re here, let alone whether you should be wearing what you’re wearing.”

We watched for a while and I didn’t see anyone pay particular notice of anyone else. We must have spent about ten or fifteen minutes watching people. Finally Grandma got impatient.

“OK, have we concluded that no one in the mall cares what anyone else here is doing or what they are wearing?”

“I guess.”

“So we can get on with why we’re here?”

I nodded and we got up and started down mall again. We went by H & M where Mom and Grandma stopped for a minute to look at the window display. There must have been six or seven stores that sold women’s clothes. Mom and Grandma seemed to enjoy checking out the displays in some of them. Mom even asked my opinion of one of the dresses in the window. This activity made it easier to forget that I was wearing a dress.

We turned into Macy’s. I hesitated just a moment.

“It’ll be just the same in here as it was out there,” Mom told me.

I looked around. While there were people in the store it wasn't near as crowded as it was out in the concourse. We just walked through the store and out another door. We were outside. Grandma led the way to the left to reenter the mall. We got to the intersection and Forever 21 was across the aisle. Mom and Grandma went over and looked at the display. I thought the styles on display were geared toward younger women, but what do I know?

After a bit we turned to the right and walked right down to JC Penney. Here, we found our way to the lingerie section. There were panties and bras and slips and all assortments of women’s dedicates. My breath rate quickened but not because I was scared, it was because I felt like a kid in a candy store. Grandma, still in the lead, took us over to the panties.

“You’re a size seven,” she told me. “Pick out eight or ten that you like.”

I think I blew my cover. I couldn’t restrain my smile as I touched and contemplated which of them to buy. It was hard because I didn’t really have any idea what to like. I just knew that I liked the feel of the nylon ones that Grandma bought, but what we were looking at were a lot nicer. There were some in every color you could imagine and some that had designs in them; some had lace waistbands some were embroidered. I managed to narrow it down some. Then I had to pick out a slip and a half slip. Across the aisle was night wear where I got to pick out a nightgown. I really wanted one like Mom’s but I didn’t think that was a good idea so I picked out one with a little lace that would hit me just above the knee and had matching panties. I was nervous again when we went to the checkout counter, but the clerk didn’t even look at me. She dealt with Mom as she paid.

Then it was on to the outerwear. I was a bit more restrained there, until it came time to try on. Mom took me by the hand into a fitting room. It was a little crowded, but she helped me try on four or five out fits.

I ended up with three more dresses, three skirts and three blouses. They said that the skirts and blouses were “mix and match” whatever that is. On the way out, we passed by some sweaters and nothing would to but that I pick out two that I liked.

The whole experience took about three hours and by then my stomach was growling. As if Mom could hear it, she said, “It’s past lunchtime. We should find something to eat.”

Grandma agreed. “Let’s take the things to the car and we’ll go to Macy’s Market Place Café.”

I was nervous again at the Café. But I didn’t have to deal directly with anyone. They had menus where we could see them and we just decided what we wanted and Grandma told the cashier our order and we sat at one of the table. In a little bit a waitress came by and took our ticket, left and came right back with our order. She talked with Mom and Grandma and only looked at me once and smiled. I hoped I didn’t have the look of a deer caught in the headlights.

Lunch went without incidence. And soon we were back out in the mall.

“Shoes,” Grandma said. “She’ll need at least one other pair. And maybe a pair of slippers.”

We consulted the directory and settled on the nearest store where I ended up with a pair of moccasins that I thought I could wear as a boy and a pair of patent leather flats.

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That was the first of my outings. I fell into a routine of sleeping in my nightie… “my nightie” that was a magical phrase. Dressing in either skirt and blouse or a dress. It cost me though. My grandmother thought it fitting that since I was immersing myself in a girl’s life I should help with the house work. Before, I had only been responsible for my own room. Now, vacuuming became my job as well as dusting. Dusting had to be done twice a week. Vacuuming, unless someone made a mess, could be done once a week. The kitchen floor need to be swept every evening after dinner. Since it became my job to clear the table and load the dish washer, the sweeping fell to me as well. Grandma did most of the cooking and since I was learning to be a girl, I had to help with dinner.

I found that once I began to learn a few things that I enjoyed cooking. By the end of the week, I was doing all the prep work for Grandma unsupervised. She explained everything she did because she said by the time of the event, she thought I should be able to cook a whole meal because it seemed as if I had a natural talent for it.

Grandma insisted that I go grocery shopping with her. Fortunately, her favorite grocery story as Trader Joes and that was a bit away from where we lived; so I didn’t need to worry about seeing anyone we knew. Grandma gave me part of the list. My part had the frozen and canned goods, while she did the produce and meat. It was a bit scary to wander the store without Grandma close by to run interference should anyone talk to me. But it was just like the mall, no one paid any real attention to me.

Saturday, it was decided that we should go out to eat. I put on one of my good dresses and some tights. We neglected getting any when we went clothes shopping so Mom picked up a couple of pair through the week. We went to BJ’s Restaurant and Brew House. Not a fancy restaurant, but crowed. We had to wait for a table along with two other parties. I stood back and looked out the window a lot; while out of the corner of my eye, I kept watch to see if they were looking at me.

My worries were for naught. Everything was fine until we were done. It was then that Mom declared she needed the restroom. Nothing would do but that I go with her and Grandma.

“You know women always go to the restroom together,” Grandma leaned in and whispered, making it clear that I was to go with them.

I’ve got to tell you. That was weird with a capitol W. The bad part was, by power of suggestion, my bladder demanded it be emptied as well. So there I sat, have been told standing was a major faux pas, in a stall with Grandma on one side and Mom on the other.

On the way home, Grandma insisted it was good experience for me.

“Remember, we don’t have much time to give you thirteen years of girl experience. It has to be total immersion.”

In between grocery shopping and dinners out, we went to a park a little away from our house that was mostly trails that wound through some woods. Grandma came up with some shorts, because, she said that a skirt or dress would be over dressed. I wore the tan shorts teamed with a white blouse that you could see my bra through and the moccasins. It was still a very girlie outfit.

By the end of the second week, I’d become totally used to the dresses or skirts and hardly paid any attention to them and whenever we went out, I was relaxed and enjoyed the experience. I’d become convinced that whoever saw me would think I was a girl and I appreciated the feeling of being accepted as a girl.

On Sunday before the event, Mom took me to a salon and had my hair professionally styled. They really didn’t do much; just a wash and a rinse and some light trimming followed by blow drying and hair spray. I have to admit for such little work, my hair did look better. I did feel a little out of place at the salon, because I was the only one not wearing pants.

TG Break.png

The big day arrived and I was again a little nervous. Up until now, if anything went wrong it was just a matter of cut and run, but at the event, failure was not an option. I had to get up early and Grandma fussed with seeing to it that everything about me was just right and then after she got ready, Mom inspected me and made some minor adjustments. Then we were off to Mom’s job where she introduced me to her boss and some others as her daughter. I was surprised that no one seemed to be bothered by my name. Is Aaron also a girl’s name? I didn’t think so, but since no one seemed to notice, I kept my own counsel on the subject.

I’m not really sure what her company does, but it requires her to be on the phone a lot and go to meetings with others in her department and some with clients. All the talk went right over my head. I wasn’t the only daughter there. The age range was from about fourth grade to high school so I was about right in the middle. There wasn’t anyone really my age. The only one close was Amy. She was in the sixth grade and she was in awe of just how grown up I was dressed. Since we were supposed to be our mother’s shadow, we didn’t talk much, which was a good thing since I really didn’t have much in common with a sixth grader; plus I really didn’t know how to relate to a girl as a girl.

Through the day, I was glad that I’d had the experience in the restroom at BJ’s because I had to go twice and I had to do it on my own because Mom was on the phone with a client one time and in a meeting another. There were other women in the restroom one time and one of the high school girls the other. I managed to not arouse any suspicion either time. Then it was on to the event.

TG Break.png

Like Mom told us, it was held at a downtown hotel in a huge room. There must have been a hundred women with their daughters there. By then, passing as a girl was old hat and I boldly walked in with Mom. We registered, got name tags. I hadn’t thought too much about through the day, but when I got my name tag I understood why no one questioned the name. On the name tag, it was spelled, “Erin.” There was a buffet and after we dished up, we found the table reserved for Mom’s company and the socializing began.

