by Jennifer Sue
No one knew how the nearly dead youth belly crawled onto the road that ran along the edge of the state game lands that chilly Thanksgiving night. No one even began to understand how the shattered eleven year old managed to keep living. The broken collar bone and split lips were hardly worth mentioning since both legs and both arms were broken. A quarter of his ribs were broken while the rest were fractured. One lung was collapsed and the other punctured. The broken jaw, nose and orbitals as well as a fractured skull were added evidence of the brutality he’d endured. The internal bleeding in the liver, spleen and kidneys had mostly clotted by the time he arrived at the trauma center after being medivaced.
The police easily followed the bloody trail nearly a thousand feet through a badly overgrown orchard on the opposite side of the street from the game lands to the front door of a run down old farmhouse. When the clearly drunken man staggered to the paint peeled door the officers could see his grubby wife beater shirt as well as his threadbare jeans were covered with splattered blood. Upon seeing the officers he slammed the door in their faces. Wisely the officers stepped to either side of the door and drew their weapons as they knocked again announcing they were the police investigating a beating. As they called for backup the center of the door exploded as the 12 gauge shotgun blasted through the warped wood. Splinters struck both officers but fortunately were only painful jabs. Both fired through the hole as they heard the shotgun being pumped to chamber a new shell. The next blast hit an upper corner of the door and the jamb. The officers emptied their 9mms through the door. Except for the sound of the officers hastily replacing the clips, nothing else was heard.
Cautiously, they tried to open the door but it only opened a few inches before it stopped. Wailing sirens approached rapidly... the sound of the initial shotgun blast had been easily heard during their call for backup. With weapons drawn, the four newly arrived officers reinforced the bloodied pair by the door. Cautiously they poked a selfy stick and a phone through the hole to see the miscreant sprawled lifelessly just inside the door. At least eight bloody bullet holes were seen in his torso. Once inside the filthy house most of the furniture was broken or overturned while blood splatters covered the walls, furniture, scattered trash and even the ceiling. It was quite evident the boy had been beaten and thrown about the room. When they searched the house they found a meth lab in the basement. As soon as the investigation was completed the chemicals were removed and the front door boarded up.
At first the doctors had no idea if Jamie would ever wake up but the stubborn boy clung to life. A shunt kept the fluid pressure in his skull from crushing his brain. In truth no one expected the boy to survive. But the lad amazed them as he not only survived but began to show signs of recovery. Slowly the wounds and bones healed. Jamie was in a coma for eight weeks.
When he finally regained consciousness it quickly became evident he was aware of his surroundings and responded to requests to attempt or perform an action. However he never uttered a sound nor even nodded. Despite every effort he showed only one demeanor. One that bitterly and almost hauntingly showed the total loss of innocence and hope. With a stoic, cold, hard unsettling gaze he unflinchingly stared at whoever attempted to communicate with him. Since he refused to talk or even indicate a response counseling sessions were fruitless. Despite the noncommunication he still performed requested activities. No one had any idea how to reach him and feared he would one day explode.
The case worker assigned to him worked with a police detective to reconstruct the youth’s past. The boy and his mother had been loving and close. The first weeks of kindergarten had been tearful and traumatic. At the same time the father had harshly pushed the unwilling lad into sports earning a reputation as a belligerent, demanding and profane man who seldom came to practices and games without having imbibed several beers.
The investigation revealed that the boy had apparently silently endured nearly four years of increasingly violent abuse at the hands of his father after his mother had died... partially immolated in a car crash. Reviewing the crash scene investigation and the autopsy they realized the crash had been staged... many of the woman’s injuries had occurred prior to the fiery crash. School records from that time onward showed the boy had regularly arrived at school with bruises and broken bones after the mother’s death but the no action had been taken. Testimony from classmates revealed the boy had been severely bullied by sports oriented classmates for his obvious dislike of sports. The investigation resulted in several teachers and administrators facing criminal charges and losing their jobs for failure to report the abuse at home and failing to take steps to stop the bullying. The state went over the school district with a fine tooth comb which resulted in massive changes.
Four months after the near fatal beating Jamie was placed in a foster home after spending six weeks in a rehab facility. No one had done anything for his twelfth birthday, March 3rd, while he’d been there. Richard and Naomi Glass welcomed Jamie into their home. They had been told about the lad’s noncommunication and silence. Being teachers they thought they were prepared to handle the stoic youth and with patience and understanding help him to open up. Like the others treating Jamie they were mystified by his unwavering expression and total lack of communication. It was only the fact the boy did the chores they asked, obeyed the house rules, went to school and did well that reassured them he wasn’t in some sort of catatonic state or autistic.
