By Katherine Day
Jarod succeeds in school, hiding his natural desire to be a girl, but finds joy only when being Jane.
As he enters puberty he encounters challenges with other girls, while his mother ponders his future.
“Mommy, I don’t belong with the boys,” Jarod said one cold late autumn Sunday afternoon in his second year (the 7th grade) at Harriet Tubman Middle School.
He had snuggled up next to his mother on the couch in the living room, legs tucked underneath. His long light brown hair was in pigtails. He was wearing dark blue tights, a short light tan mini skirt, a light blue blouse with dark violet scalloped trim and girl’s tennis shoes.
His mother merely nodded, as she was concentrating on Figure Skater Michelle Kwan as she completed a maneuver in quest for a championship; they were watching the series of figure skating championships on television, a regular Sunday afternoon feature for several months each fall and winter season. The figure skating competitions were held at the same time the men in many households were watching National Football League games. In Jarod’s area, virtually every television at that moment was turned to the Green Bay Packer-Chicago Bear game; if the household had a second TV, it often meant the women on the household were watching figure skating.
Jarod and his mother never watched football; on Sundays, they watched figure skating if it was on, as it was on this early December afternoon.
Jarod was knitting a wool winter cap, and his slender fingers literally flew as the knitting needles clicked away. He had taken up knitting two years ago, and found it a fascinating exercise becoming so proficient at it that he entered the State Fair knitting competition, only one of two males to do so, the other being a 60-old-man with heart disease who had taken it up for therapy.
His friend, Wanda, had urged him to enter, after he had knitted a sweater for her for Christmas last year. “You’ll win easily, Jane,” she told him, saying that she showed the sweater to her aunt who was a top knitter and the aunt said it was exquisite and that the “girl” who knitted it should enter the competition.
Jarod and his mother kept his alternative self (a lovely girl named “Jane”) at home, a secret that was shared by Wanda, who was a year older than Jarod and now in the 8th Grade; Wanda’s mother, Helen; an African-American girl classmate, Latoya, who had accidentally discovered Jarod’s feminine behaviors; and Amy, the young mother who shared the other unit in a side-by-side duplex with Jarod and his mother. Another who knew Jarod had dressed was another male classmate, Terri, who also dressed as a girl sometimes, and his older sister.
It was perhaps a minor miracle that these six have been able to keep the secret for nearly two years; yet, they all had become close to Jarod and had developed a fondness for the frail girlish boy. In truth, they all appreciated Jane and found her to be a lovely girl.
Yet, Jarod’s mother, in concern for her son’s safety in the urban middle school, had made him go to school as a boy, as well as to never leave the house, except as a boy or in rare circumstances.
A routine had developed: Most every weekend, Jarod dressed fully as Jane, his hair in pigtails, nail polish on his toes and fingers and satiny undergarments, including a bra with breast forms. Sundays in particular were reserved as mother and daughter days; the two baked cookies, sewed, brushed each other’s hair, and did whatever would be typical for a mother and daughter who loved each other.
“Mommy, I love Sundays so much,” he said again, once the figure skating competition had been interrupted by commercials and his mother had put the television on “mute.”
“I do too, Jane,” his mother said, her arm tightening around his slender form. She understood what he meant: on Sundays, he could be a 13-year-old girl totally and completely.
“I have the prettiest mommy,” he said, looking at her, seeing her blue eyes filling with tears.
“And I have the prettiest daughter and she is the prettiest girl in 7th grade,” she smiled.
Jarod giggled and protested; yet, he knew she may be correct. When he saw himself all dressed up in the mirror, he saw a very pretty girl, a girl with lovely hair, a slender neck and round shoulders and soft arms. All his life and even in his boy outfits, Jarod had been mistaken for a girl due to his full lips, round cheeks, long hair and slender body. It was as if nature had declared that he was a female but somewhere along the way tacked on some male anatomy.
“What do you think of Michelle’s outfit?” he asked his mother, referring to the skating outfit of Michelle Kwan.
“Honey, I wasn’t watching her outfit, but was watching her moves. She is so perfect a skater.”
“Oh mommy, didn’t you think her outfit was too plain?”
“I guess,” his mother said. “You always notice what they’re wearing.”
“Of course, those girls are so exquisite,” he said.
“Exquisite?” his mother wondered. “That’s pretty high sounding word from a young girl.”
Jarod laughed. “It’s a good word, mommy. I looked it up.”
“You’re too smart for me, darling.”
“Even Johnny Weir wears a prettier outfit that Michelle,” Jarod said, referring to a champion male skater who usually wore sparkling costumes, sometimes almost feminine in design.
His mother nodded: “You know he designs his own, Jane, just like you design outfits.”
“Wow, and he’s such a good skater, too.”
