Lessons Learned

I wrote this story and posted it, but unpubbed it because of the very real feelings and people involved. The story is true. I recently received permission from one of the people in the story to re-post it, so I'd like to enter it in the Summer Romance Story Contest. If it's deemed ineligible, I don't mind, but I wanted it here so others might learn from it. Thanks. Cathy.

LESSONS LEARNED

By Catherine Linda Michel

She sat on the edge of her bed, her head in her hands, crying as if she'd lost the best thing she'd ever had, and in so many ways, she had.

Several months before, Alice, a late life transitioner, had begun an online romance with another T-girl she'd known for three or four years. Everything had gone so wonderfully smooth, and Alice was beside herself with joy, head over heels in love.

Alice had always had immense respect for Janice's common sense and with her talent as a writer, as well as Jan's 10 year head start in transition, over Alice. Jan always had a way of getting Alice to look at things from a more 'real life' viewpoint, where Alice always looked at things from a fantasy point of view.

They'd even had a 'video date', which consisted of the two of them, using their webcams and communicating over an online phone service. They both dressed in their very best, prepared the same dinner, and watched a movie they both had on their hard drives. They had both, it seemed, had a wonderful time, and it seemed that this unique date had strengthened their growing relationship, and Alice was completely in love with Janice.

She'd bought an inexpensive, but expressive, twin heart necklace for Jan, hoping to place it lovingly around Jan's neck, when they finally got together in real life. Alice had sung to Jan, and read love poems to her, and Jan had seemed to have enjoyed being serenaded and thought of in such a loving way.

The two had planned to get together at a friend's home for a few days, for a first, face-to-face meeting, hoping that a neutral setting, and their growing love and respect for one another, would help solidify their feelings for one another, and really begin a lifelong partnership between them.

Alice had invested all her hopes and dreams in this relationship, hoping against hope that, this time, it would be right. That she'd finally found the one with which to share the rest of her life. So many times before, her hopes had been dashed, and her heart broken. She tried so hard to try to do everything right this time, and it seemed that her efforts were,indeed, bearing wonderful fruit.

Her transition and Real Life Test were going far better than she'd ever hoped for and, with this relationship, it seemed her life was finally going to be what she'd always hoped it would be...full of love, life, and joy. She, for maybe the first time in her life, was looking ahead to the rest of her life, certain in her belief that Janice was the one.

Through countless phone calls, and over their webcams, the two women solidified their feelings for one another, and words of love were spoken so tenderly and lovingly. Oh, how wonderful it was for Alice! She went through her daily, humdrum life in a dream of love, and planned for a long, loving future with Janice. She told all her friends, family, online family, and co-workers about Janice and how wonderful she felt, and they were all so happy for her. Life couldn't get any better than this, she thought.

Alice had always been a very impulsive sort of person, and she always threw herself into things head on, when she was interested in them. This was no different. She lived and breathed the love she felt in her heart, constantly. She did everything she could think of that seemed romantic, never realizing that it might overwhelm Janice, who, like Alice, had never been in such an intense relationship.

In fact, it was overwhelming Janice. She had begun the relationship in the hope of finding within her, the love and commitment it would take to sustain such a loving affair. She truly believed that she could do whatever it took to assure that she and Alice would form the lifetime partnership she believed she wanted, just as much as Alice did.

Yet in Janice's heart, doubts were growing, unknown to Alice. Jan's parents, who had all but disowned her when she began her transition, were in questionable health. Her Dad had numerous health problems, and her Mom had still not adjusted to her son becoming her daughter. Jan began to feel that, if her Mom found out that she was in a relationship with another T-girl, in effect, in a lesbian relationship, it would be too much for her Mom to handle. Jan was faced with a no win situation, and she wrestled with what she might have to do to resolve it.

She loved Alice, of that there was no doubt. She wanted a life partner, and had chosen Alice to be that partner, in the fervent hope that Alice would feel the same way. The courtship had gone so wonderfully smooth, and she knew that Alice loved her with all her heart, but despite that, she began to realize that she could not let herself desert her parents, who she truly loved and never wanted to hurt, even though they'd hurt her with their nonacceptance of her transition.

She agonized over which direction she had to go, and finally reached a heart wrenching decision. No matter how much she loved Alice, no matter how much she knew that Alice loved her, she would have to end it. She simply could not allow her actions to harm her parents any further. To her everlasting credit,she went directly to Alice, knowing that, although Alice would be heartbroken, maybe devastated by her decision, it was what she had to do for her own sanity, and for her parent's well-being.

She contacted Alice in the usual way, phoning her online. She tried her best to soften the blow, but she could tell that Alice was, indeed, heartbroken. Alice tried her best to not let it show, but Jan knew her too well, and knew that Alice was trying to be brave for her. It was, all around, a sad day for both of them, but Jan could do nothing else. Her duty, she firmly believed, lay with the ones who had brought her into this world, and in spite of their nonacceptance of her, Jan knew that two wrongs never make a right. She simply could not desert them, or subject them to even more disappointment in her and her life choices.

Alice did, indeed, try to be brave. She put up a good show of acceptance of Jan's decision, but inside, she died. When the two were done talking, after the phone had been hung up, she cried and couldn't seem to stop. All her dreams and hopes had just been destroyed, and could not believe, nor could her heart accept that everything she'd ever wanted had ended. She canceled plans with her friends. She canceled the meeting that she and Jan were going to have, and she cried, nearly non-stop, for all that night.

The next day, going to work was torture for Alice. She went through the entire day in a sort of haze, with tears in her eyes, threatening to overflow at any moment. Everyone knew something was dreadfully wrong, but they had no way of knowing what it was. It was no easier for Jan.

She spent a lot of time, regretting having ever started things with Alice, and regretting even more, the necessity of ending it. She'd wanted the same things that Alice did, and had hoped and prayed that they would live their lives and their love, together, but she knew where her duty was, and she could not bring herself to shirk it. Her sense of duty, and her love of God would have to sustain her, and she believed she knew that they could.

This story has no real end. It is still in flux. Janice and Alice are trying to change their relationship to one of close, trusted friendship. It won't be easy though. It will take work on both their parts, to try to put to rest the feelings they had, and might still have, for one another. With the help of their friends, and the strength of character they both have, they will win through this, and become the very best of friends.
As for their future...well, who knows.

We all know that true love never dies, and that time can change things. At the same time, we also know that duty and responsibility, however real, or self imposed they might be, are powerful things. Can these two star-crossed lovers ever find one another again, the way they both wanted? Probably not, but only time will tell.

In the meantime, friendship and respect must be their bywords. They both know that they made mistakes, and they have learned from them. You can't hurry love. You can't force it. You can't make it do what you want it to do. You can only accept it with an open heart, and hope for the future. You never know when it might find you, and you never know what might end it. All you can do is hope, and accept, and treasure every precious moment with the one you love.

Alice's final words to Jan about their breakup? What else could they be?

“As you wish.”



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