DOES GOD MAKE MISTAKES?
By Leigh Taylor
Copyright 2001 All Rights Reserved

These documents (including, without limitation, all articles, text, images, logos, compilation design) may be printed for personal use only. No portion of these documents may be stored electronically, distributed electronically, or otherwise made available without express written consent of the copyright holder.

Well, I was 15 minutes early but she wouldn’t have minded.  I was usually fashionably late so this should have surprised her.  My best friend Barb and I had plans for the evening, mainly a little shopping at Phipps Plaza then dinner at Prime.

The door opened and Barb was dressed but lacked makeup.

“Come on in, Hon. Wow, you look gorgeous!”

“Thanks, Sweetheart. Am I too early?”

“Not at all.  I’m running just a tad late.  Dan just brought me back from the Renaissance Festival about an hour ago and I just lost track of time in the bath.  If you like, I can put some music on or would you rather watch TV?”

“Neither.  I’ll just look at one of your magazines while you finish up.”

“I’ll hurry as fast as I can.”

Barb went into her bedroom to finish getting ready for the evening.  I picked up a Shape magazine and flipped through the pages not really looking at anything in particular.  Then I closed it and noticed the mailing address on the front cover.

Barbara Manning
1722 Livermore Lane
Marietta, GA  30064

I felt a sharp pain in my right forearm after reading the address.  I always got that sharp pain there whenever something emotionally painful hit me.  It was a deep sadness and longing that will never go away.  I lost my husband almost three months ago during a surgical procedure and never could pick myself up from his loss. I thought maybe my friend Barb would help me to erase it but that was the problem. You see Barb, my best friend in the world, used to be my husband Bill.  As I started to think about how it all began, a tear trickled down my cheek.

FOUR YEARS EARLIER

“Kim, I’m home,” Bill called out.

Bill was an accountant for a local CPA firm in Atlanta, GA in the part of the city known as Buckhead.  He was the manager in charge of the tax department and made a pretty decent living.  He enjoyed his position with the firm, knowing that next year at this time, he would be a junior partner.  Talk about someone who loved his career, Bill was eager every morning to get to the office no later that 6:15 A.M.  He left that early partly to avoid the morning rush hour (which in reality was three hours) and partly to utilize his most productive time to work.  Nobody would arrive at the office until just before 9:00 A.M. since tax season has been over for two months.  Even though Bill left for work early, he never short-changed his time with his wife Kim.  Other than tax season, Bill left the office at 5:30 P.M. in time to meet Kim at home starting dinner for the two of them.

“Hi Honey.  I’m in the kitchen.  Did you buy the bottle of chianti for the spaghetti sauce you’re making tomorrow?”

“Yesss Dear!” Bill exclaimed. “You know the sauce wouldn’t taste right without it.”

Kim walked suggestively up to Bill and wrapped her arms around his waist. “I know you wouldn’t forget it. I was just trying to get at your goat.”

It was obvious to anyone who saw the couple that they were very much in love, even after 5 years of marriage.  They never took each other for granted and they were truly best friends.

“You’re such a tease! How was work today?”

“It was okay.  You know, I’m really getting tired of having to fight with the insurance companies in order to get them to pay on our claims.” Kim was the office manager for a multi-physician practice in Decatur. She mostly oversaw the claims filing and claims collection as keeping the money flowing in smoothly was paramount in the doctors’ minds. Kim was very good in her work and the doctors knew she was worth her weight in gold.

“Yeah, but I know you love working for the doctors, Hon. They would be lost without you and you know that.”

“That being true, I still feel I’m not utilizing my potential.”

“Do you want to go back to school? You know I make enough for the both of us and besides, what would you do if something happened to me and you had to depend on yourself?”

Kim unwrapped her arms from Bill and gave him a quizzical look.

“Bill, why would you say that? Do you know something that I don’t?”

Bill looked at his shoes for what seemed like forever. Kim knew something was on his mind and waited until he spoke. The time passed and nothing came from Bill’s lips.

“Bill, I know there’s something on your mind. Tell me; what is it?”

Kim saw Bill’s eyes become glassy.  Bill stumbled back until his leg met the dining room chair. After pulling out the chair, Bill slowly eased himself down while still staring at his shoes.

Finally, he looked into Kim’s eyes.  No longer were his eyes just glassy, but huge tears were streaming down his cheeks. Within seconds, his soft crying turned into sobs. Terrified, Kim cautiously trod over to Bill and rubbed his shoulders to comfort him. She couldn’t help herself and cried too. This was the first time she has witnessed Bill crying.

“Bill,” she said softly, “tell me what is hurting you. You know you can tell me anything.”

“Kim, I don’t know where to begin. This is eating me up inside and I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Hurt me? Bill, what are you talking about?”

“I need something to drink and believe me, so will you.”

Bill got up from his chair and walked over to the wet bar.  He first picked up a napkin and wiped his eyes and then his nose.  He next pulled the bottle of port from the shelf and poured two snifters full. He then trod back to his chair and slid Kim’s snifter to her and took a long drink from his.

