a different kind of weather

different weather

Just something that kind of found it’s way to paper this week. Very short, shouldn’t take long to wade through.

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A Different Kind of Weather

He’s standing at the water cooler, listening to the usual banter. Things like ‘which girl in accounting has the best ta-tas?’ or ‘If you need a date with someone really easy, try Mona over in shipping…Mona will have you moanin’ in no time…’ He tried to smile, tried to see the humor in his co-workers’ backwards banter, but it was difficult. In the first place, he knew Mona. She’d just gone through a brutal divorce, her husband an abusive philanderer, and she was anything but easy. In fact, she was spending all her free time with support groups, trying to come to terms with her almost serial hatred of all things male, and coming-on to Mona right now, he knew, would probably get some of your precious anatomy sliced off. And really, who cares how big someone’s breasts are? They’re milk glands, for God’s sake! Used for feeding babies, you idiots! Of course they get big after childbirth! They’re supposed to do that! That’s what they’re for, you ninnies!

But then he’d pull back, look away. Look away into the recent past.

Of course breasts are attractive, especially when accentuated by a certain cut of dress. Just as the curves of a leg are pretty, even a woman’s wrist and hands. Or the curve of her neck. Attractive, he thought, was such a loaded word. A noun and a verb. I want to be attractive? Wear something attractive tonight? Where was the line between that form of the word and I want to wear something that will attract men? I want to be attractive,  as in: I want attention?

Or when he took his kids to the park on Saturday morning?

How he watched his kids play? Other kids, with other parents?

You could tell the difference between mothers and fathers, out there in a leafy park, just by watching how each interacted with their kids. Mothers protective, looking for one kind of learning, a questioning of the world around them. Fathers looking for something altogether different, encouraging a more violent, penetrative exploration of their surroundings, with physical inquisitiveness bordering on conquest more the norm. Watch a game develop and mothers were soon trying to develop cooperation and team building, while most fathers emphasized dominance and physical superiority. And pretty soon all the mothers were bunched up on one side of the field, all the fathers standing well away, each group trying to assert their will on huddled groups of befuddled children.

And yet, soon he saw that boys raised by mothers tended to act more like their mothers, while girls raised by their fathers tended to become reactive clones of this strange man in their lives. Polarity, a simple bi-polar world emerged. Female and male. Cooperation and dominance.Each force trying to assert pure Will. Nothing was ‘wrong,’ per se, about either point of view, yet such a profound difference existed between the two. And while such differences might have, perhaps, been complimentary at some point in history, these days it seemed as if the two points of view were on a collision course.

The problem in his own life, he’d realized at a very young age, was that he always related to a mother’s point of view, a somewhat more feminine way of looking at the world. Even as far back as college, and who knows, maybe even before, he was ‘attracted’ to women physically, and of that much he was certain, yet he related to women’s emotions more readily than he did men’s, or to a masculine interpretation of the emotional world where he lived and worked.

He had been married for more than fifteen years, had two children now, a boy and a girl, both still in elementary school, and while these feelings had always been with him something was changing. A lingering, nagging feeling that something was profoundly wrong with his life kept him company in the quiet of the night. Not a sudden change, he knew, more rather a cumulative series of little moments, building one upon another, like a house of cards too long built upon a shaky table – and then a sudden gust comes.

You never know, do you?

He was walking home one day, on a downtown street, and he was passing a department store window. A mannequin display, women’s dresses. His reflection in the glass, superimposed over a dress. His face, his arms, floating in the glass. Melding with the dress. He saw a woman standing inside the glass and it was an epiphany, a sudden shattering of one worldview – in an instant replaced by another.

He stood there for the longest time, looking into the glass. Wondering what it all meant, why he suddenly felt so – different. Not a woman, certainly, but not really sure what he was now. He felt breathless and alone, the way a naked woman forced out there onto the sidewalk might have felt. Suddenly outside and exposed, trying to get away from prying eyes.

On the outside, looking in.

But where was in?

He looked at the reflection and he knew. At least, he thought he might know.

When he walked in the house that night he could tell Jenny, his wife, knew something was wrong. The questioning look in her eyes, the worry, there on her face.