Returning to same school the stoic teen neither talked nor interacted with teachers or students. His grim silent demeanor was intimidating and frightening. Even so he paid attention to the lessons, did every assignment and maintained an A average. Walking to and from school or to the local public library he traveled different routes and gathered discarded beverage cans and other saleable recyclables which he turned in for cash although he never spent a cent. In the foster home he asked for nothing and did whatever chores were asked of him. Other than silent meals and chores he had no interaction or gave any sign of communication. At least once a week he went to the public library. During daylight hours after school but before supper time carrying a large cloth tote bag he’d silently wander the town gathering more discarded beverage cans even raiding trash dumpsters. When he accumulated enough he sold his collection to the local recycling business. The owner was on good terms with the local police since they often had to deal with people attempting to sell stolen recyclables. He shared with his staff what he’d learned about the silent intense youth to know his silence was a result of the abuse he’d endured. It didn’t take them long to learn he was honest and could be trusted. They often gave Jamie tips about where he could find recyclables that were too insignificant for most adults to spend the time collecting them.
Several times the recycling staff saw the boy eyeing discarded electronics piled in the collection yard. The owner let the staff and Jamie know it was okay for him to search the pile and take one or two items. Jamie searched the accumulated electronics every time he came in. If he found something that interested him he took it to owner who always smiled giving him permission to take it. With research he was able to cobble together a functional laptop and cell phone as well as assorted accessories.
Jamie became a recognized figure as he wandered around the area. His tragic story became known and quite a few people offered odd jobs to the intense boy. Shoveling snow, raking leaves, mowing lawns, weeding, and many other tasks were done quickly and efficiently much to the satisfaction of those who hied him. Using the cash collected from the odd jobs and the recycling he rented a post office box and signed up for the cheapest three gigabyte cell phone plan he could find.
Inclement weather never interfered with his roaming or work and he was seemingly impervious to variations in temperature, rain or snow. After supper he stayed in his unpersonalized bedroom reading or working on his salvaged electronics. Prominent amongst his reading was everything he could find about survival skills, hunting, fishing, martial arts strategy and tactics.
On weekends and non school days Jamie would pack a lunch and head out right after breakfast always returning in time for supper. With his silence no one had any idea where he went. The plucky silent lad went into the nearby state game lands forest, one prong of which just extended between the school and his home. Once in the trees he took off in a run, jog, walk routine. As he moved through the woodland he kept an eye peeled for signs of rabbits and squirrels as well as edible plants which he plucked and ate. When they were in season or when he could find them walnuts, hickory nuts, mulberries, raspberries, mushrooms, wild onions and carrots were among the items he found and ate.
Cutting through the state game lands forest for two miles he came to the state road that formed the boundary on that side. Dipping into a gully he arrived at a rounded concrete culvert twenty feet wide by sixty feet long by ten feet tall that tunneled beneath the state road. A sizeable stream flowed out of the culvert but over the course of fifty years large amounts of mud and dirt eroded by faster flowing water upstream had been deposited in the slower flowing channel. Those deposits created dry areas on either side that allowed Jamie to pass through without getting wet. The area on the other side was a long abandoned farm. That farm was owned by a trust fund established by Jamie’s great grandfather and had been his home until the savage beating.
Jamie’s grandfather was killed during the Vietnam War after marrying and fathering a child who was Jamie’s father. Jamie’s great grandfather realized his grandson was at best irresponsible so to protect the family farm he established the trust to control the land and see that it wasn’t sold off with the property taxes being paid by the trust. After his mother’s death Jamie had spent much of his childhood scampering about the farm to avoid his dad. About a thousand feet behind the old farmhouse was a narrow rugged ravine with a fast flowing trout filled stream, the stream that flowed through the culvert. The sides of the heavily wooded ravine were steep and rocky. The lad spent many hours in that ravine exploring and watching the fish. About five hundred feet beyond the culvert about twelve feet to the side and ten feet above the steam an old silver maple tree had fallen across the ravine bridging the stream. The tree had originally stood about eighty feet tall with a diameter of forty inches at the base. It had been toppled by the hurricane that passed through the area two years previously as it had been the fate of numerous other trees. Jamie had enjoyed playing around and on the fallen giant.
The still intact roots on the downhill side of the tree still nourished the stubborn giant and the branches on the sides and top still flourished. A few of the branches from the bottom, twisted and bent by the impact, valiantly sent new branches searching for daylight. Sucker siblings sprang from the old roots covering the crater. Jamie knew that under the now horizontal trunk by the uprooted base, shielded by the branches, a natural shelter had been formed that he had cleared out and made a snug hiding hole. The uptwisted severed roots diverted rainwater running down the sides of the ravine. With quite a bit of effort Jamie now began to excavate a short tunnel into the 45 degree slope. Utilizing rocks removed from the tunneling he constructed rock walls to support the trunk. Excess rocks and dirt were used to fill in the crater caused by the uprooting thus allowing any precipitation to run downhill which also served to keep his nest dry. Digging clay from the banks of the stream he filled in the spaces of the rock walls and plastered the outside. Other rocks and debris gathered from the tunnel and steep hillside were placed along the outside of the support walls and downed trunk. Using leaves and other detritus he covered and camouflaged the construction quite effectively. It took him several months to create a snug nest about four and a half feet wide by seven feet long and seven feet high.
