Theresa, Chapter 36 by Hebe Dotson

| Apr 13, 2009
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The Story So Far (TGF subscribers can read earlier installments): Terri learns that her friend Chris had already figured out on her own that Terri had once been Alan and wasn’t fazed in the least by having her theory verified. Two days later, Brad, the man she met at a party hosted by a former rival at her prep school — JIm, comes by to take Terri to dinner. His muse has inspired him, and he’s begun work on a novel about a transsexual who’s living in NYC. It seems that Jim told Brad about a boy he knew in prep school who dressed full-time as a girl to prepare to play Juliet. However, he didn’t connect Alan to Terri. Terri dates Brad occasionally, but there’s something about him… She doesn’t understand him and she needs to talk to Chris.

“What makes you think he’s writing about you?” Chris asked. We were strolling along Fifth Avenue on a cool but gorgeous spring afternoon in lieu of taking our customary break in the Sutter & Lansdowne tearoom.

“Because I can’t believe he’s not writing about me,” I said.

Chris looked at me. “That’s a terrible answer, O Center of the Universe. You can do better than that.”

I made a face at her. “Look, Jim told you about going to school with Alan, though he said he thought Alan was my brother. He told Brad much the same story, and my year at Littlefield became the starting point for Brad’s novel. Brad made it sound as if Alan were just an anonymous boy at Littlefield, but Jim has told the story twice in the last few weeks since meeting us at the party, and I find it hard to believe he’d mention Alan’s name one time but not the other.”

“Maybe I’m the connection,” Chris said. “Maybe he mentioned Alan to me because he knew we were friends, but he may not have realized that Brad had met you.”

“I don’t know,” I said. “Every now and then I see something in Brad’s eyes — sort of a look of amused superiority, as if he knew some secret about me that I didn’t know he knew.”

“Now that’s something concrete,” Chris said. I stared at her in disbelief. “Seriously, Terr — I’m not being sarcastic. I have brothers and my brothers have friends, so I know a little about guys. They like to know something that gives them an advantage, and if they do, they’re usually not very good at hiding it.”

“I’m sure you know a lot more about them than I do,” I said. “One of the benefits of growing up as a girl instead of a clueless guy. What am I going to do?”

“About what?”

“Huh?” I said brightly.

“What do you think Brad might do that would cause you problems?”

“Well…he might publish his novel and then tell everyone that it was based on my life story.”

“Unless he turns out to be a truly great writer or your career takes a sudden leap to Broadway stardom, that story would be a nine-day wonder.”

“You’re right, I guess,” I said.

“What do you really want in life? Is an acting career still the most important thing to you, or do you want love and a home and a father for Jessie?”

“Both, I guess, but Jessie comes first, and I’m sure I could be perfectly happy doing community theatre somewhere in the suburbs.”

“From what you’ve been saying, I don’t think Brad’s on your short list for husband and father.”

“Probably not,” I conceded.



“He knows all about you, doesn’t he? Would a few days of gossip-column tittering bother him? Would it really be unacceptable for the world to know that you had to overcome the handicap of growing up a boy?”

“Yes, no, and probably not,” I laughed. “Thanks, Chris — you’ve given me a lot to think about, but I feel ever so much better.”

“Then let me see if I can make you feel worse: it’s time to go back to work!”

The spring of 1973 rolled into New York City on a lovely Saturday morning in early May. The sky was clear and blue; the air was soft and warm, the trees were an early hazy green, and flowers were blooming everywhere. Miraculously, it was not a Sutter & Lansdowne workday for me. I could enjoy the day!

“Jessie!” I said. “We’re going to the zoo!”

Half an hour later, breakfasted and dressed, we were two gorgeous women in full flower, ready for a day on the town. As we headed for the door, the phone rang. “I’ll get it,” Mother called. I paused with my hand on the doorknob. It couldn’t be S&L, telling me I had to come in after all. Jessie tugged on my other hand. Maybe we should just slip out the door…”Terri!” Mother called. “It’s Eddie!”

“Let me talk to him for just a minute,” I said to Jessie, “and then we’ll go to the zoo.”

Eddie was in town for a business meeting on Monday. It had materialized yesterday morning and he’d arrived from Los Angeles late last night. He hadn’t had a chance to call me earlier. “But I’m here and I’ve got the whole weekend free,” he said.

