Chapter 22, Transition at Work

| Apr 11, 2022
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My plane landed in Chicago around 10:30. Why can’t there be a direct flight? Why do I have to fly to Houston or Dallas or D.C. first? I called Mom and told her I had a nice smooth flight. I sat next to this nice lady, but she talked too much – because all I wanted to do was sleep. It dawned on me I’d be back being Kenny Thomas soon – Yuck! I called Mother again and asked her if she had any idea what we would tell the church and the community about whatever happened to Kenny after my augmentation and transition? She said she’d hadn’t thought about it and would discuss it with me and Gwen my next time home.

That night at home, it dawned on me that I seldom thought of myself as Kenny. I never had those thoughts when I was dressed as Savannah, my entire visit home. I put my laundry in the washing machine. I went to the grocery store. It was getting late in the afternoon, and I wanted to do something for Mom. I looked on the internet for a florist that I knew close to where Mom lived and ordered Mother some flowers to be delivered tomorrow. I signed the card,

‘Mother, I know that there will never be any way that I could thank you enough for all your love and support you have given me. I hope these put a smile on your face. Think of a kiss from me every time you smell these. Love, Savannah .’

I made some dinner and relaxed for the rest of the evening. Sadly, I had to pull out my male drab for work tomorrow. About 8:30 or so, I drew my bath and took off my face.

The next morning, I was too busy to think about going to H.R. However; It was always in the back of my mind. I decided to skip lunch and headed to H.R. with much excitement, energy, and enthusiasm. I was relieved to be able to talk to a woman. She said, “I remember, you’ve been emailing me. You’re Thomas”

She handed me a packet and explained the procedures. I quickly perused thought it, and it looked easy enough to me.

“Your leaders and supervisors already know as well as a few up the corporate ladder. You are lucky, Mr. Thomas (that name sounded oddly foreign to me), you will keep your same job position, responsibilities, office, and salary. They must like you, think highly of you and your work and contributions. The others who have transitioned here were demoted and received a lower salary. I am unsure how others in your office will support you. Most likely, the ladies will accept you and like you. I do not know how men will. I’m very interested in the transgender community, especially the ladies, and support them. You have my 100% support.”

There are other transgender people here already, I thought to myself. Then I looked at Mrs. Turner and said. “Thank you, Mrs. Turner. I appreciate that.” Glancing at the clock on her wall, I still had plenty of time. Would you like to see a few photographs of me?”

“Now? I’d love to see them if you have them?”

I pulled out my phone and showed her and told a quick story about the first day I Mother saw me, the slumber party the next week, me in ball gown when I was in junior high, and as a Maid of Honor at my Sister’s wedding.

“This, this is you in the pink gown? Really? I can’t believe it. You’re beautiful.”

“You’re very kind, Mrs. Turner.” I was talking like a female.

“Wow.” She just sat there with her mouth open, looking through the photos.

“So, how do I start the paperwork and procedures?”

“I have done the preliminary paperwork, Mr. Thomas, or what should I call you?”

“Savannah, Savannah Thomas.”

“I like that; it’s a cute name. “The only thing I need to be sent to me is a letter from your therapist, giving you the okay.” I didn’t know I’d needed a letter to work as a female. Maybe it is a corporate policy.

“Sorry, Mrs. Turner, I must get upstairs now. I have a meeting in 15 minutes. I have your contact information on your emails, and I will contact my doctor and have her send you what you need for you. Email or fax?”

“Either one is fine. Here’s my card so you can give them my direct fax number in my office if they choose to fax it.”

“You’ve been incredibly helpful, Mrs. Turner. Thank you.”

“You’re more than welcome, Mr., I mean, Savannah. I’d love to have lunch with Savannah someday soon.”

“I’d love that too.” With a charming smile.

I made it to my meeting in plenty of time. During my first break, I called Dr. Knight’s office, told the nurse what I required, and asked her nurse to fax it to Mrs. Turner. She said she’d pull and fax Dr. Knight’s recommendation; and that they’d send a mail hard copy as well. 

“Thank you so much.” I felt the entire weight of the universe has been lifted off my shoulders again and almost started to cry.

