I had been invited over from the Island to spend the day with a friend, a member of the Cornbury Society. One of the things we planned to do, was to attend the Cornbury AGM. (One of the things I’d long wished I could do, but, well…I live on the Island. With ferry fares, meals, and transportation, not to mention the late night return, it’s neither practical nor affordable.) So you will understand I was looking forward to this evening with a feeling of wonderful anticipation. A Cornbury meeting at last! Much as I hate to say so, I left with a feeling of terrible disappointment.
She is well, anxious to be home, and all is ready. Stephanie is coming home–tomorrow! I spoke briefly to her this evening. Before we signed off, she thanked me for being with her on the journey. She thanked me! Astonishing.
News Item: “Last weekend, Alix Genter found the perfect wedding dress. But on Tuesday, the store’s owner called and refused to sell it to her.
“She said she wouldn’t work with me because I’m gay,” Genter told The Philadelphia Daily News. “She also said that I came from a nice Jewish family, and that it was a shame I was gay. She said, ‘There’s right, and there’s wrong. And this is wrong.’ “
A friend asked me today, “What qualities do you look for in a friend?” In my male life, not so long ago, I would have rattled off a quick list, almost without thinking, but in my male life, truthfully, I knew very little of friendship, and truthfully, had only a passing interest in it. A friend was someone I could go fly fishing with. Someone I could share fish stories with as we drove to the stream or the beach. Or, as Deirdre McClosky observed in her memoir, Crossing, a friend was someone I knew “who wouldn’t actually take a gun to me in the street.”
The call was waiting for me when I walked into the house: my brother. He was going to be in town this weekend, and wondered if we could get together for lunch…and talk. I need to say at this point, that we haven’t seen each other in about five years. The last time we spoke on the phone was almost exactly six months ago, when he called in response to my coming-out letter telling him I was about to start my RLE. Call me this evening, the message suggested, so I did.
Okay, I may have to modify my (apparently) rose-colored viewpoint. I won’t repeat the conversation in detail, but it involved myself and my next door neighbour, yesterday. What I learned was that even though our conversation was “polite,” trans-phobia is alive and well, and living in my neighbourhood.
When I had to come home early from my first Esprit, it was Jacqueline who sought me out and sat me down on my last morning, after everyone else had gone off to class or their other activities, and talked to me. She knew I was upset, even though (I thought) I had done a pretty good job of not letting it show. But she knew. And so she sat with me, there in the hotel room and talked to me about the letdown that was inevitably to follow, and how important it would be to maintain the friendships that had grown, so suddenly, and with such intensity over the past three days.
“Did someone say something to you?” I asked.
“No,” she said. “I just had a feeling that you might need someone to talk to. I’m a pretty intuitive person.”
Indeed. And a kind and a generous one, like so many of the people I met there. So when she flew back to Montreal, my heart flew back there with her, too.
It was lovely afternoon, sunny after weeks of cloud and rain. I had been up the street, visiting my friend, Bev, and admiring her new greenhouse, while the dogs, hers and mine, played in her back yard. I had enjoyed our visit immensely. (So had the dogs.) So I was in a good mood as I clipped Zoee onto her lead and walked back down the road toward home. (Already, you can hear what’s coming, can’t you?) My next door neighbour was standing on the boulevard, just outside his gate as I walked past.
I knew he was uncomfortable with my being trans, but foolishly, I was determined to be as pleasant as I could be…polite, anyway. “Hi, Ben,” I said, expecting little more than silence (or perhaps a nod) in return.
What I got was just the sort of confrontation that for so many years, I had feared.
I don’t just “believe” in love at first sight. I know it exists. And I know it lasts, too. I remember the doctor handing me our daughter moments after she was born. “It’s a girl,” she said. I’m not proud of this, but I’ll confess to it, anyway. There was a momentary flicker of disappointment, but it lasted only a moment…not even a second. I know because it takes about a second to say “one thousand.” The flicker didn’t last that long. I remember feeling the warmth of her body in my arms and realizing that this just felt so right. I remember looking down at her face, her lips, (Heart-shaped!) her eyelashes, (They curled!) and at her fingers, perfect even to the tiny fingernails. Who could imagine falling in love with fingernails? But I did. And it took less than a second.
I’ve been shopping for baby clothes! No, not for a grandchild. That’s not going to happen in the foreseeable future, but it’s almost as good. I am on the verge of becoming an adopted grandmother (if there is such a thing.)