Mom and Grandma has schooled as to what I should say if anyone asked me about myself. The gist of it was that I should stick to the truth except that I leave out anything obviously boy. Though I’d been in cub scouts as Erin I’d never been in Brownies or Bluebirds or any other exclusively girls organizations. I was in eighth grade and liked drama and art (both true) though I was to leave out any major roles I’d had, there was only one really. I lived with my Mom and Grandma and of course my Dad had been killed in the service.

After we had eaten, mingling was the order of the day. I hung out with Mom mostly, but after a bit it was really boring. As I said, the talk went right over my head. During a respite I mentioned to Mom that I was thirsty. She pointed out the hosted bar and told me they had soft drinks over there. I should have known because Dr. Pepper had been served with dinner. I guess Mom had told them that was my soft drink of choice. I was waiting in line when the glitch occurred. It was a long line and I had worked my way about half way up when someone came up beside me.

“Aaron? Is that you?”

I turned and saw Susan Cottrell. She was in my class at school. I knew her, or sort of. We’d been in the same class since fifth grade, but in middle school we only had one class together. She had a whole group of friends that I didn’t. Actually I only had two friends and I didn’t really hang out with them except at school

“It is you. What are you doing here?”

She looked at my name tag and I could see a light go on in her head.

“I mean, I didn’t know that your mother worked for a woman owned business.” She smiled and I was unable to speak. I was caught out. She knew I was a boy in a dress.

“You don’t mind if I join you in line, do you. It’s such a long line and I’m thirsty.”

What could I do? One word from her and not only would I be embarrassed, my mother would probably be in big trouble with her boss. Blackmail plain and simple.

I found my voice and croaked, “Yeah, sure.”

She linked her arm in mine and leaned close to whispered, “We’ll talk later. This has to be a good story.”

Nervously I made my way up to order. I got my Dr. Pepper and she got a Diet Coke. With her arm linked in mine again she ushered me over to the side of the room. She let loose of me and stepped back.

“OK, so when did you become ‘Erin’ as in E, I, R, N? Last I knew, you were Aaron; A, A, R, O, N.”

My hands were so sweaty I could hardly hold on to my drink.

“Look, I know it looks really bad. But I’m doing a favor for my mother. She hasn’t been in this job for very long and she needs the network thing that this event provides and well she doesn’t have a daughter, so I’m substituting.”

She looked at me sit a smirk.

“OK, if that’s your story, I’m good with it. But I noticed you come in with your mother. I remember her from when we had room mothers in the fifth grade. I wondered who you were, so I watched you. You’re really a natural or you’ve been wearing dresses for a long time. When I saw you in the line by yourself I had to come over to see who you were. When I got a close up look, I recognized you. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I realized who you were. Don’t get me wrong you look really good as a girl, but you look like you.”

“It was Grandma’s idea to pass me off as Mom’s daughter and they gave me a crash course in girl. I’ve had to get in character as a girl 24/7 for the last three weeks.”

“Method acting huh?”

“You could say that.”

“And you’ve never done this before?”

“Ah… No I never wore a dress be for this started,”

She gave me that look again.

“Are you sure?”

I’m sure I looked panicked

“Look,” she said. “I know all about transgender stuff. Remember they taught us about it in school. And besides, my friend Judy’s uncle is now her aunt. I’ve met her. She doesn’t look near as good in a dress as you do. My mom knew him; they went to high school together. She says that the transition explains a lot of things that just didn’t seem right Judy’s new aunt when she was a boy.”

“Please don’t say anything to anyone. It’ll ruin my mom. She’ll probably lose her job. If you say anything to anyone at school, I’ll probably lose what few friends I have.”

“So you won’t be going back to school as a girl?” I shook my head no. “It’s a shame, you do look really good. I love your dress, by the way.” She looked around and said, “Just between you and me are you really trans? I won’t tell honest.”

“I…” I wanted to lie, but it was becoming harder and if I had my way and could keep the clothes I knew I’d be wearing them again often. “I really don’t know?”

“How can you not know? Do you like the clothes you have on?”

It was my turn to look around.

“Yeah, they’re really nice.”

“You said you’d never worn a dress before this started. Have you worn anything else?” I looked down and nodded yes. “More than once?” Again, I nodded yes. “Whether or not you know it, you’re trans-something. Transgender or transvestite, but trans-something.”

I looked up at her with fear in my eyes.

“It’s OK, like I said I won’t tell anyone, but if your mother thinks that this is a one-time thing, you’d better tell her it’s not. Because after all this time, you’re not going to be able to not do it for very long. I learned that from Judy’s new aunt. You’re going to need a friend. My mother is OK with Judy’s aunt/used to be uncle. I’m sure that she’ll be OK with you too. I’ll be your friend. You can come over to my house anytime you need some girl time.”

“I don’t know about that. Do you really think your mother would be OK with that?” She looked over my shoulder. “There’s your mother. I think she’s looking for you.”

I turned and saw my mom. She locked eyes with me and started over. I didn’t know what I was going to do.

“I’ll see you later,” I told Susan and went to meet my mom.

“I see you’ve found a friend.”

“Ah, well, actually she found me.”

Mom gave me one of those mother’s looks that says you might as well tell the truth because I’ll know if you don’t.

“That’s Susan Cottrell. She’s in my class at school.”

Mom looked over at Susan. I turned and saw she was still standing where I’d left her. It seemed a little color drained out of Mom’s face.

“Did she recognize you?”

“Not right off. But she thought she should know me, so she came up to me when I was in the drink line. Once she saw me up close she did.”

“Oh… my… God…”

“She says she won’t tell anyone. She thinks I’m transgender or at least trans-something. She’s cool with it. One of her friends has an uncle who became her aunt. And Susan’s mother knows her: the uncle to aunt. They went to high school together. Her whole family is cool with the transgender thing.”

“So what now? Are you sure she won’t say anything?”

“I don’t know her that well. It’s not like we’re good friends we just go to school together. She says she wants to be friends with me now that she thinks I’m transgender. She says I’ll need a friend. She told me I should tell you because you’ll find out sooner or later and it’ll be better if I tell you.”

“If she’s being up front, you’ll have to allow her to think you are transgender. Are you OK with that?” I nodded yes. “If you tell her that you told me she’ll probably expect to see you in a dress sometime. Are you OK with that.”

“Yeah. I was wondering what we’d do with all the clothes when this was over. I guess I’ll have to keep them now.” I hoped I sounded matter-of-fact about that.

“Look, I’m sorry this whole thing was supposed to be just for this event. I didn’t mean for this cross-dressing to become a permanent thing.”

“It’s OK mom, it’s not really that bad, now that I’m used to it.” I was sticking with the truth, well sort of. I guess there is such a thing as lying by omission. What I didn’t tell her was it wasn’t bad; it was great.

“Look now’s not the time to talk about this when we get home or tomorrow will be better.”

I turned and looked at Susan. She was sipping her drink and watching us.

“I think I should talk with Susan some more. I think I really do need to make her a friend a good friend so she’ll really not tell anyone.”

“God I don’t know what I’m going to do. If you continue to let her think you’re trans, her mother will have to know.” She looked a little wistful for a few seconds and then said, “What a tangled web we weave…” She shook her head as if to clear it. “You go talk to Susan; make sure she’s not going to say anything.”

I went back to Susan who still hadn’t moved.

“I just told my mom that you said I must be trans. She says we’ll talk about it tomorrow.”

TG Break.png

At breakfast in the morning Grandma was watching me. Out of habit, I’d slept in my nightgown again.

“So, your mom tells me that you had a friend at that shindig and she says you’re transgender.”

I looked up in surprise. I didn’t know they’d had time to talk. I went right to bed when we got home. The house was dark so I thought Grandma was asleep already and that Mom had gone right to bed as well.

“I didn’t know you had talked to her.”

“I heard you guys come in and I got up to ask her how it went. She told me then. I can’t say as I was surprised.”

