Dreamer: Part 7

MIRROR.GIFDreamer: Part 7

By Tanya Allan
Original Version Copyright © 1972
Revised version Copyright © 2012

Pippa has come to a crucial crossroads in her life. Forced by a feeling that if she doesn't contact her parents, then her life may well revert to the way things were, she has to make some tough decisions. Her boyfriend is also an issue, and circumstances force her to tell him more than she intended.

Follow her as she makes decisions that could mean disaster or something else.

Does she make the right decisions?

Dreamer: Part 7

Author’s note
This was the last part of the teenage scribble. I remember writing this as if it was yesterday. I got as far as the railway station at Perth (I won’t spoil it for you). I remember being stuck. It was an emotional time for me, as Pippa was able to express things in a way that I wanted to and never got the opportunity. I think I used this story to plan out what I wanted to say but was never brave (or stupid) enough. It wasn’t very well written, so I’ve cleaned it up and added to it. It was left hanging, as back then I couldn’t actually visualise the end.

I’m older and wiser (a bit) now. I am able to divorce myself from the story, which I couldn’t do at the time.

I need to know whether you (the readers) would like me to continue this story to a more complete conclusion, or whether you believe that this is a good place to stop.

I think I’d like to, but I can always find something else to write.

Please let me know.

The train station in Perth isn’t the most wonderful place, but it’s easy to get to and, well, it was somewhere that I knew I could leave without being seen if I wanted to.

Thor, bless him walked me to the station in Edinburgh so I could catch the train. He offered to come with me, but I declined.

“This is something I have to do alone. I’d love you to come, but it would make a tricky situation that much trickier if you were with me.”

We’d had a good week. He’d had to work three days after giving in his notice, which was fine, but as he was supposed to work the seven, they let him go early as there just wasn’t the work. They paid him for the days, so he was pleased.

On the Wednesday after he finished his last day of work, we were in the flat. I was making a coffee, but was distracted thinking about my impending meeting (or not) with my parents. He wanted to know why I was upset and stressed out. He naturally thought it was because of him, so I tried to explain about my parents. In the end, I sort of told him the truth. I daren’t tell him I’d been a boy, so I just said I had left school early and they hadn’t liked it.

“You should stay in school. Qualifications are important,” he said.

“I know, but, well, it’s a bit different for me.”

“No it isn’t. It’s the same for boys and girls.”

I’d tried every which way to hedge around the issue, but he was so stubborn, I lost my temper, which was a mistake.

“Look, you stupid man, I can’t because they think I’m a boy!” I’d said, and realised that I’d just blown it.

He stared at me with his mouth open and a deep frown that threatened to cut off circulation to his eyebrows.



“I don’t understand. You said….”

I know what I said, just forget it, okay?”

“I don’t understand,” he repeated.

Oh shit, this is exactly what I didn’t want to do.

Truth time.

“Okay, now what I will tell you is the truth, but it’s also just a little weird, so just believe me, okay?”

He opened his mouth to say something, saw my expression and closed it again, nodding uncertainly.

“Okay. Now, the day I met you, remember, back in Perth?”

He nodded.

“Right, I’d just left my boarding school. I left because I woke up as you see me now, a normal girl. Got that?”

Still frowning, he nodded again.

“Now, that’s not so weird, you say, but it is, because when I went to bed on the previous night, I’d been a boy. Not a tom-boyish girl, or a girly boy, but a boy with a dick and everything. Understand?”

He started to nod, but then shook his head.

“Oh shit, I knew this was going to be fucking tough. Look, Thor, up until the day I met you, I’d been a boy. I was born a boy, grew up as a boy and was at school as a boy. Despite that, all my life I have wanted to be a girl, as I have always felt that, inside, I was a girl. I went to bed a boy and woke up a girl. Now, before you say anything, I know that this is impossible and it just can’t happen. I agree, by all that I know and understand it just can’t happen. But I also know that it did. Either I’m dreaming and it’s all a mental illness and I’m perfectly insane and living in cloud-cuckoo land, or it’s real. Do you think I’m mad?”