If he knew he’d be returning to the site the next day he set a few snares catching rabbits and squirrels. After gutting and skinning the animals he roasted them on a spit above a campfire built on a flat rock at the edge of the stream. Uneaten cooked meat was left over a banked fire to dry then hung by string from branches to make jerky. To hide the evidence of the fire he always added an inch thick layer of mud atop the rock to avoid scorch marks. Using repurposed gallon sized milk jugs and smaller soda bottles he washed all evidence of the fire after each use. The swirling waters of the stream disposed of the evidence.
Scrounging in dumpsters and in curbside trash he found discarded treasures: plastic and tin storage containers from small to large, pieces of carpet and rugs, shelving and cabinets, and plenty of other usable odds and ends. Using Roman era oil lamps as models he crafted tin cans into oil lamps that could be hung or set on shelves. Climbing into the fenced in dumpster cages behind fast food and other restaurants he raided the barrels containing discarded cooking oil and grease carrying away two gallons at a time. The cooking oil fueled the lamps while the congealed grease became glass jar candles. The entrance to his nest was covered by a thick piece of carpet which kept all light from escaping.
Using fallen branches he made a triple set of portable weir. One would be placed across the stream. The other two would be placed diagonally upstream ending about three feet from the lower weir. Once installed he entered the stream above all three weir and ‘herded’ he the trout into the trap. Using a net it was easy to snag one or two fish. The weirs were then pulled from the stream allowing the remaining trout to swim free. The weirs were easily hidden amongst the bent and twisted branches on the underside of the downed tree.
Jamie’s biggest coup was salvaging a few old solar panels from a home remodel. With a bit of research he discovered how to hook them up to charge a car battery which he took from a pallet behind an auto parts store. Climbing high into the surrounding trees about forty feet up he secured the solar panels so they faced south and were totally invisible from the ground. Carefully he ran salvaged wire down the tree trunk in a carefully cut narrow irregular groove in the bark. Dark mud from the stream camouflaged the groove until it healed to hide the wire. A shallow trench hid the wire as it ran from the base of the tree to his nest where the battery was hidden. With a source of 12 volt power he was able to create a charging station. By the end of the summer his nest was quite comfortable and well stocked. Creating his hideaway didn’t take all his time. Each day he ran and jogged through the forest building his stamina and adding parkour moves and extreme freerunning to his repertoire of abilities.
Nearly every time he went to his nest he’d cautiously approach and scout the old farmhouse. The place was clearly abandoned and he doubted if anyone had been inside since the police investigation of his beating and father’s subsequent death by cop. While attracted to the old homestead it held too many bad memories and ghosts for him to even dare go inside.
Two years after going into foster care the stoic boy had not grown. Jamie stood five feet one inches tall, weighed 100 pounds with a BMI of 18, right on the line between healthy and underweight. His slim prepubescent body didn’t show the slightest sign of impending puberty. In fact his manhood had gotten smaller since the near death beating. After turning fourteen in March the eighth grader stopped coming home for supper. For the first few days Richard and Naomi were worried that something had befallen Jamie or that he’d run away. It was usually shortly after dusk when he’d get home. Not once did he even attempt to respond to his foster parents queries about where he’d been nor did he ask for or want any food. Concerned they contacted children’s services. By then the CPS staff had given up on trying to reach the silent boy. They were aware he was doing odd jobs and collecting recyclables but most importantly he was staying out of trouble and maintaining A+ grades. They acknowledged the foster parents concerns but told them as long as he came home each night and stayed out of trouble it was probably the best that could be hoped for. Since he wasn’t causing any problems everyone simply wrote off his behavior as part of his silent warped psyche.
By the Jamie had established a routine for non school days and the summer. Early morning he’d head to one of the local hot spots to go online for an hour or two. The rest of the morning was spent combing different areas of the town and surrounding township for saleable recyclables. Early afternoons were set aside of the odd jobs he had. In the late afternoon Jamie headed off to his nest.
Jamie’s foster parents informed him they had planned a trip for the four day of the fourth of July weekend and they trusted him to take care of himself and their home. To their surprise he nodded his head in acknowledgment. They smiled and thanked him for the response hoping to positively reinforce his effort. They didn’t know the morose boy had been waiting for a few days alone so he could face his demons.
The day the Glass’ left for the long weekend Jamie headed out after breakfast as he normally did. To all who saw him it seemed the intense silent youth was simply out collecting recyclables. No one noticed he was heading towards an area he’d studiously avoided. By the time night fell had reached his goal.
For an hour he stood looking at the front of the deteriorated abandoned farmhouse. Moving around to the back it took another hour until he could stop the trembling that engulfed him. Swallowing his nightmares he steeled his resolve and stepped onto the rickety back porch. Several rotted floor boards sagged precariously under his weight. An adult would probably have broken through. Reaching atop the rusted housing of the light he plucked the key. It took a moment to wrench the warped wooden screen door open. The inner door wasn’t in much better shape. With just a bit of effort he slipped the key into the lock and with a bit of jiggling turned the key. With the groaning of rusty unused hinges the door opened to his push.