Does she see the same me?

Or can she see that something’s changed?

Is it so obvious?

But something really had changed in that moment. Maybe she could see.

When his wife tried to be intimate later that night he felt embarrassed, almost turned away in shame. Within days she felt more like a close friend than his wife, and he was, he realized, no longer attracted to her – in that way. She was still beautiful, certainly, as beautiful as she had ever been, but the act of penetrative love seemed beyond him now. He became confused, she resentful, and what had once been an open relationship full of truth and sharing soon became walled off partitions full of wounded lies and reckless evasions.

“What’s wrong, Devon?” she cried one night. “What’s wrong with us? What’s happened to you and I?”

And he knew she was his best friend, she always would be, so she’d have to hear his feelings, and she’d have to understand.

So he told her, and she did not understand.

She turned away, looked lost. She had forgotten.

And he had never felt more alone in his life. More different, and apart.

And she moved away from him now. In the kitchen, in the bathroom, like he was much more than someone different now. He was broken, a broken soul. Worse, he was wrong. “Outcast, unclean! Get away! Get away from me! From MY children!”

He went to his family practitioner, tried to talk about his feelings, and the old man referred him to a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist who held that such things were the work of Satan. He sent the man to meeting at a nearby church, a meeting where men sat around talking about the evils of homosexuality and how such things could be purged – if you could only take the Lord Jesus into your heart!

“But I’m not attracted to men,” he said, and he got up, left the befuddled children on their playground.

Then he found a support group for transitioning transgendered men and woman, found that his feelings were not necessarily unique, and that he was not alone. He also began to intuit that the road ahead was more complicated than he could have ever imagined, and that his would be a very lonely journey. He took down the names of physicians and counselors who might help, who might lead him through the maze, but he perceived an endlessly frightening landscape ahead…a landscape where he might forever remain on the outside, looking in. Where his wife and children might reject him, and his greater family, too. His parents, for instance? His brother? His friends and associates at work? And what about his childhood friends? Where would the loneliness end?

‘Would it not be simpler to just accept what I was born as?’ he asked himself over and over again.

‘But what was I born as?’ came the next, more immediate question. “Who am I, really?”

The question of ‘attraction’ came up again, and more frequently, in his discussions at group meetings. “I am not attracted to men,” he said, again and again, and a black man next to him leaned over and winked.

“Wait’ll you start doing the hormones!” The man said, his voice full of knowing warmth.

“You mean…?”

“Uh-huh.”

Then had come new waves of doubt, ever evolving forms of self-persecution. Like a war between hope and despair, a war of passing tides. Ebbs and floods of wanting and denying, hope and dread. And in every passing mood – always the same question: “Who am I?”

He next tried to approach the issue rationally, reading about developmental biology first, then the changes he might expect to face if he chose to start hormone therapy. Changes in appearance, changes in mood, then further reading. Endocrinology next, then deeper, into psychobiology. He began to understand that the differences between a man and a woman were profound, yet subtly so. There was hardly any difference, for instance, between the dermal layers of the labia minora and the scrotum, yet the hormonal differences between male and female were monumental, yet subtle. Even so, females had testosterone in their system, some, quite obviously, had more than others. She read that high testosterone levels in prison populations tended to be higher than in the general population – in both male and females – and when he had his level tested the endocrinologist informed him that his level was so low it might be considered normal, for a woman. Cancer was suspected – but no, all the results from his next round of labwork proved normal, so no illness was responsible.

He discussed HRT, or Hormone Replacement Therapy, with his endocrinologist – only this time in more depth, and with an eye to actually starting the regimen. Soon. He went home and discussed this with his wife, and she came undone.

What would it mean, she asked, when they went out together. When they went out with their friends, for instance, or, God forbid, visited family. How would the changes begin to affect their children? How would they tell them? What would they tell them? How on earth could children not even ten years old begin to comprehend what was being told them? What would they think? How would his very personal changes begin to affect them?