“I’ve never told anyone about this, not even my parents. God, I don’t know how to say this.”

Kim peered into his eyes, looking for a sign that this couldn’t be as bad as the things racing through her mind. The first thing was that he found out from his doctor that he was dying. The next was he was having an affair with one of the girls at the office. But that couldn’t be it! Bill loved only her and he showed that to her in so many ways. It couldn’t possibly be that, could it?

“Bill, I’m scared to death right now. Not knowing is worse than anything that you could possibly tell me, so TELL ME!”

Bill shook a little from Kim’s outburst but recovered quickly.

Taking a deep breath, Bill began.

“Ever since I can remember, I think about three or four, I knew something was wrong with me. I didn’t know what it was but just an inner feeling. It wasn’t until my oldest sister dressed me in my older sister’s petticoat and dress that I realized what was wrong with me.”

“Are you telling me that you are a cross-dresser?” Kim jumped in.

“No! Please Kim, let me finish while I still can. I noticed at that time that my dad treated me different than he did my two sisters but I didn’t know why.  I thought I was the same as them.”

“You mean, one of the kids?”

“No. One of the girls.”

Kim's eyes flew open wide and she pulled her hand up to her mouth to stifle a gasp. Of all the horrible scenarios that she envisioned, this one never crossed her mind.

“What?”

“What I’m saying is that I knew at that time that I was born in the wrong body. After my brother Kevin was born, my dad made it his mission in life to make men out of both of us. How many times have I told you how much he used to beat us? I was his favorite target. Knowing that, how in the world could I feel safe enough to tell him that?”

“Oh God! Didn’t you tell your mom?”

“No. Mom was hardly ever home. Then she moved across country after she and dad divorced. I felt I had no one to talk to about this. I just buried it as deep into myself as I could.”

“But Bill, how could you be this way. You were in Special Forces in the Army. How could you do that and feel this way?”

“I compartmentalized. I had a job to do and I did it. I felt if I did the most macho stuff I could, nobody would question my masculinity. Also, I felt that doing that kind of crap would somehow make me feel more like a man. It never made any difference.”

“Why didn’t you tell me before we got involved?” The tears were starting to pour out of Kim’s eyes as she saw her marriage slipping away at the blink of an eye.

“At that time, I was still trying to prove to myself that I was a man. I was able to suppress my feelings along the way so it wasn’t a problem. I thought I could do this for the rest of my life.”

“So what happened to change that?”

“Honey, I don’t know. About nine months ago those feelings started bubbling to the top. I couldn’t keep them down and I had one hell of a mental struggle during that time. I lost the fight about a week ago. Kim, I can’t suppress it any more. I need help!”

By this time, Kim was beyond panic. She was trembling fiercely and looked exactly like a wild rabbit caught in a trap with the trapper’s hand coming toward it.

Now Bill was starting to worry about Kim. He had never seen her in this condition before. He gently lifted her chin with his open hand to be able to look her directly in the eyes. The look on her face frightened him, as she was petrified.

“Bill, I can’t take this anymore. I can’t bear to lose you and I can’t watch you turn into a woman. Let’s kill ourselves so we don’t have to go through this pain anymore!”

To say that Bill was shocked at what she had suggested was an understatement. Kim was brought up as an only child and was deeply loved by her parents. The idea that she ever considered suicide was unfathomable. Bill had thought about it many times but would never allow Kim to entertain that thought.

“Kim! Get a hold of yourself!  I’m not going to allow you to kill yourself over me. For all I know, I can be treated for this so get that idea out of your head. Think about your mom and dad. This would kill them, you know.”

Bill held her tightly then gently stroked her hair to calm her. Her sobbing began to subside as she regained her composure. Bill could feel her hot breath on his chest as the last of her emotional breakdown eased up.

“Are you okay?”

“I’ll be fine in a minute. You have to promise me right now. We find a specialist on Monday and make an appointment for you. Who should we call?”

“Kim, the firm has a client that can help me. I never told you about her but she used to be a man. I should think that she would know the right person to go to.”

“For treatment. Correct?”

“Yes dear, for treatment. I’m not going to do anything when there is a chance that this is treatable. Do you think I want to lose you?”

“Bill, right now I don’t know what to think.”

“Let’s just forget about this for right now, okay?”

“Yeah, right! Bill, I want to go with you when you find the right person to talk to”

“Okay. You need to be with me anyways. I can’t really do this alone.”

Several weeks passed before Bill was able to contact Sheila, the client Bill had mentioned to Kim about. Bill asked her if she could talk to him about a special matter not related to her business. She knew right away what he was referring to as she had a feeling he would eventually talk to her about it. Not, mind you, out of curiosity about her sexuality but with regard to his. From the first time she met him, she had a feeling he was just like her and it was only a matter of time. They met at Applebees over lunch and he asked her for complete confidentiality. Bill told Sheila his tale as she sat patiently listening. She referred him to Dr. Black who was the premier psychologist on this condition in the Southeast. What Bill heard next simply floored him.

