A Lesson Learned

A Lesson Learned
by Barbara Lynn Terry

Chapter 1 - Friday.

His father was an attorney, who defended mostly court appointed criminal defendants. Jared Foster was a man who believed men were men and women were women, and that was that. He adamantly denounced the gay lifestyle as being sinful and lustful, and argued that there was no use for such persons in this world. He felt that one of his collegues in his law firm was gay, but he never mentioned it to the man. Jared Foster had that thick, rich head of hair that everyone envied and wanted. He got his hair cut and styled at Super Cuts. Being six foot, four inches tall, he walked with a regal bearing, and always smiled, even when he was arguing.

Danny Foster was twelve years old, and slim. He had long, full eye lashes, naturally thin, sort of arched eye brows, and his lips were full. His hair was allowed to grow to his shoulders, and anyone seeing him, would think he was a girl. He had a high voice, like a girl has, and when he walked, his hips swayed naturally.

Jennine Foster is Danny's mother, and she is pretty, has long, shoulder length, blonde hair. When she walks she makes heads turn her way. She is a secretary for the president of a large toy manufacturer.

Jennine started noticing little odd tidbits about Danny. When he did things, he did them in a feminine manner. Like if he dropped something, he would stoop to pick it up. When he was doing his homework, he sat upright, instead of slouching like boys do. When Danny talked, he used animated hand gestures, and when he put his shoe boots on, he did it from the side, with his legs together. One day, Jennine decided to confront Danny about this.

"Danny?"

"Yes, mother."

"I have noticed you doing things around the house in a decidedly feminine way. Is there something you would like to tell me?"

"No, mother."

"Are you sure? Because if your father saw you, he would hit the roof. Are you gay?"

"No, mother," Danny said, as he looked at the floor.

"If you're not gay, then what pray tell is making you act like a girl would?"

"If I tell ... I don't know, mother."

"If you tell what, dear?"

"Nothing, mother."

Jennine looked at the stove behind Danny. Her thoughts were racing because of her husband's abhorrent dislike for gay people. She thought if he isn't gay, then what could it be? He started to tell her something, then changed his mind. Maybe I should get to know him better, so I can gain his trust and help him, if he needs it.

"Nothing, hmmm. Alright, Danny. But for right now, kind of stay away from your father. With all of the pressure he has to work under, we don't need him arguing a supreme court case here at home."

"Yes, mother."

Today was Friday, and his father would be home for the next two days. So Danny decided to just stay in his room, except for meals. His father never had a regular time to come home at, because of his busy schedule. So Danny watched movies on cable television.

That night, when his father did get home, he went straight to the kitchen.

"Honey, what's wrong. You look mad enough to tear the world apart."

"Maybe I am. I was appointed to defend a criminal defendant today by judge Weeks. When I talked to this defendant, he confessed to me that he was gay, and wouldn't even think about committing this kind of a crime. He said he has witnesses that can say where he was, because he is always there. I asked to please be relieved of this appointment, but judge Weeks said that I am the fifth court appointed attorney he has been given, and the case will proceed with no more court appointed attorneys. So I am stuck defending someone I have denounced as not being valuable in our society."

"Are you going to defend him like you do your other clients?"

"Yes, he deserves a fair trial by law and by the constitution, and I am an officer of the court. If I had about a hundred or so regular clients that paid me, I could probably take my name off of the court appointed list. But judge Weeks, I guess, wants to see how I will handle this. I mean, I may hate this person's lifestyle, but I am fair, if anything else. So, instead of being home tomorrow, I need to go and talk to these witnesses. He gave me their names, and told me I could talk to anyone else there too. I should be gone all afternoon, but will be home in the morning and evening."

"Danny wanted to go to see Swan Lake tomorrow."

"I know, and I have been thinking about that too. Wouldn't Danny be more interested in a good old John Wayne movie, or maybe Roy Rogers? Why does he interest himself with pansy plays like Swan Lake?"

"I happen to like Swan Lake, dear, and I don't think it is pansy at all."

"Of course it is. Look at all those guys traipsing about onstage in those girlish tights. Only a sissy would do something like that."

"And I suppose only sissies go to see such "pansish" plays?"

"You bet."

"Dear, it would surprise you to know how many heterosexual men like opera, ballet, musicals, "chick" flicks. There is nothing sissy about wanting to enjoy a little culture in a person's life."

"Oh! That's what they call perversion these days. Culture."

"Sometimes Jared Foster, you can be such an insensitive boor."

"Insensitive! What is insensitive about wanting to get rid of the type of perverts we don't need in this society? Nothing! I am not insensitive. I just don't want those people trying to influence Danny into their perversions."

"Not only are you an insensitived boor, but your head is harder than concrete. Nothing gets through."

"Alright, so, what are we having for dinner?"

"Danny made us a nice pot roast, with oven roasted potatoes, corn on the cob, and rice."

"Danny made!!! What, has he turned into one of those perverts, too?"

"Danny is a young boy, struggling with his budding teenage years. in ten months he will be thirteen."

"Well, no son of mine is going to do women's work. It is your job to keep the house and our clothes clean, and to cook the meals. I don't mind if he goes shopping with you, because he can help carry the groceries in."

Without saying another word, Jennine called Danny to get washed up for dinner. She thought to herself, that it was a good thing they didn't have to dress for dinner, or she would have a big surprise for Jared.

As they sat at the table, Jared noticed Danny cutting his meat in to small bite size portions.

"Daniel, that is how a girl eats. Now sit up straight, and eat like a man. Like this," Jared shoved a mouthful of pot roast and potatoes in to his mouth. Danny just sat there shocked at his father's lack of table manners, but he didn't say it.

Jared had finished way before his wife and son did, so he made his excuses and went to his den.

"Mom, why does daddy behave like that?"

"I really don't know sweetheart. When your father and I met, and we were going steady, he wasn't like this, until after you were born. You were three years old, when your father saw on the news, that a gay person had been killed. All he said was, it served him right. From that time on, he has been very vocal about homosexuality."

"I wish that daddy could be taught a lesson, that would change that forever."

"Be careful, dear, you may just get your wish, if you're not careful."

They both cleaned up the dishes and the kitchen, and then settled down to watch tv. Yours, Mine and Ours with Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball was coming on. They watched it, and laughed everytime Van Johnson's match making went haywire. When the movie ended, they hugged each other good night, and Danny went to his room.

While he was in his room, Danny knelt down and prayed that his daddy would be able to see that what he is doing is wrong. After he was through with his nightly prayers, he went to take a shower. It always pays to go to bed clean. He had taken his light blue pajama set that had bunnies all over them, and his matching robe. After he dried and was in his pajamas, he laid in bed thinking about what his father had said. Somewhere in the night, he fell asleep.

Chapter 2 - Saturday.

It was almost noon when Danny woke up. He took a bubble bath, and then got in his jeans with the flowers on the left pocket. Danny has worn these jeans time and again, but his father never said anything. Maybe he didn't notice. I mean, jeans are jeans if you see them from the front. Right? I guess mister Jared Foster has a lot to learn. Danny completely dressed, also had on a tee with a v-neck. He poured a little cereal in a bowl, and got out the milk, and the grape juice. He made a couple of pieces of toast, and then sat down to eat his breakfast.

His mother came in, just as he was finishing washing his dishes.

"Nice outfit, honey. Are you trying to purposely make your father angry?"

"No mother, if I wanted to do that, I would be wearing a dress. He has seen me in these clothes before and hasn't said anything."

"You're right. At least they look like guy's clothes from a distance. But women and girls will know instantly that those are girls jeans and top. So, what are you planning to do today?"

"I thought I would go over to the White Castle and hang with the group for a bit. Swan Lake is at seven tonight, so I thought I would just be with my friends this afternoon."

"Dressed like that?"

"Mom, the kids at school think I am a girl. A tomboy type girl, but still a girl. I have a lot of friends, mostly girls, and some of them know I am not phyiscally a girl, but they accept me as a girl friend anyway. I won't have any problems. Besides, Kendra is going to help me dress for Swan Lake."

"Not in an evening gown. Danny, your father will hit the roof.'

'No he won't, mom. Tonight I think he will actually see things in a different light. He said he is going to be gone all afternoon questioning witnesses. When he comes back, he will have a whole different viewpoint.

"I hope you're right, dear. Well, wear your coat, dear, because it is getting colder outside." She hugged Danny on both cheeks and kissed his forehead.

When Danny took the coat he was wearing out of the front hall closet, his mother asked him if he thought that was wise.

"You said it was getting colder outside, and I don't need to have pneumonia. This coat is very warm, and even covers my thighs too."

