Logan's Ride

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Author’s note: The amazing Maeryn Lamonte recently posted a lovely short story entitled “I Have a Secret,” as a bit of a counterpoint to recent stories she had posted that included nasty, rigid, or unacceptable fathers. If you missed it, you should go back and read it, even though it has nothing to do with THIS story. Really. It’s right here: https://bigclosetr.us/topshelf/fiction/99271/i-have-secret. Go on, now. Scoot! I'll wait. :)

You back? Great! Well . . . I’ve had some good dads in my stories — “Hobson’s Choice,” and “The Mulligan” come to mind. Of course, the dad in “Duets” and “Aria” was pretty bad. But Maeryn’s story got me thinking (which is good, rare, and occasionally painful). Could I write a coming out story where the MC’s audience was only male? And, could such a story be both positive and believable?

You be the judge.

~o~O~o~

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Logan’s Ride

“Dad, will you let me drive the side-by-side this summer?” My twin brother Aidan’s fascination with engines, machinery, and anything that made lots of noise was endless. Legendary, even – at least in his own mind!

Dad chewed on the request silently as he merged smoothly into traffic on the Mass Pike. We were on our way to the campground cabin where we spent every summer, up in the Rangeley Lakes region of Maine. The “back of beyond,” as Dad sometimes called it.

We knew better than to push once we’d made a request; Dad’s standing rule was well-established. “If you need an immediate answer, ‘no’ will do.”

But Dad was always fair. If you gave him space, and a bit of time to think it through, he’d almost always grant any reasonable request. If he stuck with ‘no,’ he’d have good reasons for it and he would explain it all in as much – or as little – detail as we might want to hear. So even my boisterous brother kept his mouth shut while Dad pondered, and drove east.

Eventually he came to a decision. “Pretty sure there’s a course you’ll need to take. Do that, and I’m good. But if I see you doing something stupid – or even hear about it – and you’re done for the summer, eh?”

Aidan beamed. “I won’t, Dad! Thank you!!!!”

Funny thing is, I knew Aidan wasn’t shitting him. It’s hard to describe, but Dad’s just one of those people that you don’t want to disappoint. Not because he’ll yell or scream or anything. I’ve never heard him raise his voice. He’s a decent, thoughtful guy – loves us in his own kind of quiet way – and we both wanted, more than anything in the world, for him to be proud of us.

Which wasn’t going to make the next few minutes any easier, I knew.

“How ’bout you, Logan? I’m guessing that ATV’ing doesn’t rev your engine, so to speak. Anything special you want to do this summer? Are you going to write that great American novel?” His questions were delivered with a smile, though he kept his eyes firmly on the Massachusetts traffic. We can’t have a good vacation if we don’t survive the car ride.

“Yeah. I want to learn how to be a girl.”

There. I’d said it. Sure as hell, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew Dad wouldn’t throw a fit, of course, even though the request was going to be a long, long way from his comfort zone. Throwing a fit would be as foreign to him as . . . I don’t know. Transcendental meditation or something.

I had a sudden vision of Dad levitating six inches above our lawn in the lotus position, and almost choked.

Aidan was giving me a “good luck” kind of look. He’d known what I was thinking, of course. No way I would have worked up the nerve to talk to Dad without talking to Aidan first. We might not be very much alike – shit, we aren’t really anything alike, inside or out – but we are fraternal twins.

We fight, like, all the time, but we don’t keep too many secrets from each other. And when it comes to big stuff . . . . Well. Like Dad always tells us – and I mean, ALWAYS tells us – “I won’t be here forever. If you don’t have each others’ backs, there’s no-one else that will.”

Near as I could tell, Aidan’s view on what I was suggesting was, “You do you, bro.” “Bro,” in this instance, being kind of loosely defined and humorously delivered.

Aidan also thinks he’s funny.

Dad continued to drive, looking as unperturbed as ever. I don’t think I’d ever seen him look surprised. Maybe he looked a touch more thoughtful, but it was hard to say. Dad’s usual range of expression stays within a pretty narrow band. He only opened his mouth to ask if either of us needed to use the facilities as we passed the Charleton Service Plaza. We didn’t, so he drove on.