During my final break of the day, I also emailed the nurse all the information to ensure she copied it correctly. She said it had already been faxed, and I thanked her for her help. Somehow, I got carried away with work and looked at the clock; it was just past 6:20 p.m., and I looked up and saw the office empty. My department head walked my office door and looked in. “Still here, Mr. Thomas? I hear that your name is about to change. Well, I support you. Good luck.”

“Thank you, Mr. Medina. I appreciate that. I have a few things to finish up here, and then I will head home.

I went home content. I saw the voicemail on my cell phone. Mother had called. ‘The flowers’, I said to myself. I poured myself a glass of wine, ordered in from Panera Bread, and waited for the dinner to arrive. I poured one more glass of wine and then called Mom. I know I come on her screen as ‘Savannah ’ with one of my pictures.

“Savannah, my darling (I don’t ever recall her calling me darling before.) I have millions of kisses from you today from all the lovely aroma I’ve inhaled from this gorgeous bouquet you sent me. Thank you. It was so sweet and thoughtful of you.”

“Your welcome, Mom. Only the sweetest Mom deserves them.”

She started, “I wrote in and mailed Franklin’s thank you card and mailed it. I tried to get that stain out of your dress but couldn’t get it out, so I took it to the dry cleaners since I didn’t want the stain to set. And I washed the laundry in your hamper and changed the sheets on your bed. Oh, I also put your Sisters’ bikinis back in her drawer. She’ll be back home from her honeymoon Friday night.”

“Wow, Mother, I thought you’d rest all day. Thank you.”

“I’ll go to bed early tonight. Have you thought when you might talk to Human Resources?”

“I talked to them today, Mom, and it’s almost a done deal.” Then I proceeded to talk to her about Mrs. Turner, her help, showing her pictures, and that all she needed is to hear back from Dr. Knight. Then about the support she and everyone else is giving me, and that my job status stayed intact. I heard her jumping up and down in delight.

“Savannah, I’m so happy for you. When will you transition?

“Not soon enough for liking, but I don’t think it will be too long. I should have done this when I first signed on here. Mom, you’ll be the first to find out after I find out.

The next project is the clothes. But I don’t want to buy many until after my augmentation procedure.”

“Savannah, you’ll be able to get almost any good suit re-tailored. Although you may need new blouses.”

“Mom, I have to run; I am still recuperating from that late night with the Franklin’s and early morning yesterday and today. I’m glad you love your flowers. Smell the flowers get at least a million more kisses from me before you go to bed. Have Sis call me when she has time. I love you. Sweet dreams.”

“Love you too, Savannah, please call often. Sweet dreams, sweetie, and thank you again for the beautiful flowers.”

I slept well because of the news I got today, and I was still tired from the long day and the late night with the Franklin’s. But I did not sleep as well as in the amazing canopy bed in my room in Mom’s house. Darn, I knew I should have put that bed in my suitcase. I was in my office real early for some reason, and the same department head walked by. “Did you stay here all night, Mr. Thomas?”

“No, sir, Mr. Medina. I always seem to get several ideas in the middle of the night. I keep a notepad and pen next to my bed on my nightstand to write them down. If not, I always seem to forget them when I wake up.”

“That’s a great idea. I think I should do that. I always forget mine when I wake up. Where did you learn that? Mind if I share it with others?”

“My father taught me that, sir. Share it with whom you wish. It helps D.J. Harris come up with new ideas and keep up ahead of the competition; believe me, I’m all for it. I, too, am always open to new ideas and suggestions.”

“Keep up the good work, Mr. Thomas. Good day.”

“Good day, Mr. Medina.”

It was a little after 10 when I received an email from Ms. Turner in H.R. to see her. I told my colleagues I would be down on the second floor for a while.

I knocked on Ms. Turner’s office door, and she looked up. “Mr…., Savannah, please come in.” I just received the most impressive and illuminating fax from, uh, let me see, Dr. Kristine A. Knight, M.D. This letter is precisely what I need to put a final approval on your request. I’ve never seen such a fantastic support letter. Please close the door and sit down. We have a few things to discuss.” I did as she requested.

