8 - Jill and Melanie Go On
Aunt Marti wakes me at 6:00 a.m., “It’s time to get ready for school.” It is nicer to dress as Melanie an everyday girl instead of Jill, isn’t it? It is cool and windy so I wear the knit plaid skirt with lining and the beige sweater blouse, medium weight.
Sandy called, she will be over for you at 7:45. When I go to breakfast Aunt Marti encourages, “You are to make more friends than just Sandy and Deb. I don’t want you wearing your welcome out with them.”
“But Aunt Marti, I’ve gone to school over half of them as long as I can remember.”
“If they haven’t yet they will soon stop seeing you as Melvin whom they know and as a girl they don’t know. Plus you will be safer around town having other friends with you. Just trust me, as Melanie you need to make new friends.”
“Aunt Marti, you have to be kidding?” Just by looking at her I could tell she isn’t. I am at the breakfast table watching Sherri as her mom gets ready. I heard the door but did not realize Sandy was now behind me. “Melanie, you have a neat way with children for a girl… I meant a guy. May be that is why I didn’t usually notice you?” I give Sandy a stare. “I’m sorry Melanie, but most of us girls didn’t notice you that much before this.”
“A number of us girls find it cute to have you as a girlfriend. We especially like that you won’t be back to boy mode any time soon. You will have some company from time to time with other guys if we get our way,” Sandy looks very mischievous at this moment.
Since we’re only a few blocks away from school we walked today. Sandy asks me to hug my books in front of me and to stare off. “That is a girl with her heart thinking of someone or somewhere else. Now twirl as a girl does it and tell me what’s happening?”
“You mean like …I just talked to Trudy and she asked me to the prom.”
“Very good Melanie, so tell me, are you and Trudy doing this intentionally?”
“No, but I don’t mind so much because she is noticing me more plus I have you as a friend now. I don’t think we would be walking together as friends if I were Melvin right now. I think Kenny would be kicking my butt.” She giggles at the thought of Kenny beating up a boy in a girl’s outfit.
We join Deb, Sharon and other girls talking in a group at the school. Some girls go off as their boyfriend get to school, some boys come to say hello. The boys don’t stay and many of the girls don’t stay away. Sandy is following at least three conversations and I’m having trouble concentrating on one. “You’ll get better at it, just relax,” says Sandy. ‘How did she know?’ “I can sense your girl brain trying…” The doors are unlocked and there is still time till classes start.
I’m taken by Sandy into the girl’s room; several girls are changing into clothes they couldn’t leave home wearing. It is a moment before I realize Deb is unzipping my skirt and it falls to the floor. “Step out of it and then step into this one.” Sandy and Sharon are standing in front of me to block the view of most. Deb and I are bringing up the new skirt. It is hugging my upper legs. And when I look there is less to see.
Deb smirks, “Okay it is three inches shorter than your skirt but it shouldn’t gross you out or make you uncomfortable.”
“Yeah, what other boy do you know would be comfortable in this skirt?”
“You’re not any other boy and you have had two weeks of girl therapy already, get use to it.” We check makeup and hair and are soon out of there. The group gives me orders to ditch Mel and just be Melanie. It is 10:30 a.m. before I am called to the nurse’s office.
“You are lucky at this point your embryo is about the size of a small marshmallow and the weight you pick up is soft tissue; it is more like the water build up during your period.”
I respond, “I wouldn’t know about that.” There are no small straps around me holding it in place abd everything is unnoticeable under my outfit.
Come lunchtime, I go to my locker to change books for the stuff I’ll need in the afternoon. I open it to find a disc wrapped in a note. “I suggest you take one pill every day or every other day. My mom says it may help you feel a little girly but not too much. Enjoy the experience of being one of us.” I quickly look around and stash the disc into my purse, where I stare at them. Sandy taps me on the shoulder which brings me back to school. I look to see if anyone else is watching; wondering who put them in there.
“What’s got your attention,” she asks? I stuff the disc further down in my purse and go to our first class of the afternoon. Ms. Cheryl Robbins starts the other girls on their sewing projects and then gives me a quiz on various measurements and terms. She giggles informing me that I am probably at junior high girl level. She takes my measurements for making a blouse. “Please tell your mother we need a size eight blouse pattern but that she needs to get a special pattern for a pregnant girl.”
She then gives me a hoop and lets me choose a cross-stitch pattern. The rest of class have done this in the past, I have to practice the three stitches for the picture I chose. I am nervous as the other girls think I should be able to stitch and talk at the same time. Cheryl taps me at the end of class, “Young lady, don’t worry two thirds of the girls never tried before this class either.” She names one guy she says was a big football player who did cross-stitching.” I suspect this Rosey Grier guy must have been an antique since I never heard of him. The internet confirms, he is now eighty years old.