“What; that there was someone from my school there?”

“No, not that. It’s a good bet that your friend it right.”

“Why do you say that?”

“A couple of reasons. But the clincher was seeing you in the lingerie section picking out panties. There was a look of sheer delight in your eyes. You were acting like that was dream come true. Over the last couple of years, your mother has asked me if I had needed to get something out of your hamper. I hadn’t and asked her why she asked. She told me that it looked like things had been move around in there but she couldn’t be sure. The second time she asked, I started checking it before I went out and when I came back. You know without taking a picture to prove it, I couldn’t be sure myself, but I thought that was the case several times. Like someone had taken something out and tried to put it back in the same place. You were the only one who could have done it.”

I looked at her blankly.

“It was you, wasn’t it?”

I looked down; it looked like I was going to have to admit to something I’d rather not.

Mom came back from her errand.

“I see you wore you nightgown to bed last night.”

“Ah, yeah, I kind of got used to it and when I got ready for bed, I didn’t think and put it on.”

She looked at me with a quizzical look.

“I seem to remember I promised to talk with you about your situation. Now’s a good time for me. How about you get some clothes on and we go sit on the back porch, just you and me?” She looked at Grandma when she said the last part.

“What should I wear?”

“Wear something you’re comfortable wearing. Jeans and a tee shirt, skirt and a blouse, dress; it makes no difference to me.”

That was no help. I went to my room and opened my closet. Mom usually hung up my jeans, but with the addition of the girl’s clothes she bought to get me ready for the event, they had been folded and now shared the large bottom drawer in my dresser with my tee shirts. Leaving the closet space for the skirts, blouses and dresses. I opened that drawer. I looked at first the drawer then the closet and back again.

I really wanted to keep on wearing the dresses and skirts but… Mom was being really cryptic about her attitude. I sat on my bed and pondered my options. Kind of weigh the pros and cons.

‘Come Aaron, or maybe Erin, you know what you want. What’s the worst that can happen?

‘Mom could come down hard on me saying I was trans. Who knows, maybe Grandma told mom about her suspicions regarding me fooling with her underwear.

‘Either way, it’s pretty much out in the open. I might just as well go for broke.’

That settled, I went to my closet and got out a pullover blouse and a short pleated skirt. I put them on my bed and got the appropriate underwear… panties and bra with those things that stuck to my chest to make me look like I had cleavage, and a half slip.

Fully dressed, I slipped my feet into my flats. Into the bathroom to brush the bedhead out of my hair. A few strokes with the brush, and I was amazed. After the trip to the salon, it almost went to the girl’s style all by itself.

‘That could present a problem when I go back to school.’

Mom was waiting on the patio. We had a nice outdoor living space with couch and two chairs. I guess my dad was a kind of handy man/woodworker and had made the frame out of cedar. There were cushions for the seat and back. When we moved in with Grandma, they were the only furniture besides my bed and dresser that we brought with us. They were weather proof, so they just stayed outside. We covered them with tarps during the winter, but sometime in late May or early June, the tarps came off.

Mom was sitting on the couch sipping some coffee and she had a glass of soda on the table for me. She looked up and me and after a moment she smiled. It was hard to tell if it was a sincere smile or one that a professional business person learned to wear to put their customers at ease.

“Would rather sit next to me or in one of the chairs? Either is fine with me.”

“This is going to be serious talk isn’t it?”

“I think so. I see you’ve opted to wear a skirt and blouse.”

“Yeah, I haven’t rearranged things in my closet yet. I don’t really know what to do with the girl’s clothes and what with the problem with Susan…” I left that hang.

“If we go with the flow and let Susan continue with her line of thought, we have to find out just what being transgender will mean for you.” She paused and looked almost like she was in pain. “I don’t know much about transgenderism. I’m afraid that, since you’ve done so well, pretending to be a girl, that there might be some truth to Susan’s observations. And if that’s the case then we need to explore our options as to what we’ll do about it.”

I had made good use of the private window option with our browser to research boys who wear girl’s clothes online. I was well aware of the gambit of reactions that parents could have and Mom aside from not freaking out hadn’t tipped her hand as to where she stood on the issue.

I picked up my soda and sat on a chair. I wasn’t sure I felt close to Mom right then and thought that a little distance would be good.

“I asked your grandmother not to be involved because I don’t want you to feel like you’re being ganged up on; like maybe you’d be more comfortable talking to just me. I’d like you to be totally honest.

“Given what Susan seems to think, have you ever felt you were transgender?”

“I don’t know. I never really gave it any thought. Maybe I am, I really don’t know what I would feel if I thought I was transgender.” That was the truth. My online search had scared me and I refused to consider transgender, preferring to think it was just a clothing thing. That maybe I was a cross-dresser… maybe.

“OK, let’s explore the idea. What made Susan think you were transgender?”

“I… well… she asked if I liked the clothes. Without thinking, I admitted that I do. That they feel right on me.”

“You’ve only had the clothes for three weeks. Is there anything in your past that might indicate you were transgender?”

“I, I don’t know, really. I guess that I’ve always been curious about girl’s clothes and what it would feel like to wear them for some time.”

“Have you ever worn girl’s clothes before?”

I looked down. It was confession time. I didn’t know just what or how much to confess. Grandma will surely tell her she’s convinced that I’ve been borrowing her underwear. I needed to word my answers very carefully. I couldn’t tell an outright lie, because it might just come out later and then there’d be hell to pay.

“I … ah… I kind of thought about it.”

She kind of looked taken aback.

“I see… when did you first think about?”

“Two, or, three years ago. I thought I had left something in my pocket and I went check the hamper and your underwear was right there on top. When I moved them, I noticed how nice they felt. I kind of thought about trying them on.” That much was true. That’s how I first got curious about the whole thing. But when push came to shove, I didn’t. At least not right then. It was early in the morning. If I had tried them on right then, there was real risk that mom might notice them missing. It was a good thing that I didn’t because she did the wash later that morning and surely would have noticed.

“We’re hardly the same size.”

“I know. Your things couldn’t have fit very well. But these things,” I indicated what I had on, “fit me really good.” All of a sudden, since I started talking about it, it was really easy to open up. “But it’s so much better then I imagined with my own clothes that really do fit me.”

“I’m going to ask some questions that may make you feel uncomfortable, but I really need to know.

“Are you ever aroused… you know… sexually when you have on girl’s underwear?”

My face heated up. Even if that had been true I couldn’t have admitted that, but thankfully it wasn’t true. I’m not a good enough liar to tell an outright lie, not to my mother. It had to contain some truth, even if I colored it heavily.

“No.”

“OK, let’s talk about your feelings. How do you feel wearing the clothes? Not necessarily right now. I’m sure you feel uncomfortable with me giving you the third degree. But I mean like this last week when you were just around the house.”

“That’s just it. I don’t really feel anything except a feeling rightness… is that a word?”

“I don’t know, but I get your meaning. Do you feel like you should have been a girl? Like you’re in the wrong body?”

“I don’t really know… I don’t think so. But I’ve never really thought about it like that. I just know that when I wear these clothes, I’m comfortable.”

“So where do you see this going? In a perfect world how would you like to proceed from here?”

I thought for a bit. ‘This is it… I really want to keep the clothes. Mom’s been really reserved with this line of questioning. I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t. No sense pulling any punches now.’

“If I can, I want to keep the clothes and maybe wear them sometimes.”

“After looking back over these last three weeks, I began to wonder if there wasn’t some truth in Susan’s observation. That’s why this morning, I went to the library. I saw where they had an LGBTQ display and I thought that I might be able to get up to speed on what transgender is all about. They had a volunteer at a table that I could talk to. She… that is she as in trans-woman… was very open about herself. She tells me she started with her sister’s clothes when she was nine. She said it took her until she was in her late twenties to begin to come to grips with her gender identity and even longer to actually do what she needed to do. I admitted to her what we’d done for the ‘take you daughter to work day’ and your reaction to it including that you told me your friend, who knew a transgender person, thought you were transgender. She encouraged me to talk with you and consider getting you a counselor who could explore this with you.”