And then she really began pulling back, drifting away. His best friend, the only person, other than his parents, he had ever truly loved – falling away quickly now. Close, but not touching. There in bed, by his side, but far, far away. He touched her once, just wanted a hug, really, and she jumped away – and the look in her eyes was all he needed to know. They turned away from each after that, their marriage in a kind of death spiral that only lawyers could resolve.

He was served papers at work, and moved out that night. To a hotel.

He sat in the dank room and wondered what had happened to his life, wondered if all this was worth the price he was going to have to pay. That he was forcing her to pay, and his children too.

“Shouldn’t I just end it all?” he asked himself, sitting on that dank bed, smelling the room’s foul, antiseptic air. His beautiful home, his gorgeous wife and kids – now gone? “Is who I am really so important?”

“Is living a lie really so bad?”

And he looked in the mirror.

“Yes, it really is that important, and yes, living life as a series of self-deceptions really is that bad. Life is beautiful, and my life is too.”

He began to look at life as more than the sum total of random appearances. That beauty really was something more than skin deep. That the people who chose to turn away from him really didn’t understand the nature of being human, let alone what love really meant. If his father couldn’t accept him now? If the pastor of his church turned away in disgust? If his friends and co-workers rejected him?

“I’ll find new friends, new co-workers. I’ll find a new church, a more embracing, inclusive place to think about God. I’ll give my father time, let him understand it’s still me, that my love is more powerful than his fear. I’ll still love my wife as the friend she always was, and always will be, to me. I’ll hold up my children and let them look into my eyes, let them see the same love I’ve always felt for them – that it’s still right where it always has been. And that while everything has changed, nothing really important has.”

The changes were subtle at first. Moods, maybe, changed. Physical changes were more subtle, and slower to manifest, and he decided ‘now’ was the time to make a clean break.

He moved away, yet remained close enough to ‘home’ to see his kids on weekends. Far enough away to feel like he was starting over, yet close enough to still feel his roots. He interviewed for a couple of positions, told the HR people what was going on in his life, and at one company the HR people seemed to not only accept the idea, the woman who interviewed him seemed to embrace his courage. He started work there a few weeks later, and he started in on other changes he’d long neglected in his life.

He started dieting, seriously watching what he ate, and he started exercising almost daily. He noticed serious change right away – he felt better, and not just physically. He felt ‘more comfortable in his skin,’ like testosterone had – for him – been some kind of soul-poison. He dropped weight, his hands slimmer, his legs and feet too, and little breasts began emerging. His five o’clock shadow withered, and the facial hair that now grew on his face was softer and light, no longer heavy and coarse.

He began shopping for more androgynous clothing, things less specifically male, yet not quite female, either. He let his hair grown, started a more specific facial hair removal program, and then he noticed his face was changing too, and not just from all the weight lost. His features were, in fact, growing softer, more feminine, and the first realizations of this change rattled him.

Because one day he looked in the mirror and saw something he had never really expected to see.

He saw the first outlines of an image, a sketch, really, of the woman he knew he had always wanted to be.

And when she saw her smile in the mirror, she knew exactly who she was.

+++++

And she went ‘home’ that next Thanksgiving, to visit her children, and her soon-to-be ex-wife.

She took the train that day, rode up from Providence to Back Bay and transferred to the Orange Line, took it all the way out to Oak Grove. Jenny was waiting there, of course, but she didn’t have the kids with her. No, she was with a man.

“Where are the kids?” she asked Jenny.

“At home, with my mom and dad.”

“Well,” she said, “shall we go?”

And Jenny had looked away, looked to the man by her side.

Who spoke next. “Look, we don’t want you coming around. Not now. Not ever.”

And she looked at the man. “I’m sorry…and you are?”

“I’m your ex-wife’s fiancé.”

“I see. And my wife isn’t divorced. Not yet. And you’re telling me you’re engaged?”

“That’s right, and you’d better leave now.”

“I was invited. By my wife. To see my children.”

“Sorry, pal. You’d better make other plans from now on.”

“Jenny? Is this what you want? Is this the way you want to play this?”

“Yeah,” the man said. “This is what we want…and this is the way things are gonna be.” And then the man pushed her – hard – and she stumbled back, then fell over.

And everything went black.

+++++

She came to in a dark room. A hospital room, she saw.