It was so hard to keep quiet! I was dying to know what was going through his head! Was he angry? I didn’t think so, and I wasn’t really worried about it. But maybe – I steeled myself against the horrible possibility – he was disappointed? The thought was too hard to bear.

When we had almost reached the 290 cut-over, he said, “I assume this isn’t one of your fortunately rare attempts at humor?”

“No, Dad,” I said quietly. I wondered whether he would ask me if I was trans – Dad reads a lot; he had to be familiar with the concept. And I didn’t really have a good answer for that question. I mean, yeah . . . I didn’t feel right, as a boy. It bothered me. A lot, sometimes. Does that mean I’m trans, though? I just don’t know.

But Dad always says labels are just a lazy man’s substitute for thinking, so I didn’t get that question. Instead, he said, “Huh. Well, you’re a thinker, so I’m sure you didn’t just come up with this idea out of the clear blue summer sky. I’d kind of like to hear a bit more before I commit, one way or another.”

He didn’t sound disappointed, which was a huge weight off my shoulders. “Now?” I squeeked.

“A car ride’s a good time for talking. It’ll help keep me awake. Besides . . . Aidan should know what you’re thinking, too. You go down this path – even at camp, and even for a few days – it’s going to affect him, too.”

Aidan piped up before I could say anything. “Logan already talked to me, Dad. We’re good.”

Yay Aidan!

Dad nodded approvingly. “Good. Sensible. But you’re still going to have to explain this one to me, Logan. Being a girl isn’t like being a plumber or a doctor. It’s not something you do for a living, or even for fun. It’s not something you do, period.”

I took a deep breath, and tried to lay it out like Dad would, if our positions were reversed. Not that they would be, I mean . . . he’s such a guy! But . . . orderly. Logically. Like that. “Umm, yeah. So, I’m . . . I’m not like you, Dad. Or you, Aidan. I, ah . . . I’ve never fit in with the boys. You know that.”

Dad nodded. “Of course. Not like we haven’t discussed it.”

“Yeah, well . . . I mean. Don’t take this wrong. I know you’ve tried to help me develop strategies to fit in better, and I’ve tried them. Honest! But it always feels like so much work, and it never gets me anywhere. Kids . . . they just know, okay? They know I’m faking it. And that makes it way worse.”

Dad took the criticism in stride, with no evidence of annoyance or irritation. No visible evidence, anyhow. “You think you would fit in with the girls?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. But . . . I think so? I’ve always felt kind of like I was a girl. You remember when I used to play with Kaitlin Hunter, back when we lived in Albany?” At his nod, I continued. “It just felt really right. We’d do things together – girl things – and I felt like, this was who I was supposed to be. I’ve never felt that anywhere else.”

His right eyebrow moved up a quarter of an inch. “What sort of ‘girl’ things?”

There was no hint of disapproval in his voice. Just a simple question. He might have been asking what I wanted for dinner. Still, it made me squirm. “We, uhh. Well. Sometimes, we’d play with her stuffed animals. Or her dolls. We’d have tea parties.” My face was getting redder and redder. Finally, I got out, “And dress-up.”

Still no evidence of disapproval from the paternal visage. I shot a terrified glance at Aidan, who now had all the ammunition in the world to destroy me – not that he didn’t already, like, a trillion times over. But this went way further than the conversation the two of us had had on the subject.

Aidan came through again. “Bet you looked cute, too. I like the blush, by the way. Suits your delicate complexion.”

“Asswipe!” My response was affectionate, not angry. He was teasing me, but in a good way.

Dad ignored the byplay. “That was, what? Four years ago? Back in grade school, anyhow. Mrs. Hunter talked to me about it, of course. I didn’t see any harm, and I still don’t.”

“You knew?”

He took his eyes off the road just long enough to give me a look. “Logan, I’ve had to be your mom as well as your dad. Your mother would have known all about your friends, so I made sure I did. She probably would have known how to help you, too. I did the best I could, without her.”