“Counselor? You mean like a shrink? I don’t think I’m crazy… but they say if you are crazy I wouldn’t think you were?”

“I don’t think you’re crazy either. However, it’s pretty evident that there is some confusion about how you should feel about the way you feel. That doesn’t really sound like a good sentence, but I think you know what I mean. And no, counselor wouldn’t be trying to ‘cure’ you or anything. They would just help you think about what’s going on inside and help you decide where all this is going. She gave me a card to a gender specialist. Would you be open to talking to them about this?”

“Can I think about that?”

“Sure, but I think we need to make that decision fairly soon. How about we talk again next Saturday? Mean time I’ll call the specialist and see about a tentative appointment. We can always cancel if you decide you can’t do it.”

“OK. What about the clothes? Can I keep them and wear them sometimes?”

“Yes on the condition that you really do give honest consideration to talking to the counselor. Clarisse, the transwoman at the library, said that if your counselor determines that you are trans that she’ll recommend that anyway.”

“OK.”

TG Break.png

By the time we got through talking, it was past noon. I had just settled in to watch some TV when Grandma’s land line rang.

“Aaron, phone,” Grandma called from the kitchen.

“I’ll take it in here,” I called back.

“Hello?”

“Hi Erin. It’s Susan.”

“Oh hi Susan… how’d you get this number?”

“It wasn’t easy. I remembered that Mom used to have a list of all the room mothers from the fifth grade. I was pretty sure that she’d still have it. Her desk is like a pack rat’s den. She never throws anything away. I had to wait until she left the house. I dug through the whole desk. I was about to give up when I pulled the bottom drawer out to far and it fell on the floor. I had to pick up about half of it. One of the things I had to put back in the drawer was a pamphlet. You’ll never guess the title.”

“What was it?”

“‘Room Mother’s Guide.’ And there was a piece of paper just sticking out a little. Just like I remembered. It was type written list of women who were room mothers and their phone numbers. There was a note that said if you can’t make your scheduled day, please call one of these ladies to substitute. All I had to do was remember your last name and find your mom on the list.”

“Wow aren’t you the detective?”

“That’s me Miss Marple at your service.”

“Miss who???”

“Miss Marple. Don’t you ever read? She’s only Agatha Christi’s most well-known character.”

“Who’s Agatha Christi?”

I could hear her sigh.

“She writes mystery books. I suppose you watch TV instead of read. It’s been on TV, on PBS.”

She had me there. I only read what I have to for school and then I most always skim it looking for what I really need to know out of it.

“Well you should read some of her stories. They’re pretty cool. If you can’t be bothered to read any of the Miss Marple books, you should at least look up Miss Marple on YouTube. They have full episodes from when it was on PBS.

“Anyway the reason I call was I wanted to know if you had your talk with your mother.”

“Yeah, we talked this morning.”

“How’d it go?”

“OK, she went to the library because she heard about a transgender display. There was some transwoman there and Mom talked with her. She gave Mom a card for a counselor and Mom’s going to see about getting me an appointment.”

“Cool. I guess Judy’s new aunt went to counseling for quite a while before she came out and transitioned.”

“Transitioned?”

“You know, changed from a he to a she. She’s had surgery and everything.”

“Surgery? That’s kind of far out. I don’t think I want any surgery.”

“Well you couldn’t until you’re eighteen anyway. And even then you’d have convince the counselor that you really were trans. I guess from what Judy’s aunt says not everyone who’s trans is a candidate for surgery anyway… besides, it really expensive.”

“Oh.”

“Anyway. You don’t have to worry about that. What I really called about was, if you’re not doing anything right now, I’d like to come over.”

“Ah, I don’t know. I’d have to ask Mom and Grandma if it was OK. Why do you want to come over?”

“There’s something I should tell you, but I don’t want to tell you over the phone.”

“Well, I could ask.”

“It’s something your mom should know too.”

“OK, hang on.”

I thought I should talk to Mom first. I was pretty sure I’d find her in her office. Sure enough, she was on the computer when I peeked in the door.

“Mom?”

“Yes, Hon, what is it?”

“Susan is on the phone. She wants to come over. She says there’s something she needs to tell my and that you should know it too, but she doesn’t what to say over the phone. She made it sound important.”

“If your grandmother doesn’t object, I see no reason she shouldn’t. I’d like to meet her and judge for myself what I think she’s likely to say to anyone about your wearing a dress and going to that meeting as my daughter.”

“OK, I’ll ask Grandma.”

“Oh, what about your clothes? Do you need to change then?”

“You did say that I might need to let her see me in a dress sometimes. I guess that today is as good a time as any to do that.” I really didn’t want to change. I’d grown too really like the feel of the clothes.

“OK, OK talk to your grandmother.”

I went to the kitchen were Grandma was baking something. It smelled really good.

“Grandma? That’s Susan Cottrell on the phone. She was at the event thingy last night. She wants to come over and Mom said that if it was all right with you, she didn’t have any objections.”

“She’s the one that has your mother all in a tizzy over this thing?” I nodded. “Why does she want to come over?”

“She says she has something to tell me that’s important, but doesn’t want to say it over the phone.”

“Important huh? Well I guess we should hear what she has to say… assuming it’s not a secret for your ears only.”

“I don’t think so. She said that Mom should know it too.”

“Tell her she can come over.”

It was about a half an hour later when there was a knock on the door. Mom had gotten through in her office and come out to the living room where I was. We looked at each other.

“I suppose I should get it, in case it’s someone other than Susan. Why don’t you run upstairs for a minute? If it’s someone who needs to come in I can say you’re in the bathroom and you can change if you need to.”

I stopped and listened at the top of the stairs, just out of sight.

“Hello, you must be Susan Cottrell. Erin said you were coming over,” Mom said.

I was sure I could hear the “Erin” version of my name.

“Yes, Mrs. Blankenship. I hope I haven’t chosen the wrong time to come over.”

“No, dear, come on in. Erin said that you had something to tell us and that it might be important.”

I started down the stairs. Susan must have heard me. She looked up and smiled.

“Hi Erin; like your outfit.”

Grandma poked her head in from the kitchen.

“If you girls would like some, I have some fresh, still warm from the oven, chocolate chip cookies.”

Susan smiled. “I’d love some.”

Sitting around the kitchen table, with milk and cookies was kind of bizarre. I was sitting there having milk and cookies with a girl I hardly knew with my mother and grandmother not ten feet away standing on the other side of the kitchen island trying to look as if they had reason to be there other than to eavesdrop on our conversation. I wasn’t in the mood to wait for the, what I was sure was, bad news.

“You said over the phone that you had something you wanted to tell me and that my mom should hear it too.”

“Yeah, well, my mother asked me if I saw you last night at the party.”

That got Mom’s attention. She and Grandma dropped all pretenses of doing something and turned to face us.

“What did you tell her?”

“She didn’t ask that right out; she first asked if I noticed your mother was there. She said that your mother was a room mother in the fifth grade. I told her that I thought I recognized her but wasn’t sure. Anyway, that’s when she asked if I saw you and she said that she thought your mother only had one child who was a boy. She wondered if maybe your mother had borrowed a daughter from someone… you know like your cousin or something. Anyway, she stopped by the reservation table on the way out and looked at the list of attendees. She saw Eileen and Erin Blankenship. She read the names out loud and commented on the way Aaron with an A and Erin with an E sounded alike. I think she’s figured out that it was you. I don’t know what she’ll do.”

Mom came over and sat heavily on a chair at the end of the table.

“Did she sound upset at all?” Mom wanted to know.

“No, not at all. You know she knows a transgender person. She went to high school with them when they were a boy. And now they’re grown up and a woman. I’m sure that Erin being transgender isn’t a big deal. But this morning she asked me if Aaron was still in school with me and I told her that Aaron was in two of my classes last year at school. She just said, ‘Humm’ and left it at that.”

Grandma leaned on the counter and said, “Time for some damage control.”

“Erin said that you promised not to tell anyone that he was there dressed as a girl, are you sticking by that promise?”

“Well, yes.” Susan almost sounded insulted. “Mom didn’t see me talking to Erin and I didn’t tell her I did. So she doesn’t know that I know anything and unless she asks me outright if I talked to Erin, I won’t tell her.”