She tried to turn her head but she felt fire, inside her head, on her skin, and she cried out.

A nurse came to her bed, all gowned and masked-up. “Are you with us again?”

“I don’t know. Who’s ‘us,’” she asked.

“You’re at Mass Gen, post op ICU. Surgery, for a head injury.”

“Head injury?”

“You were pushed, the back of your head landed on a bike rack, you had a depressed skull fracture.”

“I see. How long have I been out?”

“About a day…well, not quite a day.”

“I missed Thanksgiving?”

“You did.”

“Well, that sucks.”

The nurse laughed. “I guess so!” she said, carefully. “Your wife has been around twice this morning, by the way. Real early.”

“Oh?”

“Said I should tell you she’ll be by after she drops off the kids at her parent’s.”

“Swell.”

The nurse looked at her again, more closely this time. “I don’t know why anybody would choose to be a woman. It’s a man’s world, you know? I can see wantin’ to be a guy – but a woman? No way. I just don’t see it.”

And she looked at the nurse behind the paper gowns and plastic goggles, tried to get where she was coming from, but something about the moment seemed to set her back.

“I’m sorry,” the nurse said, “I shouldn’t’ve said that. Mean of me, I guess.”

“No, it’s not mean. It’s just that you haven’t experienced the world through my eyes, but that doesn’t mean you’re being hurtful.”

“Yeah. Ignorant is more like it.”

They both laughed, but her head hurt and she sucked in her breath. “Whoa…”

“Hurts?”

“Something fierce. Yeah.”

“How ‘bout some super secret sauce?”

“Huh?”

“A little morphine?”

“No, I don’t think so. Anyway, I don’t think ignorant is the way to approach this, either.”

“Thanks. I think.”

“Yeah, I know, but it’s like, well, I don’t know the best way to describe this. Can you generalize about every woman’s experience based on your own? Or, is every man’s experience like mine – was? Is every trans-girl’s experience a mirror image of my own? The answer is no, it isn’t. And…I don’t want my life to ‘be’ like anyone else’s, either. I know it’s a cliché, but I just want to be me, whoever that is, and while I know it’s nice not being judged, everybody is – judged – and all the time, whether we want to be – or not.”

“I guess I think I was just being insensitive, ya know?”

“Okay.”

“I get where you’re going, though. I hate it when guys stare at me. At my legs, I guess.”

“You don’t like being objectified?”

“You know, I hear that all the time – but what does that really mean?”

“Good question. Like you are being defined by your legs, for instance. Your legs become an object to someone…something someone’s lust is focused on, instead of on you as a person.”

“Yeah. You know, I was at a club recently and I’m getting hit on right and left. ‘You’ve got great legs,’ one guy says – and even this chick was hitting on me, saying almost the exact same thing and I’m like, whoa!”

“It’s a big problem these days, like we’re living in a depersonalized culture…”

There was a knock on the door and the nurse went to see who was there, and Jenny came in – all gowned up in green paper this and plastic that, and she came into the room, walked right up to the bed, and she could see waves of grief on her face.

“Oh my God,” Jenny said, breaking into uncontrolled sobs. “I’m so sorry, so sorry…oh, Devon, what have I done…”

She put her hand on her wife’s, felt her respond just as she had a million times over the last twenty years. Her skin so familiar, even through gloves. The way her fingers moved, an echo of the soul within. She closed her eyes and felt adrift in the moment, felt the connection she had first experienced so many years ago. Her eyes, the way they filled with tears – everything the same.

“God, how I loved you.”

And Jenny looked up, nodded. “I know. I love you too. I can’t stop that, stop feeling that way.”

“I never wanted you to.”

“I couldn’t see that, not really. I felt like I’d failed you somehow…”

“Failed…me?”

Jenny nodded her head rapidly. “Yeah. How ‘bout that?”

“So…how’s your, what? Your fiancé?”

“Ex-fiancé, I think you mean. I, well, he’s still in jail. His brother…”

“He’s what!?”

“A transit cop saw the whole thing, arrested him on the spot. Felony assault. I called his brother this morning, told him to pass on a little message…”

She looked away, needed to change the topic, fast. “So? How’re the kids?”