“Yes, honey, now be still and get back to your knitting. I wanna see if the Russian judges will score this on the fair and square for Michelle.”
Nancy Pinkerton looked at her son carefully once the skating competition ended, seeing what she has seen now for several years: The boy was indeed a tender, sweet girl, without a hint of boyishness. She looked at him as his knitted away, his lovely legs in tights, tucked underneath him and his tiny wrists moving as he knitted.
She began to cry, realizing that this girl child before her was suffering as he continued to live outwardly as a boy. His days as a girl were few, usually all day Sunday and then at bedtime, when she permitted him to sleep in panties and a nightie; their evening routine had become the highlight of their day: a sweet smelling bubble bath, time to braid his hair in pigtails he loved so much and then to bed in his nightie, holding a pink teddy bear he called “Snookums.”
“Mommy, you’re sad,” Jarod said, looking up from his knitting.
“Not really honey. I was just crying a bit, seeing what a pretty girl you are today.”
“Oh mommy, I’m not dressed very pretty today; just these shorts and tights.”
Nancy smiled, and drew him tightly against her side, saying, “Honey, you’re always pretty to me.”
For Nancy Pinkerton, only one thing truly mattered: the future of her son, Jarod. Everything she did in life now was aimed at providing for him and preparing him for life: His birth had become the defining moment in a life that had been previously without purpose or direction.
She herself had been raised as an only child of a determined, hard-minded mother; her father was in her life only for two years, when he left never to be heard from again. Like Nancy, her mother had been committed to raising her child alone, always doing what was proper and always within the rules of good child-rearing practices. This made for a strict upbringing for Nancy Pinkerton. Nancy was always under the eye of her mother, and a rigid eye it was.
That ended suddenly, when Nancy was 16; her mother developed a pancreatic infection that within three weeks ended her life, leaving Nancy totally alone. There were no surviving relatives to care for a 16-year-old girl, her grandparents having been long dead. Nancy became a ward of the state.
In the first three months, Nancy was bounced between three foster homes, finally settling into a foster home operated by a multiracial couple, Fred and Judith Benson, who cared for three teen age girls besides Nancy. They included one African-American girl, Maleka, age 15, and two white girls, Amber and Julie, both 16. Nancy roomed with Julie, a chunky girl who loved to put on flashy makeup and wear outfits that were too tight for her billowing figure.
The Bensons were caring foster parents; their house rules were simple, requiring the girls follow curfews, perform certain chores and “never, never, never” to sass Mrs. Benson. Fred Benson wore a graying Afro and had a round, kindly face, but it was soon realized that when he spoke, his word was law. He was a retired school teacher and basketball coach and he made it known that he would help any of the girls with their homework.
“I think he’s got the hots for me,” Julie said one night as she and Nancy were preparing for bed. “That’s why he likes to help us with homework.”
“No, Julie,” Nancy had said answered. “He’s never shown that to me. He seems nice.”
“That’s cause you’re so straight.”
She was right; Nancy was straight-laced and was taken to wearing long skirts and jeans and pants, rarely showing any thigh, while Julie was always displaying healthy chunks of soft white skin.
As far as Nancy could tell, Fred Benson never touched any of the girls or showed any improper behavior to them. It was probably that Julie was dreaming that he would; for an older man, Fred Benson was pretty “hot-looking” himself.
It was Julie who got Nancy to accompany her to a rock band rehearsal one night, in hopes of meeting a guitar player she had her eye on. Julie never got to first base with the guitar player, but Nancy found herself the object of attention of Jamie Storch, a long-haired drummer.
Having never dated while her mother was alive (she would never allow it) and finally learning about the ways of boys and girls from her foster sisters (all with fairly rough backgrounds), Nancy was a total innocent, and Jamie whipped her off her feet. For the first time in her life, someone other than her mother paid attention to her. Was it any wonder that at age 19, a few months after she left the care of the Bensons to be on her own, that she gave birth to a lovely baby boy? Jamie was never around to see his son, and efforts to find him failed, thus leaving a lonely 19-year-old girl with a baby son to raise.
Her resourcefulness was remarkable: she had worked since her mother’s death at a child care facility where she was quickly recognized as a hard, conscientious worker; with the birth of Jarod, she was able to place her son in care at her workplace, while she was employed there, and begin college.
Everything she did was for Jarod, she told herself, and she had succeeded in many ways. Jarod was a good student and a lovely boy. Now she worried constantly as she wondered about how to handle this child in his desires to be a girl. Was there a correct decision she could make?
Nancy’s effort to keep Jarod’s lifestyle as boyish as possible was slowly being eroded; though the boy generally followed his mother’s rules, she could see he was struggling with staying away from girly things. To other students and adults, he appeared outwardly as a boy whose hair might be a bit longer than most and who was slender, almost fragile in his body; yet, he was able to curb feminine mannerisms that seemed to come so naturally to him.