“Well, Erin,” Mom said looking at me. “I’d say we need to get you into counseling post haste. I’ve already left a message at the therapist’s office; I hope you’ll go along with seeing her. If anything comes of this an appointment with a gender councilor will be good CYA move.”

“Her?”

“Yes, her. Becky says she’s real easy to talk to and that she’ll insist that you draw your own conclusions about who you are. Her only influence will be to get you to think about and talk about what’s in your head.”

“Does your mother know you’re here?” Grandma wanted to know.

“No, she wasn’t in when I left. I left her a note saying I was going to visit a friend and that I’d be back for dinner. She insists that I do that if she’s not there to ask.”

“Well thanks for the heads up about your mother,” Mom said.

“You’re welcome. I told Erin that I wanted to be her friend and I do. I hope I’ll be able to come over again sometime to hang out with her. Erin’s going to need a friend.”

‘God, she’s got me pegged as a girl, or at least a trans-girl. Yeah, I do like wearing the clothes and it was great that everyone treated me like a girl; but I’m not sure I ever want to really be a girl. Somehow my mind jumped to a commercial about some pain reliever where some actor said, “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV. But even as a lay person I know that (whatever brand it was) works to get rid of my headaches” and I paraphrased that in my mind as, “I’m not a girl, but I play one sometimes. And even though I only pretend to be a girl I can tell you that these clothe feel great to wear.” Lame, I know.

“I would think that would be alright, but if you’re planning on coming over here, I’m sure your mother would want to know where you are. Do you think she’d be OK with you coming over to hang out with a transgender person?”

“I’m sure of it. She’s seen that person she went to high school with at my friend Judy’s house and she talked with her about their school days and if I hadn’t known already that Judy’s aunt used to be her uncle and that she’d been a boy in high school, I’d never have known from the way my mom was acting. I asked her about it and she told me that they had run around in the same crowd and that she had even dated him a couple of times.”

“She did?” I was surprised. I guess that my online research didn’t cover what transgender people did before.

“Yeah. I guess he was into girls at the time. When I talked to Judy to tell her that my mom had dated her aunt when she was a boy, Judy told me that as a he, he was into girls and now as a she, she’s still into girls. Kind of weird huh. Wouldn’t you think that now as a she, she’d be into guys?”

“Not necessarily,” Grandma put in. “There are women who are into women you know. Why should it be any different for transwomen?”

“You’re right,” Mom observed. “Becky told me there’s no one size fits all in the transgender world. She said, that there are some who only dress up sometimes, some who wear women’s clothes full time, some who have breast augmentation only and some who go the whole Monty and there was the same variation in sexual preference as anyone else.”

“Who’s Becky?” I wanted to know.

“She’s the transwoman at the library. She’s made it her goal in life to educate anyone who’ll listen about trans-people. She’s convinced that much of the bigotry about transgender is a result of ignorance and misinformation,”

“We need to figure out how to get Susan’s mother in the loop. We really need to know what her reaction will be and just how much trouble to expect.” Grandma was in her “take charge” mode. She looked at me. “Aaron, when you go to the therapist you need to convince her that you are struggling with transgender feelings.”

Mom interjected, “From our conversation this morning, I don’t think that’s too much of a stretch. Aaron does have at least a little confusion about gender.”

Susan glanced at the clock. Mom should be home already and we have an early dinner on the weekends. I’m not sure what to tell mom about where I’ve been.”

“Would you like a ride home? It probably wouldn’t do to have me drop you at your door, but around the block. As I remember you live more than a mile from us.”

“OK, that would be nice. Maybe you could drop me a Judy’s. She only lives a block away from me. I’m sure she’s home and that’s the most likely place Mom would expect me to be.”

Susan and I got in the back seat and Mom drove us over to Judy’s. I knew who Judy was. I mean she’s in the same grade at school I’m in and I’ve seen her around, but she hadn’t been in grade school with us, so I’ve never talked with her at all.

After we dropped Susan off, mom drove about two blocks and pulled over. She looked in her purse and came up with a business card. I didn’t get a good look at it, but I think it said something about “therapist” on it and maybe “gender” as well. The reason I didn’t get a good look was because Mom turned it over and there was a phone number hand written on it. She fished out her phone and using one hand, she dialed the number and put her phone in the holder.

The radio cut out and I could hear the phone ringing. Mom dropped the card back in her purse and started driving. Some answered on the fourth ring.

“Hello?”

The voice sounded feminine enough, but it was a little husky for a woman.

“Oh!” Mom said. “Becky?”

“Yes.”

“I expected it would go to voicemail. This Eileen Blankenship. We talked this morning.”

“Yes, I remember. I’m taking a break right now. I’m at the coffee shop so I’m answering calls. What did you need?”

“As you recommended I talked with Aaron this morning and I’ve called the therapist and left a message about getting an appointment.”

“Well good for you. I take it that your son gave you some reason to suspect that there was something that needed sorting out.”

“Well yes, but the reason I’m calling is that the friend Aaron met at event tells us that her mother may be onto the fact that Aaron and Erin might be the same person. I was looking for advice on handling being outed. I may need to do some damage control.”

“The best advice I could give you is to be forthright about it. Just say that you’ve recently become aware of some possible gender issues and that your son is exploring options and that you have made or are making arrangements to get him into counseling. That should take the wind out of their sails unless you’re dealing with a total bigot.”

“I don’t think so. Are you still in touch with the therapist? Is there any way you could ask her to expedite getting back to me? I’d really like to be able to say Aaron is under the care of a therapist.”

“I do have her private number and I’ve been known to call her for very little reason. I could give her a call and ask let her know that you’ve left a voicemail for her and that you’d like to expedite the process.”

“Thanks, I’d appreciate that.”

“Good luck.”

“I think I’ll need it. I’ll let you go. I’m sure you didn’t want to spend your break talking to me.”

Becky laughed. “No problem. Don’t hesitate to call me if I can be of any use.”

The broke the connection.

Things were moving fast. I didn’t know how long I’d have to work out my story for the therapist, or even what I wanted that story to be. All knew was that I had been festinated with women’s underwear for a long time and now that I’d had a chance to experience girls clothes from the skin out, I really wanted to continue wearing time… but how much? It had been 24/7 for the last three weeks.

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Well apparently, this Becky person had some pull with the therapist, because Monday afternoon when Mom came home from work, she announced that I had an appointment.

“I got a call from Dr. Cramer today. She’s just finished with a client and has a slot on Fridays at 4:00.”

“Dr. Cramer?” I didn’t know a Dr. Cramer.

“Dr. Cramer, the therapist Becky recommended. I told you that I’d called inquiring about an appointment for you.”

“Oh. I didn’t know the name.”

I found myself getting concerned. After spending the weekend, in one kind of dress or another and even a nightie at night, I’d opted to try to regain my masculinity a bit and I was wearing jeans and a tee shirt along with my sneakers. I’d even ridden my bike to the school grounds and played a little softball with the gang, something I didn’t regularly do. The guys were all surprised to see me.

I had wet my hair down just before leaving hoping it would be sufficiently messy enough for a boy. After my trip to the salon, my hair tended to kind of fall into place by itself, requiring only a light brushing to look girlie. I guess that between only combing it straight and riding my bike, it worked OK. Nobody said anything about my hair, except that I was lucky that my mom let me grow it out.

Even though I wore my boy’s clothes that day, Monday night, I still slept in the nightie. On Tuesday I pondered what I should wear. Monday, my underwear had kind of rubbed me the wrong way. Thinking about that, I decided to wear panties. I mean why not, I had enough so that I could wear a different pair for two weeks straight. Well maybe not quite that long, but close. I chose a light blue tee shirt, but jeans seemed a bit much, so found some cargo shorts that I liked because rather than the usual khaki, these were a light tan. I kind of thought of them as girls shorts, though no one else seemed to. I wondered what the real difference between girl’s and boy’s shorts really was.