“They missed…we missed you. All of us…we missed you.”

“You know, and I missed Thanksgiving, too. That’s always been…”

“Your favorite. I know. Don’t worry.” Jenny leaned in, took her hand. “I don’t know what happened, Dev, but it’s over. I’m back. Can you forgive me?”

“Forgive you? For what? For being afraid? For not knowing what comes next? For being human?”

“Yeah – all those things, and a million more…”

“What about all my sins? Sins of omission? Of not telling you how I felt? What was happening to me?”

“For what? For being afraid? For not knowing what comes next? For being human?”

“Gotcha?”

“You better believe I gotcha.”

They smiled.

“So, what would that make us,” Jenny asked, grinning. “Lesbians?”

“Two friends who fell in love, once upon a time.”

“Yeah.”

“Nothing like the truth, Jen.”

Another knock on the door, and the nurse made another trip to the door – and in comes this cop, a big, burly Boston baked beans and pork chops kind of cop, and he walked up to the bed and looks at Jenny, then at her.

“This is the cop, uh, the officer that arrested Ben last night…” Jenny said, looking up at the towering man.

And Devon looked up at this mountain of a man as he walked up, not sure exactly what he was. An ex-NBA forward with an appetite for some animals, like bison, or perhaps just a cop…

“Hello, uh, Miss Sutton?”

“Devon, please?”

“Devon, I’m Officer Stillwell, MBTA Police, and I…”

“And I need to thank you, I think. For coming to my rescue?”

“No Ma’am. I just needed to get some information for my report, wondered if I could talk to you alone for a minute or two?”

“I’ll just step outside,” Jenny said, walking to the door – and the nurse followed her.

“Sure. Fire away,” Devon said after the door closed, “but do you have a first name?”

“Oh, Brian. Just a few things I need to clear up. First, you’re male?”

“Officially, I think that’s still the primary designation. For now, anyway?”

He wrote on a notepad, scribbling away furiously as he asked his questions. “I got it now,” he said as he put away his pad.

“You do?”

“Yeah, my brother transitioned a few years ago. We all had a tough time with it, but life goes on, ya know?”

“It tends to, whether we like it to or not.”

He laughed a little at that, then he looked at her more closely. “I was kind of disappointed, I guess, even so.”

“Disappointed? What do you mean?”

“Cute, I guess.”

“Cute?”

“Yeah. You’re cute. As in, I think you are very cute. As in, I’m standing here and my knees are getting weak just looking at you kind of cute.”

“Really?”

“Really. As in, I’m wondering if you’d like to go out sometime.”

“Assuming I get out of here alive, you mean?”

He laughed. “I hear they’ll probably cut you loose by Monday, Tuesday latest. I’m off next Monday and Tuesday – in case you were wondering.”

“And you needed that for your report, did you?”

“Bet your ass I did, Ma’am.”

“That must be some report…”

“Yup.”

“You do know that I am, well, still a little boy down there?”

“Ma’am, I’m not asking you…well, I’m not asking for anything other the chance to get to know you.”

“I see. And I suppose you wouldn’t mind driving me down to Providence, would you? Next Monday or…”

“No, Ma’am, I wouldn’t.”

She grinned, first at all of life’s little ironies, then at the size of his smile. “I know I’m going to regret this, and in so many ways it boggles the mind, but why don’t we plan on that?”

“Yes, Ma’am. You mind if I drop by while you’re here? For a visit?”

“No, I sure don’t.”

“Yes, Ma’am. Thank you, Ma’am. Well, I’ve got to run.”

“Okay, and thanks again for helping out yesterday.”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

The nurse came in after the cop left, then Jenny followed a minute later.

“So, he asked you out?”

“He asked to drive me home, when I get out of this place?”

Jenny grinned, but it was an odd, displaced grin, full of uncertainty. “Where’s home?”

“Providence…what do you mean by…Oh, Jen. What are you…?”

“I was thinking you’d move back in? With us?”

“Oh…”

“Can you tell me…are you beginning…are you attracted to men now?”