"Well, you have a good time, then. Don't stay gone too long and come home for dinner."

"Yes, mom," he said with a smile, as he kissed her cheek and gave her a hug.

Danny was one of the girls as far as the group he hung around with was concerned. They all had fun, and the boys in the group gave the ladies respect. This wasn't a 'I want sex now' type of group. They all said that maybe they weren't missing anything, if everybody else was doing it in secluded places. They did do a little rubbernecking on dates, and when they were together, but that is as far as it has gotten. A lot of the kids in the school looked up to this group, because they were always willing to help others with their schoolwork, when they could. Danny was even a school tutor to some of the boys who liked playing rather than studying. Some of these boys have tried and tried to put their hand up Danny's dress or skirt when he wore one. But they were unsuccessful.

Danny knew how to stall overly sexed or sex starved boys. They were easy to deal with. When Danny got to the White Castle, he immediately saw Kendra at the back of the restaurant, with one place empty beside her. Danny went over and asked if that seat was taken.

"It is now girl friend. It is taken by you. I saved it for you. I love those jeans and I have a tee just like that." The boys were more interested in talking about the arcade games, so the girls just talked girl talk.

"What are you doing this afternoon, Dani?"

"I was thinking about maybe going to a movie. I haven't seen what was on yet, but I thought maybe we could walk around to see and do a little window shopping. My mom wants me home for dinner. Tonight my father is taking me to see Swan Lake at the Phillips."

"Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake! At the Phillips! Wow! Those tickets cost a fortune. What will you wear when you go?"

I was thinking about borrowing your turquoise evening gown, two inch pumps, maybe a necklace and a bracelet."

"Would you like me to do your make up for you too?"

"No, Ken, I can do that."

"What is your father going to say when he sees you?"

"He's going to see his beautiful daughter."

"I hope you know what you're doing."

"I do."

"But anyway, for right now, a movie and a little window shopping sounds good to me. What do you guys think?"

"What was that, Ken?"

"I said what do you think about going to a movie, while we girls do a little window shopping on the way?"

"Uhm, ok. Just don't ask me to buy you anything. I don't get my allowance until next Saturday."

Roger Bowen was twelve years old too, but he was like almost a foot taller than most of us. But then guys grow taller than girls do anyway. We made sure we were through with our lunch, and we decided to go walking down the main street. There were four theaters in walking distance. The Strand, the Warner, the Riverside, and the Princess one block over. Gone With The Wind was playing at the Strand, and the tickets were only seventy five cents each. This was a long movie taking place in the civil war. Clark Gable was very handsome and daring as the dashing Rhett Butler who fell in love with Vivian Leigh who played Scarlett O'Hara. I only had a soda, and when the movie was over, I told Kendra to be at my house with the clothes around six. She said that was a good time, and she would be there.

I went home, and when I walked in the door, I heard my father talking in the kitchen.

"I don't know what to make of it, dear. I mean, these people are just the same as you and me except for their preferences. I talked to several people today, some of them even wanted to buy me a drink. When they found out I was a lawyer, they still wanted to buy me drinks. They weren't talking perversely, or having orgys, or anything. They were just together having a good time enjoying each other's company, much like we do when we go to the bar. There were several young men in there that looked like they were body builders. I always thought homosexuals were limp wristed, falsetto voiced queers that enjoyed wiggling their asses, just to irritate others. But I didn't see any of that today, and I didn't hear one falsetto voice or see one limp wrist."

I still had on the coat I wore to White Castle, as I walked in the kitchen.

"Hi daddy," I said jubilantly, giving him a hug around his neck.

"Hi punkin," He replied hugging me back.

"Hi mom," I said, giving her a hug, and whispering in her ear, "see I told you he would have a different viewpoint."

"Danny, did you always have that coat?"

"Yes, daddy. This is the coat I wear to school."

"Oh! Okay." Mom had a very puzzling look on her face. In one afternoon, daddy had gone from being a loud mouthed bigot to being almost human. I guess we will see what happens tonight when I am dressed to go to Swan Lake.

Dinner wasn't quite ready yet, and we normally ate around five o'clock. It was only a little after four. I took off my coat and hung it up in the front hall closet, and then went to sit down and watch tv.

"Danny, aren't you helping your mother? By the way, that was a good dinner you made last night."

"Thank you, daddy, and mom said she was making the dinner tonight."

"Okay."

"That's a nice tee shirt. I didn't know boys wore those kind."

"What kind is that, daddy?"

"Never mind. I don't know what has come over me. I went to talk to a few witnesses for my client, and I came back home thinking that gay people are just as normal as you and me, except for their preferences."

"Daddy, there are also people like Christine Jorgensen. We need to have the love of our families and our friends. I don't know where we could go to find out about what can be done to make me female, but for right now, I need yours and mom's love."

"Before this morning I would have told you to act like a man, but I can see it isn't in you. What I saw today made me stop and think. It seems no matter what others think, these people just go on with their lives. That is stamina as I have ever seen it. I will tell you what, punkin. I will try and be the best dad that I can be for you and a good usband for your mother. You both deserve that."

"Now that is the man I married," Jennine said with smile, as she came and hugged her child and her husband. "By the way you two, dinner is ready."

We sat down and daddy said grace. Mom made pork chops, whole kernel corn, baked potatoes, and for dessert we had mom's apple crumb cake. Daddy didn't say much during dinner, except to ask me about school. After dinner, mom and I cleaned up, and then let our tummies rest.

Kendra came just a bit before six, with everything in hand. Daddy was in his den, so he didn't see what Kendra brought in. We went to my room to get ready. Kendra put my hair in a nice upsweep, and plucked a few stray hairs from my brows. I my lingerie on, and then did my makeup. Kendra helped me with the gown. It is an off the shlouder turquoise, ankle length gown. It had three layers, and it was very pretty. Kendra put yhe two inch turquoise heels on my feet, and laced them half way up my calves. I looked at myself in the mirror, and I was ready to show daddy his "daughter".

Kendra went down first, and was standing at the bottom of the stairs with a camera. As I came down step by step she snapped picture after picture. Mom was awed, as she gasped, holding her hand over her mouth. Daddy must have gotten dressed while I did, because he looked dashing in his tuxedo. You didn't go to the Phillips in just any old suit. When he saw me, his jaw would have hit the floor if it hadn't been attached to his mouth.

"You, you look ... amazing,"

"Thank you, daddy." I did a ladylike curtsy.

"Well, punkin, are we ready to go?"

"Yes, daddy."

"Wait! I want a picture of you two."

Mom snapped three pictures, and we all hugged each other. Daddy and I left for the Phillips Onstage Theater just on the edge of town. This was an exclusive theater and there were talent scouts that came here frequently looking for new talent for Broadway. Daddy had to park a ways away from the door, but it was alright, though, because I wanted everyone to see me and my beautiful gown.

When we got to the door, daddy gave his name, and we were told to go right in. A youg woman took us to our seats, and we were offered drinks. Daddy said he would have a whisky sour and I would have a soda. She said they had Pepsi products so I settled for a Sierra Mist. The lady usher said I looked very pretty, and went to get us our drinks. When she came back with our drinks, she asked us if we wanted to order, but we said that we already had dinner at home. She smiled a knowing smile, and left to go seat someone else.

Daddy was just thrilled with the performance. He loved the ballet moves, and he loved the music. I could see it in his face. When the intermission came, we went out in the lobby so we could mingle.

"Dani! Wow, girl, look at you. You look simply divine."

"Thank you, Mrs. Langston. Daddy, this is Mrs. Langston, she is the principal of my school."

"It's nice to meet you," he said, offereing his hand in greeting.

"It is nice to meet you too, Mr. Foster. Dani tells me that you are an attorney?"

"Yes, I defend mainly criminal defendants."

"Oh! I see. Well, I guess they need representation too. Dani, is this your dress?"

"No, ma'am. I borrowed it from Kendra, as well as the shoes."

"Well, you look like an angel. By the way, are we going to start seeing a young lady in school, instead of that unkempt tomboy?"

I looked at daddy, who nodded. "Yes, ma'am. From now on."

"Good."

Intermission was over, and we all went back to our seats. I could see that the wheels in daddy's head were turning. He didn't know what to think when Mrs. Langston had called me a girl. I just knew that when we got home, he was going to want to talk to me. But I learned quite a long time ago how to feign being so tired I needed sleep. Daddy being a man would fall for it. What daddy wasn't aware of, was that I had my own girls clothes in my closet, and mom washed them for me, when daddy wasn't home. The dress I am wearing now, has to be dry cleaned, but daddy knows it isn't mine.

