It was the most difficult letter Lori ever had to write. She knew she couldn’t be free of him until it was finished and filed. When she was small, she was shamed by the torment. Day after day, the abuse mounted—but living well was the best revenge, wasn’t it?

She had long since abandoned hope of an apology, he grew more silent every day. Just watching her. She abandoned hope that he would love her and accept here for who she really was—and set her free. There was nothing she wanted in return. She needed something more, to be free of him. Free of his ghost, free of the humiliation. She needed a separation.

“You know you aren’t a real girl.” The ignominious quip that seemed small to him, but devastating to her. An invisible clamp that gripped her chest. She her lungs compressed as she breathed out. She looked at the cuts on her arms. He did that. He made her do that. He couldn’t bare for her to lead the life she wanted. It wasn’t right. Better she die than try be something she could never be, so he thought.

He was a part of her, she trusted him, loved him, loved that he was her protector. When the bullies came he was beaten instead. He took the brunt of the punishment. She nursed his wounds, but she still felt the sting. Each blow to him, hurt her just as much. He did worse to her. He kept denying her truth—kept denying her. How could he not accept her for who she really was? She had know him all her life. He grew distant, she grew despondent. It was her body, not his. She needed to show the world who she truly was.

In her mind, she desperately tried to plead with him. The result was always the same. “You aren’t a real girl.” Her body grew softer, her curves more pronounced. She measured every dose carefully. Still he wouldn’t relent, “You are not a real girl!” The mirror said otherwise. Each month an inch added to her raven hair. It had grown to a length unacceptable to him. He tried to cut it. She stopped him. It was her hair. Not his. That’s when he made her do it instead—the slices up her arm. The cuts were jagged, her will against his. Though not deep enough to accomplish his aims. Enough to leave a scar. It reminded her that if he wanted, he could still make her do what he commanded.

She knew his control over her was fleeting. She was older now, her own person. With a mind and a will of her own. He just wouldn’t let go. She was his burden— his to care for. His secret. She lived under his roof. It was his rules. She was determined to make this her home, with her rules. She found a job during the day. He switch to nights. He chose to. Better for her to work during the days than risk working at night. They were only together for the brief moments before and after their shifts. The extra money came in handy, but her exhaustion grew.

They were tired all the time. He begged her to stop, that he alone could support them—if she only… He threatened to leave her without his means of support. She was ungrateful, that is how it appeared. They starved while she spent their fortune on body altering drugs and doctors. He sold his own possessions just to keep the lights on and to pay for her clothes, makeup and other feminine trappings to allow her to work. Did she appreciate that? Was that enough? No. The changes were too much for him. He couldn’t stay with her any longer. It wouldn’t be long before she didn’t need him at all.

She looked in the mirror on her desk. All traces of masculinity had long since gone. What was she looking for? Confirmation? Assurance? Acknowledgement? Acceptance?


She smiled then stared intently at the mirror, “you don’t control me anymore,” her voice defiant, her will indomitable. She stood up from her chair. Put her signature on the line. Folded the letter, sealing it in an envelope. She walked over to stack letters and bills which bore her name—not his, and smiled. The contents of envelope was destined to change her life and end his. Separation, his hold on her was gone.

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