Come the last class of the day, I receive a message from the office: I am now on the Cheer Club and it meets today after school. This stinks as I will have to hurry home and take a quick shower and change to be to work on-time. My friend Jack suggests I can just go to work from school. I’m not sure if it’s just being Melanie, but I don’t feel comfortable with that.
Club members were asked to warm up with the cheerleaders, and without thinking my warm-up exposes me big time. Sharon gets everyone laughing as she realizes I am not thinking as I expose my panties a little. I want to run to the locker room to hide but I am reminded it is not my locker room. Sharon gives me a hug as she apologizes and the cheerleaders surround us to comfort me. I speak, “Damn, I should be the strong one here!”
Kathy the head cheerleader says, “You are being plenty strong Melanie, but here you are not alone. Please next time don’t try to run. We really appreciate you are here and that you try hard to be one of us.” She asks me to show up for practice tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. to begin learning routines and what it means to be part of the Cheer Team. Honestly, I hadn’t thought of the cheerleaders as a team.
I scamper home after that and quickly take a shower. I forgot to lock the door and Sherri is now sitting on the toilet talking to me. “Unttie Melwanie can yu wead a story to me?” I coax her out of the bathroom so I can dry myself when I am ready. I feel terrible inside as Sherri cries when I tell her I need to get to work and can’t read to her.
Tonight at work for my first time, I volunteer to go home early because we are not very busy. I am home by eight o’clock and Aunt Marti says I am in time to read. I take Sherri’s Alphabet book and one about a princess. I sit on Sherri’s bed and she is on my lap. We see a policeman for P and it reminds Sherri of her Daddy in his uniform. “Melwanie do polwiceman have to we’ve there little girls too?” I don’t have any words to say I just hug her in my arms. “Your Daddy loves you very much, Sherri.”
Marti comes into the room thinking she will see me reading to Sherri. I just hold open the book and when she sees the picture of the policeman she shakes her head in understanding. I want to read the other story but just rock her back and forth. Instead of getting to read more Marti and I get to put her to bed.
I need to get some homework done but Marti asks me come to her room. She just wants girl talk to keep her sanity she says. She asks if it is alright to brush my hair as we talk. She says her Mom and my Mom would do it for her when she was growing up. I didn’t know something this simple could feel so good. I think part of it is just having someone who cares about you.
Marti is telling me what more I could do with my hair if I have extensions put into my hair. “You won’t want to wait until you look real pregnant then the boys won’t want to be seen with you.”
I giggle, “Like the fact I look pregnant is what a boy will worry about in dating me.”
I turn toward Marti and she has tears in her eyes. I realize her brushing my hair is therapy for both of us. “I was on the computer with Ron and he needed to tell me he was okay. I don’t know how serious things were but he paused when I asked if there were any explosions or bullets nearby. He paused long enough to say ‘No’ I know he needed to think about what he should say to me.”
Finally she changes the subject and we get back to lighter girl talk. “So what do you think about Trudy’s interest in you. Trudy seems happy about you continuing your role as Jill? ”
“Aunt Marti, you’re teasing me; how can a girl get serious about a boy in a dress? She says her feelings have change and she loves me. I think it is now more like a sister, but I guess that is neat. I asked her for a date last spring and she said it would be like dating her brother. Atleast, as a girl we are back to being friends, now best friends.”
“Hmm, the way she, Sandy and other girls look at you and preen your hair and clothes; it looks like Trudy’s fussing over you because she is very fond of you. You know maybe while you are Melanie, Jan, Trudy and Jeff are going to be attracted to you?”
“You mean as Melanie, I know Jan is that’s how she’s wired, maybe even Jeff. While I am willing to dance with Jeff, he’s not one I would be interested as a guy. As me, I’m attracted to both Jan and Trude, but as one thankful to have his male parts, if you know... Aunt Marti aren’t you grossed out by how we’re talking?”
She takes my two hands and I’m looking into her smiling face, “I see this as a wonderfully honest time; it reminds me of when I imagined more and my girl juices would become warm and damp in the excitement. So ‘no’, you stepped into a dream and I find me walking in it with you. This is neat and exciting to me; the evening news now that is gross.”
Strangely Marti makes sense to me and I am again seeing her for being twenty-four and more like my older sister than a parent like my mother.
I hear my phone and go racing for it in my room; it is Trudy. “Hi Trudy how are you?”