By the time he was in 7th grade, she had accepted the fact that every evening he would sleep in a nightie and panties; sometimes, after supper and with his homework being completed, she would let him put on a dress (his favorite being a one piece pink nylon dress, with a scooped bodice, a belt and full skirt that went to mid-thigh) and they would enjoy times together as mother and daughter.
Nancy soon was admitting to herself that she enjoyed those moments as much as she felt Jarod was.
“Do my pigtails, mommy,” Jarod usually asked, and she’d comply after some hesitation, still fighting the urge to encourage this girlish act.
Together, then, they’d sit on the stool before her own vanity, as she twisted his hair into pigtails, applied makeup and shared in doing each other’s nails.
“Mommy, you have the prettiest hands,” Jarod said more than once.
Nancy had always felt one of her truly prettiest features were her hands, which despite being slender and long-fingered, retained a softness and smoothness of a teenager.
“You’ve become quite a good manicurist,” Nancy said one October night, as Jarod worked on her nails.
“Thank you, mommy.”
The boy had a precise, light touch as he worked around Nancy’s cuticle and applied the polish. His own hands were much like hers, with long fingers and a soft slenderness.
When they finished, Nancy hugged her son as they looked at the sweet reflections being returned from the vanity mirror. “Mommy, I feel just like Jane now,” Jarod said.
“Oh honey, we are just like any mommy and daughter, aren’t we?” Nancy said.
She drew the fragile body of her son tightly against her, and they both smiled into the mirror, her right hand playing gently with one of his pigtails.
“Oh mommy, mommy, why was I born a boy?” he said suddenly, words that were soon followed by tears.
Soon, his body was rocking as his cries grew more intense and his mother held him even more firmly, her own eyes tearing up. She got up, pulling the boy with her and led him to her bed, where they both laid together, almost entangled as lovers. They cried together in a moment that was, for both, a time of exquisite love and sadness. Nancy felt such warmth and tenderness as she held Jane, knowing full well that in the morning he would arise and go off to school as Jarod.
She felt something else that night. In their tight embrace, Nancy felt the boy’s small penis harden against her own thigh, and felt him begin to rock.
“Oh this is so wrong,” she said, breaking their embrace, but keeping her hand on his forehead, gently caressing it.
“Mommy, what’s wrong?”
“Well, honey, you’re a boy and I’m your mommy, and boys of your age don’t sleep next to their mommies like this.”
“Oh mommy, I love you so. What’s wrong with this?” The boy’s eyes were red with tears, and his lipstick was smeared.
Nancy laid on her back, still caressing his head, and fighting back her own tears.
“Jarod, my darling. Your mommy loves you better than anything in the world, and wants you to be so happy.”
“I know, mommy, but I am happy with you always. But, I’m really happy when I’m your Jane.”
“Let’s watch ‘Hannah Montana’ now,” she suggested, noting that the show was about to begin. It was one of their favorite things to do together.
Jarod went to bed that night in his nightie and with his hair in pigtails. The pigtails would be taken out the next morning, as he prepared for school, since, as his mother often said, “Pigtails are for girls.”
“Your sleepovers with Wanda will have to end, darling,” Nancy told her son on the following Saturday.
“Why mom?” Jarod asked. “She invited me over tonight, along with Latoya. We were gonna watch movies and have popcorn and paint our nails.”
About once a month, Jarod joined with the two girls for “pj” parties, where they would spend an evening doing nails, braiding hair, giggling about boys and finally putting on nighties and sleeping in Wanda’s room. Jarod, in recognition of his growing gender differences to the girls, slept on an air mattress on the floor.
“Why can’t Jane sleep on the bed with us?” Wanda had asked her mother several times.
“It’s just not right,” Helen replied. “Remember he’s still a boy.”
“Oh, mother, he’s just one of the girls,” she responded, but the rule stood.
“Otherwise, Jarod will have to go home at night,” she said.
Nancy realized that her son got aroused when they had hugged a few nights earlier, and that his male sexual desires may be awakening, even as he dressed as a girl and felt he was female.
“And with Wanda now 14 years old and Latoya 13,” Nancy told Helen, Wanda’s mother, “I just don’t think Jarod should do these sleepovers.”
“I guess you’re right, Nancy, even though I don’t think Jarod would do anything,” Helen said, as the two shared an evening cocktail that Friday night. It had become a Friday night routine for the two women friends to get together for a 5 o’clock drink to share their week’s experiences. Sometimes, too, Amy, the Pinkerton’s next-door neighbor, would join them.
Amy was not with them this particular evening, and Nancy replied: “But both the girls are at an age where girls get desires, and I think Jarod’s approaching that, if he’s not already there.”