I’ll sign these papers today, and they will go into effect by the end of the day. All your sick and personal leave will transfer over, as well as your vacation balance. Since you haven’t legally changed your name or sex, some things won’t change. I’ll also need a middle name to have our corporate legal department file your name change request. Please tell me, and I’ll take care of it today? We will make you a new name sign for your office door, desk, and business cards. And now, since you’ll be considered a woman, here is a packet of some other benefits you will receive. Your need to surrender your company credit card and will be issued a new one under Savannah Thomas. Do you have a middle name?”

I never thought about a middle name, so I decided to use my Mother’s middle name, Michele, since my male middle name, Robert” was masculine. “Yes, Savannah Michele Thomas.” I wrote in on a piece of paper.

“One ‘L’ in Michele.”

“I like it. It won’t take long for the signs, but the business cards a bit longer. I’ll notify everyone up the corporate ladder and then send an email to everyone else who needs to know. It only goes to a select few people, and we won’t tell anyone else without your permission. Here in H.R. will make you a new I.D. card when you start your first day and surrender your old one.

“Is there any time off I can arrange for you for anything? You’ll get it, and I can make it happen.”

“I don’t wish to seem like I am milking the system, but I need to schedule my breast augmentation procedure. Would it be possible to work remotely from my Mother’s house in Georgia during my recovery?”

“You schedule the date, and I’ll make it happen, Savannah .” Those photos showed me. I’d never guess in a million years that you weren’t a lady. I had to bite my tongue not to tell anyone. You are a stunning woman. And you need to tell me your secret to your figure and beautiful skin. I will handle everything. So if you have any questions or problems from anyone, contact me. When would you like to start, Ms. Thomas?” She smiled and stood up. I assumed she would shake my hand, but she came around her desk and hugged me. “Don’t tell H.R. about the hug.” We laughed.

“I promise.”

So what day would you like to start?”

“Next Monday, or is that too soon for you to do everything you need to do?”

“Next Monday it is, Savannah. I am so happy for you. I need you to date, print, and sign these three forms as Savannah Michele Thomas? I’ll send your name to legal so that they can start your name and gender change. Our security department will do your fingerprints for you when we’re finished here.”

I signed, printed, and dated all the papers and handed them back to Mrs. Turner with a smile.

“Done! Congratulations, Savannah. May I see those photographs again? Have any more?”

I pulled out my phone and showed her even more. “My Mother probably has hundreds more. I can ask her to copy them to an S.D. card or CD and copy others from her computer if you wish?”

“I’d love to see all of them and how you’ve developed over the years, Savannah. More good news, you have the rest of the week off to prepare.

“What? But I have a lot of work to do?”

“Go home after work today. I will handle everything else. I cannot wait to meet Savannah! And don’t forget about our lunch date.” See you, Monday at 9 a.m.

“I haven’t forgotten about our lunch. I’m looking forward to it. Thank you again so much for everything, Ms. Turner. You’re a sweetheart! Oops, please don’t tell HR I said that.”

“Don’t worry, Savannah .” She looked at the photographs again in awe. Then she handed me back my phone.

Before I returned upstairs, I went to security to have my fingerprints taken. Everything today happened so fast. I didn’t have time to let it all absorb. I was flooded with work questions and two more unscheduled meetings.

It was five in the afternoon and time to leave. Mr. Medina stopped by and said, “Thank you again for that suggestion about the notepad by the bed. Don’t stay too late.

I look forward to seeing you Monday morning, Miss Thomas.” I had an ear to ear smile when he said my name the way I love hearing it.

I left not long after him and when straight to my apartment and called Mom. And told her everything Ms. Turner told me.

“I have to schedule my augmentation surgery with Dr. Paul. I’ll call her tomorrow. I’ll email her tonight and call tomorrow.”

“Savannah, sweetie. Do you need me to come to Chicago and help you this week and next?”

“Mom, I hope I can do this myself, but of course, you’re always welcome. I have a second bedroom that’s never been used. Oh, Mom, can you please put all my pictures and videos you have, and all the other moms sent you on an S.D. card or CD from your phone and computer and send them me as soon as you can. It may help me at work.” Mom didn’t know what an S.D. card was.

“Of course, dear. And I’ll send you my travel arrangements, sweetie.”