My eyes stung at his words. Dad almost never mentioned Mom, who’d died from an infection she’d acquired after giving birth to me and Aidan. When he did, it was usually a backhanded apology for flaws he perceived in his parenting. “You did fine, Dad! But . . . why didn’t you say anything?”

“Within the bounds of safety, I want you to explore things on your own. Since I didn’t see any harm in it, I didn’t say anything. I figured you’d talk to me about it if you wanted my input.”

I looked over at Aidan. Judging by his expression, he agreed completely with my own assessment. There’s no figuring Dad. Ever.

“I just . . . I was too embarrassed, I guess. I knew it wasn’t the sort of thing boys did. I didn’t want you to think I was . . . .” I stopped, unable to finish the thought.

“Not manly?” Dad asked gently. But he didn’t wait for an answer. “Logan, you were nine. Even your gearhead brother wasn’t ‘manly’ at nine. Besides, what do you think it means, to be a man?”

Again, I looked to Aidan for guidance, but this time his look was pure Pontius Pilate, washing his hands. I was going to need to come up with an answer for this one myself.

“Well . . . a man’s strong, right? And . . . ah, I don’t know? Physically active? Likes sports? Outdoorsy? And, I guess, kind of takes charge? Ahhh . . . . Not, umm. Emotional?”

Dad shook his head. “You have been spending too much time filling your head with stereotypes, I think. But go on.”

“Well, but . . . I mean, come on! You’re strong. Aidan’s strong already. You don’t play sports, but you like watching them. You go hunting when we’re in Maine, and hiking and all. And . . . ah. Well. You’re always really logical, even when we’re all screaming. So, it’s not like I got my ideas from YouTube!”

“Logan. Listen to me. I’m just one guy. There are lots of different ways to be a man. Or a woman, for that matter. Just like there are lots of different ways to be strong. Your mom, now, was the strongest person I’d ever met. Carrying the two of you at the same time was no Fourth of July picnic. For whatever it’s worth, she could also out-hike and out-shoot me any day of the week.”

I was getting irritated. Not at Dad, but at myself, for not having the words to get through. I tried again. “I do know that, Dad. Honest. And, I guess I’m getting side-tracked. What I wanted to say was, when I was with Kaitlin, I felt right. Like I was able to be myself. Most of the time, I feel like I’m trying to be someone else, just to fit in. And I suck at it.”

He was nodding slowly. “Let me go at this a different way. When you’re being yourself – completely yourself – what are you like?”

I suddenly wished with all my heart that I hadn’t started this conversation. That I was somewhere else. Anywhere else, really. Sixth period math, even. Shit. It didn’t help that the question was fair. Of course it was fair – it was Dad, after all. It was still so embarrassing!

But I’d come this far. Might as well make sure my grave’s so deep no-one will even be able to find the body. “I’m . . . kind. Gentle. Supportive. I cry a lot. Shit! I’m sorry! I do, though. When I’m happy. When I’m sad. Sometimes just ‘cuz something is just so beautiful! I care about people. About how they’re feeling. Like, I’d give Kaitlin big hugs when she was feeling sad, and it helped. Helped us both, you know? I care about how I look, and how other people look. I don’t know. I’m just different!

I couldn’t go on any further.

Dad’s expression didn’t change. Did it ever? But he asked, “You don’t think you can be you – the person you just described – and still be a boy? A man?”

“I don’t know.”

But as soon as I said it, I knew that was a lie. I did know. Everyone knew! “Come on, Dad! Boys like that are despised. If they’re lucky, they just get called sick names. Sissies. Fairies. Fags. But sometimes they get the shit kicked out of them.”

Dad gave me another look, no doubt seeing the glassy sheen of my eyes as I fought to control my tears. He turned back to traffic, which — this being the 290 at some time other than 3:00 a.m. – required pretty complete attention. Eventually, he said, “Will the reactions you just mentioned change if you tell people that you’re a girl?”

“I . . . don’t know. Maybe? If I’m not trying to fit in with the guys anymore, they’ll be more likely to ignore me?”

