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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Sex Change: FTMT Short Story No 6



The sex change

It was George Varosi’s old grandmother who had first told him the story; she was part Russian, part Polish and enjoyed playing on her age and ethnically mixed background. She told tales and read palms and made predictions and George had always been a little scared of her. As a shy seven year old and all ears he’d picked up comments from uncles and older cousins about grandma’s powers and mystical ability and how she had been given a gift as a young girl somewhere, sometime in the East. She was full of stories, some funny, some scary, some beyond any categories other than disturbing and easily misunderstood and George as the youngest grandchild was a captive audience for her. George found old people made him uncomfortable, they were the source of unpleasant smells, odd squeaky voices both for speaking and singing, they ate strange food and their manners were often suspect. Other younger adults would complain to them about these things but the old people, especially grandmother took no notice. Also she always seemed to be wearing too many clothes and too much jewellery and he wasn’t quite sure what shape she really was as her bulky clothes distorted her frame to make her look almost cartoonish.

The lines on her face were deep, like they’d been carved, “how?” thought George, “how do old people get like this?” He stared at her lines and lips and hanging flesh on her neck, “surely this won’t happen to me when I grow old?”
Grandmother was staying with the family for a week and then was going back to Poland to stay with her younger brother. George sensed that the adults were pleased that soon she was going and that her disturbance of family life would cease. Her screechy voice was always demanding just the right kind of tea or biscuit, or for someone to find her spectacles or to adjust the heating or close a curtain. It seemed to George that unless they were asleep, like babies, old people only wanted attention and fussing and things done for them. “What purpose do they really serve?” he thought. Grandma, had she been asked the question (which was unlikely as she would not have taken kindly to it’s asking) would have said that it was to provide wisdom and guidance to the family. To be told things, hold things together and give council using a lifetime of experience in absorbed tales and (in her case) the use of her gift.

And so it was that on the last night of her stay Grandma, a little the worse for some cherry brandy had decided to tell George a bedtime story and settle him for the night. As was her way she held both his hands tightly throughout the story telling and stared hypnotically into his eyes ensuring his full attention was given. George would have gladly fallen asleep without the story; it was already nearly nine and all day he had been outside playing with his cousin Sasha and the children from the house next door. He had eaten his supper and had been given a hot bath, mainly to clean and soften the scuffs and scrapes on his knees and elbows from the day’s play. Sleep was a welcome refuge and didn’t seem so far away until Grandma started her storytelling.

“Tonight’s story is about a boy called Moshi who lived on a farm in Siberia”, she began, ” One day an old lady arrived in the farmyard with a she-goat she was pulling along with a piece of string. “Little boy” said the old lady, “Little boy, please bring me some water and a fresh carrot for my she-goat!” “I can bring you water old lady, but my family is poor and I have no carrot for your she-goat” replied Moshi. Without waiting to hear her response Moshi ran to the water pump and brought back a jug of clear cool water for the old lady. “Where is the carrot?” said the old lady. “My family is poor,” repeated Moshi, “ I have no carrot for your she-goat”. The old lady drank the water and looked at Moshi. “You say you have not carrots but I know better, a curse on you!” Now Moshi did not know that the old woman was a witch and that her curse was very powerful. “Old lady I do not lie, my family is poor and there are no carrots for your she-goat”. At that moment his father came back from the fields pushing a wheelbarrow full of carrots. Purple and red with rage the old lady cursed him again “Liar! You shall be worth no more than a she-goat to your family little boy!” and went of on her way, the goat following and gnawing on the string.

Moshi’s father found him crying, ”What is wrong my son?” Moshi explained and his father, suspecting she was witch ran down the road after her and killed her with his axe. Her body fell to the ground and quickly turned to a green smoke that rose high into the sky and disappeared, a sure sign that she was a witch. Moshi’s father returned, with the witch’s goat and told Moshi not to worry, the witch was dead. However that night whilst Moshi slept something strange and unbelievable happened. Moshi had been very tired that night and upset by the witch’s words and subsequent events, but sleep had not come easy, and when it did a strange dream came to Moshi. He dreamt he was the witch’s she-goat, tied with a string and following in her footsteps. He woke in the middle of the night fearful and in a sweat thinking he was a she-goat. He looked at his arms and legs in the grey dark and saw that he was still human; relieved he fell back asleep and did not wake again till morning.