“Good night, Mother; I’m going to go put Kenny in bags tomorrow, then send him to the Goodwill. Get a million more kisses from me from your flowers. Love you. Sweet dreams, Mom.”

“I will, for sure. Love you too, Savannah. Sweet dreams.”

My alarm went off for my regular time to get up for work. I turned it off but still got up. I made oatmeal and coffee and my nightgown and robe, then went back to my bedroom to dress in skinny jeans and a t-shirt. I sat down to make a list of everything I needed to get done by Monday.

Mom called me at seven from the airport. “Savannah, dear, sorry for the last-minute call, but I can get on an 8 a.m. flight. I hope it is okay. Can you pick me up at the airport? I’ll send you my flight information. “

“Of course, Mom. Of course, I’ll pick you up.” I completed my list. I started getting all my male clothes out of my closest and drawers and placed them in big piles on the floor. I thought I’d itemize all of them and take them to Goodwill as soon as I could. I moved old work clothes from my bedroom to my laundry room. Finally, I made sure Mother’s bed and bathroom were clean and ready. My housekeeper should be the housekeeper who came on Friday. My housekeeper! I must tell her. I have no idea what she will say or do? And I must show the landlady of my name change for my lease.

I called Dr. Paul’s office to schedule the augmentation surgery. The nurse said she thought it would be two to three weeks. But first, I needed some pre-surgery bloodwork. I asked her what national labs chain they used, and I’d find one near me and send her their contact information so that she can order my bloodwork.

Next, I did a quick run to the grocery store. Halfway through my grocery shopping, I realized it didn’t put on any makeup except lipstick. I put my big sunglasses on, and I prayed I didn’t scare anyone or frighten any young children. I also picked up some flowers for the apartment and both bathrooms. My Mother will arrive in about three hours. I have no idea what she has planned for me. I managed to get my makeup on and back in time to get across town to pick up Mom. I checked her arrival time, and the gate departed to get pick her up. I arrived at the cell phone lot and waited for her call.

After approximately 20 minutes or so, she called, and I headed for baggage claim number eleven. I think we saw her at the same time. I pulled over and put on my flashers and got out. “Mom!” She walked toward me, and we hugged. I opened my trunk to put her bag in when a sweet man said,

“Ma’am, you need help with those bags.” I played a southern damsel in need.

“Your very kind, thank you, Sir.” And I smiled at him.

Mom and I chatted going home, and I told her what accomplished so far. “How can help, sweetie?”

I didn’t know what to have her do, so I said, “Whatever you think will help and is needed. Just do it and don’t ask. You know I always appreciate what you do. Oh, I forgot to tell you. My company is filing for my name and gender marker change for me! I am so excited!” Mother squeezed my leg as I drove her to my apartment.

I got Mom settled in her room.

“Mom, would you like a ham sandwich? I don’t have iced tea but can make some.”

“Ham sandwich sounds great. Airline food is so deplorable these days.” I started boiling water for tea and set the table. Mom came out as I was finished making lunch.

“Nice place, Savannah, and it is a lot bigger than I imagined. Over lunch, I told her about calling Dr. Paul’s nurse about my augmentation surgery and that I needed blood work and that it would be 2-3 weeks from now.

“I plan to make halibut with the mayonnaise and peanut butter I told you about tonight for dinner. Sound good?”

“That sounds wonderful, Savannah .” After lunch, she looked around my place and clothes.

“Once all of Kenny’s clothes are gone, you’ll have a ton of space.”

“I hope so. I’m so excited about all of this. My company has been so incredibly helpful. I just can’t believe it. I’m still pinching myself.”

“Well, let’s get started getting you ready. I plan on staying until next Friday. Is that okay?”

“I’ll be at work on Monday, but please, stay as long as you wish. That’s what you tell me. I love my time with you. After lunch, I’m going to finish cleaning out the closets. What do you plan to do?”

“I was thinking about organizing your clothes in your closets for you. Is that okay?”

“I’d love that.” I cleared the table and put our dishes in the dishwasher. We hardly saw each other for the rest of the afternoon except for passing in the hallways.

“My housekeeper comes Friday, and I hope to have all of these drab male clothes out by then. Maybe take some loads tomorrow. 3-4 trips should do it.” I put them in piles of suits, shirts, neckties, etc., to make it easier for me to make a tax deduction list.