He gave a grunt, sounding unconvinced. “I’m sure you’ve noticed that thirteen-year-old girls aren’t generally as nice – even to each other – as they were back when you were in grade school. You might not fit in with them, either.”

“Yeah, I know,” I sighed. “And maybe my time with Kaitlin’s just some great, golden memory that I can’t ever have again. I don’t know. But I’d like to try. Anyway, it’s not just about fitting in with other people. It’s about, I don’t know. Feeling right myself. Being me.” I gave up, with a disgusted noise. “Gah!!! I can’t even explain it!”

As usual, my frustration didn’t phase Dad. The sun going supernova might not phase Dad. “There are a whole lot of ‘I don’t knows’ in your answers, Logan. But it doesn’t sound like you’re presently proposing to do anything drastic, much less permanent. Do you have a plan?”

He kept his eyes on the road, but his voice was even. An invitation?

That sounded like progress, so I’d take it. “Well . . . I mean, we only see the kids at the lake in the summer, right? I thought maybe I could try being a girl this summer, just to see what it might be like. If it didn’t work, I’d just . . . well. I don’t know. Get on with it. Go back to trying to be a boy, I guess.”

“You don’t think word would get back to your friends back home?”

“What friends? Anyway . . . I don’t do Tick Tock or Instagram or any of that stuff. As long as Aidan didn’t out me, I don’t think anyone back home would know.”

Dad mulled that over, then said, “Okay. So tell me what would happen if you decided the experiment did work?”

“Well . . . I thought . . . maybe . . . if it did work all right, maybe I could, like, talk to a doctor when we got home, and see what they might recommend.”

“What kind of doctor?”

I squirmed again. “Well, I’ve been doing some research. Online. It sounds like I should talk to maybe a psychiatrist or psychologist or something. Someone who knows about gender issues. You know, just to find out what they think. Get options.” Fuck. What’s he going to think about a SHRINK!

But he just nodded. “Talking to a doctor sounds sensible, if you’ve been dealing with these feelings for a while. But you understand, since you’re a minor, I’ll have to be part of those discussions, even if I’m not in the room.”

“Of course, Dad! And . . . I’d want you to be. I’m just . . . I mean, this is kind of embarrassing, you know?”

He grunted, noncommittally. But he kept the conversation going, as we made our way up the 290, merged onto the 495, and continued up to the New Hampshire border.

He probed gently and I responded as best I could. How long had I had these feelings? Did I dislike my body? Did I think about this frequently, or just off and on? What did I think it would mean, to act like a girl for the summer? What things would I do differently? How much of a difference would it make? Was it just a question of wearing different clothes?

I felt like I was trying to explain color to someone who was blind from birth. But at least, it was like explaining it to a blind person who really wanted to understand color!

Back and forth, back and forth. I wasn’t getting any closer to my goal, but it felt good to talk it all out. And Dad was really good at getting me to think more clearly about the issues that had been bothering me for so long. I thought, I should have talked to him a long time ago.

Aidan kept quiet, but every time I looked his way, his expression made it clear that we were still good, however weird I must be sounding. Dad had been right about that, too. This was all stuff Aidan would need to understand, if I ever tried presenting as a girl. I was going to get shit, but he would, too.

As we were merging onto I-95 south of Portsmouth, Dad asked, “How do you think the kids at the lake will react, if you show up dressed like a girl?”

I started going through their faces in my mind, kids I had known for a long time. Played together, the sorts of games gangs of kids play on their own when adults are mostly in the background. “I think most of the girls will be okay. One or two might even be willing to help me some. I’m not sure about Beth Myers or Trish Silver. And . . . I might catch some shit from some of the guys. I don’t know.”

“Don’t worry about them,” Aidan said in a mock-growl.

Dad couldn’t give Aidan a look, since he was sitting directly in front of him. But he said, “Well, Aidan – I don’t much want you having to spend all summer defending Logan’s honor or whatever. What do you think about all this?”

Aidan looked thoughtful, which wasn’t exactly his resting face. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with his gray matter, when it isn’t consumed with gears and engines and things that go “boom.” But he prefers doing to thinking. Still, I trusted him.