“Bill, I hate to tell you this but this condition does not lend itself to successful treatment where you feel you are no longer female. That is, if you really are a transsexual.”

That word stabbed into Bill’s heart. He had thought he might be one but to have someone tell him to his face was another matter.

“Sheila, I don’t even know if I am one or not.”

“Bill, how many years have we known each other? A little more than two years, right?”

“Yeah, something like that. Why?”

“Because from the first time I met you, I had this feeling about you. It wasn’t anything you said or did, nor was it your mannerisms. It was just a gut feeling. It was almost like seeing myself in you. I mean my old self, that is.”

“Oh God, I hope you’re wrong. I can’t bear to think about going through the rest of my life without Kim. She means everything to me.”

“Well, let’s not put the cart before the horse. Make an appointment with Dr. Black and see what he has to say. You know, if you need anyone to talk to, I’m here for you. I have a feeling that sometime in the future, you will find that going to Kim may make things between you two worse if what I think you are is true.”

“Thanks Sheila, I’ll keep that in mind. You know what’s funny? All the time I knew you, I’ve known there was something unique about you but couldn’t put my finger on it. When I had to work on your personal returns in preparation for the IRS audit, I found out about your surgery and name change. If I’m not being too nosey, what were you like before you became Sheila?”

Sheila chuckles briefly.

“Believe it or not Bill, I was just like you. I was clean-cut, handsome, and successful, a real ladies man. I enjoyed their company but sexually, I really wasn’t attracted to them. Sure, I did go to bed with some of them but during the act, I would visualize myself as the woman.  I didn’t want them to think I was gay or something. I guess that I was in denial too. Anyway, the feelings got too strong to hold down and I had to see where this thing would lead me. I saw Dr. Black and, as they say, the rest is history.”

“Thank you for everything, Sheila. I’ll keep you abreast of everything that happens.”

Bill called Dr. Black’s office and scheduled his first appointment with him. He asked if it was possible to bring his wife into session with him. The receptionist told him she would ask Dr. Black and let him know. The next day the receptionist called Bill back and said it was okay with him for the initial visit as long as his wife knew of the condition and was able to contribute.

Three weeks later Bill and Kim arrived for the appointment. Their wait was only 12 minutes but it was the most nerve-wracking 12 minutes they had ever experienced. Was this the beginning of the end or simply a new (however strange) chapter in their life together?

The meeting was basically a fact-finding mission. Dr. Black asked a multitude of questions and scribbled into his notebook. Kim had help to fill in the blanks for questions that Bill couldn’t really answer. After 50 minutes of this, Dr. Black announced that their time was up but they need to schedule another session. Dr. Black suggested that Kim not attend the next session as Bill would be taking a battery of tests and Kim would not be needed.

The next month Bill had to take the complete Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-R), the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2), and the Rorschach Test (ink-blot test). It was an exhausting 4 hours but he finished it and wouldn’t have to worry about taking it again. Bill was informed that the results would be explained to him at his next visit. Dr. Black left the decision to bring Kim to the next session with Bill.

The next month saw Dr. Black, Bill, and Kim sitting in Dr. Black’s office about to go over the test results.

“Kim, I want to know if you will be able to handle the results of Bill’s tests regardless of which way they go?”

“Dr. Black, I can’t be kept in the dark about this. I love Bill and will fight for him. I want to be able to help in any way I can.”

“Okay. Bill, the test results show that you are well above average in intelligence, sensitivity, and you appear to be emotionally stable. The tests also show you have a dominant female personality. Since you are also Obsessive-Compulsive, you had a huge need to suppress your female personality by overcompensating with a macho attitude. Because of your strong will, you were able to maintain this façade for many years. This fix is only good for the short run and is not a long-term solution. I’m sorry Kim but from here on out, unless I specifically need you, the remaining sessions will be just myself and Bill.”

“Dr. Black, please! I need to be a part of this treatment if anything, for my own sanity.”

“I’m sorry, Kim. I strongly feel your presence will distract Bill from receiving the type of counseling he needs to help him with this condition. I do beg your indulgence.”

After a sigh, Kim agreed.

The following three months were arduous for Bill. He knew he loved Kim but he also knew he was living a lie. How could he reconcile the two? Under Georgia law, two women may not legally be married. Besides, it wasn’t fair to Kim to stay married to him if he changed his sex. She should be allowed to find someone that could complete her as a couple. Bill also knew that Kim had no lesbian tendencies, nor was she bi-sexual. The alternative was to live the rest of his life as male. He was already having trouble concentrating on his work and the partners took notice. He was called in for a meeting with them to find out what his problem was. With tax season fast approaching, they needed to know if they could depend upon him. He told them he was having some deep-seeded emotional problems and asked for their patience until the issues were resolved. They agreed for the time being but wanted to be kept aware of any changes, both good and bad. These were acceptable terms for Bill.

It was late October when Bill reached his crossroads. The feelings of being female were too strong for Bill to ignore any longer. His appetite was waning, his sleep was sporadic, and he plunged into the deepest void of depression he ever thought he could experience. Kim was noticing Bill’s deterioration and had to step in.