He opened his mouth again, so I held up a hand.

“Forget I asked. Just let me say this. When I woke up, I was in my room, that is, a room that should have been occupied by a boy called Philip. I have all Philip’s memories, so I know that I was Philip. My friend, or rather Philip’s friend, Andy, came into the room, saw me and immediately thought I was a girl that Philip had smuggled into the school to have sex with. He took some persuading to convince that Philip and me are the same person inside, because I’ve changed a lot. I’m a little shorter and very female. All my memories are still there, and I have some of him that only he and I know.

“Anyway, he was convinced and helped me get my stuff together and leave the school. He even gave me some money, which I suppose I ought to pay back. I hitched a ride to Perth with a teacher’s wife. I knew her but she didn’t recognise me at all. Then, once I got to Perth, I bought some proper girl’s clothes and met you in the café. Incidentally, my mother came in with a friend and sat at a table near us. You asked me what was wrong, remember?”

He shook his head.

I sighed.

“It doesn’t matter. Now you see why I have so many problems, like no passport and no money?”

Thor was silent. I didn’t blame him. If I’d have been him, I think I’d be thinking about which loony bin I was going to call.

“You say you were a boy called Philip?” he said after quite a long time of silence.

I nodded.

“When you found you were a girl, why did you not tell someone at school, a doctor or teacher?”

“For what? So they could prod and poke, call my parents and create a fuss? My dad would want to sue the school and then buy the best surgeon to put me back the way he wanted. No, Thor, I couldn’t have done that.”

“Your parents hate you?”

“Not really, but I’m not sure whether they will want a daughter that had been their son. My mum is probably more open minded than my dad. My dad will be more concerned about what people might say than my happiness.”

“That is sad. Perhaps you are mistaken?”

“I hope so.”

He nodded and frowned some more. I went to the dresser and took out my wallet. I had all my old cards and documents. I put them on the table and showed him. There were no photographs though.

“This friend, Andy, is it?” he asked, looking at the cards and old driver’s licence.

“Yes, Andy Cairn. What about him?”

“He believes you?”

“Yes. I wrote to him the other day and he phoned me back. He persuaded me to contact my parents.”

Thor leaned back and scratched his head.

“This is, as you say, impossible.”

There was nothing I could say.

He smiled. I wondered what he was thinking about.

“You are certainly a normal girl.”


“I mean, it took you how long to lose your virginity, a week?”

I felt guilty and blushed, at which he laughed again.

“You are definitely not a boy. That I assure you.”

“I am aware of that, but thanks anyway.”

“The battleship!” he suddenly said.


“On the bus, we saw a navy boat and I called it a battleship. You told me exactly what it was and when it was made. You even knew what missiles it carries. No girl would know that.”

“So?” I asked, unsure where he was going with this.

He nodded, as if thinking of something important.

“I believe you. I cannot see how, but I believe you.”

“Are you sure you’re not just saying that and will call the ambulance when my back’s turned?” I asked.

He laughed at me again, patting the sofa for me to sit beside him.

“Come, sit with me. We talk some more about this. It is amazing.”

I sat next to him, cautiously.

“You are a girl, yes?”

“Yes,” I said, not sure where he was going.

“When you were a boy, you wanted to be a girl and thought you should have been, yes?”


“If you could be either, what would it be?”

“Duh, a girl.”

He nodded again, reaching out and taking my hand.

“You are my girl, yes?”

“If you still want me to be, yes.”

“I do. So, tell me again, when you went to sleep….?”

Talk we did, well into the night. He asked me all about my childhood and I shared every feeling and memory that I felt was important. We ended up going to bed at about three thirty in the morning. I lay there, feeling very uncertain. He reached out and pulled me gently towards him.

“You don’t want me?” he asked.

“I’m not sure whether you will still want me,” I admitted.

“Why not? I love you and you’re my girl, yes?”

“Yes,” I said, and melted into his arms.