Mostly.

He said, “Dad, this just doesn’t seem all that weird to me. Or to most of my friends, really. We hear about trans kids all the time, and everyone knows one or two – even in our hick town. Sure, some guys are retro on all this, but they’re just assholes. Who cares what they think?”

Aidan gave me a look, challenging at first, then . . . something else. “Logan’s saved my butt a million times. I’d have flunked frickin’ fourth grade if Logan hadn’t helped me. So it’s like you’ve always said. I’ve got Logan’s back. It doesn’t matter whether Logan’s a he, a she, or a they. What matters is, it’s Logan. Okay?”

Dad didn’t say anything. He just drove. A mile passed, then five. Then ten. I could have sworn, though, that I saw . . . . No. No way was Dad crying.

No. Freaking. Way.

He didn’t say anything until we got to the Piscataqua River Bridge. Maine, and summer, and everything it would bring, were just on the other side, waiting for us. His voice didn’t sound right; it was choked up, kind of husky. “Well. We’re going to make a stop in Kittery. I need a coffee . . . and it looks like Logan’s going to need some new clothes for the summer.”

The end.

For information about my other stories, please check out my author's page.

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Comments

Nicely done

Not sure 13-year-olds would be so mature, but writing them that way brings out the magic of a family’s acceptance.

Writing young people

Emma Anne Tate's picture

I don’t know if I captured the maturity level either. It’s one of the reasons I don’t tend to write stories from the perspective of kids or teenagers. It isn’t just that I don’t have a feel for their language idioms, though I don’t. I could avoid that problem by setting the story a few decades back. But I just don’t feel like I can capture the emotions, or how they are expressed. Some writers have the knack — Erin and Rasufelle are actually my favorites for that. But I don’t.

I’m glad the story still worked, though. Thanks for your thoughtful comment!

Emma

Logan's Ride

One thing I would hope, having liked what I've read? This isn't a solo story as indicated. Aidan, though quite different shows he's in tune like twins often are. Dad isn't jumping to a permanent decision and is open to giving Logan room to be.
It is a refreshingly open story.
Jessie C

Jessica E. Connors

Jessica Connors

Solo

Emma Anne Tate's picture

Thank you, Jessie! I always feel like a solo works if readers can see the outlines of what’s outside the frame. The backstory, but also places where the story might go, if it continued.

But, as I indicated just now in my response to the eminent herder of felines, I’m really not very good at writing authentic young characters. A single scene with two brothers pretty much strained my ability to the max — and probably a bit beyond. Of course, if someone more gifted would like to pick up the tale . . . .

Emma

This Story Shows

joannebarbarella's picture

What a wonderful addition to our great writers you are.

Awwww!

Emma Anne Tate's picture

Thanks, Joanne! Love ya too, girl!

Emma

An interesting take on the subject.

Patricia Marie Allen's picture

Yes, it is believable. My father had plenty of the qualities that Logan's father had. In evidence of that, I'll give you two excerpts from my autobiographical "Silence is Golden."

I began to explore the boxes in my closet.

One of them contained a smattering my sister's old clothes. A couple of swimsuits and one lone pair of panties with a torn seam. I don't know what possessed me, but one of the swimsuits was my size and I just had to try it on. Without a second thought, I stripped and put it on. I immediately went to my sister’s room to see how I looked in her full-length mirror. My head didn't agree with the body, so back to the box where I found a swim cap. With the swim cap on, I now looked complete. Somehow, I felt complete.

If crying like a girl was unacceptable, then dressing like a girl was certainly unacceptable. Silence is golden. I would tell no one about this. The little girl in the mirror became my friend, my closest friend. After the swimsuit, I pinned up the seam in the panties and tried them on. They were so much better than the boy’s underwear that I had worn up until then. But I couldn't wear them except for a few minutes at a time. Many days after school, I'd be home alone, wearing that swimsuit, feeling alive, more alive than I ever had before.