“Bill, I love you more than life itself but I can’t watch this anymore. You haven’t talked about this since the last time I attended one of your sessions with Dr. Black several months ago. What is going on inside of you?”

“Honey, I’ve been trying to suppress my feelings of being female for months and it isn’t working too well. It’s emotionally exhausting and I feel like blowing up all the time. It is all I can do to keep quiet when I lose my temper and the last thing I want to do is take my anger out on you.”

“Sweetheart, tell me what is making you angry. I need to know if I am to be any help to you.”

“Do you really want to know why I’m angry all the time? Well then, I’ll tell you. I’m angry at God for making a mistake with me. How could he put me in a male body when I’m female? I’m sorry, Kim. I know what I am now and I have to admit it to myself as well as you. God has some sense of humor, doesn’t he?”

Kim felt the blood drain from her head. She felt she had to sit down or else she would pass out. Ever since Bill’s emotions started to change for the worst several months ago, Kim readied herself to what she believed was the inevitable. She felt the tears well up in her eyes as she took a deep breath and eased it out in anticipation of what she had to say.

“Bill, it is evident to me that things can’t go on like this any longer. Do you think you need to change your sex in order to be happy?”

“Yes. I don’t know. I’m so mixed up right now that I don’t know which end is up. I know that the prospect of remaining male is terrible but living without you is just as bad. I wish someone would decide for me. I just can’t deal with this anymore.”

“Bill, if you want, I’ll help you make your decision. You’re clearly miserable and I’m afraid that you will kill yourself soon if you remain male. I’m right, aren’t I?”

“Maybe. I know right now I’m destroying everything good in my life and you are the only thing keeping me from taking the plunge. I just can’t take this pain any longer.”

“You need to change your sex, Bill. I can’t promise how long I can remain in your life but I’ll try to stay with you as long as possible. Because I love you as much as I do, I am willing to let you change so you can live. But remember this, eventually I will need to get on with my life as best as I can. Once you hit the point of no return, our marriage will end. Do you understand that?”

“Yes,” resigned Bill.

“Alright. On your next appointment with Dr. Black, tell him about our decision, if you agree that this is what you need to do. We’ll take everything from there. Agreed?”

“Okay.” Bill was pretty dejected right now but he had absolutely no idea the toll it was taking on Kim.

Kim had been keeping her emotions bottled up inside of her. She thought about the possible divorce she would have to go through. She thought about what she would feel in watching Bill change as much as possible into a female. She also thought about the possible embarrassment she would have to endure with people knowing she was married to a transsexual. How did you deal with all this pressure? How could such an innocent comment about college turn into the nightmare that this had become?

At Bill’s next appointment, Bill explained to Dr. Black what he and Kim had discussed. After all these months of therapy, Dr. Black felt pretty sure that this decision was what would be the final result.

“Bill, have you thought about which doctor you would be seeing for your hormone therapy?”

“No, Dr. Black. I’ve tried to put those types of plans out of my head for as long as possible. Do you have any recommendations?”

“Well, most of my patients on hormone therapy use Dr. White. He is an endocrinologist in downtown Atlanta. We coordinate well together in treating the patients going through transition. Let me take this time to explain to you what is expected of you up to and including the surgery. I need to monitor your progress on a regular basis once your Real Life Test begins. Up until then, we can meet whenever you feel the need. Listen to everything Dr. White tells you but don’t be afraid to let him know when something isn’t well or not working. Once you have met what is called the ‘Standards of Care’ and I feel you are ready, I’ll sign off on my recommendation for the sex reassignment surgery, as you won’t properly be able to get it without recommendation.”

“Dr. Black, what is the Real Life Test?”

“The Real Life Test is the period of time in which you must live as the sex that you are transitioning to. Since you are transitioning to female, you must live as female for a period of no less than one year before you will be recommended for sex reassignment surgery, or SRS. That means living full-time, every single day. You have to acclimate yourself to your new role. Do you think you can handle it?”

“Jesus, Dr. Black! I’ve never really dressed as female out in public before. If anyone finds out, I’ll be stoned to death.”

“Bill, you are overestimating people in general. For the most part, they could care less what you do or look like as long as you don’t interfere or impede their life. They may snicker or make fun of you, but who has ever died from being made fun of. Really Bill, you’d be surprised how little people will care or even notice.”

“Okay. I’ll make an appointment with Dr. White and get this ordeal over with. I just want to be happy again.”

“Bill, let me warn you right now. Changing your sex in no panacea for happiness. The same problems you have now will remain plus a few new ones. That is why I recommend that you still see me on a regular basis so you can mitigate the problems and their effects as much as possible.”

“You have my word, Dr. Black. I’ll see you approximately every other month and more, if needed.”

Bill made and kept his appointment with Dr. White. After a thorough medical exam that included blood samples, Bill was prescribed estrogen, progesterone, and spironolactone, an anti-androgen. He was to take them religiously at their prescribed amounts every day. He was also required to return in six months so Dr. White can observe his changes and monitor his vitals.