I then rode my bike to a skate park that was a bit farther away than most of the kids liked to go to. It wasn’t too crowded and I had some really neat moves I liked to do, jumps and flipping the bike around to go back down the same nearly vertical ramp I’d come up. I kept that up until my stomach started rumbling. Stopping to look at my phone, I realized it was past noon.

“I wondered if you’d get hungry,” Grandma said as I came in and went straight to the fridge.

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The rest of the week I continued to try, none too successfully, to deny that I really preferred girl’s clothes to boy’s. I couldn’t keep myself from wearing my nighty to bed, and even though I tried, I still wore panties for underwear.

All too soon, it was Friday.

“Your mom wanted me to remind you that you have an appointment this afternoon. She says you should dress in one of your causal dresses and have me brush out your hair,” Grandma informed me over breakfast. “I think you should shower this morning and use your mother’s shampoo and conditioner. Then I can blow dry your hair.”

I hadn’t thought about what I would wear to see the therapist. But considering that I wanted to keep the clothes to wear sometimes, I suppose I should present the picture of a young transgender. If I go as a boy, she’ll probably think I’m just wearing the clothes for the thrill. Problem was, while it wasn’t sexual at all, going out in public dressed as a girl was thrilling. There was an almost magical feeling of contentment when others treated me as a girl.

As instructed, after I’d finished my cereal, I retreated upstairs and showered. After, I put on my lingerie, including those gel things in my bra. After I looked down and was fascinated by my own cleavage created when I hooked the two pieces together. Then I opened my closet to survey my meager collection of girl’s clothes. I say meager because mom’s closet was larger than mine and was over half full of dresses, while mine barely had enough to put me in a different outfit each day for a week. Even at that, I could only rule out two of the selections. The outfit I’d worn for the event was hardly “causal.” One of the others was pretty much on the dressy side. That left two dress and three mix and match skirts and blouses. If I wore girl’s clothes full-time, I’d need a lot more. I know I’ve heard women and girls say, you can’t wear the same dress to a function that you wore last time. I didn’t fully understand that. Men, when they dressed up, wore the same suit, varying only the tie, everywhere.

I tried three times to settle on an outfit before I finally decided on a grey, full, knee length skirt and a simple white blouse that allow just the hint of my bra and slip to show through. For shoes I only had three pair and only two of them were casual. I went with a pair of black flats.

After Grandma did her thing with my hair, I went to the living room to watch TV. I mean, where was I going to go dressed as a girl. I couldn’t ride my bike; not in a skirt. Not to mention that I didn’t want anyone associated with school to see me dressed as I was. None of my friends lived anywhere near me, but there were a couple of guys a year ahead that live a few blocks away and the other direction there was a girl who was in my class at school, though I didn’t know her name we had only had one class together and she was kind of a loner. She often sat by herself at lunch and even when there were others at the same table it seemed she wasn’t part of the group.

Mom showed up about 3:30.

“Good, you’re already dressed. Stand up and let me look at you.” I complied and she walked around me with a finger curled just under her lower lip. “You’ll do, but I think a little lip gloss would be in order just before we go in. We want you to look like any other girl your age and a lot of them wear a neutral shade of lip gloss.”

I think Mom was more nervous about the appointment than I was. As a matter-of-fact I hadn’t been nervous at all, but Mom’s nervous attitude quickly rubbed off on me.

We arrived about five minutes early. Stepping into the office, I was surprised that there was no receptionist. There was a waiting room with a couch and there was a desk where a receptionist might sit, but it seemed as if it had never been used for that. There was no computer on it only a phone.

We sat down and Mom picked up an old copy of People magazine and thumb through it while I fidgeted with the front of my skirt. This Doctor/Therapist was a professional; a gender specialist. If everything wasn’t just right, she could put the kybosh on the whole deal. I’d lose the girl’s clothes and Mom would lose her credibility if and when it got out that she had brought her son to the take your daughter to work day event. My mind was a million miles away when a door opened and a pleasant looking woman around thirty or so came out. At first I thought she must be the receptionist coming back from a bathroom break or something; that is until she spoke.

“Mrs. Blankenship?”

Mom stood up, and took her hand that she offered.

“Yes.”

“I’m Dr. Cramer, but you can call Cynthia. I like to keep thing informal.” She looked at me and said, “And this must be Erin.” I nodded. When she called me Erin, I could somehow hear the feminine spelling.

“Why don’t we all go into my office and get comfortable?” She gestured toward the door she’d just come out of.

I followed mom in. Somehow it didn’t fit the picture I had in my head about what a therapist’s office should look like. In one corner there was a desk with a computer and a phone near it was a filing cabinet. The rest of the room looked like someone’s living room. The walls were a light beige the carpet a light tan. The room was well light with indirect lighting and there was lots of natural light from a large window. She had artwork on the walls; there was what they call a conversation grouping of furniture consisting of three chairs and a couch. They all kind of faced each other.

“Sit down where ever you feel comfortable.”

What I really noticed was there was no reclining couch kind of thing, like seems to be in every movie where there’s psychiatrist’s office. Mom chose the couch and I sat next to her. Dr. Cramer, I wasn’t sure that I could call her Cynthia, sat in a chair facing us. There was about ten feet between us.

“Becky seemed to think that there was some urgency for you to need to see me. Could you please explain what that’s about?”

Mom took a deep breath and told her a slightly modified version of what really happened. She implied that I was showing signs of needing a feminine expression before all this started and that it was that which prompted her to take me to the event. I hadn’t, at least I don’t think I had. I had tried really hard to conceal that part of my life. Mom went on to tell her how natural I was acting as a girl, completely leaving out the girl training that she and Grandma had implemented prior to the event. And finally she told the doctor that one of my classmates had also been in attendance and that her mother had taken note of us. She went on to explain that since this was the first time that I’d been allowed to express my feminine side fully that no one knew about that side of me. And that since the whole thing might come under scrutiny she wanted to get me into therapy as soon as possible so there wouldn’t be any serious repercussions.

The doctor had asked a few questions along the way and Mom deftly answered them. It was clear, that while I hadn’t been able to figure out what to say, Mom had thought it all out well in advance.

She didn’t outright lie, well maybe sort of colored the truth. Maybe I did show some feminine tendencies; I know I wasn’t super macho. I mean while I play sports at school, I had no dreams of becoming a star athlete and I never tried out for any of those team things like Little League or Pop Warner football. A lot of my friends had signed up for youth soccer but I gave it a pass. But had I really shown some feminine signs? Maybe.

“Well that’s good,” the doctor said. “I was concerned that maybe Erin had perhaps expressed suicidal thoughts. An alarming percentage of transgender children and adults struggle with wanting to end it all.” She then looked at me and said, “I’m glad you’re not one of them.

“There are some formalities that we need to take care of, since Erin is a minor.” She went to her desk and retrieved a clipboard. “This is a consent to treatment form,” she said, handing it to Mom. “Please fill in Erin’s legal name and sign it after you read it. It’s pretty straight forward. You, as Erin’s legal guardian, are authorizing me to counsel Erin and agree that what we actually say to each other is confidential except if I have reason to believe that Erin has the potential to cause herself or others bodily harm, or that there is evidence of the need for medical treatment from you family doctor. When I make a diagnosis I will, of course, share that with you, along with some recommendations as to what steps you should take going forward.”

Mom scanned the document, filled in my name with the masculine spelling, signed it and handed it back to the doctor. The doctor looked it over and the smiled at me. I think she thought it was clever that we just changed the spelling of the name while keeping the pronunciation the same.

After that, she asked Mom if she objected to her talking to me alone. I could tell that Mom was reluctant, but because she’d agreed that what the doctor and I said to each other was to be confidential between the doctor and me she smiled a nervous smile, stood, bent down and kissed me on the cheek.

“You should feel free to say whatever you feel you need to. That form I signed says that she can’t tell me without your permission and I promise that I’ll not ask you to share with me anything. You only need to tell me about it if you feel you want to.”

With that, she went back out the way we came.

Dr. Cramer looked at me expectantly. I think she was waiting for me to spontaneously offer something and I was waiting for her to give me the third degree. Finally I broke.

“I’ve never been in therapy before, so I don’t really know what I’m supposed to say.”

She smiled.