“Those three have such fun together. They’re really very innocent girls,” Helen said, linking Jarod in as a girl.
“I suppose, but let’s not take the chance. Jarod is still a boy with male desires, in spite of his desire to be a girl.”
Even though Jarod protested his mother’s demands, he understood. Unbeknownst to his mother, he and Wanda had talked about boy and girl desires several times. One warm fall Saturday, they took their bikes to their favorite private spot along the river, sitting on the already fallen leaves while they viewed the yellowing aspens and reddening maples along the river.
Despite the cool bite in the fall air, Wanda wore blue athletic shorts and bikers shoes without socks, exposing her tanned, muscular legs; she wore a red Wisconsin Badger sweatshirt and her hair was tied in a ponytails. Jarod, too, wore similar girl’s athletic shorts, had his hair in a ponytail and wore a blue windbreaker jacket. He wore pink girls tennis shoes and anklets.
They sat on the damp ground, their legs holding straight out before them. The contrast couldn’t have been more striking, Jarod’s slender, pretty legs next to Wanda’s.
Wanda reached over, taking Jarod’s more dainty hand into her larger, calloused hand, and drew the boy closer, kissing him lightly on the lips, a kiss that lingered just a bit longer than ever before.
“I love you, Jane,” she said.
Jarod felt tiny and weak alongside this strong girl; he strangely liked the feeling that he was subordinate to her and was comfortable that she was controlling him. Jarod found himself eager to satisfy her desires and commands.
“I love hearing you say that, and calling me Jane.”
“Oh Jane, you’re my best girl friend. We always must be girl friends.”
Jane kissed him again, almost a sisterly kiss this time. Jarod’s small penis had become aroused as she had touched his hand and had kissed him.
“I am your girl friend,” he said, nestling closer to her, and the two clutched each other firmly, both becoming more heated.
They both laid back onto the ground, finding comfort in each other on that cold morning; they listened to the brook as the sparkling waters rushed over a collection of rocks; they heard squirrels with their high chirp and the sweet warble of a cardinal somewhere off in the woods.
Jarod began to cry, his sobs soon wracking his body, making him shake in Wanda’s arms; she drew him in tighter, comforting him as his mother did on the many nights when he cried. He always cried for the same reason: When he felt so comfortable as a sweet, gentle girl, he still faced the realization that he was a boy.
“Wanda will protect you, honey.”
“I know you will, but regardless what you say, I am not a girl.” His sobbing grew more intense.
“Yes, you are, Jane. You’re more of a girl than I am.”
“I think I am a girl, Wanda, but I have this boy thing,” he motioned with his head to his lower body.
“I never want to be with you as a boy, Jane.”
“Don’t you want a boy friend, Wanda?” he said, his tears finally ending. “Oh I don’t mean me, but say, what about Troy?”
Jarod referred to Troy Huggins, with whom Wanda had been co-captain of the coed soccer team in the 6th and 7th grades. Jarod had noticed Troy hanging around Wanda often recently.
“Oh, he’s just a friend, but I don’t want a boy friend yet,” she said. “I got girls basketball starting soon, and I think I’ll make the team.”
“I guess,” was all Jarod could answer.
“Remember this summer, at this same spot, I said I want you as a girl friend,” Wanda said. “That’s still how I feel. You’ve taught me so much about being a girl, Jane, and you know so much about clothes and makeup. I’ve never thought I was pretty, until you helped me.”
“I like helping you, Wanda,” Jarod said, blushing now. “And you think of me as Jane, too.”
“My mom says you can’t sleepover with me and Latoya any more, unless you go in different room,” Wanda said.
“I know my mom told me that, too. She thinks I might try to rape you or something.”
“Or we might do boy and girl things together.”
“As if I’d know what to do,” he said, laughing, his voice moving to a high girlish giggle.
“Oh we’d probably figure it out, but I’m not sure I want to try. I’m afraid to be with a boy in that way.”
“Well I’m not much of a boy anyway, and before I could rape you, you’d have me pinned to the ground,” he said. He giggled again.
“I love it when you giggle like that, Jane.”
He giggled again, and Wanda said: “Let’s fix your hair in pigtails, Jane. How come you don’t wear them often?”
“Mom says pigtails are for girls, and I shouldn’t wear them.”
“But you look so cute in them.”
“I know, but we better not today, since we need to get back home,” he said.
Jarod giggled some more and flicked his hair, using an exaggerated effeminate mannerism that he usually avoided. He and Wanda had become the kind of friends who could tell each other everything, including their deepest thoughts and fears and desires. It was a rare friendship, a type that hardly ever developed between young teen boys and girls, but was more common between girls.
