Revelations; an excerpt

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revelationWe’ve been waiting for you.” Linda says ominously as she opens the door to her inner office and gestures for me to follow. It is February 2008 and Jordan has been in therapy with Linda for nine months, but this is the first time that she has ever invited me in at 4:48 rather than usher Jordan out at 4:45.

I head into the office and sink into the comfy chair across from Jordan, who doesn’t look up but continues to roll a squishy water-filled tube between his palms. While Linda steps out to apologize to the waiting client for the delay, I pick up a plastic frog from Linda’s basket of fidget toys.

The frog belches a big pink pouch out of its mouth when you squeeze it. The wet sound it makes is oddly pleasing and Jordan sneaks a sideways glance at me when I belch the frog three times fast. His mouth twists up like he’s holding something in but he looks away too quickly for me to gauge what’s hiding behind that expression or guess at what new ill is about to befall us.

Finally, Linda comes back, closes the door and folds her lanky limbs into her own chair. She gestures towards Jordan and says, “The floor is yours,” but the child mutely shakes his head and points back at his therapist.

Well then.” Linda turns towards me and smiles uncomfortably. “Jordan has something to tell you but now he seems to want me to do it.” She squares her shoulders and exhales deeply. “When Jordan came in today, basically he sat down and said, ‘I know why I’m always angry. It’s because I’m sad. And I know why I’m always sad. It’s because I’m a girl.”

All of the air goes out of the room and her words hang in the void at the center of our little triangle. The frog in my hand belches unexpectedly and Jordan giggles.

She giggles.

I look at her and then I look at her.

Everything I ever thought I knew about my child has changed in an instant.

I cannot yet see the girl-child peeking out through the Boy Suit. True, she’s let her military buzz-cut grow out over the last few months so that her hair now lays flat, just barely starting to curl at the base of her neck, but all in all she still looks much like she’s always looked: a sturdy child with ash-blond hair, gray-blue eyes, a generous mouth and strong bone structure beneath a lingering layer of baby fat. An ordinary boy. Except that she’s not.

The oddest things come to you in moments like this. With Linda’s recitation of Jordan’s words still hanging in the air, I think of all the times I’ve said, “All I ever wanted was two sons,” which is the kind of thing that the mother of two sons will say casually though it is no more true than any other bit of revisionist history a parent passes along. It is this thought, and the realization of what that repeated statement must have felt like to the child who is apparently not my son, which prompts me finally to break the silence.

I’m sorry for anything I ever did to make it worse or make you feel bad.”

Jordan still won’t look at me, but Linda is gawking, open-mouthed, as if I’m a dog who just performed some trick she hadn’t even thought to teach me.

The rest of the meeting is a blur. I agree, without considering the full weight of doing so, to some stipulation about not mentioning this revelation to anyone until Jordan is ready. Linda asks tentatively if we are going to be alright until we see her again next week.

Oh yeah, of course,” I say quickly, and then there we are, descending the stairs and climbing into the car, me sneaking sidelong glances at this stranger and Jordan still awkwardly smirking and staring out the window.

“Of all the things,” I tell her, as I pull out into traffic, “I never would have imagined this.”

“I know,” she whispers.

“You’re not just fucking with me?”

“I am not just fucking with you and you can call me Alice.”

“Okay then Alice,” I say, and we are on our way.

 

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5 Responses to Revelations; an excerpt

  1. shelley says:

    I like what you did with the title … and everything else about this piece of your life with “Jordan” and “Alice.” I hope it is as healing for you as it is profound and moving for me.

  2. Evelyn Vasseur says:

    This reminds me of a similar moment I had with my counselor.
    I had started seeing her when my friend setup an appointment for me to see her after a suicide attempt. He picked her out of the phone book because her practice was a few hundred feet up the road from my apartment. Neither of us knew at the time that her practice was just something she did on the side, her specialty was actually sexual trauma and she was a social worker with the state for rape victims. I did not find out about this until much later.
    I was barely 19 and had been seeing her for about 7 or 8 months and most of our discussions were related to anxiety and depression. She was always very light hearted and easy to speak with. One day I sat down and she was very serious. She said I had been hiding something from her and we needed to talk about it if we were going to get anywhere, I felt like I was completely open with her but never was really. By the end of the session  she had finally managed to get me to feel comfortable acknowledging there was something I needed to talk to her about but didn't know how to say what it was or discuss. She felt I needed some time to work on that so that was all for that session.
    Two weeks later we spent an entire session where she tried to get me mention what I would not talk about. By the end she was very frustrated and I was feeling very uncomfortable. This is when she disclosed to me that she was a social worker for rape victims and that I could talk to her about anything. This of coarse made me feel even more unconfortable. She looked puzzled for a few minutes then asked if I preferred if she just figured it out. I said yes. She the asked if I could do sessions on 4 consecutive days for 2 hours each, which I was able to do.
    On the first day she said she was going to be asking me some questions, answering any of them was completely optional. We then started and over a period of several minutes she would ask some very basic questions, then start into some difficult to answer personal questions and work back to simple questions again. What I didn't know is that she was gauging my reactions according to body language. Shortly into the session she was asking some guestions which didn't really seem relavent to anything when she suddenly asked "have you ever felt like you are a girl". This caught me off guard and made me feel very trapped.  She went back to some simple questions again and then came back to asking if I had ever worn girls clothes. This cycle continued and she asked several questions about different types of clothing and how I felt if I were to wear them, etc.
    By the 2nd session it was very clear she knew what I was keeping a secret and it was pretty silly to try to ignore it. She not only knew I was transgender, but also knew what I liked to wear, knew that I was probably not a cross dresser and more likely transexual, she also knew that I did not like gender stereotypes based off of my true interests  and things that I did simply to fit in.
    Really amazing stuff.

  3. Laurustina says:

    Evelyn,

    "[she]  asked if I preferred if she just figured it out." I love that. How sometimes we have secrets so big that we can't say them aloud, and yet we also have the need to share them. Yes yes, I'd prefer if you could read my mind and sort it all out for me. I am so glad now that you have found your path and are striding confidently down it. 🙂

  4. Pingback: On Writing "Revelations"

  5. Jenny says:

    I just wanted to tell you how moving reading your stories about Alice has been.I came out to friends and family as being Trans about a year ago and the parellels startles me given the age difference in our transitions.THANK YOU for sharing your amazing writing and for making me feel less alone in my journey!

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