Then came the day when my father decided to go through all that old stuff in my closet to see what could be thrown out. He talked to me about the pinned up seam in the panties. Heart racing, I admitted that it was me that had pinned them. When asked why, I also admitted that I had tried them on. Well, my father, bless his heart, decided to let that pass without punishment, but the boxes disappeared.

One day, while standing in our kitchen, looking out the window, I saw that the neighbor, whom I knew was not home, had washed a slip and left it hanging on a clothesline on her back porch. I looked at it longing to wear something like that. It seemed to call to me. Finally after a time of longing, I went to my room and got out a pair of panties and a bra. I stripped, put on the panties and bra, stuffing the bra with more panties. I slipped out our back door and walked to the corner of the house, I glanced through the overly tall rose garden at the front of the house and decided it provided enough cover. I darted to the porch, vaulted up on to it and put the slip on. I just wanted to try it on… to feel it caress me. I had to walk around and the porch was small, so I went down the steps and strolled around her yard. I never intended to steal the slip. It was my intention only to wear it for a few minutes and then put it back. I don't know how long I spent in the luxury of the garment, but I heard the telltale sound of my father’s car slowing down to turn into our driveway. In a panic, I hurtled the fence and ran for our back door. I made it to my room which was, fortunately near the back of the house, and was in jeans and a shirt before I had to confront dad. He said to me, and to this day, I don't know exactly where he was when he saw me, "You shouldn't let people see you running around the back yard in a woman's petticoat, they'll think you're crazy.” Another kind of silence was required. Again, no punishment. Not even a demand that the clothes be thrown out.

In both cases, where other dads would have come unglued, my father simply rolled with the punches and let me find myself. Another part of the story not included in "Silence is Golden" is that later, after my wife had caught me and I became interested in going out as the true me, I decided to pay my father a visit en femme. With no warning, I just showed up at his door wearing my wig, a very feminine blouse, a pair of pants that in no way could have been mistaken for men's, and a pair of sling backs not to mention full makeup.

Dad just looked me up and down and invited me in. We had an otherwise normal visit with no mention of my clothes at all. After that I often would stop by en femme. He lived in an apartment building built on a hill and the parking lot was quite steep and usually the only parking spots available for visitors were at the lower end and dad's apartment was at the upper end. On one occasion I was wearing a dress and a particularly high pair of high heels and I decided not make the trudge up that block long lot. Instead, I parking on the hill above the building and walked the quarter block downhill to his place.

The visit was as usual and as I was leaving we stepped out onto his very large porch and stood where he could see the parking lot. He noticed that neither of my vehicles was in the lot. He asked where I was parked and I told him that I'd parked on the street. He told me that I could park in the lot, knowing full well that I would have walked past everyone of his neighbors to get to his place. In essence saying "I don't care who sees you. If they have a problem, it their problem."

I harbor no illusion that dad was of the opinion that there wasn't something off about cross-dressing but I do know that he accepted that it was who I was and it didn't change our relationship.

Hugs
Patricia

Happiness is being all dressed up and HAVING some place to go.
Semper in femineo gerunt

Silence

Emma Anne Tate's picture

I need to read Silence. My gut reaction, based on your excerpts, is that silence probably isn’t golden — but it certainly rates a silver at the least. Your dad wasn’t sold on what you were doing, but at the least he was able to “put it in a box” and not let it interfere with your relationship. I expect very few parents would be able to do that. Maybe especially fathers, though I’m honestly not sure about that.

Thank you so much for sharing your extended reflection.

Much love,

Emma

I believe you're right

Patricia Marie Allen's picture

Not many parents would have been able. Especially since the time frame we're talking 1954 for the first and 1958 for the second.

I heard about Christine Jorgensen sometime after the first episode and that Carl Jung postulated that there was something masculine about every woman and something feminine about every man. Since these revelations came to me after I started exploring my own feminine nature they didn't precipitate my femme activities but only served to affirm what was already percolating in my psyche.

