TG Universes & Series:
Friday – not quite the day of doom but I had more on my mind than Bavarian geology and German colonialism, which didn’t go unnoticed by the respective tutors. I think I have the right to be preoccupied, tomorrows surgery nails the coffin on my life as Drew. So okay Drew hasn’t really been around since Switzerland and only just even then but even so I felt that Drew was at least still an option.
“See you Monday!” Steff called out.
“Monday,” I agreed pointing my steed towards home.
“Come on, Gab,” Con encouraged.
I’ll admit it; I’ve been a wet blanket all day, the condemned man with the clock ticking the moments of my life away one by one.
I yanked on my brakes and nearly tipped the Schauff over getting it to stop forward motion.
“Dumkopf!” the yoof driving the Prat mobile shouted from the safety of his tin box before screeching away across the junction.
“Gab! You okay?” Con asked returning across the road to where I stood.
I’m sure she meant the car driver rather than me, “Yeah.”
“You sure you’re okay?” she pressed.
“I think I’ll walk, you go on.”
“I’ll walk with you.”
It wasn’t far back to mine, about two minutes by bike, ten walking with said vehicle – ten minutes in which we hardly exchanged a word.
“So you’ll call Sunday?”
“Providing I’m home,” I confirmed.
“It’ll be alright, Gab,” she offered pulling me into a hug.
“I’m scared,” I admitted.
She pulled me closer, “Everything’ll be fine, in a couple of weeks you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about.”
Not sure I can agree with that prediction but it was meant well.
“Thanks, Con, I guess I better go in.”
“Sunday,” I agreed as she set off to return to the bakery.
“You’re late,” Dad noted from the lounge.
“Herr Boltt kept me back.”
“I wasn’t paying attention in class so he gave me extra homework,” I advised.
Dave didn’t have to ask why his offspring wasn’t being attentive today, if the boot were on the other foot he’d likely be pre occupied too.
“Not too much I hope?”
“An extra chapter to read and write one of those sin things on it.”
“Yeah one of them. Where is everyone?”
“Your mum’s upstairs and the others should be here before we leave, Jules rang, there’s been another jumper so all the trains are delayed.”
“Bummer,” I noted. Why would you do something like that? Commit hari kari that is. I might be having a shitty time but I’ll get by, maybe if I didn’t have the family and the girls it would be different but I can’t really envisage intentionally stepping in front of a train or jumping off a bridge to end things. You must be in a really bad place to do it, worse than finding out you aren’t what you thought.
“Snap to it, spud, your mum wants to leave before six.”
“You ready yet, kiddo?” Mum called up to my eyrie.
“Nearly?” she queried climbing the few steps up to my room.
After showering in my ensuite I dried myself but then found myself looking in my long mirror at myself. I’ve no idea how long I was stood there looking at my ‘bits’ and wondering what it’ll be like to not have them. They are part of me even if they, well it, isn’t what I always believed it to be and tomorrow it’ll be gone and something else will be in its place.
I didn’t hear Mum come in so gave a little jump when she wrapped her arms around my naked body.
“It’ll be alright, kiddo.”
“I won’t be the same though will I?”
“You’ll still be our child, you’ll still be a demon bike rider, and you’ll still have the same friends.”
“But I’ll be different.”
“The same but plumbed differently. Time to get some clothes on eh, we need to pick the others up in Remagen, they’ve put buses on as the trains still aren’t running.”
She kissed the top of my head and disappeared back downstairs.
We left a little after five thirty in the end, of course food was out – I’m starving already! Whilst all the tests and stuff have been up in Köln, due to us living in the Rheinland my surgery is taking place in the Frauenklinik at Remagen – at least it’s not far to go. We collected Jules and Mand then drove the short distance to the clinic – even its name forces me to confront my changing status.
As you know I’ve ended up in hospitals more than once, usually after a cycling incident but this is the first time for a planned procedure. Dr Fischer would be carrying out the procedure in the morning but tonight is all about getting me checked in and prepared for surgery.