“To start off with, why don’t you tell me why you are here,” she offered.

“Ah, my mom already told you.”

She smile again.

“Actually, she told me why she brought you to me. That explains what she wants to get out of this. What I’m looking for is to find out what you want to get out of this.”

“I… I don’t really know. I mean, until this ‘Take Your Daughter to Work” event, I didn’t really see there was a problem.”

The doctor made a note on a pad she was holding. I hadn’t really noticed the pad until then. I guess it had been lying on the side table next to the chair she was sitting in.

“Well then perhaps it would be useful to get a little history from you. Tell me about your cross-dressing; when did you first start being curious about girl’s or women’s clothes?”

I started to tell her that I’d never worn a dress or anything before it was decided to have me substitute for a daughter, but before I uttered a sound I snapped my mouth shut to rethink it. The question wasn’t about when I started wearing the clothes, it was when did I first get curious about them.

“Remember, this is between you and me. I’m not allowed, by law, to reveal anything you say to me to anyone, not even if called to testify in court. It’s called Doctor-Patient privilege. The courts recognize that if you are to receive any benefit from my counsel, then it need to be confidential. So please be as truthful as you can remember.”

“Curious? You don’t mean when I started wearing them?”

“No, I want you to tell me, as accurately as you can remember when you realized you were interested in them.”

“I guess it was about three years ago,”

“Did something happen that made you curious?”

“Well, kind of…”

I went on to tell her about how I had decided that I thought I’d left something in the pocket of my jeans and went to the hamper to check and had to move Mom’s panties to get to my jeans and that the feel of them captivated me and I had borrowed them for the night.

Once I started talking, it was like the floodgate opened up. I never knew I had so much angst about it bottled up inside me. It was extremely cleansing to finally be able to talk to someone about it. She didn’t need to ask questions, I just let it flow. I told her everything. I included borrowing my friend’s sister’s clothes and ended up telling her that I volunteered to substitute for the daughter that mom never had.

“Honest doctor, I didn’t mean to say that. It just popped out.”

She smiled.

“I believe you. Often times, our subconscious takes over our voice or actions to release a hidden desire without our permission. Most people play it off as a joke, but it’s not.

“You’ve given me plenty to work with about your past. Why don’t we talk about how you feel about all this? Your mother said that when you volunteered for this, that she and your Grandmother bought you a small girl’s wardrobe. How did you feel about getting girl’s clothes of your own and spending some time wearing only girl’s clothes?”

It was then, when I realized just of much I had bared my soul. When I was trying to think of what to say to the doctor, I didn’t ever think I’d tell all my deep dark secrets, but I did. It took me a moment to reconcile what I’d done with what I should do next. ‘Remember Doctor/Patient privilege. She’s bound by law to keep your secrets’

“Good, I felt really good. It was kind of like being let out of jail. But Mom kind of colored the truth. While I feel natural now, having done the total immersion thing for three weeks, …”

“Total immersion?”

“That’s what Grandma called it. I realized that while I liked wearing the clothes I didn’t know the first thing about acting like a girl. When I told them that I might not be able to make anyone believe I was really a girl because of that, Grandma said that I needed to go total immersion. I had to ask what that meant. She said that for the three weeks before the event, I’d have to wear skirts and dresses fulltime to get the feel of how to move and act in them. She said it was like getting into character for a play. I had to become the part, so for 24/7 I dressed as a girl and Mom and Grandma corrected me whenever I did something un-girl like.”

“24/7… does that mean you wore girl’s things to bed?”

“Yes. I have a nightie.” I leaned in close and lowered my voice as if someone might overhear. “I still like to sleep in it, even though the total immersion thing is over.”

“Over… does that mean you’re not wearing girl’s clothes 24/7 anymore?”

I froze. I didn’t know how to answer. We needed to convince her I was transgender. If I admit to that will she say that I’m not… better yet, am I?

In the end I decided that I did need some counseling and that I had to be truthful if it was going to do any good.

“I… I’ve been trying to get my masculine thing going again.”

“So do I understand correctly that while you were training for the event, you kind of lost your masculine thing and it’s not easy to get it back?” I nodded. “Tell me about how you felt after the event, when you tried to get your masculine thing back. What happened.”

“It wasn’t… isn’t easy to not wear the clothes. When Mom and I talked about the event I told her I wanted to keep the clothes and wear them sometime and then the thing with Susan, that’s the classmate who was at the event, came up and well, to keep mom out of trouble, she needs to think that I’m transgender and for that to happen, she’ll need to see me wearing dresses.”

“How do you feel about that?”

“I’m glad, because now Mom can’t change her mind and make me get rid of them.”

The doctor wrote on her pad for quite a while. She had four or five pages full already. After, she looked up at me as if in thought.

“Tell me, how you would feel if I told your mother that I really didn’t believe you were truly transgender and that wearing the clothes was bad for you and you should get rid of them.”

I swear my heart stopped and my blood turned to ice water. The horror must have shown on my face as I stammered to find an answer. That thought was too horrible to consider. Not what I wanted to hear… not at all what I wanted to hear.

The doctor took pity on me.

“It’s alright. I just wanted to get your honest reaction. The look on your face says it all, You would not be happy.”

I breathed again and shook my head no.

She looked at her watch.

“I’m afraid we’re out of time for this week.” She walked to the door and opened it. “Mrs. Blankenship? Could you come back in for a moment?”

Mom came in and set next to me.

“Well you’ll be glad to know that Erin and I made some real progress today. It will be some time yet before I can make a clinical diagnosis, but I can say after talking to Erin that I think it would be beneficial to continue our sessions. Can you make it every Friday at the same time as today?”

“Ah, yeah, I think so, at least most Fridays.”

“Mom, I saw that number 14 bus stops right out front. I’ve seen that bus number at the transit center when Mike’s brother took us on the bus to the concert. I could always just take the bus.”

Mom looked at the doctor, who in turn looked at me.

“Would you be comfortable taking the bus here so late in the day?”

“I think so.”

“That would help. I’m sure that I could be here by 5:30. So Erin wouldn’t need to ride the bus home.”

On the way home I realized that I’d just committed to being out in public on my own in a dress.

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Contemplating that I began to get a little agitated, but it was nothing compared to what happened next. Being in sales, Mom always answers her cell phone when it rings. She has it setup to connect to the blue tooth in the car and she can answer with the touch of the screen. As I was considering the mess I’d created by saying I could take a bus, her phone rang and of course she answered.

“Hello, Eileen Blankenship.”

“Hi Eileen, this is Karen Cottrell. You might remember me as one of the Room Mothers when our kids were in the fifth grade.”

“Yes, I do remember that.”

Mom glanced at me putting her index finger to her lips indicating I should be silent.

“My company was one of the organizers of the ‘Take Your Daughter to Work Day, event. After the show, I saw your name on the registration list. That’s where I got this number. Seeing who you work for, I really wish I’d managed to hook up with you at the event. Our companies, while not competitors per se, do sell to the same market and many of our products complement each other. I think it would be beneficial if we were compare notes and pass each other leads.”

I could tell that Mrs. Cottrell was talking around the real reason she called. I had a sickening feeling that she wanted to confront Mom about me.

“That might be true. What are you suggesting?”

Mom was likewise on guard, I’m sure, because she suspected what I suspected.

“I know it’s late in the day, but since I’ve pretty much booked up my regular working hours for the next two weeks and I really want to get together with you, would you be open to meeting this evening? I could come to your house if that’s convenient. I see that you live only a couple of miles from me.”

“I suppose, after dinner maybe, say 7:30?”

“That would be great. I look forward to working with you. See you then.”

“7:30 it is. See you then.”

They broke the connection.

“Mom, at our house, I’m going to be there and Grandma too.”

“I know dear, but if this is going to be a confrontation, I would rather it be on my home ground. Better at our house than at my office or hers where someone we’d rather not know about this could overhear.”

TG Break.png

I had homework, so I opted to go to my room about 6:45 so I’d be out of sight, if not out of mind. If Mrs. Cottrell was on the up and up and really did want this to be a business meeting then better she not see me at all. And if she was here to confront Mom about her deception then… well then Mom wouldn’t have to deal with me being underfoot.