We’d had sex many times up to that day, but that was the most tender and erotic experience I’d yet had. He told me afterwards that I held nothing back. As I went to sleep I told him that I loved him. He smiled and farted. It was a beautiful moment.

As I sat on the train, alone, I looked down at the Firth of Forth. The old bridge was an amazing feat of engineering, but I wasn’t that impressed at that moment. Thor had told me that I was dressed to go to church. Maybe he was right, but I didn’t want to make a bad impression. I wore a smart skirt and jacket in navy blue, with a pale blouse, tights and smart shoes with heels. My hair looked lovely and I’d done my makeup conservatively.

I didn’t look anything like Philip Coates.

I didn’t feel anything like Philip Coates.

I still wasn’t certain that either of them would be there. I thought that my mum might be, but I wasn’t sure about my dad.

The train seemed to take an age to get to Perth, but as soon as it started slowing down, I felt physically sick.

The man opposite me looked worried.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

“Fine thanks. I’m just a bit queasy. I should have eaten something earlier.”

The train was ten minutes late, so it was ten to noon already. I waited for a while, and then followed the others off and onto the platform. The train pulled out again, almost immediately.

Feeling a little faint, I sat on the red-painted bench on the platform, watching the train leave as it headed north. Perhaps I should have stayed on it, I thought.

The passengers had all headed for the exit, so I sat there for a moment, looking at the clock. The minute hand clicked gradually up towards twelve.

My parents weren’t here.

I waited.

A policeman came through the doors, looked around and then headed for an office to my left. I watched the office door, wondering whether this was a trap.

I told myself not to be paranoid.

Five past came. I stood up. The next train to Edinburgh was at twenty to one. I already had a ticket, so it wasn’t long to wait.

I saw my mother before she saw me.

She walked uncertainly through the entrance. I saw her speak to someone and then she must have bought a platform ticket.

She looked tired, so I immediately felt guilty for what I had put them through.

She looked at the empty concourse, glancing my way and then passing over me. Then she looked back and frowned. I saw her hand go up to her mouth. I saw her shake her head and look for anyone else that could be her daughter, or son, or whatever she was expecting. It obviously wasn’t me.

“Well, this is it,” I said to myself, standing up.

I walked down the platform towards the barrier. A male ticket collector in the British Railways uniform watched me. My mother walked shakily towards me as well, stopping at the barrier. She still looked for anyone else that could possibly be her child, as clearly I didn’t meet her expectations. I hoped I exceeded them.

I wondered how I looked to her. I thought I looked sophisticated and feminine. Judging by the openly admiring glance from the BR man, I had succeeded a little at any rate.

I tried to be as calm as I could, handing over my ticket as I reached the barrier.

“Thanks, love,” he said. “Are you being met or do ye want a taxi?”

Looking at my mother, I said, “I’m being met, thank you.” I spoke in my most educated accent.

He punched it and handed it back. It was a return, after all. With no more passengers, he turned and headed for his office and a cup of tea, no doubt.

I stood in front of my mother.

“Hi mum,” I said.

She had to hold on to the metal stanchion of the barrier, tears came to her eyes and her voice shook.


I felt amazingly calm and in control. I was surprised and I thought I’d be a wreck. I shook my head, conscious of the movement of my long hair and ear rings.

“No, mum. Philip is no more. I’m Pippa. I’m your daughter.”

“But you’re… you’re…”

“A girl? Yes, I am, and underneath, I always have been. I’m so pleased you’ve noticed at last.”

“May I…?” she stammered, holding out a hand. I took it, surprised at the strength with which she gripped my hand.

“I can see you’re a girl. I wanted to say that you were beautiful, that’s all,” she said, crying openly now.

At those words, I broke and felt the tears come to my eyes. I fought for control.

“So, dad didn’t come?” I asked.

“He has, he's parking the car,” she said, looking towards the entrance.

He hadn’t changed. I felt a flutter of apprehension as I saw him walk in. Like mother, he stopped and then came through looking at us. Some other people were here, so I was grateful for some silly reason.