“See you Sunday, sis,” Jules allowed giving me a hug before being replaced by Mand.
“Don’t let the girls con you into anything tomorrow.”
“They don’t call me Gaby Bond,” she replied with a grin.
“Come on, kiddo, time to go up,” Mum instructed.
“Take care, Gab, see you Sunday.”
Dad and the girls stayed in the reception area whilst Mum and I followed the nurse up to the surgical ward, I wasn’t to be the only incumbent, I’d be sharing the space with three other girls, women. Yeah women, women’s clinic, women’s problems and I’m getting my ‘women’s problem’ sorted. It still felt wrong to be here in this most female of places despite everyone insisting I’m as female as…well a female just plumbed wrong and after tomorrow that’ll be fixed.
Mum stayed until nine, the end of visiting hours by which time the other beds were all occupied, two older women and a girl about Jules age I guess. The frauen chatted like long lost friends, the girl was listening to her MP3 player leaving me to my own thoughts and geography homework.
“Time to get you ready for the morning,” the nurse told me.
“Unless you want to wake at five, you are in theatre at seven.”
Seven? Flippin’ ‘eck. I slipped my er slippers on and followed my warder out of the ward and along to a bathroom.
“You’ll need to remove any jewellery please.”
“’Kay,” it’s not like I wear loads of stuff so it didn’t take long to remove a pair of sleepers and my St Christopher chain and put them in a bag with my watch which Hanelore, the nurse, marked up with my details.
“I’m afraid we have to shave you,” she instructed.
I rubbed my hairless chin, “Shave?”
“Not there, the area for surgery,” she grinned.
Now I might be used to the fantastic changing facilities of amateur cycling but actually exposing myself to a complete stranger is not something I ever planned on doing.
“Around my er…?”
“Clean as a babies bum.”
It’s part of being a teenager right, sprouting hair in different places, makes you an adult, I was quite proud of my few sparse hairs. Now even they are to be stripped away.
“You’ll be careful?”
“I have done it a few times before.
The antiseptic bath after my scalping was interesting, I had to grit my teeth against the stinging in my crotch. It was gone ten when we returned to the ward, me walking slightly John Wayne to avoid rubbing my tender bits. The girl was now asleep; the old ladies both watching the telly, one of those sketch shows that populate RTL’s evening schedules.
I can’t tell you anything about my surgery – I was out cold. Breakfast was half a cup of water before riding a chair to the theatre where I was swabbed down again before the anaesthetist did his stuff.
“How you doing, kiddo?”
“Mu-um, stop being daft.”
“You feeling okay?”
“Apart from starving and thirsty.”
“Well you can have some water,” she advised passing me a cup with a straw.
I took a long draw of the tepid liquid, it was wet at least.
“Dr Fischer said it all went to plan.”
My hand went to my crotch to be met with what felt like a nappy covering stuff.
“Shouldn’t I hurt?”
“They have you on morphine kiddo, you will have some pain as things settle down, it’s early yet.”
“What time is it?”
“Half two,” she advised.
“You came out of surgery about an hour ago.”
“I went in at seven, that’s over six hours!”
“There was quite a lot to do,” Mum pointed out.
I’m sure they told us before but I hadn’t been listening, listening would make it real and I didn’t want it to be real. But real it was and now, now it’s done, there won’t be any doubt from anyone but me, I don’t just have the chromosomes but the body too that says I’m a female of the species, full card carrying and operational. I drifted off to sleep – the meds doing a good job of keeping any pain at bay.
The ward was dark when I next woke with the urge to pee, how the heck do I?
Hanelore was on duty again and must have seen me squirming about because she appeared at my bedside, turning a low light on.
“You okay, Gaby?”
“I um need to wee.”
“You have a catheter, just relax and let it flow.”
How embarrassing, I might be a girl but I need to learn some skills that other girls have been practicing since, well, birth. All the gear and no idea that’s me.
Maddy Bell 15.12.15
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