The next morning Moshi woke later than usual a seemingly distant call from his mother rousing him. He jumped up from bed and shook his head. Suddenly he was hit by a mop of dark hair slapping him in the face. To his astonishment it was his own long dark hair, Moshi felt afraid and queasy, something was very wrong. He was suddenly aware of his body, his shape and his smell. He ran to the looking glass in the corner of the room and peered at his naked reflection, except it was not his reflection. The eyes were the same, but the mouth and nose smaller; the chin was rounder, the skin softer, and the hair long, thick and luxurious. He felt odd, he looked like a girl, and he stared and saw he was a girl. He screamed and cried and moments later his mother rushed into the room. “It was the witch!” yelled Moshi, “she said I would shall be worth no more than a she-goat to my family, and look at me!” Moshi’s mother cradled the weeping boy’s head in her lap, stroked the long hair and quietly and calmly accepted what the witch had done. “Moshi” she said, “You’re father has killed the witch, so the curse cannot be undone, you are a girl now, be happy, your life has been spared and will continue, and you are worth much more to us than any she-goat”. Moshi however was inconsolable and wanted only revenge and to discover the means to undo the witch’s curse.”

It was at this point that George, tense and absorbed by the story of Moshi but none the less exhausted fell into a fitful and disturbed sleep. Grandma continued the story for a few moments unaware that George was asleep then as she noticed him sleeping, touched his brow, kissed his clasped fingers and said a few words in her native Russian tongue. The dialect was old and unknown to anyone else in the family. “Brodzki smazakov nigi petictia!” she said and turned out the bedside lamp and left the room.

Despite his tiredness George did not sleep well, he tossed and turned and the story of Moshi and his transformation caught and dug into his young mind like a poisoned thorn. Three times that night George awoke from his sleep, in a sweat crying for his mother. Of course she came quickly, calmed him as best she could and watched him fall back to sleep each time. In the morning Grandma was leaving and George felt very happy now there would be no more bedtime stories from Grandma, especially the one about poor Moshi. As Grandma was leaving for her taxi and train, she appeared to be orchestrating her own farewell ceremony and early in it’s running order she collared George, kissing him unpleasantly and assuring him he’d hear the conclusion of Moshi’s story on her next visit. George disliked intensely the prospect of either event and hid under the stairs for the remainder of the afternoon. Grandma worked her way round all the family in the next hour or so eventually leaving only a few minutes late with much waving and many hidden sighs of relief.

For a few weeks after Grandma’s visit George was fine. It was summer, it was long and hot, he played out and had picnics and each night he slept soundly and felt refreshed every sunny summer morning. It was only when an unexpected late night phone call disturbed the peace of the household that things began to go wrong. George was awakened by his father’s voice out on the landing, he heard the words “This evening at eight, in her brother’s cottage, most likely her heart but we’ll know later in the day!” Grandma was dead, in Poland.
His parents were away for four days attending the funeral during which time he stayed with the neighbours and had a lot of fun, it was like a small-unplanned holiday, and he liked looking out of their windows and seeing his own empty house. When his parents returned they brought home a case full of Grandma’s belongings and artefacts, “To sort out,” said dad. In due course the items were sorted, some were given away to other relatives, some boxed and put away in the loft and some seemed to make their way onto shelves and into corners of the house. One item in particular caught George’s eye, a white porcelain goat a few inches tall that had found a home on the dresser by the front door. George couldn’t help but notice that round it’s neck was an old and dirty piece of string. It was the goat from the Moshi story he felt sure and he didn’t like it.

