Gabycon @ Le Tour 2014 - Bus Ride To Sheffield.

Gabycon 2014.

Bus Ride to Sheffield.

“So when are they going to do it—the op, I mean?” Em asked, Rhod had disappeared again for about the past month. Drew didn’t know if he pitied or envied his dark haired friend, assuming that at least his wedding tackle worked unless he’d been on the smarties again—the slight cleavage visible down Em’s vee necked jumper tended to indicate it wasn’t an optical illusion.

“End of the season,” Drew said breaking eye contact.

“You’re so lucky,” offered Em.

“Am I?”

“Yeah, you’re going to be a real girl, periods, have babies, the lot.”

“Is that lucky?” Drew thought the opposite.

“Yeah, course.”

“If you say so.”

“Where are we meeting the others?” asked Em changing the subject. She didn’t really want to get into comparisons because even in boy mode, if such a thing existed for Drew, he looked more girl than Em did with makeup and miniskirt. When they’d boarded the bus, the driver had called them, ‘Girls,’ Drew didn’t flinch, Em guessed he was used to it, after all he spent most of his time in Germany living like one, probably more than he was prepared to recognise. Em realised that losing his last remnants of boyness, if there was such a word, was a matter of some regret to Drew. He hadn’t wanted to become a girl, just that was what happened when he underwent a female puberty and all decided by his body. At times she thought Drew was really lucky to be so naturally Gaby, whereas she’d been taking pills when the mood was on her to block testosterone and also girly ’mones.

Quite what Drew felt himself, he wasn’t sure. At times he quite enjoyed being a girl just as he’d enjoyed being what he thought was a boy. Jules and his parents had made the switch, dealt with their feelings—or so it seemed, welcoming the young woman his body seemed to be growing to be. So why was he having such a problem? He didn’t know. He knew his grip on masculinity was slipping from his grasp by the day and that there was little he could do about it. It was inevitable, but he didn’t have to like it. Dammit, why did it have to happen to him? What had he done to deserve it? Nothing. Okay so he allowed Mad and the girls to dress him as one, but then so had Rhod, and he wasn’t turning...he glanced at his friend, his long again hair dyed a mixture of exotic colours, pierced ears, painted eyelids and wearing a girl’s top and miniskirt...perhaps this feminising thing was catching?

“You on the ’mones again?” he asked Em.

Em looked away, was she blushing? Looked like it. “I might be, why?”

“Just asking.”

“Yeah.”

Drew nodded.

“Keeping my options open.”

“Right.” But was it? At least Em was making a choice, but then wasn’t he? He’d decided not to dispose of the girly bits that were changing his body, instead he chose to rid himself of the boy bits, which had never worked anyway. Some choice. He didn’t know why he opted to do that. Could he have ever been a proper boy or man? He’d have needed injections regularly and even then he wasn’t guaranteed to become masculine. He’d read that girls who take male hormones to look like boys tend to become stunted. He was small already, at least they thought he might grow a bit more as a woman. He decided even if he didn’t, it wasn’t that important and Emma Pooley, showed you could be a small woman and still compete at the highest levels—against other women. That was the problem, other women—oh bugger.

The truth was, Drew for all his skill and training could no longer compete against young, testosterone fuelled young men except on climbs—where his smaller, lighter body had less difficulty fighting the gravitational pull of the earth’s core. He had hoped to go one better than Robert Millar, the Scot, who so far was the only Brit to win the coveted spotty King of the Mountains jersey. So far the only polka dots he had were on a dress he bought in Kölne.

His boyhood dreams of winning the Tour, the first Brit to do so, were fading as he allowed reality to shine like a burst of sunlight into his deepest imaginings. His eyes began to moisten as he thought of what might have been.

“You all right, Gabs—I mean Drew?”

“Yeah,” he choked out.

“You gonna race as a woman?” asked Em trying to fill the gaping void of silence which she felt was one of sadness.

“They want me to.”

“What your ’rents?”

“No, BC.”

“Who?”

“British Cycling,” he shook his head in mild scorn.

“Well I didn’t know did I?” Em felt unfairly chastised.

“So it appears. Caro, Mum’s friend and my godmother, asked me to. She thinks I could be better’an Mum.”

“Like, that good?” Em was impressed and felt like standing up and proclaiming her friend Gaby as a future world champion, so proud was she of her friend.

“Yeah.”

“I’ll be lucky to get a job in Curry’s.”

“What?” Drew had imagined himself on the podium at the world’s. “Oh yeah. You need some ambition.”

“Gabs—sorry, Drew, how can I think about jobs, I can’t even decide who or what I am? At least you know.”

Drew snorted.

“Don’t you?”

“Like yeah,” he rolled his eyes. “You think you’re messed up, try explaining a period to the lad you’re rooming with and who thinks you’re a boy.”

“I’d love to have a period,” said Em very quietly.

“You can have mine with great pleasure.” Drew said angrily. How could anyone in their right mind welcome one of those—messy, painful, bloating, smelly—ugh, except a girl who’d been sowing wild oats and was then praying for a crop failure.

The silence settled between them, Em struggling not to cry and Drew trying to calm his temper. How the hell could he think of himself as a boy when he had periods? Yet he did—well sometimes. He looked at his nails—shit!—he’d still got pearlised varnish on them, a pale lavender colour—yeah, Gaby had been around last night at Helen’s insistence because she couldn’t come shopping with them today.

How did he get stuck with Em? Because he promised to pop and see Sylv while the other girls caught the earlier bus. Other girls? He almost nodded to himself—he might as well face it, he was a girl in all but fact. The legal stuff would be easy, according to the lawyers—misidentified at birth—birth certificate and passport would follow. He’d keep his old one—passport, that is—for old time’s sake.

He stared out the window again, it was longer to Sheffield than he remembered.



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