Hugs
Patricia

Happiness is being all dressed up and HAVING some place to go.
Semper in femineo gerunt

Kittery ME

As I write this, my old mind is remembering the multi-lane traffic circle aka rotary aka traffic jam on a holiday weekend where the NH Pike, US 1, the Spaulding Turnpike and some local roads intersected and you waited in line to pay the toll to cross the river into Kittery. (I predate the "new" bridge. I also predate The Mass Pike!) Stop at The Kittery Trading Post for good clothes for Logan and then walk over to Bob's Clam Hut for the best fried clam rolls and lobster rolls in the world. If you want cheap disposable clothes, go over to the Kittery Outlet Mall.

Clothing

Emma Anne Tate's picture

Honestly, I expect they’ll go for cheap. It’s an experiment, after all. Logan may not make it through a day. Though, to be honest, my money’s on Logan prevailing. Especially with the kind of support system Logan has!

Thank you for your comments, and for your correction on the QT. Fixed it!

Emma

Thanks, Dot!

Emma Anne Tate's picture

So glad you enjoyed it!

Emma

Thank you

Andrea Lena's picture

much!

  

To be alive is to be vulnerable. Madeleine L'Engle
Love, Andrea Lena

You are welcome.

Emma Anne Tate's picture

And, you are always welcome — stop in any time!

Emma

Well constructed

A very sweet story with three very believable characters. Thank you.

Yay!

Emma Anne Tate's picture

I’m glad they came across as believable. It’s easy to write stories that are grim and believable. It shouldn’t be so hard to write stories that are positive and believable!

Thank you for the supportive comment— I’m glad you enjoyed the story.

Emma

Another Gem

Dee Sylvan's picture

Actually a gem inside a gem inside a gem. It's remarkable how your stories start my brain thinking and it takes a while until I can put together a comment.

Why aren't all father like that? It's a brave 13 year old that can ask his father “Yeah. I want to learn how to be a girl.” But that being so, if the father didn't foster communication, what son wants to get yelled at or belittled? Being a single dad is a very difficult job. Being both mother and father, provider, caretaker, nurse, etc. is difficult for any person.

But Logan's father didn't belittle him, he asked him questions to find out why he felt this way and what his goals were. Good for him. That isn't so difficult, is it?

Logan is on a journey that many of us hoped for. His twin is another gem, supporting his brother/sister with his dad and his friends. How many families foster the kind of environment that would lead to that remarkable conversation on the way to the “back of beyond”?

Thank you for another poignant story, Emma. I hope you have given us a glimpse of the future. :DD

DeeDee

Thank you, Dee.

Emma Anne Tate's picture

I hope it’s the future too.

I think it’s the dream of every parent with more than one child that they will grow up to love and support each other, and that they will stay close and “always have each other’s back.” And it is the grief of every parent with only a single child, that their son or daughter will never have that.

Aidan’s willingness to stand by Logan, even knowing how bumpy the road ahead might be, brought the dad in this story to both tears, and an acceptance of Logan’s proposal. He might have gotten there anyway, but Aidan’s support short-circuited everything.

Thank you for the lovely comment, Dee. You’re the best.

Emma

Logan and Aiden..

Lucy Perkins's picture

Emma, Rest assured that you really CAN write things from a thirteen year old's perspective.
In my opinion, this lovely short story was a tour de force of exactly that. I don't have a huge amount of day to day dealing with kids of that age, but my village has its fair share of young teens, most of whom do not aspire to be "gangsta" ( and the ones who do get odd looks from the rest!) but rather they are normal nice kids. And they all sound like the wonderful twins in your story. Idiom is fleeting, emotions are timeless, and I honestly think that you have captured that emotional scene between the twins and their Dad to perfection.
Thank you for a lovely story.
Lucy xx

"Lately it occurs to me..
what a long strange trip its been."

Thank you, Lucy!

Emma Anne Tate's picture

You are very kind! The differences between 11, 13 and 15 are incredibly vast, and, to a parent, they go by so quickly. It’s hard to capture! But I’m very glad that the story worked for you.

Hugs,

Emma

Renew!

Erisian's picture

This is a great scene, Emma, which of course is what we've all come to expect when we see you've dropped another diamond onto the front page. Hopefully for Logan this will lead to a renewed appreciation for not just life but also his/her (TBD!) family. Thanks! :)

At very least . . .

