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Chapter 6  The House of God Next Chapter / Diary Home / Support Site Home Scroll down in center section to read the rest of this chapter

December 6, 1989

I plucked all the whiskers from my face, one by one, with a pair of tweezers. It hurt.

December 9, 1989

I am falling in love with Andy We date twice a week now. When we go out, I don't wear a wig any more or any padding. I am what I present myself to be, real and true. After my first "au natural" experience at the drive-in, we went to a Chinese restaurant. Last night he took me miniature golfing.

My joy at dating as a woman exceeds the most grandiose speculation I may have earlier entertained. I curl up in his strong arms while we listen to his folk music collection or watch comedy tapes on TV.

One night we just drove for an hour up into the hills where Andy had lived and worked for a while. Then we lay together on the front seat, staring up through the windshield at the stars that shine so brightly beyond the city lights.

Last night I stayed all night, wearing a borrowed nightgown. Several times I awoke, snuggled up under his protective arms and drifted off again. This morning he drove me back, and I hid my painted nails as I darted into the house.

Nicki is still in my office building, but has rented the office next to mine to live in. She (as Mike) is organizing my business, collecting overdue bills, handling advertising, and keeping the offices tidy. I got Mike a job on the set of a high-tech video shoot I was technical director for, so now he has a little money to play with.

The Aldactone Dr. Smith Prescribed for me is beginning to work. Body hair is thinning in density and becoming more fine. The Premarin is also showing significant growth in the breasts. The 25 day on, 5 day off cycle really seems to work. With my hairless face, I need much less make-up and appear very feminine, even without it.

I have started wearing my base make-up daily, even in male mode. Permit me to gloat that I look about 12 years old!

I am in the running for a supervisor job in video production for an aerospace company at $850 a week plus benefits. I have also been asked to edit a feature film by a director who knows about me. Also a producer is setting up a ten million dollar fund for filming two projects, one of which I am to write and direct. Usually, these deals fall through, but one of these days....

This is my last Christmas with my family and the first Christmas since my mother's and grandfather's deaths. I think seldom of them, yet feel no guilt at this slight.

We picked out our last family Christmas tree today. It is a fine one.

December 19, 1989 6:55 am

Okay... I'm completely remiss. I admit it! Here it is, right smack dab in the middle of the most crucial and volatile period of my life and I stop writing. I mean, God! I pour my life out to you guys, sucker you into caring and even anxiously awaiting the outcome, and then slam the door! I feel as if I just pussy-whipped an entire audience! And the feeling of power is not all unpleasant.

But seriously folks, I DO apologize for my remissasity (?) There IS much to tell, but as you shall see, I have been and remain incredibly busy, and I cannot find the time to complete an entry at one sitting. Therefore, I shall glop this one onto the page in spurts, listed by time throughout the day. And I shall catch up with the latest poop on the life and times of Melanie, even if it kills both of us!

December 23, 1989 - midnight

Well, obviously THAT didn't work out! But I DO have news. Last night, Andy asked me to marry him. It was a "what if" kind of thing. We had gone out late for fast food. When we returned, we sat in the car for a while, drinking in the darkness that melted through the windshield from the thick night that surrounded us. Greasy wrappers crumpled between us, we spoke of future scenes that might become, one day, reality. Andy asked that if I did have the operation and Mary kicked me out and WE got married, would my kids call me "mom" and him "dad"? "After all", he said, "I'd be the only father they had...."

I glommed onto that concept like any lovesick female. I told him that was a pretty heavy duty "what if"! As the evening progressed, the two of us intimately (but non-sexually, as usual) intertwined on his bed, watching a documentary on John Lennon. We progressed to where I was trying on his last name to see if it fit. I asked if he was serious, and he told me I was the person most compatible with him out of everyone he had ever met.

We fell asleep, then shared a morning movie before I left, just before noon. Now, I have to admit, the night before, I had brought him Christmas presents in a stocking, a batch of my home-made chocolate chip cookies (a bit of cookie to hold the chips and nuts together) and my guitar, which I strummed in the folk style we both love. And I must also admit to thinking (as I planned these things) that this would be the night I would make him fall in love with me. The rest is history.

I arrived back home at noon, almost exactly, to be greeted at the gate by Mary with somber news: my grandmother had died during the night. Now this is a year to remember: My mother dies in January, my grandfather in June and my grandmother at Christmas. I start hormones, grow my hair, tell everyone I know, and get serious about SRS. I enter into an intimate relationship with a guy, who asks me to marry him. The IRS gets on my case for two years of unpaid back taxes, I get six months behind on my credit card payments and I inherit a house. Ah, but there's still one more week left in this year!

Anyway, I miss my grandma, but at least her suffering of the past two years is over. And we no longer have to sell the house. So I guess my money worries are finally over. And the money for my surgery is at hand. Decisions must now be made, by Mary, by Andy, and by me. For each day of hormone use brings me closer to my life-long goal, and the simultaneous death of my relationship with Mary. It's been one hell of a year....

December 24, 1989

Last night I cried in Mary's arms. We had gone to bed, bull of an unspoken tension that smothered us both. Or perhaps bursting from the inner pressure of suppressed tension that could no longer be contained, now that the outer pressure of having to move had been removed, upsetting the delicate equilibrium.

We spoke more frankly than we ever had. Without blame or recrimination we touched on the dissatisfactions that have silently spanned our fourteen year companionship. My need to be female collided headlong into her inability to remain in the same house with an altered me. And all at once, the frustrations of the past, the hopelessness of the future combined and multiplied, welling up from the core of my heart in an explosive upheaval of sorrow and devastation.