Musty air seemed to flow from the house. For several minutes he stood and peered inside the decrepit kitchen. After building up his courage he pulled the flashlight from his pack and turned it on. The house was far from the road and the previously overgrown yard was even more so now so no one would see the light. Dirty dishes still filled the sink. Pizza boxes and other trash was piled about the overflowing waste can. Everything was covered with a thick layer of dust.
Slowly he made his way into the livingroom. A shudder swept through him and his knees threatened to buckle as he saw the still broken and overturned furniture. Seeing holes in the wallboard where he’d been thrown and the now dark brown splatter stains on the once white walls brought tears to his eyes. That was what his blood looked like after two and half years. For several minutes he stood as long repressed haunted memories of that last horrid night engulfed him.
Frank Dobbins screamed at the TV as his team suffered yet another interception. Jamie sat quietly cowering into the corner of the threadbare sofa as his father ranted. Six 12 ounce cans of beer were scattered about the angry man’s tattered lounge chair. Jamie gratefully ate the one slice of pizza he’d been allowed while his dad scarfed down the rest. As the fourth quarter began Frank growled an order to Jamie to bring another six pack from the refrigerator. The bruised and intimidated boy scrambled to do as bid to avoid another beating.
During the last quarter the man screamed at the TV almost non-stop. He had twenty bucks on his team. By the two minute warning they were down by eight points and unless a miracle happened he’d lose it and the vile man loathed losing. When play resumed his team managed to score pulling to within one point. With fifty seconds to go the opposing team clearly intended to run out the clock. Then the snap was fumbled. In the ensuing chaos his team recovered the ball. Frank was whopping and hollering, yelling at his team to make the hail Mary.
They tried... only to have pass intercepted in the on the one yard line ending the game. Frank screamed. Picking up the carrier with only three cans left by the plastic yoke flinging them through the screen causing a small explosion and a great deal of smoke as the electronics fried.
Jamie stared in horror as the sizzling and acrid smell filled the room. Frank simply lost it. Never one to take responsibility for his actions, he blamed the fiasco on the only other person present. Before Jamie could flee he was snapped up by an arm and hurled into the wall leading into the kitchen. After that his memories faded into pain and darkness.
As Jamie recovered from reliving that nightmare another older equally horrific memory slowly made it’s way back into his mind. It had been the Superbowl almost four years previous to his beating. The scenario was the same. Frank’s favored team lost. Jamie had been slapped across the room and his mother had stepped in. The crazed man turned on her and began to beat her. Jamie crawled away upstairs to his bedroom where he collapsed into bed. In the morning Jamie had learned his mom had been killed in a car crash.
That long repressed memory brought the stunned teen to his knees. His dad had killed his mother and faked the crash! For nearly an hour he cried as years of repressed and denied anger finally vented. Now he understood why the psychiatrists had tried to get him to talk about that horrific night and many other incidents.
When he recovered Jamie climbed the creaky stairs to his old bedroom. The stark room looked all too familiar. After a moment he opened the closet and pulled the worn pitiful clothes he’d had onto the bedroom floor. From in the back he pulled a battered suitcase. Almost reverently he placed it on the bed. Snapping open the latches he opened the case to reveal his treasures.
On top was his much missed bedraggled but beloved teddy bear Fozzy. Beside it was the adorable doll he’d mothered along with a few dresses undies and a pair of MaryJanes his mom had gotten him so he could be her secret part time daughter. Of course all that ended when she’d died but he’d secretly continued to dress until the clothes no longer fit. Seeing the beloved dainties he felt the long denied longing to be the girl his mother had recognized. Carefully he closed the case and carried it into the hall setting at the top of the stairs.
In the master bedroom he opened the closet to see his mother’s clothes. Fortunately his father had never bothered to clean out the no longer needed items. Jamie had spent hours alone after her death touching her clothes in the closet and dresser missing her and longing for their much missed girl time. Once more he lost himself in her things, remembering her scent. Clutching a nightie he cried, once more falling to his knees.
When he recovered he climbed back to his feet and held the dainty nighty against him. For the first time in six years a timid smile crept onto his face. It looked as if it would fit him perfectly! Scooping up the flashlight he fled back to his old bedroom and stripped off his clothes. With eager trembling fingers he slipped the lace edged pink nylon delight over his head slipping his arms into the sleeves. The soft silky fabric swirled about him in a much missed girlish delight. Giggling he spun in a circle delighting as the knee length lacy skirt swirled enticingly about him. When he stopped spinning exhaustion seemed to engulf him. Opening his treasured suitcase he took out Fozzy. Flinging the dusty covers off his old bed he snuggled under the top sheet clutching his beloved bear to his chest and almost instantly fell asleep. Despite the normal nightmares he slept through the night.