Precisely at 7:30, the doorbell rang. Mrs. Cottrell was punctual if nothing else. I had been trying to concentrate on my homework to no avail. I was anticipating her arrival on pins and needles. I went to the door of my room and listened.

“Hi, you’re right on time. Come on in.”

“Thanks so much for agreeing to see me. I really am sorry that we didn’t connect at the event. It would have saved meeting at this irregular hour.”

“Not a problem. You know how the sales game works. After hours meetings are not that unusual. Meeting in my home however is.”

“I know, but considering the hour and how close we live to each other, it seemed like a good idea to me.”

“I understand, would you like some coffee? I’ve a fresh pot, I like an after dinner cup of brew.”

“That would be nice.”

“Mom, this is Mrs. Cottrell. You might remember when I was a room mother for Aaron’s fifth grade class. Mrs. Cottrell…”

“Please call me Karen.”

“Karen was a room mother as well and now she works in the same industry as I do. We’re going to talk business in my office.”

“Nice to meet you Karen. I hear you offer our guest some coffee, would you like me to bring it to you?” Grandma said.

“That would be great. Karen, why don’t you come with me?”

“Just a splash of cream in mine,” Mrs. Cottrell said.

Mom’s office is right under my bedroom. It used to be a formal dining room, but Mom converted it to an office since we eat in the kitchen. Grandma’s house is kind of old. I think it was built in the mid-1900s. It has a feature that is unheard of today, what with complex heating and cooling systems. There’s a floor grill in the floor of my room through to the ceiling of Mom’s office. It allows heat from downstairs, to come upstairs. Likewise, in the summer, we put an air conditioner one of my windows and the cool air from my room goes down through vent to Mom’s office. Anyway, where air can go, so can sound.

As they moved into the office, I went and sat, cross-legged next to the grate.

“Let me fire up my computer. We may need it.” Mom said.

“Here you go.” I heard Grandma say.

“Thank you,” Karen replied.

“Thanks Mom.”

“I’ll leave you two to discuss your business.”

Mom had talked about how we would handle this visit over dinner. For the most part she wanted it to be one on one with her and Mrs. Cottrell. Hence we were doing our best to keep out of sight. Mom, for her part, was playing it straight up as if she believed Mrs. Cottrell was here on real business, not the personal business we all suspected. So she began talking shop with her.

In short order, Grandma entered my room. I looked at her and she put a finger in front of her lips. I nodded. Grandma crossed softly to my desk and retrieved my chair and brought it over next to me and sat down. It seems that Grandma had the same idea as I did.

After a bit, Mrs. Cottrell dropped her pretense.

“I have a confession to make. While what I said about it being beneficial for us to work in concert, the real reason I contacted you directly was of a more personal nature. When I looked at your registration information, I noticed that the girl you brought to the event was named Erin.”

Mom was silent. I assume she nodded or something, because Mrs. Cottrell continued.

“As I remember, you have a son, named Aaron. It’s kind of a coincidence that the names sound the same. Is she Aaron’s cousin? It’s fine if you ‘borrowed’ a daughter for the event.”

Mom waited for a few seconds before answering.

“Why don’t we put all our cards on the table? You don’t really think Erin is Aaron’s cousin, do you? You think that Erin, and Aaron,” I could hear the slight difference in pronunciation between the “E” and the “A” in the two names. I’m sure that Mom emphasized that difference, “are the same person; that I dressed my son up as a girl to get an invitation to the event.”

There was a stunned silence. I don’t think Mrs. Cottrell expected Mom to confront the situation head on like that. After a few moments Mrs. Cottrell spoke.

“Well the thought did occur to me. From your demeanor right now, I take it that is the case.” I heard Mom take a breath, but she didn’t speak. I learned later that Mrs. Cottrell held up her hand to stop her so she could continue. “I did notice Erin at the event and she seemed at ease and presented herself as the girl she appeared to be. What I really suspect is that Aaron is and that Erin is his femme name.” She hurried on, I suspect that was to keep Mom from interrupting. “If that’s the case, I want to assure you that a trans-daughter is within the scope of the “Bring Your Daughter to Work” event.

“On a personal note, I know a trans-woman. I knew her when she was a guy, in high school. As a matter of fact, she, then a he, was a friend of mine and we even dated for a short period of time. Beck was a great friend, but as a boyfriend… well let’s just say that when we went out it was like going out with one of my girl friends. It had the same vibe. I couldn’t get any romantic feelings going on. It turns out that he’s related to one of my daughter’s friends. I’m also, by extension a friend of the girl’s mother and I’ve been to her house when Beck or Becky now was there and we have spoken. Knowing what I know now, it explains a lot of things about Beck back then.”

Mom jumped in. “Becky? Tall, auburn hair about our age?”

“Yes… have you met her?”

“I think I may have. When it became obvious that I needed to deal with Aaron’s feminine side, I remember seeing an LGBTQ event going on at the library and thought it would be a good idea to go and get up to speed on trans stuff. There was a trans-woman there named Becky.”

“That was probably her. She’s quite the transgender activist now. She says she’s made it her mission to help future trans people. What a small world we live in.”

Well that was it, Mom totally outed me. What if the doctor determines that I’m not really transgender, then what?

Mom started to do some damage control.

“Ah, look, I have to ask you a favor. Aaron is in therapy, as a matter of fact he just started it today. So he’s not out to many people. So he’s going to be operating in stealth for a while yet. Could you keep this under your hat?”

“Oh sure. I’m not here to cause any trouble. On the contrary. I want to help you. I’d be happy to go to bat for you if there are any repercussions. Though, I doubt there will be. Erin appears to be all girl and unless someone has a history with your family like I do, then there’s no reason for them to suspect.

“You should know, however, that I think that Susan, my daughter, at least suspects. I asked her if she saw you she chose her words very carefully so she could sidestep the question.”

“Erin did talk to her at the event. He says she has promised to keep it a secret.”

“Well yes, she’s met Becky as well and the school has a rather through curriculum regarding transgender individuals so I’m sure she’s sensitive to Erin’s feelings.

“Look, I’ve taken up too much of your evening already. I’m sorry that I come over under false pretenses, but I thought if I told you over the phone what I said here that you might panic.

“I really do want to work in concert with you regarding leads and such, but let’s set up a time when we can do it at the office.”

“I’d like that. In the interest of being honest with each other, you should know that Susan came over to visit with Erin. I hope you won’t be angry with her over that in that she didn’t tell you about it.”

“I’m sure she was just keeping the confidence that she promised Erin and I’m fine with that. But I’ll tell her that there’s no need because I already know and have talked to you.

“I’ll let myself out.”

“No need, I’ll see you to the door.”

Mom called from the bottom of the stairs.

“Erin, you can come down now.”

I walked to the top of the stairs and saw that Mrs. Cottrell was still there at the door.

“I thought you should know that Karen figured out who you were and she’s going along with Susan and will keep it a secret.”

I looked a Mrs. Cottrell.

“Ah thanks.”

“That means, I assume,” she looked at Mrs. Cottrell, “that if Susan wants to come over like she said, then you won’t object.”

“Not at all. Becky told me that the thing a transgender person needs most is a support network. That means family and friends. If Susan has stated she’d like to visit then I assume that she wants to be friends. I hope you’ll all count me as a friend as well.

TG Break.png

It’s been over a year since that all took place. Susan became a regular at our house and I have occasionally been to her house and we’ve included Judy and her family in my support network. I’ve met Becky and she’s quite a person; a force of nature, Mom says. I’ve been and am still going to see Dr. Cramer every week on the bus.

There’s not much she can do because I’m a minor. But I like talking to her and she’s helped me sort out my feelings. And while I doubt that I’ll ever really have surgery, (but you never know what’s in the future) we’ve established that I am a bit gender dysphoric and that it wouldn’t be a good idea to suppress that so I have an even larger wardrobe than I started with and I’ve been places as Erin with my mom and Susan and her mom and even with Judy a few times.

I still get a kick out of people treating me as girl. It may be just my imagination, but I think that people in general treat girls nicer than boys.

Finis



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