The first thing that Kim noticed was the puffiness in Bill’s chest. Bill had decided not to tell Kim every little detail of what he was doing and frankly, she didn’t want to know. However, one night in bed, she couldn’t help but notice that the area under his nipples had filled out and when she touched them, Bill let out a shriek.

“Hey, that hurts. Don’t touch me there.”

“So, you are on some type of hormones, aren’t you? Now you know what I went through when I went through puberty. Sucks, doesn’t it?”

“I’ve felt worse. Remember the time I got my scrotum caught in my zipper? Now that was pain!”

“You know Bill, all kidding aside. I can see you are happier now and I can only assume that part of it has to do with the hormones and part of it has to do with you moving toward your goal. I’m beginning to have problems with this and I don’t know how much of this I can witness. I don’t feel as amorous toward you as I used to. I think eventually we need to separate into different bedrooms.”

It pained Kim to say those words but there was no holding back. Even though it was the beginning of Bill’s transition, she could see some telltale signs that his body was progressing smoothly. It had only been two months since Bill started hormone therapy but he was already developing breasts and his skin was becoming softer. Bill had mixed feelings about what was happening to his body. He reveled in the changes taking place but he started to feel self-conscious about how he was changing when viewed by others. Would people think him queer? Would they point and laugh at him or worse yet, make disgusting remarks about him? Everyone who knew Bill thought he was a wonderful guy with a good moral base. Would he now be perceived as a pervert?

As the changes progressed, Bill took to wearing more loose fitting clothing around home. So far, his suits did a great job in hiding his budding breasts as long as he wore is sport coat. Since working at his desk and wearing his coat was impractical, Bill ended up wearing tight tank top undershirts to smooth out his silhouette.  That did the trick for the time being.

To Kim, the changes were getting too obvious to ignore. The area under his nipples expanded to where it was plain to see that Bill had breasts. He did a good job at hiding them to outsiders but he couldn’t hide them very well from her. To her, it was like he was wearing the gold cones worn by Madonna in the late 80s or early 90s while on tour. They were screaming “Kim, look at us!”

She also noticed the thinning of his body hair. She used to get his chest hairs caught in her teeth during sex with Bill when she nuzzled his chest. Now that thick mat of hair was dwindling into wisps. Along with that she noticed his chest muscles shrinking as well as his arms and legs. Kim used to admire his strong, masculine stature before this process started. Now he was becoming the kid at the beach that the bully used to kick sand on in the Charles Atlas advertisements. Wasn’t his face a lot smoother lately with less beard stubble?

It all came to a head one day when Bill came out of the bedroom wearing women’s jeans and tank top. Kim could not stand to go through another day of watching her husband turn into her girlfriend right before her eyes. After months of suppressed sadness, a new emotion was taking shape and was coming out with a vengeance.

“Bill, just what in the hell are you wearing?”

“Jeans and a shirt. Why?”

“Those aren’t men’s jeans and that is not a man’s tank top. Tell me I’m wrong!”

“But Kim, you know I’m transitioning to female. You’ve been watching this whole process so you know eventually I would start to dress in female clothing. Why are you getting so bent out of shape?”

“Bill, or whomever you are going to call yourself, you have not had one consideration toward me during this whole time. Do you think I enjoy watching you change? Are you some kind of selfish, fucking idiot?”

Bill had never heard her use that type of language before so he was a little alarmed by her outburst.

“Kim, I’ve got to be myself. I can’t feel boxed into a male role and presentation any longer. Can’t you understand that?”

“I’ll tell you what I understand, Bill. I understand that our marriage is over. I’ve watched this for about a year and I’ve had enough. You promised to love and cherish me till death do us part. Well, the way I see it now you, the Bill that I married, are at Death’s door. If you can honestly tell me that you can stop the treatment and become the way you were before this whole thing started, I will not walk out of here right now and we will work to return you to normal. Otherwise, I’m out of here and I’ll find a lawyer as soon as possible to dissolve this shame of a marriage. Which is it?”

It was now the moment of truth for Bill. Would he go forward or would he go back?

“Kim, please don’t put me in this position. I don’t want to lose you. I can’t go through this alone.”

“That was the most selfish statement that has ever escaped your lips. How dare you!”

With that, Kim stormed into her bedroom and started packing a few clothes, enough for about a week. The tears were both of sorrow and of anger. How could the man she loved and adored above all things turn into this thing?  He was nothing more than a caricature of a woman. He looked little more than a man in drag the way he was dressed. He would never pass as a woman. Who was he kidding? She finished packing what she needed then headed out of the bedroom.

“Bill, I’m going to Myra’s house to stay for the time being. She and I have talked about this that when the time came when I needed to leave, I was welcome to stay with her for as long as I like. I’ll be back about the middle of next week to collect the rest of my things. Make arrangements not to be here at that time.”