All through the second half of the ballet, I watched daddy go from one facial expression to another. He was thinking alright. The talk we were going to have tomorrow will be interesting. Just wait till he sees my church dress. When the ballet was over, we all filed out in to the lobby. Mrs. Langston waited purposely for us to come out.

"Mr. Foster, I want you to know, that even though Dani has been trying her best to be a tomboy in our school, she has some of the highest marks in her grade. I just wanted you to know that. You two have a good evening, and say hello to your mother for me, Dani."

"I will, and thank you Mrs. Langston."

"Yeah, uhm thank ... you." She smiled and gave me a wink as she walked out with her husband. Daddy was, shall we say, perplexed.

"Well, let's head for home, punkin. You have been attending school as a girl, Danny?"

"Yes, sir. All the kids at school think I am a girl, because my voice is high, and my body is getting a nice figure. My chest itches a lot, and I think like a girl. You see daddy, my friends all called me Dani ... D A N I ... that is short for Danielle. Daddy, when I started junior high school, I was given girls gym, and other girl classes too. I am not taking shop, and I am not on any ball teams except the volleyball team, the girls golf team, the girls tennis team, and the badminton team. Daddy, please don't think that I have done this to make you angry, but it is just something that comes naturally to me. I suppose for someone like you, you wouldn't be able to understand what it is I am going through. But it isn't anything bad, daddy."

"Well, it will take me some time to get used to having a daughter. But I guess it is better than being hated. I guess."

"Daddy, nobody hates you. We kind of just didn't understand why you all of a sudden became bigoted."

"Bigoted. Where did you learn that word?"

"From one of my teachers. She said a bigot was someone who hated others for no other reason than hatred itself. I have always been your daughter, daddy, and I want to stay your daughter. I don't like sneaking around when you're not home just to be me. I need to be me when you are home too."

"Well, we will talk about it when we get home."

"Daddy, I would just as soon go to bed when we get home. I am very tired. The ballet took an emotional drain."

"You talk like your mother. Alright, punkin, we will talk about this tomorrow then, right after church."

"Okay, daddy." I said and gave him a hug before I got in the car.

When we got home, I went in the kitchen and told mom I would tell her about how I liked the ballet, tomorrow. But right for now, I was tired and wanted to go to bed. I kissed her on her cheek and gave her a big hug. I gave daddy another final hug and kiss on his cheek, and then went up to get ready for bed.

Chapter 3 - Sunday.

Morning dawned very quickly it seemed, and I felt very rested. I got out my dress for church, and hung it on my mirror. I collected my lingerie, my bubble bath, and put on my robe and slippers. I don't think daddy is quite himself yet, and I am not giving him the chance. He needs to learn that just I live differently than he does, does not make me a bad person. Last night I got away with it, because he was stunned and didn't know what to say. But today he may have had time to sleep on it, and collect his thoughts. Well daddy, I am sorry to say this, but Danielle is here to stay.

After I had soaked long enough in the rose petal scent, I washed and then got out and patted myself dry. I got in to my clean lingerie, put on my robe and slippers, and went to my room to do my makeup. I am only twelve years old, so all I am allowed for makeup is a little lip color and mascara. Mom doesn't want me using eye shadow or eye liner until I am at least fifteen. I then took my dress off of its hanger, and stepped in to it. I was very careful, because the material was chiffon over satin, and it ripped easily. After I made sure my slip wasn't caught in the zipper, I zipped up the dress and did a turn around and looked at myself from all angles. Satisfied my clothes were perfect, I brushed my hair and put it in to a pony tail. I was ready to go to church.

As I came downstairs, I could hear daddy talking to mom in the kitchen. He was saying that he didn't know what to think when he first saw me in that gown, and then to have the school principal call "him" a girl, well, he was just awe struck. He said we talked some about my need to be his daughter, but he said he was going to talk to me about it more today. I nonchanlantly walked in to the kitchen and poured myself a glass of ornage juice.

"Good morning daddy," I said jubilantly, giving him a hug.

"Good morning mom," I said, and whispered, 'I think I got my wish.'

"Uhm, good morning, punkin. You look very pretty today."

"Thank you, daddy."

"Yes, dear, you certainly do. How long have you had that dress?"

"This is one of three I saved my allowance up for. This one cost forty five dollars, and the other two were thirty two dollars apiece."

"Well, your father and I have been talking things over. Your father seems a little puzzled by your 'sudden' want to be a girl. I haven't had a chance yet to tell him, so do want to explain why you are dressed the way you are?"

"Yes, mother. You see Daddy, when you aren't home is the only time I could really be me. Mom let me be who I really am, because she understands my feelings. Daddy, when you look at me, like right now, what do you see?"

"I see a beautiful girl."

"Do see any sign of a boy in me, right now?"

"No, I certainly don't. Even the way you are acting right now, I don't see any boy."

"Acting, Father? This isn't an act, this is who I am. Who I have always been. What were you thinking last night when Mrs. Langston said she and her when talking about me?"

"I...I didn't...know what...to ... think. I was like she could be talking about my child, because I have a son."

"Daddy, daughters come in many shapes, sizes, and even packages. I just happen to be your daughter in this package. So please, daddy, don't say things about people you don't understand. Just accept us for who we are and love me as your daughter. Will you do that, daddy?"

"Uh? Oh! Sure, sure I will."

"You don't sound convincing. Daddy, there is a time in everyone's life that they have to pick a path to travel the rest of their lives. This path has chosen me. You see daddy, this isn't something that I thought up one day. This is something that is inside of me. This is me. Do you understand? Oh! Mom, we need to get me some clothes for school. Mrs. Langston wants to see a young lady at school instead of an unkempt tomboy."

"Is that what she called you?" Mom asked, with a little giggle in her words.

"Yes, mom, she did. She even told daddy that his daughter has some of the highest marks for her grade."

"Well, if Mrs. Langston thinks you're a girl, who am I to argue? Yes, dear, we will go a little later and get you some school clothes. My, my, but you look divine, sweetie." She gave me a hug, and said it was time we were going to church.

The church service today was about acceptance, and making sure that we looked out for our neighbor as well be our brother's keeper. Daddy's head must really be spinning by now. He hasn't had time to think about all of this quietly. I was going to make sure he didn't. He was going to see me everyday, and I am going to be there to make sure he understands that there is no going back to Daniel for me. I want my name to be Danielle Leigh Foster, the daughter of Jared and Jennine Foster. After services were over, as was our habit, we stopped to get a little lunch.

Daddy had to park a ways away from the door, but we walked in, mom on one arm and I on the other. The maitre d' remarked that he wished he could two pretty ladies like us on his arms. Mom and I just giggled. The maitre d' seated us, and said our waitress would be right with us. And wouldn't you know it, our waitress was Kendra's mother.

"Hello, I'm Jean, your waitress. Are you ready to order?"

"Hello, Mrs. Herrington. Tell Kendra I will have her dress dry cleaned before I bring it over."

"Why Dani, hello. I will certainly tell her. Now, young lady, are you ready to order?"

"Yes. I will just have a chef's salad with a small milk."

"And for you, sir?" she said to daddy.

"I'll have the burger deluxe, with french fries and coffee."

"And for you, ma'am?"

"I will have the chef's salad too, and coffee."

"Your orders will be right up."

She put the order on the wheel for the cook, and then went to the salad bar and made our salads. This restaurant was a favorite for people to come to after church, because they had a nice inside, and the food was good. Now that I knew Kendra's mother worked here, I made a mental note to come back often. Our salads were brought over before daddy's order was ready. After we had started on our salads, Mrs. Herrington brougt daddy's order.

"Jared, do you have something to say to your daughter?"

"Like what?" He asked with a mouthful of food. Daddy may be an attorney, but he has the most despicable table manners I have seen.

"Jared, chew your food and swallow before talking. That is disgusting the way you talk with food in your mouth."

"I'm sorry, dear, but you get in the habit when you have little time, and are talking business with another attorney."

"Well, we are not your buisness partners, we are your family. Please have proper table manners. Anyway, I think you should tell your daughter what you think of her."

"Oh, that. Can't that wait until we get home?"

"Why?"

"Well, because. This is a public place, and someone might overhear."

"Over hear what, dear? You complimenting your daughter. You know she put that look together by herself."

"Oh! You look very pretty, dear, I like that dress."

I flashed my eyelashes at him, and said thank you.

"Is that all you have to say to your daughter, Jared?"

"I uhm, well that is, you see punkin I,..."

"Yes, daddy."

"It is amazing how your father ever graduated from law school. She is waiting to hear what you think of her and not how pretty she looks either."

"But this is such a public place. Nobody else needs to know that my son is now my daughter."

