Silver Lining

Silver Lining.

The rain lashed against the windows and John stared out longingly. He wouldn't have liked being addressed as John, because the way he was dressed suggested he would prefer a woman's name. In fact, in this mode he called himself, Julia, which he considered a pretty name, though it was hardly deserved as 'Julia' was anything but pretty and looked anything but convincing as a woman.

John had never married. He'd got close but as soon as he explained to would be wives, about his need to cross dress regularly, they tended to look for a husband elsewhere. He therefore considered himself unlucky in love. Actually, John considered himself unlucky, full stop. He'd never won anything in raffles or lotteries and was always the next one in line when anything ran out, from gold stars in junior school to meals in restaurants. He once nursed his car to garage only to discover they'd run out of fuel. He had to pay an extortionate amount to the proprietor to siphon a few litres from his own car to enable him to get home. Such was John's life.

He worked in the local tax office as a clerk and didn't expect to get much higher. He was lucky insofar as he was content with his lot and his job, although tedious, was safe and paid all the overheads of the house he'd inherited from his mother.

When his mother died some five years ago, he declared he'd never wear male clothes in the house unless he had to go out to work, shopping or the doctor–effectively, anywhere official. He'd do his shopping on a Friday night on the way home and once there would shower and style his long straggly hair and become Julia for the whole evening and often the entire weekend. If he was Julia all weekend, he'd resent going back to his job on the Monday wearing drab, as he believed male clothing was called by cross dressers.

Julia paced back and fore listening to the rain, still lashing against the windows and pattering loudly on the plastic roof of the conservatory. He chewed his painted fingernails until he realised what he was doing and then paced some more. The forecast was wrong, he was sure they hadn't said it was going to rain. To check, he called up the Met Office on his computer and sure enough, they said fine with light winds. “What d'ya call that, Scotch mist?” he shouted at the computer, the computer responded, as these things do, by doing a screen freeze. Frustrated to screaming point, Julia pulled the plug knowing she'd have to reboot next time she used it. Oh the joys of modern technology.

When the hissy fit had subsided, Julia realised the noise from the windows had ceased. She rushed to the back door to check. It was no longer precipitating and the wind had dropped a little as well. She could finally go and post the letter, that could have waited until the Monday morning, but any excuse was better than none.

Julia checked her makeup and hair for the umpteenth time, pulled on her expensive wool coat, checked herself yet again, put on some more powder and lipstick, unlocked the front door, and with heart beating as fast as if she'd just sprinted up the road, she set off checking she had her key in her coat pocket.

She was certainly overdressed for posting a letter, wearing an expensive Laura Ashley skirt and top, with her knee boots and their four inch stiletto heels upon which she lumbered rather than sashayed; cloud of 'Je taime' followed behind her as she progressed down the road, discovering some fifteen minutes later that she'd left the letter on the table. She blamed the rain for her amnesia but carried on walking. She hadn't been out for weeks and then only under cover of darkness, which made her more at risk than daylight, but she maintained her delusion that the night offered safety. Had she needed to run, which at thirty five, she should have been quite capable, the heels would have made things challenging to say the least.

She threw the shoulder strap of her bag over her shoulder and trundled on. Her feet were hurting, but she determined that was only because she didn't walk far enough in heels and tonight, she was going to go as far as the local bakers which was about another quarter of a mile, making it about half to three quarters return to her house.

She'd read loads of tg fiction, so her bag contained tampons and condoms and tissues. She'd also put in her favourite lipstick and her powder compact with its built in mirror. It had been her mother's and she was proud to use it. She stopped at the building society and checked herself in the reflection in the window. She thought she looked pretty well turned out, attractive even and while she was well dressed, she still looked like a man in a dress. However, she couldn't see it and after all, she was doing no one any harm so her presence on the street was perfectly legal.

She strolled down to the baker's shop, Mr Bunn's and just beyond it, she went and gazed at the display in 'Scroos' the ironmongers. For a long time she'd thought it was called Scrooge's but no, it was a pun on nuts and bolts which they sold in vast quantities.

The ironmongers was a veritable Aladdin's cave to the average man, bursting with DIY stuff and tools, paints and polishes and even paraffin, which Julia hadn't been aware was still available. She said quietly to herself, “The Yanks call it Kerosene, but they have to be different, don't they?” No Americans were available to answer her criticism.

She decided to turn around at the next street, and she could then make a circle and come back up her road from the other end to the one she'd started. It was just after she made the turn that her luck changed–for the worse. About fifty yards up from the shop where she'd turned, a street light was out. If she remembered she'd call the council from work on Monday and tell them. She liked to think of herself as a good citizen, albeit a slightly
eccentric one.

Drawing level with the darker area, she concentrated where she was stepping rather than who might be about and that was when it happened. She felt a hard shove in her back and as she fell her bag was torn from her arm and as she struggled to grip it the thug, drew a knife and stabbed her in the chest. It felt like a kick or hard punch and it was only the sight of her blood that made her realise what had happened. She fell to her knees and cried out for help.