That night George did not sleep well, mother was up with him four times with his bad dreams and ended up scolding him for disturbing her sleep so much. She was sure he wasn’t ill, only being silly and a nuisance she told him so as her patience was wearing thinner and thinner. George knew different, every time he tried to sleep Grandma’s story of Moshi came back, worthless Moshi, cursed and turned into a girl and now with Grandma dead he’d never know the true ending. And so it was that George’s sleep pattern completely disintegrated, his insomnia worsened and an anxiety grew in him based on Moshi’s tale and the she-goat. He worried that he’d fall into so deep a sleep that somehow he’d lose control of his own life and turn into a girl, just like Moshi. He tried to explain to both parents and told them what he knew of the story, neither recognised it and despite him blaming Grandma, thought he was making the whole thing up. Father did however remove the porcelain goat from the hall and hid it; thinking that to do so might appease George, but it’s removal didn’t seem to help. So George’s curse continued and for the next ten years a proper sleep was only an occasional pleasure and relief as the strange and pathological fear of deep sleep and a magic change of sex haunted him.

Despite this his school and subsequent college work was of a high standard. He had friends and socialised and was to all intents a well-balanced individual. It was only when alone in the dead of night that Moshi’s curse haunted and crippled him with that irrational fear. Over the years his parents had attacked the problem on his behalf, counselling, therapy, pills had all been arranged or tried, but the fear would not shift and deep sleep was a precious commodity George seldom sampled. The curse haunted George as a dream of his alter ego, now called Barbara came and went. He saw her, he was she, near or far, and she would talk to him, scold or mock him, love him and anger him depending on her mood. As he grew, she grew, puberty saw Barbara develop and turn, sometimes thin and distant as a shunned friend, sometimes loud and vibrant as a wet dream, hot or cold she remained a constant threat in his distant unconscious.

So the time came for George to leave home and attend university the University of Durham. It had accepted him and he gladly took up the offer. His parents had purchased a small flat near the town centre, helped him move in and left him to begin the big adventure of university life alone. Fresher’s week was of course a riot of cheap drinking, parties and invitations and various escapades that the mischievous George relished. With his friends he partied into the night, learned the meaning of the term hangover, chased girls, was chased by the local thugs, consumed junk food and carry outs, redecorated his flat with charity shop trash and generally had a good time. Sleep when it came was swift and unexpected and often in unconventional places, for once he felt he had left Moshi, Barbara and all the baggage of home and family life far behind.

George’s new girl friend was called Marsha, she came from Epping Forrest and they made love on their second date. George felt he was falling in love and lust but was wary of Marsha’s apparent experience with boys and men and the cumulative effect of the girls with whom she was sharing a flat. They seemed to George like student “Charlie’s Angels” on speed, feisty and adventurous in the extreme, meaning extreme for Durham and Epping Forrest and George. Somehow the relationship lasted past fresher’s week and well into term. Not only was the regular sex great (well any sex was good) but also they talked and laughed and drank and had a lot of fun together and George was free and happy in way he hadn’t ever felt before. Sleeping with Marsha, at weekends, was deep and dreamy and always exhausted by the sex he had become oblivious of the haunting of Moshi and felt a strange and adult peace upon him. Marsha was really pretty and dressed well too, George was proud to be out with her and every move and look she made seemed to come with a heavy sexual charge.

Things were going well until close to time for the Christmas break George, after staying back late in the main library caught Marsha and Derek, her sociology lecturer in the blacked out and abandoned reception area. George had heard a distant disembodied groan and unthinkingly peered over the counter and looked into the reception hatch and saw Marsha giving Derek an enthusiastic blowjob. George had automatically called her name and without even stopping the act she squinted round and tossed her hair back only to give George a wave of acknowledgement with her redundant right hand as if to say “see you later”. Her mouth remained full and silent throughout as she concentrated on her task – Derek’s eyes looked glazed and crossed and he said nothing more. George did not take this revelation well and naturally became angry and stormed from the building; firstly he wanted to kill Derek, then Marsha, and then himself. None of these things was within his capability so he went down to the student’s union and got very drunk for what seemed very little money. The remainder of the evening was a blank, he avoided Marsha as best he could, she was at a party anyway, and eventually crashed at the flat of a new found friend spending the night under the kitchen table clutching an empty Bacardi bottle. It was there that despite the potential thermo-nuclear protection the tabletop offered the curse of Moshi returned to torment him.