The morning sun entering the dirty windows woke him. As he stretched his bladder demanded attention. Heading back to the master bedroom he slipped a pair of his mothers slippers on and gracefully made his way downstairs and out onto the back porch where he relived himself into the weeds. Soon he was back in the master bedroom. A pack of crackers and a bottle of water served as breakfast. The rest of the morning was spent trying on his mother’s clothes posing in the mirror. A smile filled his face as he realized virtually everything fit him! Even the jeans with embroidered butterflies fit him well. His mother had been petite and curvy, cute by any standard. She’d only been fifteen when he’d been born and twenty three when she’d died. All the clothes looked young enough for a teenager.
Keeping a pair of panties on he went into the attic and dug out the suitcases stored there. Back in the master bedroom he carefully packed his mother’s clothes, even slipping her jewelry box inside one case. It took him two trips to carry four suitcases filled with his mothers clothes to his nest for safekeeping. Back at the old house he packed the nighty he’d worn and two other lace edged nylon delights in an overnight bag carefully placing Suzie and Fozzy on top. After placing his treasure suitcase and the overnight bag in the kitchen he looked around the old home. Searching through the kitchen cabinets he found the family photo albums. Of course there were no photos after his mother’s death. Sitting at the table he cried as he paged through the albums looking at the pictures of happier times.
Jamie smiled tearily as he opened the pink album entitled OUR BABY’S ALBUM; THE FIRST FIVE YEARS. Inside were many photos of he and his mother. In many he was dressed as a girl. Even as he aged there were pictures of him in dresses and skirts. It was the back page that shocked him. Inside the plastic protective sleeve was a letter addressed to him.
I love you dearly. Never, ever forget that.
Unfortunately if you’re reading this it most likely means I’m dead. Your father has been growing nastier year by year and I’ve been scrimping and saving to get enough money for us to get away. I had hoped to do so before he got too violent but I must have failed. I’m sorry, baby. Oh so sorry. I do hope he hasn’t crushed the delightful little girl that lives in your soul. If he has I shall haunt him.
I hope you still have Suzie, your adorable doll. If you carefully remove her head, you’ll find the money I’ve been able to set aside inside. I hope it will help you.
If my sweet Jamie is still alive inside you, please contact Dr. Jill Barry. I hope you remember her. I took you to see her in Philadelphia every three months. She diagnosed you as being transgender but was aware we couldn’t pursue it due to your father’s attitudes and belligerence. She has files on your counseling sessions. I hope you can get back to seeing her.
Remember, babydoll, I love you with all my heart and soul!
Jamie’s eyes were filled with tears as he read the short note. She had known her life was in danger and had in fact sacrificed herself to save him. Vague memories of happy trips to Philly and Dr. Barry rose in his memories. It was with tremendous relief that he realized the long fight he’d been waging against to suppress girlish desires had been necessary evils to endure turmoil of the last six years. Of course he still had to hide his girlishness until he could contact Dr. Barry and get her on his side.
With trembling hands he carefully removed Suzie’s head and fished out the tightly rolled wad of cash. There was just shy of twenty thousand dollars! Carefully he rolled it up and placed it back inside. Seeing the money jogged another hidden memory. On more than one occasion he’d watched from the top of the steps as his father pulled bricks from inside the fireplace. Heading into the livingroom he approached the fireplace. It took a few moments but he found the loose bricks in the side of the firebox. Pulling out the eight loose bricks revealed a large hidden space. Inside was a the 8x12"x3" metal box filled with thirty four bundles of hundred dollar bills at $10,000 each. With the cash from his mother and the money he’d earned he now had roughly $365,000. Slipping the cash box into his backpack and picking up the two suitcases he headed home.
Jamie took his treasure suitcase and the cash box to the nest, carefully burying the box in the dirt floor. Taking the overnight bag he headed home. After laundering the clothes he’d brought home Jamie slipped on a clean nightie. It felt even better than the previous night. Safe in his bedroom with Suzie cuddled in one arm and Fozzie clasped in the other he slept safely. It was the first nightmare free slumber he’d had in six years.
In the morning he did a google search on Dr. Jill Barry. The third entry on the first results page revealed a phone number and address for Dr. Jill Barry, Psychologist specializing in juvenile gender issues. Nervously he dialed the number. To his delight an actual person answered.
“Dr. Barry treated me for GID,” Jamie spoke softly in a long unused voice quavering with nervousness. “My mother brought me in once every three months but she died six years ago and my dad didn’t know or he’d have beat us to death. He... he killed her six years ago and I had to submerge myself in being a boy. Two and a half years ago he beat me. I was in a coma for six weeks. When I woke up I found he died in a shootout with the police when they tried to question him. I was so terrified I just shut down. I... I’ve been in foster care since I was released but I just found a note my mom had written to me because she was afraid she might be killed. In it she explained Dr. Barry had diagnosed me with GID. That shocked me but brought back all the memories I’d been denying. I NEED to be the girl I am inside! I need to see Dr. Barry as soon as possible! Please... I don’t know if I can handle things anymore. Please! The confession felt good yet it also terrified him... no... HER!