“No, I wasn’t avoiding you at work… No, I got a chance to come home early and read a story to Sherri… Yes I heard you say you love me, but you already know I love you too. I didn’t see it as new… I work again Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Sure I was hoping you and I would go out with the others after work or Saturday… But that would be more like a date. Yes, I would be thrilled to be on a date with just you, but you don’t need to pay my way. Yes, I know you usually get your way… You know I will need to check with my Mom and Marti. Well I will atleast check with Aunt Marti; seemingly she thought you like me. I will tell you more Wednesday at work.” The call goes on another twenty minutes before I need end it to get some homework done.
I studied an hour and a half, showered and was ready for bed when Aunt Marti comes in. “So are you doing alright?”
“You’re right she wants to date me as Melanie. Somehow the idea is attractive, but I kind of feel guilty.”
Marti gives me a hug, “Just try to be you and don’t fill you head with worries, especially of right and wrong. You and Trudy haven’t changed; you are just seeing life differently. I think that is okay. I know you prayed that Trudy would love you and that you love her. Only the wrapping outside on you has changed a little bit. Consider God may have answered your prayer.”
“Why don’t we pray about things; you can pray for Ron and me; and I will pray for Trudy and you?” I like the idea of being honest with God as well as Marti. Marti sniffs near the bed after our prayer as she is ready to leave. “That must be me, I thought for a moment may be your female juices were warm and damp.” She smirks knowing she just toyed with my head. I did wish it were true. I even sniffed but I’m not sure if I would know the smell if it was there.
I am on my way to school early to arrive by 7:00 a.m. Sharon and Kathy are ready to take me through three routines. I remember they have well over a twenty routines but they tell me three is the most I should try learning at one time. I have a pair of sweat-shorts and a baggy shirt to wear. Running in place, moving my arms and hands in different directions while saying things suddenly is a lot harder than it appears. I, not Kathy or Sharon is the first to get impatient with me. As the other girls show up, I know I am nothing like those two, but girls are saying how well I am doing. I get angry and call them liars and Kathy quickly jumps on me. “If you want to get thrown off the Spirit Club, calling another cheerleader a liar is the way to do it!”
“But they’re saying I’m doing well when I am lousy.” Kathy looks directly in my face, “And which of you is likely to know what they’re talking about. Staci and Bri have both cheered since they were eight or younger. In case your head is too thick, they are the ones’ who know.”
“I could have started you with routines you practiced with your sister Sara.” I was surprised Kathy even knew about that; I’m even more surprised she remembered. “Your sister I, were a lot closer then. I am hoping before winter break and you are great with child,” she giggles, “I hope you will do a few routines during the basketball games.”
Coach Robbins tells me to go shower and get ready for classes, “You will need more time than the rest of the girls.” I thought I would be tired, but I feel invigorated. I took one of the pills I found yesterday, well I really took two but I hadn’t taken any before and I don’t plan to take two every day.
Ms Robins says, “You’re Mom says she will drop off the pattern sometime during school along with two pieces of fabric to choose from. So please stop by when you have study hall this afternoon. I would like to show you how to get started on your blouse.”
I get a text from Sandy during the last class, “Let’s window shop after school.” The idea is great but I needed to go home first. It becomes my first day of having responsibility for Sherri and Suzy. It is okay if Sandy came over, but my time will be filled. Sandy has babysat for Marti and Ron a few times with Sherri. She comes over for an hour and plays with Sherri. While I bathe, change, feed and have to change Suzy again.
Sandy also helps teach me how to wash the Suzy and Sherri’s clothes as well as the delicates for Marti and me. It is embarrassing having a girl teach me how to hand wash delicates for me. Come 5:00 Sandy is bored so I encourage her to go home. Suzy is lying on a baby blanket and I am reading to Sherri, when Marti and one of her girl friends, Marie, return from shopping.
I recognize Marie as one of my brother’s (S*#!) old girlfriends. My brother Rog is five years older than Sara and plus two more than me and he is in the navy. He’s one of those guys who has had so many girlfriends. Marie smiles, “So you’re Roger’s little brother,” she snickers, “I can’t say you look like the little boy I knew. Knowing Rog, I agree with Marti this will help you be more sensitive around girls. Though, most of us didn’t complain when we dated him, nor would I probably have appreciated dating him if he looked as cute as a girl.”
“Thanks, I think; I remember you too. I was upset when my brother stopped dating you; you were nicer to Sara and me than some of his girlfriends.”
“So what does your brother think of having another sister for a while?”
“Until I saw you, I forgot about him. Mom sent him a letter, but said she wouldn’t send any information via G-mail or FB. Since my time as Melanie has been extended, I’ve started new internet accounts and haven’t even talked to him.”