By the time someone arrived she was passing into unconsciousness but fortunately, he saw the blood and called for the paramedics. It wasn't the first time they'd dealt with someone wearing the clothes of the opposite sex and they maintained a totally professional manner, treating Julia as they would any injured woman.

In Accident and Emergency, the Indian doctor was mildly amused by Julia's appearance but he'd seen Hajira in India, so it was no big deal. Julia ended up in surgery to stop the bleeding and was sent up to women's surgical, the NHS had a policy of treating those with gender issues as they presented. John showed up as Julia and was thus treated as such, even though it was quite obvious she was a man.

She was kept in for a week, a social worker being asked to go to her house and pack a case of nightdresses and toiletries together with some clothing to go home in when she was discharged–plus her electric shaver. She was kept in a single room to avoid interactions with other patients, the nurses being worried she'd become a freak show attraction if it were known, they had a tranny on the ward.

The nurses treated her with the same benign curiosity the other medics had. She was a patient and thus deserved the same care and consideration as the other people receiving treatment from them. It was actually the longest, she'd been as Julia in her life, as she'd always had to change to go and get milk or bread, even when she spent most of her holidays en femme; and it was certainly the longest she'd been away from home as Julia. That was usually measured in hours not days or weeks.

She'd been very lucky, the knife had grazed one of the coronary arteries but they'd managed to sort it. Had it been a millimetre closer, she'd have died in the street.

Naturally the police were involved and seeing who they were dealing with, they decided to send a woman detective–none of the men wanted the case, so Naomi Phillips, a detective constable got the job.

Being honest, the police thought they had very little chance of finding the perpetrator unless he struck again and was apprehended. Julia, however, was more upset at the loss of her expensive handbag and her mother's compact. Naomi understood her loss. Her mother had died some six months before and she was only too aware of how precious favourite bits and pieces could become, especially personal things like brushes or

She also decided she liked Julia and on the pretence of discussing the case, arrived after someone from Julia's office had been to visit with a Human Resources manager. They informed Julia they'd changed all her records to accommodate her new status and left her in a state of near shock.

“But I didn't want to stay Julia forever,” she lamented to Naomi.

“I'm sure that can be sorted when you go back to work.”

“I don't think so, they seemed to imply once they changed your records, it was permanent.”

“Oh.” Naomi sat and pondered. “I've never met John, have I?”

“No, and you're not likely to now. If I could get my hands on that thug, I'd...”

“You'd what?”

“I'd ask him what he did with my bag, the swine.”

Naomi chuckled, “I have something here you might care to see.”She picked up the carrier bag she'd brought in with her and handed it to Julia.

“What's this, I'm not used to presents from the police.”

“I can always put my cuffs on you,” smirked Naomi.

“Uh, no thanks, I'm weird but not that weird. Now what's in here. Oh my god, my handbag.”Julia looked inside and her lipstick and powder compact were still there. “Oh that's wonderful.” She drew Naomi to her and kissed her and Naomi didn't pull back.

A month later, Julia was trying to decide which of her new suits she should wear to work. Her partner Naomi pointed at the beige wool one, “With the brown blouse I bought you it should look fine, and your brown shoes of course.”

“Of course.”

“Dunno how you walk in heels like that,”Naomi said smiling.

“A girl's got to maintain her standards, you know.” The nine day wonder had come and gone and people accepted Julia as weird but still the same weirdo, she'd always been as John and now she had a partner, viz Naomi, she was threatening to come to the Christmas dinner dance, egged on by some of the women who wanted to meet this Naomi woman.

'You know, if I met that guy who stabbed me, I'd shake his hand,” Julia said to the love of her life.

'I thought you wanted to bash him for pinching your handbag?”

“Ah, but that was before I met you, so now I'd like to thank him.”

“You wouldn't–didn't I say we got him?”

“No, no you didn't.'

“Nasty piece of work, named Alfie Sullivan. Just gone down for ten years for armed robbery.”

“Why didn't you say?”

“It no longer affected you, and the evidence from your stabbing was insufficient to get a second conviction. It was probably the same knife, but forensics couldn't get anything except the case he was caught doing. He stabbed another woman.”

“Oh, perhaps you're right, as always,” conceded Julia.

“C'mon, I'll drop you at your office,” Naomi offered thinking of her walking in those heels.

“When they allow same sex marriage, who's going to change their name to what?” asked Julia.

'You, poppet, will become my wife,” said Naomi.

“Ooh, how romantic. So we'll both be Mrs Phillips then?”

“No, you'll be, I'll still be Ms Phillips, but never mind, hurry up, missus, or we're going to be late.”

“Yes dear, of course dear, three bags full dear..”chuckled Julia.

“Just get in the bloody car,” said Naomi and shook her head.

The End.

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