He stopped a little way off, his face contorting as various emotions fought for supremacy. In the end he surprised me by bursting into tears.

“John, come meet Pippa, our daughter,” said my mother, still with a shaky voice.

He came to me with his hands out.

My tears won, and I felt them rolling down my cheeks. I was more worried about my mascara running than anything else and laughed at the stupidity of the thought.

“Forgive me,” he said, gathering us both in an embrace that I never recalled receiving from him before.

We stood like that for a long time, oblivious to the people walking past us in both directions.

At last, he was the one to relinquish hold.

“We need to talk. Will you come home?” he asked.

I hadn’t intended to, as I had been determined to keep on neutral territory. Somehow I felt that by going back to where I grew up, I might become him again.

But the emotion of the moment and completely surprising reaction of my parents shocked me so much that I simply nodded.

My father went ahead to get the Mercedes while I sat on the bench outside the station holding my mother’s hand.

“I never knew,” she kept repeating.

“I know. I’m sorry, I just couldn’t tell you,” I replied.

She smiled through her tears, regarding me a little more critically now we were outside and calmer.

“You really are very pretty. What happened?” she said.

“I’ll wait for dad and tell you when we get home. I don’t want to go through it twice. I had to tell my boyfriend about it on Wednesday evening, so we spent yesterday going through it all again and again. He’s torn, as his rational mind can’t accept it, but his emotional mind does.”

“How did you meet?”

“On the day I left school, I met him in the café where I saw you. Do you remember?”

She shook her head.

“Why didn’t you say anything?”

“I don’t know. I suppose I was still in a kind of shock. It’s not every day you wake up finally as the person you’ve always wanted to be. The problem was I was a girl in an all boys’ school, so that was a trauma in itself.”

Dad pulled up in the forecourt.

“Get in the front, dear,” said my mother.

I didn’t feel inclined to argue, so complied.

I fastened my seat belt and sat back, closing my eyes. I had not imagined this scenario.

“She was just telling me about seeing me in Perth, on the day,” she told my father.

Despite me wanting to wait, I told them the story on the way. It was only half an hour’s drive, so hadn’t really finished when we arrived home.


I sat in the car and looked at the house in which I had grown up. It seemed different somehow. Or perhaps that was me. I was certainly different. I was bombarded by memories.

The memories of happy and not so happy times seemed strangely faint and insubstantial; almost as if they didn’t belong to me. I kept reliving the memories as if I was a spectator and not the subject.

I must have phased out for a moment, for dad was holding my door open.

“Are you getting out?” he asked.

I got out, aware that I showed a lot of leg and noticed that he saw. I smiled slightly, as he actually blushed and looked away.

My mother had already opened the front door, so Jockie the Border terrier rushed out to meet us.

In all my traumas, I’d all but forgotten him. As I bent over to stroke him, he virtually hurled himself into my arms. I cried, as always did this to me, so he remembered me.

Both my parents watched, and I noticed, both were crying.

I carried the wriggling dog into the house as he tried to lick all the makeup off my face.

We gravitated to the kitchen, where I sat on the stool at the breakfast bar.

“I’m finding this very difficult,” admitted my father, as mum filled the kettle.

I frowned.

“Difficult, how?”

He smiled.

“Having such an attractive daughter showing so much leg is not an easy thing for a man to deal with.”

Jockie brought his tennis ball to me to throw for him.

“I can’t help how I look, dad. I did try to dress smart for you.”

“You look lovely dear, very sophisticated and professional,” said my mother. “Lunch is cold meat, cheese and fresh bread. I couldn’t plan anything else. I mean, we didn’t know…” her voice trailed off.

“I understand, cold meat is fine. I didn’t know what was going to happen either. I never thought you’d be, you’d be quite so….” I couldn’t say any more as the tears returned with enthusiasm.

It was a very stilted lunch, as we all kept breaking down and crying. I’m not sure why. They asked me so many questions, which I tried to answer as best as I could. Some were hard, particularly the ones about why I didn’t tell them before.

