24 Nov 2012
When Alice revealed herself, I did what felt at the time like the most natural thing in the world … I believed her. I did not imagine that this act of love would later be looked upon by others as a parental failure, that it would be held against me, as if somehow it made me complicit in her self-destruction.
And so, on the day after her revelation, my lunch hour finds me in the middle of the Juniors section of a department store near my office, staring at racks of girlie clothes with an overwhelming urge to shout “What the hell does one buy for their son who is suddenly apparently their daughter?”
I have never seen so much pink in my life.
I pass up racks of skirts and flouncy blouses, gravitating to a display of screen-printed t-shirts. There's a bright green one emblazoned with “THINK GREEN” across the front. I guess at her size and grab it. Another, little white t-shirt with VON DUTCH in red script comes off the shelf. Nearby, I find an olive drab v-neck sweater with a hoodie. By this point, I've reached the edge of the Intimate Apparel section.
If I'm going to be the world's most progressive and accepting mother, I'm going to have to cross into the intimate apparel section at some point. I'm going to have to peruse all the lacy things and select the perfect panties for a child who yesterday morning was my teenage son. I don't think I can do it. In fact the thought of doing it makes me want to toss the t-shirts and sweater onto some nearby shelf and run out of the store. I'm considering doing just this when I notice a table across the aisle with a big bright sign that reads Boy-Leg Bottoms 3/$10.
["Baby Steps" is an excerpt from "The Complicated Geography of Alice", a memoir in progress which appears in bits and pieces on Laurustina (and occasionally elsewhere) as I mutter and mumble and worry it to death with the dreaded red pen.]