He woke confused, hung-over and checking himself for the faintest sign of Moshi’s unfortunate experience visiting him. She-goats and horny girls seemed to be in orbit around his head and the unfaithful Marsha was prancing naked amongst them followed by that smooth bastard Derek. He felt he was sliding on a very slippery slope and there was no wise council anywhere to be found. The other (unknown) occupants of this strange flat were still unconscious so George headed back to his own place, the bitter hurt of Marsha’s act splitting his head more than the lager and Bacardi mix he had imbibed the previous evening and Moshi’s story acting as a disturbing backdrop to the remains of the passion play. The rest of the weekend was not good, Marsha laughed at his naivety down the phone in a solitary call and his flatmates remained devoid of compassion, most were more concerned that the Man Utd score had gone against expectations and that the 80’s Disco in the Centre had been cancelled due to a double booking for that particular Saturday night.

George was now highly disturbed, Marsha had cut him adrift sexually and emotionally, love was dead and replaced with a ticking and tickling love-hatred for himself and Marsha that was impossible to handle. Again he got drunk, again he got lost, met and offended strangers, avoided a fist fight or two and through only his natural ability to survive found himself alone and desolate, lost in his own flat at three in the morning. He stumbled into bed overcome by more anger, alcohol and abandonment and fell comatosed into the waiting arms of the dreamtime Moshi. Mohsi was real now, a real and dangerous girl, the embodiment of the witch’s curse. Black veins of blood seemed to pump and thump within Moshi, her dark eyes and hair were brilliant, shining and intense, she reached out for him with a strength that left him weak and choking in his sleep, calling him into the curse as a partner and fellow victim, as slave and experiment that only the dead witch and her curse could ever dismember and reassemble. Farmyards, goats, witches and Moshi in his various forms danced inside his head on some out of tune merry go round until an almighty bang occurred followed by a deep blanket of darkness.

George woke and immediately knew that it was Sunday morning, light splattered across the room through the curtains his mother had chosen, the traffic noise was minimal, the other flats, normally the source of musical or vocal sounds were quiet. “Yes!” thought George “Sunday, I can recover today, I will recover today!” The positive tone of his own internal voice momentarily eclipsed the headache he was almost become aware of, too much to drink, too little sleep, but at least at home and safe. He was in bed and naked, yes it was Sunday but he felt something was wrong and it was a big something and not just the headache. A new pain had hit him, straight and deep in his gut, it was fear, realisation and coupled with a novel excitement. George knew he didn’t feel right, firstly there was a smell in his nostrils that was odd, and his frame felt light, his head felt extra cosy and his groin had a new itchy feeling residing in it. He also felt a tightness in his chest and nipples and a dry and almost pre-panic feeling way back in his throat. His imagination recognised the moment, familiar as if from somewhere else and recognised, his conscious mind took a few seconds longer to catch up. When it did he jumped and saw himself in the mirror wardrobe door opposite, he was a girl like Moshi.

George stared at himself, that person, familiar and strange as a personal reflection is was gone. It’s replacement was recognisable but opposite and distorted, like in hall of mirrors or a bad dream come to life, old George had gone and some one new was there, all wrong but untouchable by any power George could summon. George’s body, his new softer face, his hair was long and completely feminine and soft. He was now someone else altogether and all George could do was stare at this new body shape with its extraordinary features. He coughed, the cough was in a far higher register, his voice was gone, replaced with a girls “God!” The staring lasted fully ten minutes and was only removed by the strongest hot flush George had ever felt, drowning and washing over him like a giant wave, so powerful he simply fainted and fell to the floor in an unexpectedly ladylike swoon. He lay still for a few moments more, trembling and anxious but also sure of two things, he knew exactly what had happened and why it had. The curse he had tried so hard to avoid, grow out of, hide from and forget had in his weakness some how caught up with him and completely obliterated his former self. The curse was over and at the same time had also begun.