Both had admitted that they were afraid of being involved with members of the opposite sex; they knew the rudiments of sex, of course, but Wanda just didn’t seem to want to act in a female role, which she assumed meant to be submissive and weak and not in control. Jarod felt he could never be manly enough to satisfy a woman, that his physical fragility and his penis (smaller than the other boys, he suspected) would bring laughter or derision from any female partner.
“We can tell each other anything, Wanda,” Jarod said, the two now sitting up, and taking turns tossing small twigs into the stream.
“And I know that we’ll never tell our secrets to anyone.”
“I know I will never tell yours, ‘cause you’ll beat me up if I ever did,” he giggled.
“I could never hurt you, Jane. I love you too much.”
“Let’s become blood sisters,” he said.
“Yeah. You mean to cut our fingers and hold them together to share blood.?”
“Yeah, blood sisters.”
Jarod had a small penknife in his pocket, and removed it, each placing a tiny cut on the little finger of each other’s left hand. They held their fingers together, small streams of blood dripping on the leafy ground.
The act symbolized how close Wanda and Jarod had become friends, as girl friends. Both, however, realized that Jarod’s days of dressing and acting like a girl were to become fewer and fewer as he entered the higher grades of school. Jarod loved his moments with Wanda when he was Jane and he would look forward to every such moment in the future.
“You’re always sitting with girls, Jarod,” Keisha said one lunch hour at school as the two joined at the lunch table awaiting the arrival of two other classmates who usually ate with them, Mary Ann and Latoya.
“Yeah, I guess.”
“Don’t you have any friends with boys,” she persisted.
“Not really, unless you count Terrence, but I don’t see him much anymore.”
“I just wondered,” Keisha continued. She was a good student, and her mother always was sure that she was dressed modestly, but with good fashion. Jarod was certain Keisha would grow up to be a beautiful woman, now beginning to lose some of her baby fat.
“Don’t you want me around with you?” he asked.
“Oh no, Jarod. I’m sorry, I like you to be here; you’re so sharp and can be so funny sometimes.”
“I feel comfortable with you and Mary Ann and Latoya. I don’t seem to like what boys talk about. They’re so crude sometimes.”
She smiled at him and added: “I like you, Jarod.”
Soon Mary Ann and Latoya joined them, and the four took up their usually chatter about what other girls were wearing, which boy was the “hunk,” and the weird actions of teachers. At a quick glance, it was a table of giggling girls.
Chapter 16: Girl Friends Face Challenges
Terrence, the fat boy whom Jarod had befriended in summer camp before 6th grade, never showed up at the lunch table once they had entered the 7th grade. Instead, he was across the lunchroom, usually with a group of rowdy, generally tall and muscular boys.
Jarod had not seen Terrence at all during the summer before 7th grade, but he thought of the chubby boy often, remembering how the two had dressed together as girls and recalling how much the other boy looked like a girl. He often relived the kisses the two had shared at the camp and how smooth and soft the other boy was. How often pictured himself with his head on the boy’s rounded, squishy breasts and his penis would grow with expectations.
The two boys had giggled like girls during their several visits together at Terrence’s house when the other boy’s older sister, Melissa, encouraged their dressing as girls.
Jarod had called Terrence’s home several times during the summer, but never found the other boy home. He left messages, but Terrence never returned the calls. The last weeks of summer vacation were difficult for Jarod, as he dreaded the return to school and his need to show more masculinity.
“I miss Terri so much,” he wrote into his diary about missing his friend. “She was such a sweet girl and so cute. I wonder why she doesn’t return my calls. Is she mad at me?
“We were such girl friends and I loved to think of us cuddling together and kissing (Blush). I know that’s strange, since I guess we’re both boys. But Terri appreciates me as a girl and I love her the same way. I wonder: Are we both queer? Is that bad?”
On the first day of school, he found Terrence had grown a few inches, now towering over Jarod and he didn’t seem as fat.
When Jarod saw the other boy in the hall, he attempted to wave at him, but Terrence seemed not to see, or to ignore him on purpose.
Later, in orchestra, Jarod was able to corner the other boy in the instrument room, and he shyly greeted him” “Hi Terri.”
“Oh hi, Jarod,” the other boy said quickly, then said in a whisper: “Don’t ever call me that again. I’m Terrence.”
“Ok, but what happened to you?”
“Nothing, I just got smart,” he said in a nasty tone. “I’m no faggot. You stay away from me.”
“But Terri!” Jarod said shocked.
“You’re a fag, Jarod. A sick fag. Just leave me alone.”
Terrence turned and fled the room before Jarod could answer. Try as he might, Jarod could not hold back the tears that filled his eyes, his onetime friend gone with some terrible insults. Jarod picked up his flute and, eyes still red, assumed his position in the first row of the orchestra, a row composed of girls, except for Jarod.