With that, Kim stormed out of the house with Bill looking on. What could he say that would change anything? He tried to prepare himself for this event but no amount of preparation could ready Bill for this. With the flood of emotions welling inside of him, Bill collapsed to the floor amidst the softball sized tears pouring from his eyes. He had lost the only girl he had ever loved in a romantic way. She hated him now, he thought. For a brief second, Bill thought of the shotgun stored in the closet of his bedroom. All it would take is one shot through the mouth and all the pain would be over. Bill slowly climbed the steps to his bedroom and walked tentatively to the closet door. This is forever, he thought. Do I want to do this? Can I do this?

“No! I want to live! I can’t do this to my family or even Kim.”

With that, Bill placed the shotgun back to its resting place in the closet.

As Kim was driving to Myra’s house, she replayed the scene with Bill over and over in her mind. She had just ended what was once a storybook marriage with the love of her life. Nothing could ever replace what she had with Bill. She started to think that she might have overreacted. Overreacted? Am I crazy? My husband is turning into a woman! How could I possibly be overreacting? I’ve got to take my mind off of this for the time being.

She finally drove into Myra’s driveway and put the car into park. She couldn’t make herself unbuckle the seatbelt and open the car door. The only thing she could do was sob. It almost felt to Kim that she had escaped her body and was standing outside the car, watching herself cry. This couldn’t be happening. Why didn’t her mother teach her how to handle this kind of event? Why? Why?

Tap! Tap! Tap!

With a tear-streaked face, Kim turned to peer out of the side window only to see Myra standing there with a concerned look.

“Kim honey, come in the house.”

Gathering what little reserves she had left, Kim hit the release button on the seatbelt and unlocked her door. Getting out of the car posed a bit of a problem as her legs felt like rubber bands and certainly not strong enough to support her weight. She stumbled slightly as she exited the car. Luckily for her Myra noticed her shakiness and grabbed her at the first sign of unsteadiness. Myra then took Kim into a full embrace instinctively to help steady her nerves. That was all it took for the flood gates to swing open again. Kim hugged her with an intensity that even surprised Myra. She could feel Kim’s body wrack with sobs and she felt helpless at the moment.

“Kim, come in and tell me what happened. Come on sweetheart, it’s going to be all right. I’ll make us some tea and we’ll talk, okay?”

Kim didn’t say a word as she allowed herself to be led into the house. Myra guided her to the couch and gently caressed the tears from her cheeks until Kim was doing little more than whimpering.

“Okay Hon, I’ll be right back after I start the tea. You just sit still and try to calm down. We’ll have a nice, long talk and then we’ll go to sleep. I promise you, things will look a lot better in the morning.”

As Myra headed off to the kitchen, Kim repositioned herself so as to relax a bit. She had never felt this tense in her life and the thought of hot tea easing her seemed like a poor joke. She felt she would never feel calm and comfortable again. How could this happen to her? Maybe Bill was right. Maybe God was playing the worst practical joke of the millennium. She had been a good girl growing up. Why would he do this to her?

Her train of thought was interrupted when Myra walked back into the living room.

“The tea water is on so why don’t you start and tell me what happened. Did you and Bill have a fight or something?”

“Kind of. He finally started wearing women’s clothing and it took me by surprise. Myra, I can’t watch this anymore. He’s changing into someone I barely recognize and he’s becoming so self-centered now. He acts like he is the only one who has pain and needs comforting. Not once in months has he asked how I’m doing and is there anything he could do for me. That’s not the Bill I married. Every evening he’s on the Internet, talking to his freak friends about their bodies and future relationships with men.”

“Has Bill told you that he is attracted to men?”

“Well, no. In fact, he’s said the opposite. He says he can never picture himself having a romantic relationship with a guy. I don’t know if he was telling me a lie to spare my feelings or he still finds women attractive. All I know is that I feel very little romantic love for Bill right now and what little I have is from the memory of what he once was. I hate the woman he’s becoming. She’s stealing my husband and there’s not a thing I can do about it. If it was another woman, I could combat her to keep him. When the other woman is my husband, how in the hell can I fight that? This is hopeless, Myra. I know what I’ve got to do but I just can’t make myself to do it. Not yet, at least.”

“What did Bill say when you told him that you can’t take this anymore? Did he promise to stop changing?”

“No. It’s pretty clear to me that he can’t stop. Myra, I’ve been watching him over the last half-year or so. He is much happier now and I know it’s the fact that he feels he is becoming the person he felt he should have been. Before we had our talk when we decided that he should try to become a woman, I was afraid that any second Bill was going to kill himself. He’s not like that now. I’ve watched him slowly evolve into this calm and somewhat happy person. I don’t like the kind of selfish person he is becoming but I see glimpses of the old Bill in him now. Why can’t he just acknowledge that he is female and just, I don’t know, kind of like cross-dress as a male all the time? Isn’t just the fact that he knows he’s a female be enough for him to get through life? Why does he have to change physically into a female and ruin our marriage? I just don’t understand.”

“Honey, I don’t either. You know I’ve always liked Bill. I’ve always thought you two were the perfect couple. Hell, if I ever got married, I’d want him to be just like Bill. Well, not any longer but you know what I mean. I’d want him to be as sensitive and attentive as Bill used to be. God! I just thought of something. It’s really true what they say. All the good men are either gay or taken! Geez is that depressing.”