“Look, I was a boy, physically I was normal, so I never even contemplated a sex change as it was too difficult. I was resigned to live out my life just as I was. I couldn’t put you through it. I was probably wrong, but I truly believed that you would have been mortified to have a transsexual for a son.”

My parents looked at each other.

“Actually, Pippa, you were wiser than you knew. I don’t think I would have coped with it at all, for the reasons you thought,” dad admitted. “Over the last few weeks, we’ve been to hell and back, going over what kind of parents were thought we had been. After your letter arrived, my first reaction was to treat it as a hoax, but you mother believed it. It seems you were both right.”

I couldn’t think of anything to say.

“Are you completely normal?” mum asked.

“As far as I know. I’ve already had a period and, well, I seem to be normal.”

“Have you seen a doctor?” she asked.

“Not yet, I’ve been a bit busy.”

“So, you’re not on the pill?”


“Are you?”


“You mentioned precautions,” said mum, looking embarrassed.

“He uses condoms.”

Dad rolled his eyes and looked away.

“Dear, you can’t always rely on them, you do know that?” mum said.

“I know. I am planning to go down to the FP clinic. But I’m sorting this part of my life out first.”

“Okay, how do we play this?” dad asked.

I shrugged.

“Right, are you willing to be advised by me on this?” he asked.

“It depends.”

He frowned.

“On what?”

“What you suggest.”

“Okay, perhaps I phrased that badly. How about we set out our possible options and come to a mutual agreement as to how to proceed?”

I smiled.

“Go on,” I said.

“Good. One, we tell the police. I’ve been in touch with them regularly and they will have to see and speak to you to close their enquiry.”

I didn’t like the sound of that.

“Okay,” I said, rather reluctantly.

“Two; we get you sorted medically and legally.”


“Well, we have to establish that you are the same person as Philip Coates and that you are no longer male. Once those are done, you will have to have your birth certificate changed, your name changed and then you’ll be legally entitled to get your National Insurance, passport and drivers licence issued.”

“O-kay. How do we do that?”

“I can make an appointment with Dr Featherstone. As your GP, he knew you…”

“As Philip,” I interrupted.

“Yes, he knew you and can examine you to categorically say that you are now a genetic female. Hopefully, he will also be able to say that you are the same person as the boy called Philip. He can kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.”

“Okay. Then what?”

“He will issue a medical certificate, certifying your identity and gender. This will be used to change your details with the registry people and then, with a new birth certificate, you can apply for a new NI number, passport and all the other stuff you will need.”

“That sounds okay,” I said. It all sounded reasonably simple.

“Then you go back to school,” he said. Just to spoil it all.

“No dad. I’m done with school.”

“Listen young lady…”

I stood up.

“No, dad, you listen. I’m seventeen. I’m legally an adult, so here’s how it’s going to be. I actually have a temporary job until after Christmas. I then have been signed up to join the cast of a new TV series that will be showing next autumn. I want to be an actress, and this is my big chance. If I need further studying, then I’ll go to drama school, but I may not have to.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, a part as an extra in some obscure TV series is not the way to do it. If you want my advice…”

“No, dad, I don’t. For starters, the part is not that of an extra, but as the female lead. Second, I already have an agent and my fees or salary is far more than I could ever have dreamed of. I’ve found this job, me, all by myself. You are not interfering with it like you have with just about everything else in my life, do YOU understand?”

There was a stunned silence in the kitchen.

I had been calm and precise, never raising my voice or losing my temper. He stared at me, blinking and looking slightly shocked.

“Did I tell you that you were the survivor of a set of twins?” mum asked.

“What?” I was confused by the complete change of direction.

“Your sister was born dead. I never believed she was dead, as I sensed she was alive somehow. Oh, I knew the little body was dead, but her spirit was always around.”

My father and I stared at her.

I had to sit down.

Suddenly some form of clarity came out of the mist.

She took my hand.

“Welcome home, darling. How I’ve missed you!” she said with tears in her eyes. Her smile, however, said it all.

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