“You know, I hadn’t thought about that until just now. I wasn’t last week, but I was when he came in the door. Isn’t that odd?”

“Oh, Dev,” Jenny said, taking her hand again. “What is going on?”

“I don’t know, Jen. There are times when everything feels new and – well, there are times when things aren’t as clear as I thought they’d be.”

“Like now?” Jenny asked.

“Like now.”

+++++

He came to her room early the next afternoon, and he brought flowers. She was asleep when he got there, and he walked in, put the vase on a deep window sill and pulled up a chair. He watched her sleep for a while, then pulled out his phone when it chirped – and when he looked up she was watching him.

“Hello there,” he said. “Wanted to drop some flowers off, but you were asleep. Sorry.”

“They’re pretty. Daisies?”

“Yup. I like white flowers, but somehow lilies seemed, well, just plain wrong.”

“Good point. And thank you, Brian.”

“How’re you feeling today? Any better?”

“If I can get them to stop pumping me full of morphine.”

“What?”

“They seem to think every time I sigh I need another dose of that stuff.”

“Do they say why?”

“Something about holding still. I don’t know, maybe letting the bone mend?”

“Makes sense, I guess.”

“I’m glad you stopped by. On your way to work?”

“Yup, on at four this evening. Holiday weekend, all that.”

“How long have you been, well, a cop?”

“I did twenty with Boston then retired, hated having all that time on my hands and managed to get back on with the transit authority. Not quite the same thing, but better than hanging out at house watching TCM.”

“I like watching TCM.”

“Yeah? What’s your favorite?”

“Hmm. My favorite…? Well, I always liked Now, Voyager, but I also really like Holiday, the Grant-Hepburn original.”

“Breaking free of home,” he added. “Yeah, I get that.”

“What?”

“They’re both about breaking free of arbitrary authority and custom. Yearning for freedom. I always liked Holiday, and The Philadelphia Story. Those two had chemistry.”

“They did. What’s your favorite?”

“My Man Godfrey.”

“The William Powell version?”

“Yup.”

“Interesting. Carole Lombard was…”

“Priceless.”

“You know, I was going to say exactly that. Priceless.”

“I’ve felt drawn to you,” he said, “since I first touched your wrist, felt for a pulse. Nothing’s ever happened to me like that before.”

“Never married?”

“Nope. Got out of the military, went straight to work with the PD and never looked back. I was, well, preoccupied, I guess you could say.”

“What would you do over again?”

“Kids.”

“They’re important.”

“You have…?”

“Two, a boy and a girl, seven and nine.”

“With, is it Jennifer?”

“Yup.”

“You look like sisters. When I first saw her with you I thought that’s what she was. Your sister.”

She smiled. “Maybe that’s what we are now. Who knows?”

“She still loves you, I guess you know?”

“I still love her, too.”

“That way?” he asked, his eyes suddenly full of uncertainty.

“We’ve been apart for almost a year now. Very acrimonious divorce. I think what her boyfriend did rattled her world, shook her up, made her aware of all she’d turned her back on.”

“Everything’s up in the air now?”

“I have absolutely no idea. Does that bother you?”

“No, not really. I’ve always figured what’s meant to be will be, you know, that’s what’ll happen.”

“I guess. As long as you don’t sit around and wait for things to happen. Is that why you’re here, Brian?”

“Probably so, yes.”

“And I’m not quite what you expected, huh?”

“I don’t think that matters, Devon.”

“Really? Don’t you think maybe you’re not being honest with yourself?”

His eyes never left her. “You know, I don’t know what brings people together. I only know what I felt – when I touched you, when I saw your face.”

She nodded, smiled. “I know. I’ve been there once before.”

“With Jennifer.”

“Yes.”

“Is there room in there for someone else? Someone new?”

She nodded her head. “Yes.”

“Okay. Slow and easy, right?”

“One step at a time. Everything is new to me, I guess you know.”

“I called my brother, well, my sister about all this…”

“And what were his first words?”

“Oh, the irony!”

She laughed. “I’ll bet. What else did she have to say?”

“Go slow, don’t push.”

“Well, as long as she wasn’t talking about…?”