The flushing passed and despite the chill of the bedroom George got up and sat down naked on the bed, still staring at his reflection in the mirror. Face, hair, breasts, hips, genitals, legs, feet and even hands, all were different, he felt as if his brain was swimming in a sea of new hormones and priorities as the smoother and smaller hands began to explore the breasts and the groin areas. The touching was revelationary and electric, shocking and comforting, mysterious and strangely familiar, like arriving home after a very long holiday. “My name is and always will be Barbara!” said the reflection; George was wrestling, trying hard not to hear her. He thought he was pretty and slim, the hair was thick, long and healthy, he touched it and stared at it’s colour, the breasts felt heavy and nicely sensitive but even more acutely he felt a warm moistness down below that was exciting and calling out for further investigation. For a moment he thought of Marsha and their love making and what was now missing from him, then he though how he’d come to her and touched her and how now he was now feeling something of what she must have felt. The thoughts passed on as a rainbow of different sensual pleasures came up and over and George lay back on the bed, nestled quietly under the duvet and explored this new female form that was Barbara.

Twenty minutes later Barbara wanted to go out, Barbara wanted to do a whole lot of things and George felt squeezed and exhausted like a lemon in a juice extractor as he felt himself give way. Barbara overcame him, Barbara’s mind was fuzzing over his, and he felt it. He imagined he was struggling just as Moshi must have before, trying not to drown in it all though still he was in here only as a lodger. He could hear Barbara’s thoughts, but they were also his and jumbled, not what he wanted, but not things he could disagree with either. She wanted a shower, shampoo, make up and underwear, her hair fixed, she needed girl’s clothes and girl’s things and there was nothing in the flat. Barbara had a quick shower, towelled herself and brushed her hair out. George stared still at the mirror, watched himself preen and pout as Barbara, his old towel tight round her damp body, curved and well shaped and splendid. She pulled on his jeans, no pants and dragged on a sweatshirt, no bra. She stepped into his large trainers, tied her hair back in a ponytail with a rubber band and set out for the outside world for the first time. Ten steps down the stairs she turned around, headed back in for his wallet and rucksack and strode out again, there was work to be done. She strode out down the street, a peculiar sight, a slim young girl in baggy jeans and top with trainers three sizes too big headed for the nearest Sunday morning supermarket. She was out and on a mission.

“Moshi however was inconsolable and wanted only revenge and to discover the means to undo the witch’s curse.” George could hear again his Grandma’s final words to him from the story she had never quite finished telling. “So what had happened to Moshi, what about the curse, it’s undoing, the witch? How had Grandma heard the story?” George had asked these questions before and done research but nothing helpful had ever emerged, the story was lost, now it was all far too late, here he was, as Barbara out on her first shopping expedition and George somewhere between peace and panic and the story and any clue to guide him to a recovery was as remote as ever.

Barbara shopped with razor sharp feminine instincts, as if this trip had been rehearsed in George’s subconscious a hundred times before and was now being played out for real. It was a big new Tesco, about 500 yards from the flat and it sold most everything. Barbara bought chocolate, crisps, white wine, cheap make-up and shampoo of all kinds, creams and oils, lingerie, cheap strappy high heels, hair brushes and bands, a flimsy red dress and a floaty low cut black dress, jeans and tops and more towels. Trying on the clothes was a highly unusual experience for George; Barbara picked what she wanted from the rail, taking two sizes of each item and skipped into the cubicle quickly locking the door. She stripped out of George’s jeans and still without any underwear tried the dresses, jeans and tops on. George couldn’t believe it was him reflected in the large mirror as the show began. First of all messing with the mechanics of backwards zips and buttons and skimpy tops was odd, and though Barbara seemed clumsy and inexperienced she soon managed to try everything, pose a little and make her selections. Shoes were very strange, George was happy that she only slipped them on for sizing and didn’t try to walk, and looking elegant in heels was going to be a new challenge for both. Aisle after aisle was covered as things new, feminine and unusual to George were picked up, sampled, discarded or chosen. The cart was full by the time she reached the check out; the items counted out and paid for (over £200) with George’s Switch card. The signature she gave, G B Varosi matched his perfectly, and why shouldn’t it? She wheeled the reloaded cart out to the taxi rank, hopped in the first one to arrive and was driven the short distance back to the flat. Barbara’s voice told the driver where to go, Barbara looked and smiled a smile of deep satisfaction into Barbara’s eyes in the car’s rear view mirror, Barbara’s fingers handed over the fiver for the fare. The taxi driver was totally unaware of the significance of the journey or the peculiar conflicts that were running riot within the head of his pretty young passenger.