“You don’t really remember me do you,” Marie asks? “Like what do you remember?”
“I do too. You gave Sara lessons with makeup and doing her nails. You told our Mom, Sara looked like Mom’s friends. It took another comment before Mom realized that wasn’t a compliment.” Marie and Marti both giggle and then lose control of their laughter.
“If you want a lesson with makeup or doing your hair I could come back.” Marie excuses herself to fix her makeup and Marti asks, “So would you like Marie to give you a makeup lesson or two?”
“Aunt Marti, I would be too embarrassed to ask her.”
Marti smirks, “So I take that as a Yes!”
Marie comes back from the bathroom laughing even happier. “So Marti when did you teach your niece to wash your delicates?” I am so embarrassed and turning a deep red. Marti looks at me and smirks again. She takes my hand and pulls me behind her. Once she sees delicates drying over her bathtub she asks how?
I explain about washing Sherri and Suzy’s clothes as she asked, and about Sandy showing me how to do our delicates. I am embarrassed to tears when Marti gives me a hug and Marie joins her. “You truly are a dear Mel.” Marti has called me ‘Mel’ for the first time as a girl.
“Marie would you do us a favor and stay for dinner, you are even invited to stay the night if you don’t mind sleeping in with me.” Marie smiles and looks to me to make sure it is okay with me as well. “Melanie why don’t you go get some homework done as well as talking to your girl friends.”
Marti whispered something to Marie, and she in response turns to me, “Oh, I would be happy to if Melanie is interested in a lesson or two?”
“I am sure she will, but I am glad she’s cooperating and doing her lessons. So, if you can help me with dinner, then later Melanie can take some time with you.”
“It is something else that Mel is so naturally a girl; he had a way I liked before but I can’t really say I saw him as a girl or overly feminine. What do you think changed?”
Marti smiles, “I’m not sure anyone really knows but her Mom said, ‘Once Melvin just relaxed into being Jill for Halloween, Melanie just surfaced and became comfortable. No one, Trudy, Sara or my sister ever pressured him, they just encouraged her to be comfortable in the experience, and something changed.’”
“His Mom and Dad were kind of worried; they’ve met with a counselor who has encouraged them to be supportive in seeing Mel through this.”
“But what if he/she really is Melanie?”
“I think they and a few others of us will make sure the experience is not all roses. I think unless Melanie is for real this won’t be more than a memorable experience. The funny part to me is that a few other guys are in for a similar experience via their girlfriends liking how it had impacted Melvin.”
I am in my room trying to stay focused on my homework. I like school more, and where music and the phone would totally distract me before, I can use them and stay on task now. Trudy laughs that my brother’s old girlfriend is here and even more that I am now worried about what my brother is going to think about his new sister, my being a girl for a while?
It is 6:30 p.m. when I get called for dinner, and it is already natural for me to make sure Suzy’s diaper is checked. “Yuck, Marti must have fed her because she’s messed big time. I hate the smell of a dirty diaper and now just before we’re going to eat.”
With Marti and Marie giving the girls attention, I find I am watching them. I always thought Marie was beautiful and Marti is special, but it’s like I am looking in a teen magazine. ‘I notice their hair, makeup and mannerisms and finding I want to be like them.’ “Why are you staring at us Melanie?” It’s Marie, she’s noticed me.
“I’m not…” is my startled reply as I can’t even complete a thought. Marti’s hand cups over mine. “I’m sorry, it’s stupid… please don’t mind me.” They’re not being mean, but they are teaming up to comfort me. “Why do girls need to be nice, when someone feels…”
“Because you’re not being stupid, your thoughts and feelings are okay,” Marie’s voice is gentle, she really cares. “Now please share, just think of yourself as our little sister and tell us what was going through that pretty head of yours?”
“That is just it, I feel too much like your little sister. When I see your short skirt or how beautiful you two are; I’m not thinking like a guy. I’m not imagining something gross. I know what’s under the skirt and I want to be like you. I am excited about knowing how to do makeup better.”
Marti takes me to my room and I am wondering if I am in trouble. “Mel, if you want I can call your parents and this can all be over tonight if you wish. If feeling like a girl is too much for you; I’m afraid there is more to come. I won’t knowingly do anything to hurt you. But you are right those are natural thoughts and feelings for Melanie. I’m sorry but I am wanting more and more to call Melanie, Mel but as a girl and not as a boy.”
I smile as I would like her to call me Mel as well as Melanie. “Don’t worry I like Mel as Melanie and being your niece and Sherry calling me an ‘Untie Melwanie’. I hope you and Marie won’t tell on me.”
To be continued…
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