For the school year, Jarod watched Terrence from a distance, seeing how the boy was ingratiating himself with the boys who were on the football team. Though Terrence still retained some of his soft fat, it was obvious he had been exercising during the summer, and perhaps even using weights.
Jarod was haunted by Terrence’s rejection for weeks to come, wondering what had become of the boy who found so much joy in dressing as a girl. Jarod wondered if Terrence still had desires to be a girl. “What a waste,” Jarod wrote in his diary a few days later. “Terri could have become a very nice girl.”
Several weeks later while shopping with his mother at the local Target store, Jarod noticed Terrence’s sister, Melissa, working as a shelf stocker.
“Oh hi, Jarod,” Melissa said, interrupting Jarod as he was looking at a pair of boy’s shoes. He was alone at the time, his mother shopping in another department.
Jarod looked up to see the round sparkling face of Terrence’s sister, still as chubby as ever, but looking quite pretty. Her tag name said “Lissa.”
They exchanged some quick, “How are you’s,” and then Jarod said quickly: “Terri doesn’t want to see me anymore, Melissa. Why?”
The girl took a moment to answer: “Well I guess he wants to put that ‘Terri’ stuff out of his life now. It’s nothing personal.”
“Huh? But he called me a fag. I’m not a fag.”
“Oh honey, I know that,” Melissa said, taking Jarod’s hand. “But our dad returned home and he and mom have reunited. Dad insists on Terrence becoming more of a boy, I guess. Terrence is going out for football.”
“Thus, he wants to forget he ever liked being Terri, but I know he still likes you. He can’t be seen with you around school. The other guys would tease him, he’s afraid.”
Just then, Jarod heard his mother call, and with more tears coming to his face, he turned his back on Melissa and walked to his mother, wondering how he’d explain the tears. He had never told her how close he had felt to Terrence and felt she wouldn’t understand. After all, they were shopping that day to fill out his wardrobe with more boy clothes.
He merely said he was talking to a girl he saw at school. His mother felt there was more to it, but felt it best to let her son tell her in his own good time.
Jarod often thought about Terrence, particularly as he lay trying to fall asleep at night, usually wearing satiny nighties. Mainly, in those moments he felt he was Jane and the other boy was Terri; they had found a common thread that bound them together.
Terri had the same desires to be a girl as he had; Terri, with his round, soft body, had taken to being a girl with such eagerness and joy at the summer camp. “We’re sisters,” Terri had said to him after their kiss.
Jarod never forgot that moment, buried as he was in the flesh of this boy who wanted to be a girl. Often he would get hard thinking of Terri and the kiss, and sometimes he would masturbate, the slick juices caught in the folds of his nightie, hoping his mother wouldn’t notice. It was unlikely his mother would notice the hardened ejaculation, since Jarod had been taken to doing the laundry on a regular basis.
And now Terri, his sister told him, was going to play football and lift weights and get muscles. “I don’t think Terri wants to be a football player,” Jarod said to himself several times. “We’re sisters and he loved my pigtails.”
Jarod found joy in his lack of masculinity; his shame at being called “fag,” ‘sissy” or “girly” was slowly decreasing. He loved looking in the mirror before he went to bed in a nightie that had spaghetti straps to see his narrow shoulders and pencil thin arms, soft and smooth. He usually tied his hair in pigtails for the night, and applied some gloss to his lips and liner about his eyes.
“My lovely daughter,” his mother said one night entering the room as he was enjoying his moment of self-adulation.
“Oh mommy, I love you,” he said, looking at her reflection as his mother wrapped her two hands about his upper arms, squeezing them gently.
“Did anyone ever tell you, you have a beautiful face?”
“Yes, mommy, you did, many times.”
Nancy had to admit the boy indeed did seem to have natural feminine facial characteristics; it was a fact that bothered her constantly as Jarod continued to act as a normal boy outside of the house.
By early October, the 7th Grade Football team had played two games. Jarod made it a point to find out whether Terrence had made the team and was surprised to learn that he had, being named a reserve tackle. One day, he made it a point to wander near the practice field to watch the team play in a scrimmage.
He didn’t see anyone that looked like Terrence on the field, but after further checking he spied someone he thought was Terrence on the bench, his head down, filling up a wide section of the bench. He was one of the few players not out on the field. The scrimmage continued and Jarod headed toward the far end of the field to get a better angle to see if the player was Terrence.
Just as he began looking, the boy raised his head, looking squarely at Jarod, and then quickly turning to look down again. It was Terrence, Jarod knew, apparently ashamed at being seen on the bench.