The driver helped Barbara back upstairs with the bags; she smiled again and thanked him, wheeled quickly round, bags swinging, turned into the flat and closed and firmly locked the door. It was at this point that George felt he had completely lost control, the part of him that was Barbara took full command, George felt as if he had been thrown into a deep well from which there was no climbing out, he was a distant spectator now in this modified mutated life that had once been his.

Barbara showered again, moisturised, creamed, plucked, brushed and combed. She wrapped herself in new fresh towels, drank wine and ate chocolate and continually inspected and checked herself in the various mirrors throughout the flat. Then she sat down on the couch and still wrapped in towels began her full make up ritual. She placed her new vanity mirror on the coffee table, took out the various pencils and pastels she had bought and began to apply them carefully, testing colours on her wrist and then wiping them off with a tissue. George looked on and could hardly believe what was happening. The colours and shades, the smudging and blending and adding of lines, the thick mascara clinging to long lashes and the soft sensual lipsticks picking out a new mouth shape made her features almost explode. Her eyes became darker, underlined, defined and sexier, her lips seemed huge, inviting and glossy, all framed by her long and flowing hair now shining like something from a shampoo commercial.

She did her nails, tried a few colours, filed and boarded their shapes and then, arms extended painted them a deep pink (toes to match of course).“This is real” George though, “far too real”. Next she put on the underwear, white pants first as the towels were dropped and discarded, tight and smooth but light and soft, then a white bra cupped over breasts, lifting and forming, the straps tight on her shoulders and stretching across her back. More time was spent admiring in the mirror, more adjusting, making faces, checking and rechecking until the look was right and a level of comfort achieved. Then the dress, first the red, then the black, then the red and then the black all with more pulling and smoothing until it felt right. Finally the shoes, the hardest part, she sat on the couch, inched them on and did up the straps before standing and setting sail on the 3” heels. Progress was not so good, balance and practice were going to have to be learned and her new exaggerated height and centre of gravity were difficult to master. For half a hour she paced, sat down, stood up, bent over, slid and squirmed as her calves and ankles pivoted on the heels all the time meeting her own gaze in the mirror on each passing.

George marvelled at the new levels of sensuality he was experiencing as Barbara, the feel of the dress against his thighs, the hair touching his neck and shoulders, the smells and textures and new wild possibilities of make up. Then on the downside there was the pain of those shoes, the walking in heels, the tight bra rubbing his nipples and under his breasts and the constant wetness and hunger down in those little panties. The fear of exposure and female physical weakness, the awkward complexity of sitting down in a dress elegantly and the comparative lightness of these clothes that left him feeling undressed and vulnerable but still excited by all the extra feeling. Then the threat of a man seeing him, looking at him, or showing admiration or hunger or maybe even just entering the space he stood in.

The first bottle of wine had been consumed by now and the time was nearly three in the afternoon, what to do next? Whatever was on Barbara’s agenda he wondered, not simply staying indoors and playing with different lipstick colours, there had to be more. Barbara wanted more wine so uncorked another white, scratching a nail with the corkscrew, “damn!” she said and poured and drank a glass without any pause. She sat back down on the couch, a mellow drunk feeling overcoming her, more wine and chocolate, kick of the shoes, curl up the legs inside the dress, cuddle into the cushions. The room was warm now, the couch cosy, a lot of refurbishment and fitting out of a life and body had occurred in a very short time and she fell asleep as Barbara for the first time.

