Walter sits on the couch, alone in the living room, looking at the Sears and Roebuck catalog…at the section with women wearing panties and bras. He carefully looks up every so often to make sure that Mom or Dad don’t come in and catch him…
Walter, or Walt as his friends call him, is eight…and is a pervert… Well, according to the prevailing definition in 1975, anyways—but not the kind you might think; he is not sneaking looks at the women’s lingerie section because he is somehow prematurely lusting after the ‘half-naked’ women… He longs to wear the panties and bras…again, not in the sense of one prevailing definition of pervert for the time—he does not long to wear them in the sense of a cross-dresser; he longs to be a girl…someone that HAS to wear them… So, in that sense, according to the times, he is very much a pervert—according to the definition. So, since he is just eight, he takes great pains to keep his little secret.
He is really engrossed in the catalog and jumps when his Mom comes into the room and barely gets the page changed to the one with the G.I. Joes before she notices what he is really looking at…
Walt is a bright fellow for his age; a real bookworm… Between seeing some pioneering episodes that, for the time, bravely broach the subject of ‘reassigning a man’s sex to a woman’ on a few weekly TV drama shows, like Marcus Welby, MD; and reading a few articles in some magazines at the library, Walt’s curiosity is raised about this bright new possibility. He ratchets up his courage and asks his Mom about this new procedure. Heart pounding out his mouth, he tells her, “Of course not,” when she asks him if he needs to tell her something. There is no way he is brave enough to admit that he is a pervert.
Walt slowly grows up as a boy, wishing…dreaming…to be a girl. His body slowly changes and he continues to dream. He goes to college and he continues to dream. He meets a girls and marries her, but continues to dream. He has a beautiful child, but continues to dream. He leads a very happy life with his family—but continues to dream; feeling guilty—that he is somehow unfaithful; that if they find out that it will hurt them. He tries to play out his dreams by secretly writing stories, playing on ‘specialty’ websites, messaging with others…always carefully keeping his identity secret…so as not to hurt anybody…
Finally, Walt is an old man—frail and sickly…on his death bed. His wife is there beside him with his daughter and grandchild… He is not afraid to die; he has no real regrets—just a burning curiosity to know what could have been if he had been braver that day…if society had been more open…if things had just been different…
He closes his eyes and sees a bright light…he opens them and his Mom appears in front of him, long dead but peacefully standing there, with the rest of his family. She looks at Walt and tells him that she has always known…since that day she asked. His wife and daughter tell him they have long known. They all tell him that they love him for staying with them and not trying to really chase that dream…that they had not minded his dreaming…but that they were sorry his dream could not come true and caused him pain. His Mom smiles at him and says, “So, we are granting you your wish, Walt… We all love you. Go in peace!”
Walt finds himself looking at bras and panties on the internet. He looks down at the date on the start bar and sees that it is today’s date…September 22, 2054, but his reflection in the computer’s screen is that of an eight year-old. A woman comes in that he somehow recognizes as his mother and startles him. She sees what he is looking at and asks, “Son, do you have something you want to tell me?” Walt nods his head and says, “Yes, Mom. I want to be a girl…”
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