"Jared, dear, nobody is even paying us any attention. Now you tell her what you think."

"Dani, I'm sorry I have been such a what ever you want to call it, but it won't happen again. Last night when we got home from the theater, and again this morning, your mother and I talked about you, and what we should expect from you. You never were out too late by yourself, and you always did what we said, well, except maybe for the being the girl part. But I want you to know, punkin, that you can be whomever you want to be, and I will love just the same. If you want to be my daughter, then I will give you the respect a daughter deserves."

"Oh daddy!" I exclaimed, and in my excitement I gave him a kiss on the cheek right in the restaurant. "Thank you, so much, daddy. Daddy there is one thing though. This isn't something I wanted, but it is something that wanted me. To be your daughter, daddy, isn't a want, but a need."

"Well, I don't understand it, no ma'am, but I will love you as a daughter."

"And I love you both," I said, looking between daddy and mom.

"Now young lady, we have some bad news. From now on if you are out past dark, you will call home, and either your mother or I will come and pick you up. If you have a ride home, you will call us and tell us. The rest of the rules your mother will tell you when you get home. But for right now, just know that you can be whomever you are or need to be. Well, if we are finished, why don't we go home, change our clothes, and go see a movie?"

"What movie, daddy?"

"I don't know, punkin. It's your pick."

"Well, alright, daddy. If you don't mind seeing mushy movies, then let's go."

Daddy paid the bill, and we left for home. I went straight to my room and changed in to some "bumming around" rags, namely my jeans and tee, and then went downstairs. I had hung up my dress in my closet, but kept my lingerie on. As I got downstairs, mom told me what was expected of me, while daddy was still changing.

I was to wear a training bra and panties at all times, even to bed. I was not allowed to stay out past dark, unless I was at a friend's house. If I had a boy over, he was not allowed in my room. If I was with a boy, I was never to let him put his hands under my dress or skirt. I was not allowed to let him touch my boobs, but I was allowed a small kiss, mainly on the cheek. Mother would sure be surprised to see what I learned by being with Jimmy. Oh well. But I listened, and these rules she said, were told to her by her mother, and they were as timeless as time itself. A girl or a woman, she said, needed to be very careful when out alone, even in the daylight. She said we are very vulnerable in our sexuality, that there are people, mainly men, who would want to harm us, for no other reason, than they can. I listened very well to what she was saying. I knew that Jimmy hasn't touched my chest, well not yet anyway, but that is probably because I am just starting to develop. I had talked to Kendra about the itiching in my chest, and now it was mother's turn.

"Mom, I have this really bad itchingin my chest, right about here," I said, as I pointed to the breast area.

"Honey, let's go in the bathroom, and I will have a look." We went in the bathroom, and I raised my shirt for her to see. She prodded me a little and asked if that hurt. I said just bit, and then she noticed my nipples. "Honey, do you know what hormones are?"

"No, mother."

"No, I don't suppose you would. Well, women have hormones called estrogens. There are many estrogens in our body, and they give us our fair skin, our high voice, silky hair, and prevent hair from growing all over our body like men have. We also have an estrogen compound called progesterone, and that I will tell you about when we go shopping. It looks like you are developing breasts, dear, naturally. I need to take you to my doctor and have you examined. My doctor will know what to look for because she is an OB/GYN."

"What kind of doctor is that, mom?"

"Well, she takes care of women throughout their pregnancies. That is where the OB comes in. It means obstetrics. Then she is also a GYN which mean gynecologist, which is the normal every day treatment of women, including physical exams. So while you are at school tomorrow, I will give her a call and set up an appointment. Yes, dear, you keep developing like this, and you will have breasts in no time at all." She rubbed her nose against mine, and said she can see now why I am acting like a girl, because I am one. I smiled, pull my shirt back into place, and we went out in the living room.

"There you two are. Can't women go to the bathroom by themselves any more?"

"Oh dear, you are so funny. I was just doing a little examination ofour daughter's chest area because she said it was itching."

"Oh, is that all. Well, scratch it and let's go."

Mom and I looked at each other, and went into a fit of hysterical giggles.

"What? What are you laughing at now?"

"Honey, if you only knew how funny you really are."

"Yes, daddy, too funny for words."

"Well, did you pick out a movie?"

"Yes, daddy, I did. There is a new movie at the Warner called H.G. Wells, The Time Machine.

"Wouldn't you like to see something more rugged? Like maybe a nice John Wayne movie, or maybe a Roy Rogers matinee, or how about a nice science fiction movie."

"Daddy, I am your daughter, for now and always. Those movies would be great except for all the violence. I haven't this new movie yet, because this is the first time it came here. But stars that handsome actor Rod Taylor and it also has Yvette Mimieux."

"Handsome actor, hey," He smiled as he shook his head, still not believing his one and only son could be so much like a girl. "Well, I suppose. Are we ready, then?"

We got in the car and drove downtown. You had to be careful when you parked downtown, because all the parking meters were one hour, and the movie was at least two hours. But daddy put in two quarters for the two hours. When daddy paid for the tickets, he asked me what I wanted from the concession stand. I just wanted a box of jujubes and a small Coke. Daddy ordered the largest popcorn with double butter, and mother only had a small soda.

When the movie started with all of those clocks ticking and whirling around, daddy said it was making him dizzy, and couldn't understand why they didn't just start the movie. I whispered to him that this was the start of the movie, and all he did was shake his head. Alan Young of Mr. Ed fame played Mr. Filby in the movie. He was supposed to be Rod Taylor's best friend. The friends of George, that was Rod Taylor's character, were sitting around talking when George bursdt through the door, looking like he had been in a fight. He sat down and related where he had been for the last week.

At the end of the movie, nobody believed him, bu Mr. Filby stayed to make sure his friend was alright. When Mr. Filby started to leave and George had closed the house door, the was a starnge whirring sound, and Mr. Filby and the housekeeper broke in to George's lab to find him and the time machine gone. He had gon back to help the Eloi build a better life. I cried a little when George had to leave Weena because the pyramid doors had slammed shut. But in the end he went back to her.

After the movie was over, we all went back to the car, and the parking meter said we had about ten minutes left. I guess the two quarters were enough to park for two hours. We headed home, and daddy asked me how I liked the movie.

"It was rad, dad, I mean, everything that Rod Taylor did in the movie was either romantic or heroic. I loved every bit of it, especially when he was with Yvette Mimieux."

"You like all that mushy romance stuff?"

"Yes, daddy, I do. When I grow up I hope I can marry someone as handsome as Rod Taylor."

"Wouldn't you like to marry a pretty girl like Yvette Mimieux?"

"Daddy, I am not a lesbian."

That ended that, because daddy looked like he was far away again, thinking in his head. He is trying so desperately to hang on to his son, that can never be. But I suppose he has to try. But mother and I will not let him succeed. Daddy parked the car in front of the house, and I went in to start what little homework I had left. I needed to get my social studies and history done for tomorrow, because they were two of my morning classes. So I made my excuses and went to my room. The lessons in these two books wasn't that hard, and I had them done in an hour. I looked at my alarm clock and it said four thirty. I went downstairs and asked daddy if he was hungry. I had to ask because he had that extra large popcorn.

"Yes, punkin, I will be hungry by the time dinner is ready. What are we going to have for dinner?"

"I thought I would make a small dinner with bratwurst, sauerkraut, and maybe baked french fries."

"Why not deep fried. French fries don't taste right without a little grease."

"Daddy, I will deep fry your fries, but I will bake mine and mom's. They are better for you if you bake them."

"Says who?"

"Says Jackie Kennedy."

"Well, all she is, is President Kennedy's wife. What does she know?"

"Daddy, you are becoming an insufferable boor. Just because someone is a woman, doesn't mean they don't know anything. We learned that in history, that behind every great man, there is a woman. Jackie Kennedy has done a lot since President Kennedy took office. Daddy, you need to stop living in the past. The nineteenth amendment of the United States Constitution was ratified September 8th, 1953 by Alabama. Do you know what that amendment did, daddy?"

"Not really. I'm not that concerned."

"Daddy, you are an attorney, and you don't know that the nineteenth amendment gave women the right to vote? Daddy, there are women who own their own businesses today, and are making good at it too. Don't you keep up on what they told us were current events?"

"Look punkin, you can be my daughter, but don't think I won't try to get you interested in being a guy."

"Daddy, with men like you in the world, I am gald that I am a girl in here," I said, pointing to my heart. "Nobody is going to tell me I can't be that girl, either."

"What if I said no?"

"Then I would obey you, and move out right after I graduate from high school. Because if you are a tyrant, then I don't want to be in this house any longer than I have to be."