The receptionist could tell there was desperation in the boy’s voice and took as much information as Jamie could recall and asked him to hold on while she pulled the file from the basement storeroom and spoke to Dr. Barry. She warned him it could take and hour or more but that he should stay on the line.
As Jamie waited he/she began imagining worst case scenarios. Each worse than the last. Jamie EEPED when a somewhat familiar voice asked if he was still there.
Dr. Barry had skimmed the file the clerk/receptionist had pulled. There was ample evidence in the file that Linda Dobbins had been in fear of her and Jamie’s life. “Jamie, It’s so wonderful to hear from you! I’m sorry to learn of your mother’s death. From what you told Mary the last years have been quite rough.”
They spoke for twenty minutes. Jamie explained he/she could pay cash for initial treatment and promised he/she could hang on until he/she was able to get into see Dr. Barry. The most daunting thing was that he had to contact his current psychologist and caseworker to sign releases so the records of his treatment and status could be sent.
After she got of the phone with Dr. Barry Jamie called his caseworker. After playing with the automated menu for twenty minutes she reached a person only to be told an appointment would have to be made. Jamie argued for a few minutes then told the person he was talking to tell his caseworker who was on the phone informing them they would drop whatever they were doing to speak to him. Jamie added that if he didn’t speak to Carol Davis, his case worker, within an hour he’d kill himself leaving a suicide note explaining the run around he was being given.
Fifteen minutes later his caseworker called his phone.
“Jamie?” the caseworker asked with disbelief evident in her voice.
“Yes Mrs. Davis, thanks for returning my call,” Jamie said with a slight nervousness. “I apologize for not talking to you. I just had so much anger and fear I could barely keep myself functioning. I was afraid I’d totally lose it if I even tried to talk.”
“Are you okay? I was told you were going to kill yourself if I didn’t get back to you,” Carol stated with concern.
“I really need to talk with you as soon as possible,” Jamie explained. “I’ll tell you everything.”
“Where are you? I’ll come and we can talk,” said Carol.
“I’m just leaving home now,” Jamie answered. “I need to show you something as I explain things. Could you please pick me up on the northwest corner of Fifth and Walnut? I’ll be there in about fifteen minutes.”
“Yes, I can be there but it might take me a twenty or twenty five minutes,” she replied.
“Thank you. I’ll be waiting,” Jamie declared.
Carol shut down her computer and told her boss who knew of Jamie’s stoic silence that he’d called and wanted to talk. After nearly two and half years of frustrating silence both were delighted with the unexpected breakthrough.
As she pulled up to the corner Carol saw the familiar figure of her most troublesome case waiting. Her heart leapt as she noted a timid smile on the long suffering teen as he approached.
“Thanks again for coming for me,” Jamie said as he buckled himself into the passenger seat and placed his backpack on the floor. “We need to go to my old home, where my dad beat me.” Giving her directions they set off. As they drove he explained about how he was close to his mom and both were fearful by his dad. It was with a small tight voice as he recalled the beating he’d gotten and his mother’s intervention as well as her subsequent death in the staged crash.
The driveway to the home was mostly overgrown with just enough room for Carol to pull off the road. As they walked the weedy drive Jamie explained how he’d returned two days before and how it had opened his repressed memories. Jamie guided her across the sagging rear porch having her step on the joists. Inside Carol was shocked by the mess and obvious chaos. She shivered as Jamie haltingly pointed out the evidence of the beating he’d suffered. After a tour upstairs they returned to the kitchen where Jamie had them sit at the table. From his backpack he pulled a couple of bottles of water handing one to Carol. Then he pulled out the pink album.
“Just being here brought back all the horror. I found this,” Jamie explained as he gave it to her.
Carol opened the cover and saw the birth details on the cover page. It was for Jamie and it was his birth date. Slowly she began paging through the photos. She knew Jamie was an only child but most of the photos showed a baby girl. As she turned the pages she saw the smiling seemingly happy little girl growing up. Quite often as she paged through the photos she glanced at Jamie to gage his take on what she was seeing. It was quite evident he was anxious but also determined to have her learn the truth. On the last page she saw the envelope addressed to Jamie.
“You need to read it,” Jamie whispered as a few tears trickled from his eyes.
Carol removed the envelope and withdrew the note. As she read she sucked in her breath and swallowed. Finally she was beginning to understand the absolute hell Jamie’s life had been. Tears were trickling down her cheeks as she looked over at trembling Jamie biting her lips. It was clear to the experienced caseworker she was not looking at a boy but a frightened girl. “I think we could both use a hug”
Jamie didn’t hesitate to shove her chair back and rush around the table as Carol stood up. They hugged and cried for fifteen minutes.
“I called Dr. Barry this morning and spoke to her,” Jamie explained as they calmed down. “I explained all that’s happened to me and she was shocked. She’s willing to see me but insisted I had to tell you and get your approval and have the records of my local psychologist and CPS status sent to her for review. I checked the bus schedules and I can get to Philly to see her and I found the money mom had stashed in my doll so I can pay for the visits. I now know the way I’ve been behaving was because I was repressing my true self. Please, Mrs. Davis, I really NEED to see Dr. Barry!”