“Myra, is the kettle whistling?”

“Yeah, I’ll be right back.”

As Myra left for the kitchen, Kim reflected on what Myra had just said. Bill was not gay but what was the difference. He was not normal and she couldn’t possibly stay married to him. But did she really need to ditch him from her life? Sure, it is painful to see him as another person but Bill was a good person deep down inside. Sure, he was selfish now but what teenager wasn’t when they go through puberty. That was it! Bill was going through the same crap that any kid was. He had to adjust to a changing body, had to deal with the emotions of how he felt about his body, and he had to deal with how he thought others perceived him when they saw him. Maybe all I had to do was wait out this transition period and I’d have the old Bill back. Wait a minute, what was I thinking. After the transition is over, Bill would no longer be Bill anymore. Shit! I was right back where I started.

“Do you want sugar in your tea?”

“Myra, I’m sorry but I think I want to go to bed right now. Why don’t you just put my tea in the fridge and I’ll zap it in the microwave in the morning. Do you mind?”

“Not at all, Sweetie. You know where the guest room is. The bed is already made, there are extra pillows in the closet, and the towels are in the bathroom. If you need anything else, just ask. Sleep tight, Hon.”

“Thanks Myra. You are a good friend. Goodnight.”

After Kim slid between the sheets, all she could do was lie awake and replay her life over the last year and a half. There’s nothing more she could do but decide how she would handle the rest of her life. Her marriage was over, that much was evident. But how would her relationship with Bill evolve? Would she still want Bill in her life? Thankfully, sleep overtook Kim and the questions could be posed on another day.

The months wore on as Kim readied herself for the divorce. Bill’s attorney had been generous in offering her 2/3 the capital in the house, 5/8 the cash and investments, and a modest alimony. Kim declined the alimony as she could take care of herself and she knew Bill would have it rough enough without bleeding him dry financially. She didn’t want to see him in the near future but couldn’t say how she would feel about him after that. It was best that she left the door open, if only a crack.

Bill’s life was not as pleasant, well as pleasant as Kim’s was. The partners at the firm felt that Bill was not representing the firm in its best light and suggested that maybe he should work somewhere else where he could become more inconspicuous. They called it a mutual parting. What a crock! After losing his job, his wife, his home, and the stress of going through his transition, Bill was now in his deepest depression yet. Suicide was easily becoming a very viable alternative. On a Tuesday evening, Bill felt he couldn’t take the pain he was experiencing and decided it was time to end it. He went to Kroger’s and bought a large box of a name brand sleep aid. He thought this would do the trick. Going to his bedroom, Bill took each and every capsule in the box, twenty-four in all. As he lay on the bed staring at the ceiling, he thought about what a mess he had made of his life. All the terrible things he experienced just to no longer live his life as a lie. He was beginning to believe this all wasn’t worth the pain he went through. The ceiling was starting to lose its detail. He began to think that finally he wouldn’t feel any more pain if he would just close his eyes and surrender to sleep. A new feeling of calmness fell over Bill as he began to float in the room. He reached out to turn on the lamp beside his bed but as he touched it, it began to crumble like ashes after a fire. What was happening to him?

The alarm buzzed its irritating sound and Bill sat bolt upright. No sooner that he was straight up that he fell right back on the bed. He felt like he was drunk, as everything seemed to be in slow motion. He swung his legs around the side of the bed and put his weight down on his feet, which were on the floor. He should have known he would collapse to the floor. How did he get this way? He didn’t remember drinking anything alcoholic last night. Then it came to him. He took a whole box of sleep aids to a toxic level. He now realized how lucky he was that he didn’t die from the overdose. Was he really lucky? Not only was he a failure in life, he was now a failure at death. How pathetic can one person be?

Since Bill had no job to go to, his best course was to remain in bed and sleep off the rest of the sleep aids’ effects. There was much to do and plan if he was going to survive.

Bill found an internal strength that he wasn’t aware he possessed. He sat and planned out what he needed to do in order to put his life back together. He could develop a practice of his own. He had the skills; otherwise his old firm wouldn’t have offered the junior partnership to him. All it took was a little marketing to obtain new clients. Bill felt a new vitality he hadn’t felt in a long time. Over the course of the next three years, Bill had brought himself from the brink to becoming moderately successful. Things were starting to smooth out in his life. Correction, make that her life. By the second year, Bill had changed his name to Barbara. She began her RLT by the end of the second year. She feared that letting her new clients know that she was transitioning into a woman would doom her promising career. To her amazement, not one client decided to leave as she was both a valuable asset to them plus she was well liked.

Barb was scheduled to meet some prospective clients for lunch at Longhorns Steakhouse. She gave her best sales pitch and won them over. After the financial terms agreement was achieved, Barb was scheduled to visit their office in Stockbridge. It was a moderately sized group of physicians who decided to start their own business. The doctors showed Barb around the building and stopped into the administrative offices. There she received the shock of her life. Sitting in an office just off from the main admin room was Kim. Their eyes met and their mouths flew open. A sudden panic ran through both of them. The doctors introduced Kim to Barbara, then Barbara to Kim. Kim recovered first and with a friendly smile, held out her hand to be shaken.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Barbara.”

