Book Two:

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Boiled in Oil
by Melanie Anne

Part One: The Promised Land

Chapter 25

Back from the Brink

Saturday, January 18th, 1992.

Mary and the kids picked me up at the station. What an odd sensation it was to realize she and I were truly two women now instead of man and wife. Still, that was just the logic of it. My heart told me nothing had changed between us.

I arrived home to find loads of Email from Mary and Keith. I responded as follows:

Honey Bunch,

Thank you so much for your wonderful notes. It means so much to-me to hear you write the things you have trouble saying. Thank-you for your love.

I had a lot of time to think at the hospital. And it became very-clear to me that you and the kids are the focus of my life. Now-that I am who I NEED to be, YOUR happiness is my prime concern.

I know this is not the life you expected, but it is a good life,-nonetheless. And I shall devote myself to making it ever better-for both of us, and the children as well.

I won't get smaltzy ('cause I know you don't like that!) but-simply say "Thank you" with all the depth of feeling that can be-attached to those simple words.

I intend for us to grow old together, to prosper, and to never be-alone. Here's to the rest of our lives!

All my love, ALWAYS,

Melanie

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Dear Son,

You truly are a special boy! How many fathers could go through-what I have, and still enjoy the love and sharing with their son,-the way I do? You are the sunshine of my life.

Now that I'm back, my focus will be much more on family, and less-on myself. So look for more trips and outings, more family games-and activities, and more time between father and son!

Thank you for being accepting, and thank you for being you!

Love,

Dad

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January 19th, 1992

I'm back and I'm better than ever! There was very little-bleeding from the surgery at all phases. In fact, I was on-Light Days mini pads before I left the hospital. My roomie,-unfortunately, was a gusher.

Dr. Biber's work is amazing!!! When the stitches are all gone, no-one will be able to tell I wasn't born this way. I knew he was-good, but he's absolutely a magician!

Dilating for me was very easy the first time. No pain (on the-small dilator) and after about five minutes, the sexual sensation-was so strong, I had to start rocking my hips! You know, that-was what amazed me the most: I woke up from surgery, everything-on the outside of the body was numb, but I could already feel the-warm glow of sensuality from deep within. How DOES he do-that?!?!

The train ride was wonderful! Sleeper compartments are a-MUST!!! The lady who is the "dorm mother" for that car, brought-a blanket and sheet, and tucked me in the night I was returning. -COZY!!!

My most favorite time was having meals in the diner car. Since I-was alone, I was placed at a table with other by the conductor to-save space. And, bless his heart, at dinner he sat me next to a-handsome young single guy on his way to Flagstaff. I spent all-dinner flirting!

Dilating became harder as I was farther removed from the effects-of the packing. But I was prepared! When I got home, I saw that-the vibrator I had ordered had arrived by mail. Last night,-while the family slept, I tried it before the Biber dilator, and-it opened everything up with no pain or discomfort at all. The-Biber dilator slipped in with no problem after getting things-"warmed up"!

January 23, 1992

I've finally regained my strength after that first day back to-work. Yesterday, I ended up taking a nap for an hour on the-couch in the meeting room at work, then two more naps at home-before finally going to bed at 11 pm.

Am I being treated any differently at work? It's hard to say. I-sense some small difference, sort of like my co-workers have-stopped holding back the final five percent of acceptance, just-in case I had changed my mind. But the effect is so subtle, and-I was accepted so well before surgery, that it could just be my-imagination. Certainly, nothing substantive is noticeable.

As for myself, with Chris' help, I was so together before I left-for surgery that there have been no fireworks or "yippee!"s in my-own attitude either. Rather, it is more just the absence of-worrying about my gender vs. my sex anymore. Clearly, whatever-body map with which my brain was encoded is much more aligned to-this form than the other. And only now that I have something to-compare with do I realize how uncomfortable I was with the other-equipment.

I had my first pelvic at my doctor's on Monday, and since he is-the local authority on TS folk, it was pleasant to hear his-praise of Biber's work. That Trinidad guy really IS a genius!

January 25, 1992

It's 7:15 AM on Saturday morning. All the family is asleep, save-me. In about an hour, it'll be exactly one week since I pulled-into the station and returned home to Mary, the kids, and the-rest of my life. What a wonderful and pleasant time it is to-reflect, wordlessly on the twisting, precarious journey that-brought me through the cliffs and chasms to the peaceful valley I-now call my home.

Yesterday was our sixteenth anniversary. Of course, with all the-goings on of the last week, I forgot! But that was not a large-sin 'round here, as when we went shopping last nite, I bought a-whole cornucopia of Mary's favorite goodies at the supermarket,-and she nearly glowed with the attention.

The house is a wreck, the yard is a mess, the finances are in-disarray, but I'm back now, and while the others sleep, I'll be-cleaning, organizing, and making breakfast, so they can awaken to-house in order.

It's amazing that it is only two weeks since surgery, and already-I'm essentially back to 100%. Biber truly is a genius/saint. -The best part is, already I feel like I was this way all my-life. The whole package clearly fills some indefinable "body-expectation" that my brain had always carried.

I am beginning to see small, subtle, slowly moving changes in my-friends, co-workers, and myself now. The sexual tension is-gradually building up between me and the men folk at work. And I-think we're all enjoying it. It's kind of like before surgery,-they didn't think of me as a man, but hadn't classed me as a-woman yet either. I was a category unto myself: accepted, a-friend, but neither fish nor fowl (although possibly FOUL!)

Now, they are accepting me as the genuine article, and they don't-even know they are doing it. It is such a gradual shift that it-completely escapes their consideration, as well it should!

January 25, 1992

I can see how attitudes toward men (and attitudes toward self)-will gradually change with time. I wonder what it will be like-to think of myself as part of a particular group? I mean, I-never felt part of the group of men, so I didn't identify with-them. Then, during transition, I didn't feel completely part of-the group called women, since it was only internally true, not-externally. I did feel like me, however, but that is just a-group of one.

But now I can feel the embryonic tuggings of a new self-image. -Nothing strong enough to define yet, but just edging in on the-fringe of my awareness. By others, I was completely accepted, at-least in any way I could measure. But allowing myself to feel-part of any group? A new concept for me!

If there is a "them", there must be an "us".

My feelings toward men, I'm sure, will lag slightly behind my-feelings toward women. For as I allow myself to drop my final-isolationist protectionism and admit, "I am one of us" in a very-basic, emotional way, I will see myself for the first time as not-unique, but similar to others.

To truly have a peer group: what does that feel like? I'm eager-to find out. But things of this nature cannot be rushed, and-will come in their own time.

January 28, 1992

The one thing I was always afraid of was choosing NOT to follow-the path to wherever it led, then laying on my death bed-wondering... wondering....

Well, of course, that is no longer a fear on my part. The hard-part is when you make that leap of faith as they wheel you-through the operating room doors, having no way to be sure if you-are making the right choice, but only being sure that the other-choice hasn't worked for you.

The best part is when you wake up and realize that as you search-your soul, on THIS side of the leap of faith, all doubt is gone. -You KNOW you made the right choice. But you'll never be able to-see that before the leap. That is WHY it's a LEAP of FAITH.

You can't make that leap; you SHOULD NOT make that leap until you-have explored all other alternatives to be sure that the answer-does not lie elsewhere. You still can't be sure it lies beyond-surgery, but you CAN be sure it is not on this side. So, maybe-there is no answer for you: like a blind man who wants sight, but-it is physically impossible.

Sometimes there really ARE things that are mutually exclusive,-and problems that really can't be solved. But they will NEVER be-solved on this side of the leap. Only by taking that blind step do we even have a chance.

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