Carol could see and hear the desperation in Jamie’s voice and body language. The mere fact he... no SHE had opened up after so long was ample evidence of her mental anguish. Now that she remembered her past, suicide was a very real possibility if she was denied her plaintiff request. “The first step is to get you in to see Dr. Hill as soon as possible. I’ll grant permission with your signature for him to discuss your situation with Dr. Barry. In the mean time I’ll work on getting approval for regular psychological consultations. If Dr. Hill isn’t up to speed on transgender issues we should be able to allow you to see Dr. Barry.”
“Thank you,” Jamie responded with a smile. “Do you think my being transgender will create any issues with CPS?”
“Officially CPS is supportive of LGBT issues,” Carol sighed. “However there are a few people who do all they can to sabotage anyone with LGBT issues. I know my boss is supportive but I think her boss is anti LGBT. If it comes to a showdown, are you willing to go public being transgender?”
“If it will help I’ll do it,” Jamie declared with steely resolve. “I’ve toughed it out for years so getting more crap dumped on me doesn’t scare me. If fighting will help others that only adds icing to the cake.”
“Thank you,” Carol smiled. “My boss and I have been hoping to find someone willing to stand up for LGBT rights so we can clean our house.”
They left the house to return to the CPS office where Jamie met Jean Tragger, Carol’s supervisor. Jean was delighted to meet Jamie. After listening to Jamie tell her revelation Jean told him how happy she was that Jamie had finally opened up and vowed to do all she could to help the timid fragile girl.
Richard and Naomi Glass were pleasantly stunned upon arriving home. Jamie greeted them with a smile and hugs welcoming them home. Once they settled in, Jamie softly explained his self discovery adventure. A quick call to Carol Davis verified the renaissance. While stunned by the violence Jamie suffered and the revelation that he was transgendered, they didn’t falter in their desire to continue fostering her, agreeing to assist in the efforts to become her if the psychologists agreed she was indeed transgender. With permission, Jamie was allowed to begin dressing as the girl she truly was in the privacy of the Glass home.
The week after the Fourth of July CPS made arrangements for Jamie to see Dr. Hill. The good doctor had no issues with treating transgender patients but didn’t have a lot of experience in that area. The release papers had been signed and forwarded to Dr. Barry who promptly sent a copy of Jamie’s file asking to be kept apprised of the situation and offering to consult with Dr. Hill.
Once more Jamie explained her hellacious past. Lauren was brought to tears by the ordeal. She expressed her sympathy and thankfulness that Jamie had snapped out of her deep fugue. A second appointment was set up for the next day to have Jamie take the COGIATI test (Combined Gender Identity and Transsexual Inventory) as well as other psychologic evaluation tests
The test results combined with Dr. Barry’s earlier conclusions confirmed that Jamie was indeed transgender. Trouble began when the paperwork to allow Jamie to begin transitioning crossed the desk of Bill Waters, the head of the county CPS. The paperwork was misplaced. Both Carol and Jean resubmitted the paperwork several times only for it to be bounced back or misplaced. The subtle hints from the recalcitrant boss that they drop pursuit of the issue became not so subtle.
As per standard procedures each time the paperwork had been submitted, a copy was sent to Jamie with notes attached as to what happened to the previous submissions. Upon receiving the copy of the fifth submission six weeks after the initial, Jamie understood she had to blow the whistle. Having prepared in advance Jamie contacted the County offices to set up a slot on the agenda of the County Children & Youth Social Service Programs to address issues regarding her treatment from CPS.
Bill Waters became livid when he received the agenda for the normal August end of monthly meeting to be held in two days. When Carol and Jean were called into the office for a dressing down they were able to claim they were not aware of Jamie’s slot on the agenda but thought it was probably due to the lack of movement on her case. The women were bluntly told they’d be fired if any shit hit the wall. Both women became indignant at the threat. They calmly explained that per standard practice they’d sent copies of all submitted paperwork to the client. Bill exploded and promptly suspended both women telling them to clean out their desks and leave. The bigoted man was well aware that each subsequent submission of paperwork had included a summary of the results of the previous submissions.
Carol and Jean refused to leave unless he followed standard practice and gave them written notice of their suspension which had to include the reason and for how long. The sputtering livid man ordered them to gather their things and he’d have their suspensions pending termination paper ready in fifteen minutes. With heads held high the women returned to their work area to pack their things while telling their coworkers what was going on. Needless to say the remaining staff was livid.
After the duo left Bill demanded someone bring him the file on Jamie Dobbins before returning to his office in a huff. As the office closed down at the end of the day Bill stormed from his office demanding to know why no one had brought him the file. However the office was emptying with the last employee closing the door as they left. Bill furiously began searching for the file but couldn’t find it. The hard copy wasn’t in the cabinets and to his frustration he discovered the computer file was password protected.