“One day, I’d like to take you shopping, sweetie, and have lunch.”

“Thank you, Mom. I forgot, this is your first time here in Chicago, isn’t it?” Mom looked up from what she was doing and nodded, yes.

“There’s a huge Galleria mall nearby with Nordstrom’s, Macy’s, Saks, Neiman’s, Gap, and Express. Many have great restaurants, bistros, and darling tea rooms.”

After the closets, Mom started on my chest of drawers.

“Mom, wow, it is 6 o’clock. I’ll open some wine and start dinner.

“You rest if you wish.” Mom flopped down in one of my big lounge chairs. She looked exhausted. As she looked around, she said,

“I’m going to have to feminize this place some more too.” I brought her a glass of wine.

“Savannah, need any help?”

“I’ve got it, Mom. Thank you. You sit, rest, and relax. I know flying is not enjoyable these days. Oh, were you able to make me a CD of my pictures?”

“The CD is in my purse, dear.” She slowly got up, retrieved it from her purse in her bedroom, and handed it to me. I went back to my bedroom to put it in my purse for Monday.

I skipped the carbs tonight but had fresh bread if Mother wanted some. The oven was ready, so in went the halibut with mayo and, this time, chunky peanut butter. Mom got up to watch me prepare the fish by spreading the thin coat of mayonnaise, followed by a layer of peanut butter. I set the table and brought the salads. In less than 20 minutes, dinner was ready.

Dinner’s served, Mom. More wine?”

I showed her the jar of olive oil mayonnaise with the reduced calories.

“I’ll have to look for it the next time I’m at the grocery. This fish is amazing. I would have never thought of mayonnaise and peanut butter on fish. You’re right; it melts in my mouth, dear.”

“Mr. Heaukulani from work told me about it. He’s from Hawaii. He is so kind and thoughtful to everyone, and he always has a smile on his face. I’d love to go there someday.”

Mother insisted on cleaning up after dinner. I knew I wouldn’t win, so I conceded. I toped up my wine and sat down on the couch. Eventually, Mother rejoined me. I told her in detail about my meetings with Mrs. Turner. How surprised and happy I was with the company’s help and support, and how amazed I was that other transgender individuals were already there. And that Mrs. Turner wanted to have lunch with me. That night we did odds and ends. I noticed Mom was slowing down.

“Early night, Mom?” I saw her approval on her face. I went into her bathroom to draw her bath. We hugged. I kissed her on her cheek.

“I’m glad you came, Mom. Sleep late if you wish. Goodnight.” As I kissed her on her right cheek.

I carried my wine to the bathroom and drew my bathwater. I melted into the hot water as the bath-bubbles engulfed me.

I was up at about my regular work day time and started stuffing my male clothes in bags to take to Goodwill. “Good morning, Savannah .” Then she hugged me from behind and kissed me on my neck.

“Good morning, Mom. I’m happy you are here.”

“I see you have a waffle maker. Want a waffle?”

“Sorry, Mom, I forgot to get pancake mix and syrup. I’ll stop by Trader Joe’s on the way back from the Goodwill.”

“Trader Joe’s?” I remember she didn’t have one near her, so I told her how great the store is. “I’ll take you before you leave. It’s a darling grocery store. I can make you French toast, eggs, bacon, oatmeal, and I have some delicious gluten-free Trader Joe’s bagels too. Oh, and some cereal too. What can I make you?”

“No, dear. If you don’t need help putting that in your car, I’ll make breakfast. Oatmeal, okay?”

“Oatmeal’s perfect. Thank you. If you weren’t here, I might forget to eat.”

Before taking the last bag of Kenny’s clothes to my car to take to Goodwill, I paused, said a little prayer to him, and wished him the best in his new homes and owners. Mom smiled at me for such a caring send-off. I had three out of the four bags in my car when Mom had breakfast ready. I cleaned the dishes before she insisted on doing them.

“One more cup of coffee and I’ll leave.”

The next day I planned on taking Mother to the mall.

Next: Shopping with Mom.

  • Yum

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Category: Fiction


About the Author ()

This story is not like other stories that I’ve read saying that the author has always know they were a girl — I think I discovered being one.

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