“Oh, Jesus! God – no – ”

She laughed again – and he tried to hide his face.

“You know, I almost feel like a virgin again,” she said, trying not to laugh.

“Scared?”

“Nervous. That’s a better word. I had a prostate exam two years ago, my first one, and I came unglued…”

“Yeah, I hate those…”

And they looked at one another, an embarrassed little moment, and he looked away. “Sure you want to open these doors, Brian?”

“I’m sure I want to know you better, Devlon. I feel like I need to be there for you. Like something is pushing me towards you.”

“You were. There for me.”

“More than that. Something stronger.”

“Okay.”

“I gotta go now. Thought I’d come by tomorrow morning, if that’s alright.”

“Of course it is.” And he reached over, took her hand, brought it to his lips – and after he kissed her fingers he turned, quickly left the room.

The moment washed over her for several minutes, then she felt sleep coming and closed her eyes.

++++

The morning sun had just painted the walls in shades of lavender and yellow when she heard a knock on the door, then she saw her mother’s face poke around the door. Then her brother, and then Jenny and the kids. And finally, her father walked in – looking sheepishly self important, and not a little confused.

“Wow!” she said. “It’s raining family today!”

Her kids got there first, and landed – on her lap – in a squirming heap. Then the white bandage around her head must have penetrated awareness because they slowed down and looked at her. Katy reached up first and felt the gauze wrapping, then rubbed her father’s face.

“Is that a big ouchie, Dad?”

“It sure is, Sweetheart. Biggest one I’ve ever had.”

“Looks like it hurts,” Trevor said.

And she saw his sudden concern, their overwhelming love, and she wanted to hold on to them forever – but that was not to be, could never be. “It looks much worse than it is, Trevor, so don’t you worry.” But she knew he would. Trevor was the worrier in the family. The new worrier, she corrected herself, and she turned, looked at her father.

“How are you, Dev?” he asked, now by the side of her bed.

“Good, Dad. Feeling much better than yesterday.”

He reached out, put his hand on her cheek, something he used to do a very long time ago – and she leaned into the warmth like it was the last sun of summer, into the moment like this was one of the most important of her life, of all their time together, then he leaned closer still and kissed her forehead.

The moment passed like a benediction, and then everyone crowded ‘round and her family did what all families do when silence pushes in – they compared ailments and talked about the weather, about how different everything was these days – and she saw Jenny then, standing well away from it all, leaning against a far wall. Maybe feeling a little lost, she thought.

She held out her hand and Jenny came – and they kissed.

So simple, she sighed. Love is so simple, and so easy to understand – for something so powerful. So many bonds in this room, so much hidden strength. So many yesterdays, never too many tomorrows. They gathered around her now, and talked of a different kind of weather.

© 2017 Adrian Leverkühn | abw | adrianleverkuhnwrites.com

14 thoughts on “a different kind of weather

  1. Wow!
    It didn’t take long to read, but will take much longer to process. Maybe a lifetime.
    The complication is the blind intolerance some feel. That there are support groups, individuals, health care “professionals”, family members, on different sides of the question. And ultimately there is only one person who can answer the question, and the only one who can ask, who am I?

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  2. I loved your musing in the beginning of the story about attractiveness in a woman. I’ve always felt that the existence of the sundress is proof that God is a probably a male.

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    • I wonder now about the girl watching her idea of a great looking male butt walking past. Are tight Levis proof that God is a female? Or is God in the eye of the beholder?
      Or, as I suspect, is God really a Springer Spaniel? If God is Love, then yes, my vote goes to the Springer.

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  3. Well, your climate tends to discourage the wearing of sundresses. When I was driving for UPS, I would always looks forward to those warm spring days on campus when the sundresses would appear. My wife would usually wear them on those days too.

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    • This line got me: “…how we’re wired to want order. It’s natural for our minds to put these kinds of binaries as the cornerstone of worldviews to cling to and defend what we know over against what feels chaotic and frightening and new.”

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  4. That is a really sweet story. Even though I am a confirmed male (but as far from macho as can be), I think I got it right away. I’ve always admired the bravery of transgendered people.

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