Jarod felt like crying as he left the field. His friend was unhappy, it was obvious, although Jarod wasn’t sure what the reason was. Was he hurt? Was he a failure at the game? What was it? The questions haunted Jarod on his bike ride home. He realized he cared deeply about Terrence, even though the boy’s derision of Jarod as a “fag” was cruel and mean.
The next day at school, Jarod found Terrence waiting for him as he approached the lunchroom. Though Terrence the boy had grown a few inches during the last, he still retained the fleshy softness in his face and arms, and even an oversized dark brown shirt could not contain the outline of his ample breasts.
Terrence moved Jarod to a small alcove, out of the traffic of the other students, and drew his face close to Jarod, saying, “My sister said you were hurt by what I said the other day.”
“Yeah, I guess, but that’s OK.”
Jarod tried to look away from Terrence, but the boy grabbed his arm, his large hand literally enveloping Jarod slim bicep.
“Jarod, I’m sorry. I want you as my friend,” Terrence said.
Jarod nodded, now seeing wetness in the other boy’s eyes, and his affection for Terrence heightened in that moment. Jarod saw the tenderness and beauty of Terri, a
natural warmth that can only come from a lovely girl. He wanted the large boy to hug him right there in the midst of the mob of students, even though they would be mocked and the subject of terrible hoots.
“Jane,” Terrence said so softly that Jarod hardly heard him. “I need you, Jane, more that ever, but I have to do this football thing. You know, for my dad and mom.”
“I understand, Terri,” he replied, also softly.
His use of the feminine name brought a faint smile to Terrence’s face, and Jarod’s urge to kiss the other boy almost became overwhelming.
“But, I must join the other boys, Jarod. You understand.”
“I do, and I know you must be with them, Terri. You must go, I know, but I felt we were special together.”
“We were and we’re still friends, Jarod. Let’s get together soon, maybe on Sunday, OK?”
Jarod nodded, and asked: “Where? My place, or . . .”
“Why not go shopping at the mall?” Terrence suggested, adding, “As guys, though.”
“Sure,” Jarod agreed, then quickly said, “I’m sorry I was kinda spying on you at football practice yesterday.”
“I saw you there, and it bothered me.”
“Well you saw me on the bench. I’m not real good yet.”
“Oh, but it’ll get better for you, Terri,” Jarod said, again using the girl’s name.
“The coach likes me for trying, I guess, but all the other boys are so strong and I’m the slowest runner.”
Jarod looked at his friend with feelings of sadness, knowing that Terrence had always faced the reality that he was physically weak due partly to his obesity and also to his dislike for exercise. Perhaps that’s why Terrence took so readily to acting like a girl, Jarod felt.
“But my dad wants me to make the team, so I’ll try very hard. I’ll call you for Sunday, OK? Gotta go.”
With that, Terrence charged out of their quiet alcove, heading to the lunchroom. Jarod did understand the situation, and he felt sad for Terrence who now must hide his desire to be a girl to please his family. Jarod watched his friend waddle away, his wide hips swaying and thick thighs chaffing together as he walked. He feared his friend must face multiple humiliations every day at practice, plus possible injury due to his weakness and inability to compete.
Jarod’s mother was happy to take him and Terrence to the mall that Sunday, pleased that they were going as boys and even more pleased that Terrence was out for football.
“Thank you for picking me up,” Terrence said upon getting in the car. His voice still had the high pitch of a boy whose voice hasn’t changed.
“You’re welcome, Terrence,” she replied, still astonished at how fat the boy was and wondering how he was able to compete on the team.
Almost immediately the two boys started chattering, Jarod leaning back from the front seat. Nancy looked in the rear view mirror at the chubby boy in the backseat, at first dazzled by his bright blue eyes, which seemed to dance as he talked. Her initial pleasure at knowing Terrence was playing football now and would be a positive influence on Jarod was tempered as she heard the girlish inflections of his voice and watch how he flicked his still longish hair.
Jarod had become similarly animated, she noticed, as she heard the two boys giggle, their voices in a high register.
It was with trepidation that she dropped the pair off at the mall; the two boys would stay there until Terrence’s sister, Melissa, who worked at the Target store in the mall, would be off work and would take them both home. She feared the two would be haunting the girls’ clothes departments or looking at dolls, rather than going to the video games place or looking at sporting goods.
She watched as the two walked off, Terrence in his hip-swaying waddle and Jarod literally skipping along at the other boy’s side. Terrence, she noticed, was wearing girl’s jeans, probably because they fit his wide-hipped body, and while Jarod was in boy jeans his loose-limbed skip made him look terribly girlish. She almost leaped out of the car when she saw Jarod grab Terrence’s hand and the two walked hand-in-hand through the mall entrance.
Her neighbor, Amy, had invited her over that Sunday afternoon for margaritas, a practice that occurred about once a month during the cold weather; the two women each had only one drink and usually played Scrabble.