"I won't say that, but just so you know, I will keep trying to interest you in being a guy."

"Why daddy? Because I have this stupid male body. If you are what men are supposed to be, I am glad I am not a boy."

"But you are a boy. You have the parts to prove it."

"No daddy. I have the parts to prove I am a male. That has nothing to do with the girl that lives in here," I pointed to my heart again. "Daddy, there are all kinds of girls. Tall ones, short ones, skinny, slim, fat, pretty, plain, cute, and they come in different forms too. This just happens to be the form I came in, but it doesn't make me a boy. Now I need to help get dinner ready."

I left daddy sitting there in deep thought. I was hoping that what I said would make him see things differently. We will see. He went to interview witnesses and came back kind of subdued. Now he wants to argue with me that because I am a male, he is going to keep trying to make me a boy. I hope by the time I am eighteen, he will have learned that you don't judge a book or a person by the cover. Well, anyway, I have to help mom get dinner ready.

"Honey, you shouldn't have been too hard on your father. He is trying the best way he knows how, to deal with having a daughter. He doesn't know anything about girls. I know, because he knows absolutely nothing about me. It has been a long time since we have had any intimate things between us. He doesn't even kiss me any more."

Mom got out the pans for the bratwurst and the sauerkraut. I got out two packages of bratwurst because daddy could four or five by himself. I got out the can of sauerkraut, and opened it up. I poured it in the pan, but didn't turn on the burner. Mom put on a kettle of water to boil. Our stove also had a grill in the center.

"Daddy, would you like your bratwurst grilled too?"

"Yes, punkin, thank you."

"How many are you going to want?"

"About five. I'm hungry today and a half a plate of sauerkraut."

"Yes, daddy."

"Mom, I think daddy is overdoing it on his food. I think he trying to show off to show me that is how men are supposed to be."

"I think you are right. I really don't know what has come over him, lately. He seems like he wants his son, but keeps calling you punkin. I think he is confused, and it is up to us to unconfuse him."

"I'm trying, mom, but he just doesn't seem to listen to me. Even when I asked him about the nineteenth amendment, he didn't seem concerned."

"I know. I think all of this was dropped on him at once, and he hasn't had time to think about it all."

"Mom, why do men always have to think they are right?"

"When you find out, let the rest of us girls know. Men are easy to figure out, because their attitudes never change. Some have decent attitudes, some have nasty attitudes, some are like your father, and still others are shy. But they never change their attitudes. So we can see right through them."

"Mom, I have a personal question."

"Alright, dear. What is it?"

"Has daddy ever cheated on you?"

Jennine cocked her head slightly and wrinkled her brow. "What brought that on?"

"Well, some of the kids at school talk about their parents a lot, and they say that they hear them arguing because their fathers were out with other women."

"Well, I would be able to tell if he has. But he hasn't. Your father is a workaholic. He has to be doing legal things or he feels he hasn't accomplished anything. Anyway, the water is boiling, put the brats in so they can get cooked, then we will grill them." Mom turned on the burner for the sauerkraut, and I made sure the potato wedges weren't burning.

"It smells nice, ladies," daddy yelled from the living room. Mom and I just looked at each other and giggled.

"See Dani, that is what I was saying. One time he will call you punkin, or young lady, and another time he will want to know why you don't like being a boy. He is really confused, but I will help you unconfuse him. He did say that you will be able to go to school tomorrow as Dani the girl. When dinner is over we need to get you your school clothes. But I will tell you what. We will get you a couple of outfits to last you through the week, and this Saturday we will go shopping at Gimbels, or maybe even the Boston Store."

"Okay, mom." I went to the living room door and told daddy dinner was ready.

He acted like he had never eaten in his life. It was disgusting the way he ate. I think he just wanted to show me that men don't take dainty bites of their food, and they talk with food in their mouths. Whatever he wanted to prove to me I thought was disgusting. I just ate my bratwurst and little bit of sauerkraut. I didn't have any potato wedge. Daddy didn't say anything during dinner, just made grunting noises as he shoveled his mouth full of bratwurst and sauerkraut. Now I know what women mean when they say ... men!

When daddy was finished eating, he went back in the living room. I just couldn't help but ask mom.

"Mom, why does behave like a little boy?"

"There is an old saying, dear, that the difference between men and boys is the price of the toys. Most men are just little boys in big bodies. They haven't figured out what life is all about yet, so they act juvenile. It's like when a grown man wants to go steady with a woman of his choice. He acts all kinds of childish, like he has never been through the dating process before. He will do silly things to make the woman notice him, and notice him we do. We laugh a lot of what he does, and he thinks we think that what he is doing is cute. We just think it's funny. You haven't been to high school yet, dear. Those will be four years you will treasure because they are the years you make lasting friendships. You will have your junior and senior proms to go to, and maybe get invited to a few before then. But whomever you meet and become friends with, make sure they know that you are not exactly female yet. Use a lot of caution, dear."

"Mom, Kendra and I have been talking to a lot of our friends about me, and they think it's cute that a boy can be a girl like forever. Even the boys that we have for friends are really nice. I won't have any problems, and if we don't move, I will be going to high school with the same friends that I have now, and probably make a few more after I am in high school. But I will definitely be careful, mom."

"That's my girl," she said smiling, and giving me a big motherly hug. "Well, it looks like we are done in the kitchen for another night. Let's let our tummies rest, then we will leave your father here, and I will take you shopping."

"Alright, mom."

We went in the living room, and mom told daddy that she was taking me shopping to get me acceptable clothes for a girl for school. She said it was imperative that a girl show off her femininity as much as she can without being too gawdy. Mom told me that girls were starting to wear their skirts and dresses just slightly above the knee. But anyway, she said we would be shopping in the misses department and see what fits.

"Why can't I go?"

"Because dear, this is woman's work. There are fittings, and materials and styles that have to be found. You would just be in the way. Besides, I know what is good for our daughter. You see dear, this isn't like when we were teenagers. The teenagers today have to express themseles. Girls do it with clothes."

"Nothing too sexy?"

"Of course not, dear. But you don't want her to stand out either. She will be dressed just like the other girls her age."

"Well, I supose I will stay here then. But don't buy out the store."

"Dear, I am only getting her a few outfits to last the week, and then this Saturday I will take her for the rest of her clothes. One thing you never did get used to, dear, is that women never have enough clothes. Maybe if I sat down with you and explained it, and had an artist draw a picture of what I said, you might catch on. Maybe."

"I get ready, lickety-split. Why can't women do the same thing?"

"Dear, there are even men who don't do what you do. Especially the things you have been doing lately. Now, I am taking our daughter shopping, and we will talk about this when we get back."

"Well, I have a nine o'clock court hearing tomorrow. So if I am in bed when you get back, we will talk about this tomorrow evening."

"That's fine dear. Will you be sleeping in your bed or ours?"

"That sounded sarcastic to me."

"Well, it wasn't. You have been sleeping in your day bed for quite a while now. I was just wondering if you were going to sleep in our bed for a change. Are you ready to go, Dani?"

"Yes, mother."

"We will see you in a bit, dear. Try to be awake when we get back."

I have never seen mom this fired up in a long time. She must really love Dani so much that she wants me to be happy. We got in the car and drove to Gimbels downtown. It was past six o'clock so we didn't have to pay the parking meter. Mom found a place right next to the store. We went in and right to the bargain basement. These clothes were just as good as the ones on the second floor, except these were the clothes people returned for whatever reason.

Mom and I looked through dresses, and we found a few that were perfect. I took them in the changing booth and tried them on. One dress was a tad small, so we looked for another one like it in my size. I wore a size eight. We found one that was a little different, and it fit. Then we looked at skirts and tops. Mom bought me five full slips, several pairs of nylons for church; tights were for little girls; and shoes. After I had tried on several pairs of shoes, the salesman said that he had a pair that was the favorite with girls my age. When brought them out, they were black, open toed sandals with a strap that wound around the calf up to the knee. They had a blue butterfly that sparkled. I looked at mom and she shook her head no.

"Young man, I want my daughter to have sensible shoes that all the girls wear today, but nothing as fancy as this."

"Yes, ma'am."

We left the store with with three dresses, four skirts, four tops, five pair of tan nylon stockings, and four pair of shoes. One of the pair of shoes were actaully shoe boots I could wear when I had to go out in the snow. We put everything in the car, and drove home. As mom drove in the driveway, we could see daddy. When he heard the car, he put his head against the back of his chair and acted like he was sleeping. We left the packages in the car and went inside.

"Dear, we need a little help to bring in Dani's clothes." Daddy didn't say anything. "Dani, I think your father needs a little chicken broth, he looks kind of ill."

"Yes, mother."