But she came to me. She cradled my head in her hands, held me against her breasts and told me it would be all right. My sobs diminished until I drifted away in the cocoon-like protection of her embrace.

When I awoke, my tension had left. The future looked clear and bright as the crisp December sunshine that drove the chill from the morning air.

We went to church to see our children perform in a Christmas music program. This was our first visit to the house of God for other than funeral purposes in several years.

There was, in the pew at the front of the church, a woman, about my age, but the incarnation of my inner vision of the perfect dream girl of my youth. She smiled almost continuously, not inappropriately, but as if she truly found joy, almost exhilaration at everything that fell within her gaze.

I began to wonder if I could avoid the path I was taking if I could only become close to a woman such as she. Was my once-cheerful disposition dimmed and tainted by Mary's ever-dwelling on the negative? Had my career been ham-strung, perhaps permanently damaged or even destroyed by the lack of encouragement from my spouse? Is the real need of my life not to be female, but to free myself of the emotional vapor-lock of Mary's dulling influence and latch onto a rising star whose eyes shine with hope and daring?

But then, Mary took my hand and clasped her fingers around mine. And the love I have always had for her surged from its concealment and re-enveloped my soul.

Our day has been wonderful. Easily the finest Christmas Eve I have ever known. We have shared and cuddled, reminisced and planned. We have reaffirmed our common determination to make things work until they can work no longer.

The tension is gone for now, but there truly is no status quo. Reprieved from the financial sword of Damocles, we rejoice in our current good fortune, yet pensive with the uncertainty of tomorrow. But for the moment, life is a good thing and worth living, and doing it together.

"Day at a time", Mary says. And in truth, that is all any of us ever really needs.

December 25, 1989

One can, I have discovered, have it all. The reality of our new found financial freedom is finally beginning to sink in. And against this background, perhaps because of it, Mary and I have reached a final, codified, compromise agreement. As we both love each other, and neither one of us wants to jeopardize our good fortune that we have waited so long for, we have come to the following terms:

1. I shall continue on hormones for the rest of my life. 2. I shall grow my hair to whatever length I choose. 3. I shall seek surgery as soon as possible. 4. Both before and after surgery I shall maintain a male role around Mary and the kids at all times. 5. When not around them I can do as I please. 6. We shall remain in and improve this house. 7. We shall build our personal and financial futures together. 8. Should I be unwilling to live here as a male after surgery, I will leave and they can stay.

The only questions remaining: can I pull off appearing as a male past surgery? Can I obtain surgery without truly going full-time? Will I be content at that point to live mostly as a man?

The answers lie in the future, and it is futile at this juncture to speculate. But I DO know that the impending dissolution of our relationship has been at least temporarily stayed. And for the first time in years, I feel no tension within myself at all.

December 29, 1989

Yesterday we buried my grandmother. And, hopefully, along with her, much of the pain and sorrow of the last few years. As I sat with Mary and the children in the viewing room, grandma's face was hidden by the wall of the casket. But Technicolor memories of my early years rose like specters from that eternal box and played themselves like movie scenes in the thick air of that all too familiar room.

I remembered the sound of burnt toast being scraped into the sink, every morning of my childhood. And the crumbs that always garnished the butter in the butter dish. I do not believe I met a pristine stick until we moved out of the house when my mother remarried.

I remembered a night I spent at grandma's house - placing my fingernail against her upper arm as we lay in bed for the night and pressing it hard and deeply until it left a mark that lasted until the next day. I still do not know what possessed me to do that. Neither do I yet understand her reaction, which was to act as if nothing was happening - no response at all. I did apologize later, but to this day, I still feel ashamed that I would continue to press deeper until she would yell, "Stop!", which she never did.

And other scenes danced above the coffin: At age eleven, as she took care of me during the days of summer while my parents worked. I lay in a hammock in the backyard, covered with a sheet to offer shade. Grandma brought me out a pink lemonade, ice-cold and over-sweet, which I nursed and savored as if I would never have another. And in fact, I did not, as that was the last lemonade she ever brought me. And that very week was when I snuck into the neighbor's house through the fireplace

Then, I drifted back to the tepid reality of the corpse in the box. That body had not contained my grandmother in over two years. And even then, only portions of her.

The kids left the viewing room in search of candycanes upstairs, and Mary began to speak of remodeling the house. Inappropriate conversations perhaps (in the presence of the body from which we inherited the estate) and yet, I realized she was making long-term plans for our future.

I turned to her, tears in my eyes, and said, "Does this mean what I think it means?". To which she replied, "We're going to try to make it." But her plan-making has convinced me that we WILL make it, that is if now that I am secure I don't call the curtain down myself. A dirty trick to be sure: using all my persuasive skills to be accepted, only to reject in turn....

And my mind is filled with confusion once more. Now that the threat of financial disaster is passed for all my life, the lure of toys and goodies undermines the frustration that drives me to a sex-change. And the job interview with the aerospace company; a salary of $45 thousand per year; creative opportunities galore... To watch my kids grow, give away the bride, play with THEIR kids... This security is almost worse than the pain.

That I want to be female, of this there is no doubt. But the depth of my need varies with my life situation. And my need is also stronger toward the physical than the gender. So what lifestyle would give me the best chance for happiness? I love Andy he is a rare human being. But I love Mary too, have more invested in her and the kids. But Andy will accept me as I am; Mary only as I appear to be.

So what am I to do? I guess I will do as Mary says, and take one day at a time. But always lurking in the back of my mind is the certain knowledge that time waits for no man - or woman, and days become weeks become months become years. And every day I take at a time brings me farther from my physical prime in which to enjoy being female, and closer to an end of options to ever experience it. So, day at a time it is (for now), but not for long.