Barbara and George slept but George woke up first, eyes sticky with the make up, throat dry and the new tight underwear squeezing in key places. It was six in the evening, he was still a girl, none of it was dreamt or a fantasy flight and there was a mild shared headache rumbling inside as a reminder. Funnily the space inside this female head seemed bigger and darker than before and George felt as if he was lying awake in one corner and Barbara was asleep in another, far apart like odd bedfellows not touching on a queen sized mattress slowly spinning. George decided not to move, he didn’t want to wake Barbara. He would stay still on the couch and gather his thoughts while all was quiet. No brushing or colouring or hair teasing or practicing walking styles, no activity just staying and thinking, what to do. He could see the reflection in the TV screen, a young woman curled up on the couch, long hair messy, reflected window glare breaking up the image, black dress, neat firm breasts, v-cut neck revealing that cleavage and surrounded by cushions. At that moment he felt relaxed, this was it, this was life, a child’s scary tale finally come true, a she goat in a folk tale, poor Moshi miserable and in pain but accepted by his mother, a blessing or a curse? Some kind of family destiny? What had Grandma wanted for him? Why that particular unfinished story on that night and why now, after the years of fear and sleepless struggles had it come to this? Why did he feel this relaxation wash across him? Had he simply given way to the inevitable? A deep stillness seemed to fall upon him, he did not move or think, for right now, he just was.

It was a few moments before he realised then that he was alone, Barbara was gone; she had left with no word or trace, her duty complete. His head was empty, the other voice silent, consumed by the inner darkness, dead and not hidden or gagged, simply gone. George was alone inside his own head, in control, in command as any single living breathing person on a corkscrew path in a twisted world where rules are made and broken and no one questions. He was truly alone now and from somewhere he had been given the name Barbara.

People fear spontaneity, people fear the sudden shift and changes of state, like unplanned revolutions burning torch lit through the streets, journeys that begin in the middle of the night when they should begin in the brightest day, the loss of control and that great black diving and falling into the unknown future. So much to lose we think, so many precious things that have sparkled and attracted in the past but fade as you try to touch and hold onto them now. Now is the hardest place to live, the past is however you want it to be, as good or as bad, the future is your dream, as big and bright as you like. Now is the place where axes fall but trees still grow, words wash away and ideas spring up like fountains, stories end and new ventures start.

Barbara got up from the couch and crossed the room on tiptoe as if sneaking from the room, the destination was the toilet and in a final act of acceptance of her female form she pulled down her pants and took her first pee sitting down. She washed, checked her face in the bathroom mirror then returned to the couch, brushing her hair one more time and deciding she would go out tonight if only for the hell of it. She climbed back into those shoes and then realised there was a new set of problems. It was cold and it was a December night and she had no coat to go with her dress or shoes and there certainly was nothing in George’s wardrobe worthy of salvage, she knew that for sure. “Being a girl is a lot more complicated than…”

Just then the front door entry phone buzzed like an alarm clock breaking into an early morning snooze. Startled she picked up the handset and an unexpected voice sizzled through the distorting little speaker, “Hi! It’s me, Marsha, I have to see you and we have to talk!” Not even thinking Barbara answered quickly “Come up!” and pressed the button unlocking the door. Glancing down she saw again and was shocked by her pink varnished toenails peeking out under the straps of her shoes and the sensation of the hem of her dress brushing against her smooth legs. “God, what can I say?” She felt an excited wobble in her ankles like a whiplash, the weakness travelled up her legs and seemed to go straight for her midriff hammering at it like a hollow drum, then down between her legs fluid as an electric shock now setting of alarm bells in her panties and a zapping back up to her breasts suddenly making them tender and beginning to pump a sweet new feeling into them. She was salivating and the remains of the afternoon’s perfumes and cosmetic aromas danced back up into her nostrils from inside her dress, her hands fell heavily onto her thighs and pressed them firmly through the dress fabric, her legs moved apart slightly. Suddenly Marsha was there on the other side of the door knocking gently. Feebly Barbara opened the door and the two girls faced each other and stared one another up and down. “Hello M..M..Marsha!” Barbara stammered now realising the strangest of truths: your sex may change but that doesn’t mean you can change your sexuality.

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