"I'm awake. I can't fool you two for a minute. Can I?"

"No, dear. Would you please take Dani's clothes to her room and put them on her bed?"

"I suppose. What are having for dinner?"

"I don't know that you should have anything but a little chicken broth. Dani and I are having meatloaf, and Dani is going to make it. You always loved my meatloaf, now you get to try Dani's. Dani, please take out three potatoes and rinse them off, and place them on a small pan, and then be a dear, and make the meatloaf. I think we will asparagus for a vegetable. I haven't decided what to have for dessert yet."

I went in the kitchen and got out the hamburger meat, green pepper, onion, and a few spices. I set them on the table, and began to cut up the vegetables. After I had diced the vegetables, I mixed them in to the hamburger meat. When it was all mixed together, I put the meatloaf in a bread pan, and put it in the oven that was warming to three hundred and fifty degress. I set the timer for thirty minutes.

"Mom, what should we have for dessert. We have a few slices of lemon meringue pie left."

"That sounds good, dear. Might as well use it up."

Mom sat in the living room with daddy, while I got out the place settings and set the table. I will leave the bread and butter for now. I sat at the kitchen table reading some of mom's recipe cards. There were a lot of nice recipes here. As I was looking through the cards, the timer went off. I looked at the meatloaf and it seemed done. I cut it up as the asparagus was heating. I put one potato and one slice of meatloaf on each plate. After a few minutes, the asparagus was done, and I went and told mom and daddy that dinner was ready.

Daddy was always trying to get me to be a boy, but I don't think he really understood that there was no boy living inside of me. "There is a nice John Wayne movie on tonight at the Riverside. Would like to go and see it?"

"No, daddy, I'm going to be putting my clothes away, and figuring out what outfit to wear for school tomorrow. If you want to go and see it, go ahead. Mom and I are going to be busy."

"Well, you can't blame a man for wanting to keep his son."

"No, daddy, I can't. But you can't blame a girl for being who she is, either."

"Touchá¨. I guess I walked into that one.”

“With your eyes wide open. Daddy, you can beg, you can ask, you can offer me a bribe, but this is who I am, and I couldn’t be a boy if I tried. For one thing it isn’t in me, second, this chose me, and third, you do want me to be happy. Right?”

“Well of course I want you to be happy. I still love whether you are my daughter or my son. But a man would like to have a son he can bond with.”

“I have told you I don’t know how many times, that if you want a son, you need to give me a little brother. I cannot be that son for you daddy. I’m sorry. Mother nature gave me this life, and I am going to live it as best as I know how.”

“So, no John Wayne movie?”

“No John Wayne movie.”

Daddy just shook his head and mumbled something I couldn’t understand. After mom and I cleaned up the kitchen, we went upstairs to my room to put my new clothes away.

The dresses we bought were still on hangers, so mom just started hanging them up. I took one dress to wear to school tomorrow, and put it in the center of the closet so I could just grab it in the morning. I left out the white lingerie to wear with it, double knit, knee high socks and the off-white shoes with the one inch heels. The dress was pretty though. It was shirred at the natural waist, and had that flowing look to it even when it wasn’t being worn. Of course whast can you say about white lingerie, except for maybe that its white? Well anyway, I had my clothes ready for tomorrow. With everything put away, mom and I sat and talked in my room for a bit.

“Honey, if this is something you need to go through, then your father and I will be right there with you. We love you no matter what, dear, because you are our only child, and we want you to be happy. Honey, even if you have to have surgery to be female on the outside, I will be there for you and so will your father.

“Your father plays this game of pretending to want his son, but he knows that you can never be that son. Now, young lady, there are a few facts of life you need to know about, but we will wait and see what Dr. Karen says first. Let’s go and watch television.”

We went downstairs and mom sat next to daddy on one side, and I sat next to him on the other. We both laidour heads on his shoulders, and he put his arms around us both. We sat there and watched ‘you never heard of a talking horse?’ Mr. Ed was funny with Alan Young as Mr. Ed’s owner. I wonder what it would be like if you put Mr. Ed and Francis the Talking Mule in the same movie? After Mr. Ed was over we watched ‘...and Ray Walston, as the martian.’ It was funny. Bill Bixby was always being bested by Ray Walston. Daddy was having fun watching me laugh at all the stale jokes, but they were funny.

“You love these programs, Dani.”

“Yes, father, I do. They are so funny.”

I saw daddy smile, and go back to watching the television. I kind of knew right then, that he accepted me as his daughter, the most important thing to me right now.

Chapter 4 - Monday and school.

After these programs were over, we all hugged and said our good nights and I love yous, and we went to bed. The next morning I got up, stepped in to my slippers, threw my robe on, and grabbed my lingerie. I headed off to the bathroom. I figure I have a vanilla colored dress, so I was going to use a little of mom’s vanilla extract formy bath. I will smell like a vanilla shake, but hey, I’m a girl, I will use whatever scent I feel like it. I washed myself, and then patted dry. I put my lingerie on, and hung the towel up to dry. I put my robe back on, stepped in to my slippers and went to get dressed. I sat down and put my mascara and lip gloss on, and then took my dress and stepped in to it.

“Here, dear, let me help you,” mom said, as she zipped up the back of my dress.

“Morning, mom,” I returned, giving her a hug. “Thank you.”

“Morning and you’re welcome. My, my. Turn around dear, and let me see you.” I turned slowly, holding the dress out on both sides. “You are a living doll. Come, let’s show your father why you can never be his son.”

We went downstairs and daddy was just sitting down after pouring himself a cupof coffee.

“Morning daddy,” I skipped over and gave him a hug.

“Morning punk...in. Who are you?”

“Guess.”

“Marilyn Monroe.”

“Nope.”

“Jean Harlow.”

“Nope, and you only have one guess left.”

Daddy put his finger the the side of his mouth, and then he looked like a light bulb went off in his head. “I know who you are. You’re Elizabeth Taylor.”

“Nope, wrong again.”

“Well, who are you then?”

“I’m Dani, silly.”

“Not my Dani.”

“Yes, father, your Dani.”

“You look really beautiful punkin; like an angel.”

“Thank you, daddy.”

I made myslef a slice of toast and put a little jelly on it, and poured myself a glass of milk and one of orange juice. I rinsed off my dishes, and went to get my coat. my book bag was already in the living room. I went back in the kitchen and gave mom and daddy a kiss and a hug, and said I would see both after school. I left saying I love you as I walked to the front door. Now, mom only drove me to school if I was running late. But usually I took the city bus. Kendra, Charla, and Dee were on this same bus. When I got on, there was one seat left. The one Kendra saved for me.

“Oh look, Dani’s got a girlfriend.”

“Roger Stevens, would you like it if I made it so you only had boyfriends?” Roger got really red in the face because all the other kids were laughing. Roger was nice though. He was twelve years old too, but he was a boy and acted like one. So the joke he made that backfired was normal for him. But he was a good friend to have. Most of the kids in our classes were nice. We had a few jerks, but I was able to handle them. When we got to our stop to change buses, Roger asked me if he could sit next to me. “I don’t see why not. I mean, your not rabid or anything like that. Are you?”

“I hope not.”

Roger sat next to me, and I knew he wanted to say something, but I think the cat got his tongue. When we got to our stop, Roger cleared his throat, but it was too late, I was being pushed out of the by the others. The bell rang just as we got to the school, so we went right in. My first class was English. Mr. Reimer was our teacher, and he was handsome, for an older man. His thick, brown hair was immaculately combed, and he didn’t wear suits like the other men teachers. He was more your casual type of teacher. If you needed help, he would stop and help you.

As I walked by his desk, I felt is eyes watching me. When everyone was seated, he took the roll. The second bell rang.

“Dani? That is a new look for you, isn’t it?”

“Kind of, Mr. Reimer.”

“Well stand up.” I stood up and he looked me up and down. “I guess we will be seeing a young lady from now on instead of that unkempt tomboy that used to sit in my class.”

“Yes, Mr. Reimer. Besides, girls shouldn’t be climbing trees and acting like monkeys. That’s what boys are for.” The boys and Mr. Reimer got really red in the face, while we girls just giggled. I smoothed out my dress and sat down.

“Alright class, do the exercises at the end of chapter 3, and make sure you read the chapter first.” I giggled. See, you have to tell boys to read the chapter or they will not understand why they can’t answer the questions. “Class, I also want you all to write an essay about what winter means to you. I want you to write this from your own personal opinions. There will no right or wrong way that you can write this. It is due on Friday.” The bell rang. “Remember those essays are due on Friday.”