Barbara held out her hand cautiously and shook Kim’s hand in a very feminine manner.

“Hi Kim, I’m Barbara. Please call me Barb. I’ll try to keep my contact with you as brief as possible. I know you must be a very busy woman.”

“If you have any questions Barb, please feel free to call. By the way, do you happen to have a business card with you for my file? I may need to call you sometime.”

“Sure. My business number, home number, and pager number are listed. You will also find my email address printed there. Most of your questions could be asked and answered via email so you won’t have to call me. Just trying to make things as convenient and comfortable for you as possible.”

“Thank you Barb. It was nice meeting you.”

“It was nice seeing, I mean meeting you also.”

Barb couldn’t get out of the administrative section fast enough. Her heart was racing and she felt like she would pass out at any second. The tour was concluded and Barb sighed with relief at pulling off a difficult moment. What were the odds of running into Kim again? It’s not like Metro Atlanta was some small burg or anything. Hell, what was the chance of running into her in a small city like Marietta, let alone an area comprising of at least fifteen counties and almost four million people?

That evening Barb was reading a TG story from one of her favorite authors. She once thought that after she successfully transitioned into female completely, she would no longer visit the TG sites. Well, it was easier said than done. How does that author find the material for ‘Morphite 20’ she thought. Suddenly, the phone rang..

“Hello?”

“Barb?”

“This is she. May I help you?”

“Do you have to ask?”

In that brief instant, Barb knew exactly who it was.

“Hi Kim. Listen, I’m sorry about today. If I had known you worked there I wouldn’t have accepted the client.”

“Am I that difficult to be around?”

“NO! No.  I just wasn’t sure you ever wanted to see me, let alone talk to me again.”

“You look really nice. I was wrong about how you would turn out. Have you had the surgery yet?”

“Not yet. I’m scheduled to have it done in five month from now. Listen, we don’t have to talk about this if you don’t want to. I remember how much it hurt you in the past.”

“Bill, I’m sorry, Barb I was hurting because I was losing you. You didn’t seem to really care how I felt as you were so wrapped up in your own change. When I saw you earlier today, I panicked at first. Then it was like you were someone I knew, but didn’t know. Do you understand what I’m trying to say?”

“Sort of. I’m really the same person that I have always been. I’m just in a different package. Kim, I am so sorry for everything I’ve done to you. You deserved better than I gave you.”

“Barb, that is now water under the bridge. Believe it or not, I really miss you. Would you be adverse to getting together some time for dinner?”

All words were stripped from Barbara’s mouth. The loneliness and regret of losing Kim came rushing forward and the dam burst forth. To be honest, they were tears of thanksgiving.

“Barb, are you still there?”

Kim could detect the muffled sniffles coming through the phone line. She had been able to barely stifle her own tears and now, hearing Barb on the other end destroyed all resolve.

“Barb, we will be fine. If you don’t think this is a good idea, I’ll understand. I just thought maybe we could somehow be friends again. I missed my best friend in the whole world.”

By now, Kim was openly crying and Barb joined in. After a couple of minutes of no talking, Barb was able to speak.

“Kim,” Barb squeaked, “You have no idea how much I wanted to hear you say those things. I thought you hated me and never wanted to see me ever again. I’ve been able to pick up the pieces of my life but it was never the same without you. You always were my best friend and no one would ever be able to replace you. I wish I had you back as my best friend again.”

“Barb, you really never lost me. I didn’t know until today that all I needed was time to heal. I do want you in my life again. Maybe we can take this slow so we can get to know each other better without the past to cloud us. You’re not the only one who did some changing, you know. So many of my attitudes on life have changed. Hopefully for the better.”

“Thank you for giving me a second chance, Kim. I know I don’t deserve it.”

“Yes you do, Hon. I’m just sorry it took so long. Listen, I’d better go. I’ll call you soon, okay?”

“Okay. Goodnight Kim and thank you.”

“You’re welcome. Goodnight Barb.”

PRESENT DAY

That was nine months ago and much has happened. Barbara had her surgery three months ago and she looked great. She met a guy named Dan about a month ago and they started dating. I’m not sure if she has told him about herself but that is none of my business. I remembered a time when Bill told me that he could never conceive of the idea of being attracted to a man. I’m not sure what happened but that belief seemed to fly out the window. I was happy that Barb seemed so happy now. She really deserved it.

I haven’t been so lucky. Sure, I’ve dated lots of guys but none of them has captured my heart. Maybe I needed to revise my yardstick. I don’t think I’ll ever meet another Bill again.

Another single tear rolled down my cheek.

“Hey, are you ready to go?”

“Yeah. Are you ready?”

“Kim, what’s wrong? Why are you crying?”

“It’s nothing Barb. I just had an eyelash fall into my eye. I’ll be fine in a second.”

The End.