The next day the County Commissioners were stunned to see the headlines on the daily paper claiming mismanagement in the county CPS including obstruction of treatment for clients, verbal harassment of employees and unlawful terminations. The head commissioner headed to the CPS office only to find the place empty except for Bill Waters. Every employee had called off sick. Bill blustered and puffed about trying to shut down rebellious workers giving copies of the suspension with intent to terminate papers. As he returned to the commissioner offices the head commissioner was served with warrants claiming abuse and unlawful termination by the head of CPS for Carol and Jean.
The CPS employees called off the next day. The newspaper was calling for a full investigation of the hostile environment of the CPS office. The commissioners were still trying to find out the truth. Bill Waters was near apoplectic.
Needless to say the evening meeting of the County Children & Youth Social Service Programs was jammed. Jamie was there with her foster parents and Carol and Jean. The tension in the room was palpable. Bill was perspiring freely, red faced and breathing heavily, especially when he saw Carol and Jean. The commissioners announced the printed agenda would be followed with any comments to be made done in the normal half hour time allotted at the end of the meeting.
“Item six, Jamie Dobbins regarding CPS Services,” the meeting secretary announced.
Everyone looked to see the small androgynously dressed youth rise and approach the podium.
“First I’d like to apologize for the current mess at CPS. My caseworker Carol Davis and her supervisor Jean Tragger were terminated because paperwork for treatments I need was lost or misplaced five times since the tenth of July when it went into Bill Waters’ office for approval.”
As succinctly as possible Jamie revealed her case history. Several times Bill tried to interrupt only to be told to keep quiet. All those in attendance had their hearts wrenched as they listened to the abuse Jamie had suffered.
“When I finally was able to overcome my fear and pain I talked to my caseworker and she arranged for sessions with Dr. Hill, my psychologist of record. Through tests and consultation with Dr. Barry who treated me before my mother was murdered Dr. Hill has verified that I’m transgender. The paperwork LOST by Mr. Waters was the permission to seek legal recognition that I’m transgender so I can begin to transition. If the paperwork had been properly handled I’d already be living as the girl I am inside and would have been able to start my freshman year as a girl. Since the paperwork has not been processed after five submissions I’ll have to start high school as a male and transition sometime during the term. Transitioning is always difficult. It goes unsaid that transitioning during the school term will make things much harder and probably dangerous. Mrs. Davis and Mrs. Tragger were both terminated because they were pushing Mr. Waters to do his job. I asked to be put on the agenda after I received notice the paperwork had been submitted a sixth time. Obviously Mr. Waters is obstructing my treatment and violating my civil rights. I question how many other LGBT clients have suffered similar abuse at his bigoted hands. I would greatly appreciate if you could quickly resolve this matter. Thank You.”
Those in attendance stood and applauded Jamie. The Commissioners thanked Jamie and promised to promptly address the issue asking Carol, Jean and Bob to stay after the meeting for an executive session.
The next day the newspaper headlined the immediate resignation of Bob Waters and the reinstatement of Mrs. Davis and Mrs. Tragger along with Mrs. Tragger being appointed interim head of CPS. Jamie’s tragic past was also presented along with the obstruction that had occurred.
It was mid November until all the i’s were dotted and the t’s crossed. With all the paperwork in hand, Carol and the Glass’ met with the principal of the Senior High to discuss Jamie’s formal transition.
As expected there were a lot of nasty comments when Jamie showed up for school after Thanksgiving in a skirt. However the debacle at CPS was well known and Jamie acknowledged she was foster child who was the object of the mess and that she was transgender. The school made it clear right from the start of the term that Jamie would transition as soon as all the legalities were completed. By Christmas the drama had subsided and Jamie was able to attend school in peace.
It took a bit of digging but Jamie contacted the bank holding the farm in trust. Once they verified she was indeed the sole remaining heir, she was able to have the trust begin to repair the farmhouse and upgrade the landscape. Despite being a minor they allowed her to approve or disapprove all repair contracts. By the following spring the house had been renovated and rented. By working with the school’s Future Farmers of America curriculum the orchards were pruned and the fields plowed and planted with all expenditures being paid by the trust.
Now that she was communicating, Jamie asked for a physical to determine why at nearly fifteen she had not grown since she was eleven and showed no signs of puberty. The results revealed her testicles were non-functional, probably ruined in the last savage beating which had also stopped her growth. Six months after beginning a regimen of female hormones she grew another three inches. She had SRS during the summer between high school and college.
Jamie earned a degree in business administration specializing in investment counseling. Returning home she moved into the old farmhouse and took a job with a local investment business. The farm and orchard was still being operating in conjunction with the school FFA with all profits going to the program. It was one of the most successful coop projects in the nation.
Jamie never became a social butterfly, much preferring the isolation she’d experienced as a youth. That’s not to say she didn’t have friends, but they were few and select. Eventually she met a quiet young man and married after dating two years. Jamie knew he was the one when they spent a night in the nest making love to the sounds of the stream as it sported about the rocks. A misty early morning breakfast of freshly caught trout sealed their love.
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