My morning teachers are all men, and they did the same thing Mr. Reimer did. They were amazed by how much my appearance and my attitude had changed, almost over night, the way Mr. Marks put it. He was my third period teacher. Dashing, noble, caring, nice, chivalrous to the girls; and did I mention dashing? When the bell rang, Kendra and Dee caught up with me at my locker.

“Girlfriend, you really put the boys and men on the spot today. I love that dress.”

“You can borrow it sometime.”

“I would like that. Let’s go see what they have for lunch that we can eat.”

We left for the cafeteria and all I saw was the same old things that weren’t good for me. I took an apple, a half pint of milk, and went and sat down. Kendra, Charla and Dee came over and sat down.

“Are you on a diet, Dani?”

“No, but most of what they have here will only make me fat.”

“Dani, you are only twelve. You have a long way to go before you have to start thinking about being fat.”

“It is never too early to start being healthy. Besides, I have some news for you.” I told them about what mother found and said I had an appointment with my mom’s doctor right after school.

“Are, are you, you kidding? Oh my gosh, girl! Is it possible that the doctor made a mistake when you were born?”

“That is what my mom’s doctor is going to tell us. Maybe.”

“You call us tonight, when you get back from the doctor’s. We want to know details, girl.”

“I will.” The bell ending fourth period rang, and we were on our way to study hall. My last period today is debate. That is where we learn to be good public speakers. Not that I will ever have the opportunity, but it was something so I didn’t have to take pre-geometry. My next class after this was geography and then study hall. When the final bell rang ending the day, Kendra and Dee were waiting by my locker.

“You call us tonight. We need to know what is going on. We are your best friends, and you are not going to to go through this alone.”

“I will, Ken, I promise.”

The only homework I had was the essay assignment that Mr. Reimer had given us. I walked out of the school and found mom just down the block on the other side of the street. I got, and mom drove to her doctor’s office. When we got there, mom was lucky because we got a parking place almost next to the door. When we got to the doctor’s office door, the name read, “Dr. Karen L. Hecht, MD.” We went in and mom asked the receptionist if the doctor could see me, and that is was an emergency. We waited for about ten minutes, and a lady in a nice blue, sleeveless dress called us in to the office.

“Hi Jen. You’re not pregnant again.”

“No, Karen. Actually I want you to see Dani. I would like you to give her a complete physical.”

“Is there a reason for all of this?”

“Dani, I will help you. I want you to show Dr. Hecht your chest.” Mom unzipped my dress, and I dropped the top down to my waist.

“Yes, I see. Dani, I will give you a complete physical. This will rule out several things.” She pushed a button on her console. A nurse, wearing a white dress and a nurse’s cap, came in and told me to follow her.

We went to a room, and she told me to undress except for my panties, and gave me a gown to put on, telling me it goes on backwards. I waited for a while, and then the doctor Hecht came in smiling.

“Hello, Dani. Your mother and I had a good talk about you. She says she has noticed some swelling around the breasts. Take down the top of your gown, please. Yes, I see what your mother meant. Alright, I want you to lie back, and I want you to put your feet in these stirrups. I am going to feel around your groin, so don’t be shocked by the touch. Mmhmmm, strange. I’m going to listen to your heart, lungs, take your blood pressure and pulse. You may sit up, Dani.” She listened to my heart, lungs, took my blood pressure and pulse. “You may get dressed, Dani and meet me in my office.” I got dressed, and went in Dr. Hecht’s office.

“I didn’t tell Dani what I found, until I had a chance to talk to you both. I am going to give you a test order for the hospital, and I want Dani to go there tomorrow. If what I have found is a fact, then we need to take immediate action. Part of that test order is for an ultra sound. If this shows what I think it will, then we have a small procedure to do.” All of a sudden she tore up the test order. “On second thought, I want Dani admitted to the hospital for these tests. Another part of these tests will be a blood draw, because I want to see if you have an over abundance of estrogen in your system. When all these tests are in, I will come to your hospital room and talk to you. You will be admitted as a female. By the way, Dani, that is a beautiful dress. You look very pretty.”

“Thank you, doctor.”

“Jen, I want her admitted immediately, and while you are on the way, I will call them and let them know.”

“Yes, Karen. Thank you.”

Mom and I talked on the way to the hospital. “Dani, this is going better than I thought. Karen wants to see if you are female inside, physically. You may be in there for a few days. I have Kendra’s number, I will call her and let her know what the doctor is doing. I will also give her your room number. So, what do you think?”

“If it proves that I am female, then I will be the happiest girl in the world.”

“I bet. Just wait until your father hears about this. He will really be confused.” We both giggled. “Honey, I want you to now that no matter how this turns out, you are my daughter, and you always will be.”

“Thank you, mom.”

“Well kiddo, we’re here, and look at this, they’re waiting with a wheelchair. Now that’s service. Are you ready?”

“As ready as I will ever be.”

“Are you Danielle Foster?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“You don’t have to be ma’am me, Miss Foster. My name is Sara, and I will be your nurse when we get upstairs at least until eleven o’clock. Okay, hop on and we will get you to your room. You have already been registered by your doctor. Have you ever been in the hospital before?”

“Yes, Sara, when I was born.” We all giggled, and she said she was going to like taking care of me. “You have a wonderful sense of humor. It comes in handy when you’re in a hospital room. You are going to have a roommate. Now, when your friends come to visit, you need to be as quiet as you can, because she is an elderly woman, and needs a lot of rest.”

“Maybe I can go out of the room when my friends come.”

“Yes, there is a visiting/waiting room just down the hallway. That would be perfect. Alright, here we are. There is a gown on the bed, and you need to take everything off except your panties.”

“Is this the young lady that is going to room with me?”

“Yes, Hilda, this is Danielle.”

“You look very pretty, child.”

“Thank you, ma’am.”

“Oh, I’m just Hilda. Do you like to play board games?”

“Yes, I do. I love playing Monopoly.”

“Oh I love that game too.”

“Maybe later, when all the test labs are mainly doing emergency room patients, would you like to play a game?”

“I like to play five hundred rummy.”

“Good. After dinner then, we will play a few hands. I must warn you though that I fall asleep easily.”

“Hilda, how about you be in your bed, and I will sit in the chair, and when you fall asleep, I will just go back to my bed.”

“You are such an understanding child, too. Is this your mother?”

“Yes.”

“You have a well mannered and smart child. There aren’t many like her, anymore.”

“She’s our little angel.” I don’t think Hilda heard that because she was fast asleep.

“When we knew you were coming, Dani, we order dinner for you. When they bring your tray to you, there will be a slip of paper that has meal choices for tomorrow’s breakfast, lunch and dinner. You mark what you want for each meal, and then the cafeteria will send it up. If you need help, press this button, and I or an aide will come to help you. Now young lady, for the bad news. I’m going to have to put a needle in your arm, so we can keep your body hydrated with fluids. People who are in the hospital for even a few days, get what we call dehydrated, and that is not good. What that means, is your body loses fluid, either through urination, or sweating, or not drinking enough fluids. But don’t worry, I will use a baby needle.”

“Will it hurt?”

“You may feel a little poke, but only for a second.”

She started feeling around my arm. I asked her what she was doing, and she said she was looking for a vein to put the needle in. She found one, and then wiped it with a square piece of something or other, then she put the needle in. It didn’t hurt, but it did sting a little. After she had the needle in, she taped it in place, and then adjusted something on the tube.

“There you go. Now, I need you to pee in this cup a little, so we can test your urine.”

“Why do you have to do that?”

“Well, when we run the tests, they tell us if you have any diseases, or if you have anything else wrong. Your blood when the lady comes to draw it, will tell us other things too.”

“The lady that draws the blood is here.” I looked at this lady. She had grey hair and a smile I had only seen mom have. “Now young lady, let’s get that blood, so you can eat dinner.” She took a rubber tube and tied it tightly around my arm. Then she did the same thing as the nurse did, and then put in a small needle attached to a small hose. The blood flowed, and she took five tubes of blood. When she was done, she put a piece of tape across the little square, and said have a good evening.

Sara brought in mine and Hilda’s dinner trays. Hilda was on a special diet. I laid there eating, and then all of a sudden I fell asleep. I must have really been tired, because when I woke up, it was one o’clock in the morning. The night nurse came in just as I opened my eyes.

“Hi, my name is Dana, and I am your night nurse. I need to take your vitals.” She took my blood pressure, my pulse and listened to my heart and lungs. “Well, you have a heart and your lungs are clear.” I giggled. “Now go back to sleep before we wake up Hilda.”

“Oh Hilda has been awake for a while.”

“Hilda, this young lady needs her rest just like you do. I don’t want to hear any giggling in here. Dani has a lot of testing to do tomorrow. Now, go to sleep, both of you.”

