After Life

Book Two: Purgatory

From Journeys and Transitions

by Melanie

Chapter 76

A New Journey

October 31, 2005


1:13 p.m.

Last night, when we went to bed, the tension lifted.  I explained to Teresa how yesterday’s entry turned out, and how much she meant to me.  It turns out that her greatest fear is that I will someday leave her.  If she could only see my heart, she would know that I would never.

But, as I have said throughout this journal, I have the same fears about her, which she also assures me are groundless.  Perhaps the greatest security in a relationship is knowing that both parties fear the other one leaving them.

Regardless, we snuggled and cooed, went to sleep happy, and slept until the alarm went off for Teresa’s next pain pill.  We hadn’t slept that well since days before her surgery.

In the morning, we were both in such good spirits that the clouds of the last few days could not help but part.  And we spent a very pleasant morning chatting and going about our various chores. 

After looking in the mirror when I first awoke, I finally came to a decision about what, if any, cosmetic work I wanted to do.  After yesterday’s experience when completely dressed down, and after days of speculation and last night’s look at my wrap-around photo series, I determined that I would, indeed, have surgery to curl up and make fuller my upper lip.

So, a couple hours after Mira comes into the office, I called her to put it all in motion.  At that time, she was just about to remove the nose packing from yet another patient, and said she would call back after noon.

I took the opportunity to get dressed and run down to the Post Office to mail some essential bills, then stopped by the Safeway to pick up some day-wear firming cream to help with those pesky jowls.  As usual, I can never leave a store with only what I came for, so I stocked up on a few sale items as well.

As I walked back into the house, Teresa handed me the phone and said, “Call Mira,” which I quickly did, even before unloading.  In short order, I got all the specifics of the surgery.  It is done under a local anesthetic – you are still knocked out from an IV of drugs, but the effect is just to put you to sleep, not to depress the whole body – more as if you are having a wisdom tooth out.

The procedure takes about ninety minutes.  My lip will be swollen for between two to three weeks before I start to forget about it.  There will be a small, almost invisible scar under my nose.  But the results will be a truly female, very feminine mouth.

In comparing Teresa’s before pictures last night to her most recent ones, it is so very clear why she had to go to such extremes.  And despite the pain and expense, she clearly made the very best choice.  Her life now will be one of peace and self-assuredness.

Although I pass completely when dressed up, yesterday’s experiment showed me that I am still at risk of being read under the right conditions.  Now it may seem vain, especially to those who would love to look good enough to not get read under perfect conditions, but when you truly know yourself to be a woman inside, it is far too painful to allow for any possibility of not passing, especially after 38 years of living as a fraction of a soul pretending to be male.

As with Teresa, I just want to be whole.  I want to be complete.  Not ninety eight or ninety nine percent complete, but the whole enchilada.  I want to divest myself of any remaining male attributes, and not just in the eyes of others, but in my own eyes as well.

This lip surgery may have a positive impact on that last little potential for readability, but I am hoping it will have a transforming effect on how I read myself.

So, the date is set for December 6th.  I send a $500 deposit in tomorrow, and pay another $3,200 on the 5th when I arrive for my pre-surgery appointment.

It is both liberating and terrifying to face yet another surgery.  It has been a dozen years since my last.  I cannot even imagine how much fear Teresa (and others who opt for the full package) have to conquer, nor how much anxiety hangs in the balance of what the final results will be.

Between now and my surgery, Teresa will continue to heal.  Her swollen bones will calm, and the true shape of her new female face will emerge.  Because her work was so much more extensive, I should be completely healed while she still has another month before the swelling is almost completely down.

I’m sure many unexpected turns await us as we move toward these goals and milestones.  But today, I already feel more confident in myself, knowing that I have made the commitment, and Teresa is enjoying renewed closeness to me, and new-found peace, now that she knows I no longer feel left behind.

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