“Maybe we can work something out for tomorrow,” I said. “I’ve got a performance tonight, and Jessie and I are just leaving for the zoo.”

“The zoo — I haven’t been there for years. Say…would you mind if I joined you?”

“I’d love it,” I said, “and if you’ll buy Jessie an ice cream cone, she’ll love it too.”

We arranged to meet in fifteen minutes at the subway entrance, and Jessie and I hurried out the door.

We are at the Bronx Zoo, Jessie and Eddie and I. The old folks are sitting on a bench, soaking up the glorious sunshine and talking about everything and nothing. His arm is draped over my shoulder and I am nestled happily against him. Jessie has finished her ice cream and now she squats in the dust, ignoring the peacocks behind the nearby fence, trying to lure New York City’s scruffiest pigeon closer with the last remnant of the cone. Her hands and her dress are smeared with chocolate; her mouth is a promise of chocolaty kisses to come. She is beautiful.

The pigeon has seized the fragment of cone, dropped it, pecked at it once, watched it bounce away to disappear into the beak of an agile sparrow, and waddled indignantly away in search of another mark. Jessie knows exactly where her next mark can be found. She tugs at my skirt. “Effunts, Mommy,” she says. If Jessie wants effunts, effunts are what she’ll have. Eddie and I rise from our bench and the three of us stroll off, hand in sticky hand, to find the elephant house.

“Uh-oh,” Eddie says. “I think I detect the Wicked Witch of the West.” He nods slightly to his left, and I glance over in that direction.

Seven million people in New York, and it’s not enough that two of the ones I know are here at the zoo — there have to be two more. Mr. and Mrs. Norris. They glower at me.

Someone else knows these people; someone else glances left and shouts “Gramma! Grampa!” The Norris glowers turn to smiles as Jessie runs to hug them. I smile to see chocolate hand prints on Gramma’s pastel skirt.

“Look, Grampa! Effunts!” Jessie shouts. With a strength greater than any elephant’s, she tows Grampa toward the fence surrounding the elephant house, leaving Eddie and me in the Wicked Witch’s clutches.

“We’ve been watching you,” she says. “It’s absolutely disgusting. A grown man running around in public in a skimpy little dress, just flaunting himself for everyone to see — and hanging all over another grown man like a Times Square harlot. It’s disgusting and immoral — and mark my words, we’re going to get that poor child away from you if that’s the last thing we ever do!”

There were a few non-supportive people in my life.

“So, what are you going to do?” Eddie asked. We were in a bar a few blocks from the theatre. I’d picked up a comp to As You Like It for him — strange as it seems, he’d never seen me perform before, and there was no telling when I’d be on stage again. The bar was a favorite Avon West hangout, and we’d gone there after the show with several other members of the cast. It had been crowded when we arrived, but the crowd had thinned out considerably and my fellow performers had all moved on. Our conversation had turned to the Norrises in general and Mrs. N’s threat in particular.

“Three things,” I said. “Jessie and I are going on that boat ride around Manhattan with you tomorrow, just as we decided this afternoon. Second, I’m going to have my surgery next month. Third, I’m not going to let the Norrises have Jessie — I’ll leave town with her if I have to. And fourth-four things — I’m going dancing with you Monday night, if you’re agreeable — and you’d better be.”

“And if I’m not?”

I smiled at him. “I can still lick you,” I said.

“What do you mean, you can still lick me? You never could lick me. I could always lick you!”

“Not the last time.”

“When was the last time? Seventh grade?”

“I think so.”

“What were we fighting about?”

“I don’t remember. Something stupid.”

“I remember,” Eddie said. “I let you beat me. I felt sorry for you. Your father had just missed getting a Tony.”

“Whatever. So, I beat you last time and that makes me the champ, so I’m entitled to say I can still lick you.” I smiled at him.

“I can’t believe it,” Eddie said.

“What? That I can still lick you?”

“No. That you’re so beautiful.”

To be continued

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Category: All TGForum Posts, Fiction


About the Author ()

One of TGF's longest running authors, Hebe has been writing for TGF since the 1990s. With a focus on TG fiction she also has covered mythic crossdressing and recently has reported on TG events.

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