Emma Anne Tate's picture

. . . I think Logan will come to appreciate just how important it is that Aidan has his/her/their back. The going will almost certainly get tough, but Aidan’s okay. And, he knows how to make things go “boom,” which is an underappreciated talent with a surprisingly wide range of potential applications . . . .

Thanks, Seraph. Glad you enjoyed the story!

Emma

I'm sorry

Sunflowerchan's picture

I'm sorry for taking so long to leave a comment on this wonderful story that you have graced us with. I was wrestling with a few things. I have enjoyed reading it three times now and each time I think I've found the words to shower you with. But now on my forth time I decided to take the plunge and dive right on in. First off, you are a mistress at building the setting and at flushing out characters. Your prose is something I aspire to. Second, this story hits very close to home. Something like this happen to me when I was young, my dad, had through some snooping discovered a Sailor Mercury Cosplay with blue wig hidden in my room. And through the help of an aunt who also loved snopping had discovered photos of me on Myspace posing with said costume I was a hug sailor moon fan in the early, 00's. His responce was something like Loga's father had when he responded to his sons question. Only in the end he threaten to have me enlist. It hard for me to put into words the raw emotions this story conjures up. Very hard, but that is the charm to your writing. You make reading worth it. You are a legend in the making. I'm in awe of the raw emotions you made me feel reading this for the first ting time and rereading it for the last three times. I only hope, you do not forget me, when you are ushered to the Masters table and get to look down at us lowely apprentices. Who may never advance past the rank of apprentice, much less Journeyman and never in our wildest dreams ever dream of sitting at the Masters table. :3

A far sadder ending

Emma Anne Tate's picture

I don’t think I could have ended the story with the father sending Logan off to a military academy. It would have been such a sad story. Of course, it could have been redeemed by Logan going off and escaping the academy— whether by running off or graduating — and then becoming a successful writer of noir fiction and transgender stories. But then, of course, that would be a long story. An epic story. I might need to leave that one to another writer. :)

Emma

You may yet

Andrea Lena's picture

Miss Emma. You may yet!

  

To be alive is to be vulnerable. Madeleine L'Engle
Love, Andrea Lena

No Solid Hooks

BarbieLee's picture

Emma, this one is so open it is as if I was in the doughnut shop listening to a couple chatting about their friends, their lives. Where does one invest in a conversation they weren't a part of and didn't know the people having the chat among themselves? Unless it was a murder confession or they found the sale of the century, as soon as they leave so does the memory of what the conversation was about.
Hugs Emma
Barb
The Highway of Life. Only yesterday I was washing the jars for momma because my hands were small I could reach down inside them. Now I see hands that weathered dozens upon dozens of years tending livestock, operating heavy equipment.

Oklahoma born and raised cowgirl

Weeeeel . . . .

Emma Anne Tate's picture

. . . You might not like the next one either, then. There are a few similarities. ;-)

Emma

Loved this

I really appreciate the shout out at the beginning, but mainly the story was really good. I agree that Logan and Aiden sounded maybe a little older than mentioned, but not implausibly so. Besides, it really is tough writing to the correct age. Most of my kids sound older than they are.

What really struck me was how much the dad reminded me of me. My wife passed away in 1995 leaving me with three kids under the age of five to care for. I have that experience of being Mum and Dad and only hope I did half as good a job as the dad in this story. My own story takes a different turn in that I'm the one with gender issues and don't yet have Logan's courage to come clean about it.

Thanks for this. It stands alone very well.

Maeryn Lamonte, the girl inside

Thank you, Maeryn

Emma Anne Tate's picture

After enjoying your Seven Dresses and I Have a Secret, I’m delighted I could reciprocate with a story that connected for you.

Raising three children on your own must have been incredibly difficult, especially after the pain of losing your spouse. I have to think, though, that in those difficult circumstances, where you really are required to be both Mum and Dad, your children were especially blessed to have a father who has a “girl inside.” Even if that girl must stay hidden from sight.

Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

Emma