“It’s our excuse to gossip,” Amy said cheerfully to explain the outing.
“It’s our time,” Nancy agreed. As two single mothers, still young, they looked forward to the girl talk, which was interrupted periodically by Amy’s two young daughters, Emily, now 6, and Angela, 4, engaging in sibling rivalries.
“No popcorn today, Nancy,” Amy said. “I’ve got to start losing weight.”
“Fine by me. My tummy’s growing and that’s gotta stop.”
Amy could be described as cute; she was short with an ample bosom and roundness of stature. As a stay-at-home mom, thanks to the generous support money from her wealthy ex-husband, she was spared the need to work and was able to care for her children herself. Her stomach and hips had ballooned in the years since her husband left her, but her straight short dark hair framed a pretty face, highlighted by full lips and a pert nose.
“Since Jim quit coming around, I’ve not been out at all,” Amy complained. “It seems all I do is care for the girls and eat.”
Jim was the man Amy had met at the playground in the summer before Jarod entered 6th grade. Jarod had played often with her young daughters that summer, accompanying them to the playlot where he was mistaken for a girl. With his long hair and slender body, the mistake as easy to make, particularly since Amy’s two girls insisted on calling him “Jane.” The two adults had met several times at the park that summer, when Jim, a divorcee, finally asked Amy for a date. They dated several times during the year, but Jim’s job took him out of town often, so the dates were few and far between. When the following summer came, Jim no longer was around.
“Yeah, what happened with him, Amy? You two seemed to get along fine.”
“I guess he lost interest,” Amy said, pulling out the Scrabble game, hoping to change the subject. “Maybe I got too fat.”
“Oh Amy, it’s none of my business, but I do care about you,” Nancy said, putting her hand on her friend’s arm.
“I’ll be all right, Nancy; it’s just that I do wish I could talk to more adults, and now with both girls in school, it gets lonely here.”
Nancy was gone everyday to her teaching job at the community college and during the school year Jarod was gone.
Amy continued: “You know, Nancy, I miss having Jarod around. I know you don’t want me to say this but I liked to think he was like having an older daughter. The girls just loved playing with him until that damned ex-husband of mine went to court.”
“Jarod loved that, too, we both know. But, he’s got to live as a boy, at least outwardly.”
Amy paused for a moment as she set the Scrabble board on the table, and set out the tile holders.
“I guess I better tell you why Jim quit coming around,” she said. “I don’t want you to take this wrong, Nancy. Please.”
“Well Jim kept asking about where that nice girl, Jane, was? He said Jane was so good with the girls, including his daughter, Jessica. By then we had had to keep Jarod from the girls due to the court order.”
“Yes, that was so awful,” Nancy interjected.
“Finally, one day, the girls saw Jarod in the yard while Jim was over with his daughter, and Emily yelled, ‘There’s Jane.’ Well, Jim looked out the window to see Jarod getting on his bike in the yard and he said, ‘That’s not Jane. That’s a boy.’”
“Oh my, Amy, so he thought there really was a ‘Jane?’”
“Yes, and when I told him that Jarod loved to act like a girl, Jim got all sorts of weird, calling him names and wondering what kind of a mother I was and how could I let my girls play with such a weirdo. Oh, it was awful, and I cried.”
Nancy got up and went to the other side of the kitchen table, hugging her friend.
“I started to tell him how nice Jarod was and how nice you were and he got even nastier, saying he didn’t want his daughter playing with a faggot.”
“Oh my darling, why didn’t you tell me?”
“Oh I couldn’t. I love you and Jarod so much; you’re such a good friend and I didn’t want to hurt your feelings.”
“Amy, we both care for you and you can tell us anything,” Nancy said, patting her friend on the shoulder.
“You know what I did, Nancy?” Amy began to smile.
“I told him that if he didn’t like my friends he could get the fucking hell out of my house and never come back. I was so mad.”
“In those words?”
“Yes, in those words. I said ‘fucking hell.’”
The two women burst out in instant laughter.
“And thus I kicked out the only man I’ve had around since my bastard ex left.”
The laughter died, and Nancy said, growing serious: “I’m so sorry darling. I’m sorry that Jarod has caused you so much trouble.”
Amy smiled: “I’m not sorry. I‘m glad I found out what a bigot Jim was early on and that’s he’s gone. If we had gotten serious, it would have ended in a disaster.”
“Oh Amy, I still feel bad, but I understand.”
“Let’s toast to that! Let’s toast to your lovely daughter, Jane.”
Nancy smiled, and added: “And to my son, Jarod.”
“See you have both a sweet daughter and marvelous son, all in one,” Amy said.
“Yes I have, and I’m not sure how to handle it.”
That day, they both had two margaritas.
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