“You have to excuse Dana, young lady. She is always this bossy. Would you like to play a game?”

“What if she comes back and see us?”

“We will cross that bridge when we come to it.”

“Well, Hilda, how about a few hands of rummy?”

“That sounds good, young lady.”

“Hilda, my name is Danielle, or Dani for short.”

“Well Dani, you get the cards. They’re in the left hand drawer by the mirror.”

I went to get the cards, and Dana walked in to get something from one of the drawers.

“Well, what have we here? A mutiny, hey. Alright you swashbuckler back to your wooden coffin and sink with the rest of the ship.”

I cleared my throat. “Does that mean get back in bed?”

She smiled when she said, “yes, Dani, it does. Come on, girl, you have a lot of tests tomorrow. You will be busy all morning, and then for about three hours in the afternoon. Dr. Hecht has scheduled an ultra sound for tomorrow at nine o’clock. This should only be about a twenty minute test. The next test is a hearing test, then an eye test and then we are going to test your dexterity.”

“What is that?”

“It is a test to see how well you can use your hands and fingers. Dr. Hecht wrote in her orders that she didn’t have time to give you really comprehensive physical, like she had wanted. So that is what we will be doing in addition to the blood work and ultra sound. Now, no more stalling. In bed, young lady.”

I got back in bed, and I was alseep in no time. Jaime is my day nurse, and she woke me up and said she had to take my vitals. I said they did that yesterday, and she giggled and said they had to do it on every shift. Right after she was done, she brought in my breakfast tray.

“Remember to mark what you want for breakfast tomorrow. Be sure to put your room number on the card.”

I ate my breakfast and talked to Hilda. I found out she was in here until she died, because she didn’t have any family left, and she couldn’t afford to live on her own. I got to thinking, and when mom comes later on, I will talk to her about taking Hilda home with us. Just so she can be with someone who cares for her. In the meantime, I was going to be gone all morning and most of the afternoon. After breakfast, I was just drifting off to sleep, when a lady with a wheelchair came to my room.

“Hello, Dani, my name is Geri, and I am here to take you for your ultra sound. Have you ever had an ultra sound before?”

“No.”

“Well, it doesn’t hurt. It may tickle a little bit though. What we do is, we take this goo and put it on your tummy, and a little bit on a wand thing, and then I just trace it around on your tummy, until I have all the pictures your doctor wants. If you want, you can watch the screen with me.”

We went in the room marked ultra sound, and she had me get up on the bed. She covered me with a sheet, except from my waist up. Then she spread a little goo on my tummy and on the tip of this funny looking thing she called a wand. As she started tracing it around my part by part, I saw the most remarkable pictures.

“What is that?”

“That is your uterus. It’s where a baby lives until it is born. The rest your mother will have to tell you.”

“What is that at the top and is moving in and out?”

“That is your heart, and it is pulsating, or beating. That is why it moves like that. Now, let me check just a little lower.”

“Why do you keep pressing those buttons?”

“Because I have to freeze certain parts, so the doctor can see the whole picture. Anyway, I am done here. I will set you out in the hall, because you have an x-ray right after this. Then that is going to be enough radiation for about three months, unless an emergency happens. Take care, Dani.”

I sat in the hallway for what seemed like a long time. Then this guy comes out and says he is here to take pictures of my bones. I think he must know my father, because his joke was just as bad as daddy’s. When we got in the room, he asked me if I could stand. I said yes, but I wasn’t standing with him in the room. He said that it was alright because he had seen girls undressed before.

“You haven’t seen me undressed, ever, and you aren’t going to.”

“Well, you will be wearing your hospital gown.”

“With the backside wide open. And you are not going to see my backside either.”

He went in another room, and came out with another gown. “Here, use this to cover your backside.” He sounded very disappointed. “You know, I could just send you back to your room, and say you refused the x-rays.”

“My mother and my doctor who know me very well, would not believe you. Tell me, do you like seeing little girls undressed?”

“Just stand by the plate.”

“What’s going on in here?”

“This young lady refuses to have the x-rays taken.”

“Go get yourself a cup of coffee, Jim. I will take the x-rays.”

“But Carol, she already refused.”

“Go and get yourself a cup of coffee.”

After the guy she called Jim left, she looked at me like mom does when she is worried about me.

“Did he get mad when you wouldn’t show him your backside?”

“Yes.”

“Well, don’t worry. I will take your x-rays. They should have told me to do them to begin with. Your name is Danielle?”

“Yes, but my friends call me Dani.”

“Well Dani, come over here to the plate. I will help you. I want you to stand like this, with your chin up and against the plate. Yes, that’s the way. Now stay right there.” I heard a clicking sound and the Carol said I could breathe. “Now I need to take one of each side, and then you can go back to your room.” As we were done with the last x-ray, Jim came back in and did a fake stumble so that he could pour coffee on me, but I moved and he hit the floor. Carol and I giggled. “That’s what you get for tring use your perversions on a young girl. Jim, I have already sent a formal complaint to the medical director. Now I suggest you go to the cafeteria while she is still down here. If you’re thinking about going to her room, I have already called the floor. This is a girl, Jim, and she should have women giving her the x-rays. Now, please go to the cafeteria.”

“You can’t tell me what to do.”

“Oh no. I am your supervisor and that gives me the right to tell you what to do. Either go to the cafeteria, or leave. But if you leave, the police will come to your house. You are better off here.”

“This isn’t over with yet, you little slut.”

“That was uncalled for, Jim. Come here, Dani. I will take you back to your room.”

“Did you call for security, ma’am?”

“Yes, the police are on the way. He doesn’t leave, until the police says he can go. I will be right back.”

When we got upstairs, Carol told Jaime what had taken place downstairs. Carol said she had called the police, because I was the first girl to stand up to him. Jaime listened, and then looked at me. Her only concern was that I was all right. After I got in bed, mom came in. She looked worried.

“Dear, the nurse told me a shocking story about some x-ray technician tried to look at you naked!”

“Yes, mom. But the lady there said she called the police.”

“Yes, that is what the nurse said. Are you alright, though?”

“Yes, mother. The way he was acting, you would think he has done this before.”

“Yes, dear. Anyway, how did the tests go, so far besides that?”

“Okay, mom, when Geri was doing my ultra sound, I asked her what was that image on the screen, and she said it was my uterus.”

“OMG, my dear child. I knew you were a female, I just knew it. Well, when your father hears this, he will have to stop wanting you to be a boy.”

“I agree,” Dr. Hecht said, as she came in the room. “I saw the ultra sound. Now I know how to proceed. It is a simple procedure, usually done at birth, but somehow got overlooked in your case. Okay, tomorrow, I will remove the graft of skin, and you should have a normal girl’s life. I also heard what happened at x-ray, and I will be filing a complaint with the hospital administration. In the meantime, I have put the floor on alert, in case he tries to get in this room. You try and get some rest, Dani, and after tomorrow, everything will be better.”

Dr. Hecht removed the skin and made sure my vagina was open. She said there was no sign of a menstrual start, but she said I should have my first period soon enough without trying to rush it. It has been a week now, since that day, and I am dresseing to go home. I haven’t called Kendra or the others yet, because I want to see the look on their faces when I tell them I have always been female.

Mom took me out for a late lunch, because I didn’t really like the food they made at the hospital. But I only had a salad and milk. On the way home mom asked me what I thought.

“I don’t really know. I mean, how does something like that get overlooked?”

“I don’t know, sweetie. But I am going to ask Karen if she can get a hold of the doctor that delivered you. I am going to want to know why he covered up that you are female. In the mean time, your father is going to really be confused when we get home. I will tell you what. Let’s play a little joke on your father. Here is what we will do. ...”

When parked in the driveway, I got out of the car, like a lady of breeding, and held my chin up a little extra high. Mom and I walked in the house, and daddy right away said, “welcome home, punkin”. He asked me how my hospital stay was.

“Well, you know daddy, I went in there because Dr. Hecht wanted to do a few tests. But I thought that as long as I was there, I would just have the whole thing done and get it over with.”

“That’s nice, waste not, want not. Wait! Get what whole thing done and over with?”

“Well, my surgery to make me totally female, daddy. I thought that is what we talked about.”

“Your what? To make you toally what? We talked about what?”

“Daddy, you don’t look so well, I think you should lie down for a while.”

“Yes, dear, you do look a litted peaked.”

“I think you’re right. I don’t feel very well.”

In every life a little rain must fall. But when a father who wants his child to watch “manly” movies, and act like a boy, that is hard to do when the child isn’t even male. Jared Foster learned his lesson the hard way. By not listening.



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