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Theresa — Chapter 37 by Hebe Dotson

| May 4, 2009
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The Story So Far (TGF subscribers can read earlier installments): Eddie has taken an unanticipated business trip to New York City, and Terri invites him to enjoy the fine spring Saturday with her and Jessie at the Bronx Zoo. They are having a wonderful time until Mr. & Mrs. Norris arrive on the scene. Mrs. Norris is outraged by the young couple’s casual affection for each other. She tells Terri that she’ll do everything she can to gain custody of Jessie.

Thanks to Eddie’s surprise visit, Jessie and I had enjoyed a wonderful weekend. We’d had a marvelous time at the zoo — I’d enjoyed all but about ten minutes of our time there, and Jessie had loved everything, without exception. Eddie thought As You Like It was great, and knowing he was in the audience enhanced the pleasure I always drew from my performances.

That was our rather busy Saturday. On Sunday, the three of us took a delightful three-hour excursion boat cruise around Manhattan. It was another gorgeous day, and all of the sights of the city stood out in the clear, cool air – the Statue of Liberty; the bridges to Brooklyn, the Bronx, and New Jersey; the Empire State Building; and the latest marvel: the twin towers of the World Trade Center, the tallest buildings in the world, which had been dedicated just a few days earlier.

Now it was Monday. Eddie had had to put in a day of work to justify his trip to New York, and tomorrow he was going back to Los Angeles, but tonight we were dancing at Big Tony’s.

“Fifty!” I said happily.

“Fifty what?” Eddie asked. “Fifty more boat trips around Manhattan? Fifty times I’ve stepped on your feet? Fifty years in the slammer for the Norrises? Fifty thousand frozen delectables for Jessie?”

“Don’t go giving her any ideas,” I cautioned. We danced in silence for a minute or so. “You really don’t know what fifty I’m talking about?” I said.

“I haven’t a clue.”

“Eddie! It’s only fifty more days until my surgery!”

“Oh, that fifty. You’re still on track, then? They haven’t tacked on any extra time for bad behavior?”

I stuck out my tongue at him. “I’ll have you know I’ve been perfectly well-behaved.”
“A perfect little lady,” Eddie agreed. “Unfortunately.”

Between Sutter & Lansdowne and the play, I had managed to keep fully occupied through the middle of May, with no idle time for second-guessing myself. When the play closed on May 19, after a highly satisfactory six-week run, I found myself with time to spare. I’d gone to several auditions in April and had been offered a small role in a real Broadway play (I would also be understudying the ingenue) if I’d made a full recovery by August 13 from what I’d described as “minor corrective surgery.” My theatrical career would be on hiatus until then.

I talked my way through the last half of May and the first half of June. I talked to Chris; I talked to Mother; I talked to Dad and Ivy. The twins came home from college and I talked to them. Jessie and I took a weekend excursion to Philadelphia so I could talk to Barbara and Doug. I somehow refrained from buttonholing strangers on the street, but Dr. Sterling wasn’t safe from me. Neither were Karen Lake nor Josie — both rather envious but nonetheless supportive.

My family wasn’t particularly supportive, but we came to terms, more or less. They all urged me to change my mind before it was too late, but I knew they wouldn’t turn away from me if I went through with my surgery.

The countdown had continued, and now I’d made my way through the remnants of my theoretically masculine life to Saturday, June 23, twenty days short of my twenty-third birthday. I had just one more full day as a male (in truth, it had been sixteen months since I’d last dressed as a man, so I should say that I had to face only one more day with a male drainage system). Sunday afternoon, I’d check myself into the hospital and early Monday morning, what was left of Alan would be replaced by what was lacking in Theresa.

Monday would be my real birthday. Like any newborn, I could be given a fresh new name, but I’d decided to stay with the one I was using: Theresa Alexandra Sayers. Barbara was taken. I’d thought briefly of reclaiming my original alias, Juliet, but that would only have confused people who knew me, socially or professionally, as Terri or Theresa.

I’d had a very busy week. On the previous weekend, Jessie and I had taken the train to Philadelphia, where I’d left her in the care of my extremely pregnant sister and her husband until I’d completed my recuperation. I was amazed that Barbara had agreed to take Jessie, but she assured me it would be good practice for dealing with three children of her own. Besides, Doug’s business had been doing so well that they’d decided to hire a live-in nanny to help with the children; she was already on board, so Jessie would be no imposition on Barbara. Jessie and the nanny took to each other immediately, enabling me to drop one item from my long list of worries.

After returning to New York Sunday evening, I’d had a Monday morning appointment with Dr. Sterling, who had given his final approval for my surgery. After my appointment, I’d begun my last week of work at Sutter & Lansdowne, a week that ended with a nice little farewell party in the S&L tearoom after the store closed on Friday. With the exception of Mr. Gentlemen’s Shoes, I would miss my workmates, and it was gratifying to be told that there would always be an opening for me if I ever wanted to return.

On Wednesday morning, before going to work, I’d had an appointment with Mr. Squires to sign various documents he’d prepared for me. Because there was a chance — small but not negligible — that I wouldn’t survive my surgery, I executed two wills (one as Theresa and one, for safety’s sake, as Alan) leaving everything I owned to Jessie and expressing my wish for Barbara and Doug to have custody of my little heiress until she came of age. Mr. Squires had also prepared papers to legally change my name to Theresa Alexandra Sayers and to have my birth certificate and driver’s license revised to show my new name and sex. These papers would be sent to their appropriate destinations as soon as I’d phoned him from the hospital to advise him that I was now among the living females of the world.

With all this behind me, with no play to perform in, no job to go to, and no child to care for, with Mother doing Saturday matinee and evening performances and Dad (employable again) rehearsing a soon-to-open off-Broadway play, with Amy and Alice working at a summer hotel on Cape Cod and Eddie working in Los Angeles, and with Chris off with Jim to meet his parents in Hartford, I had no one to talk to.

Brad was one of the few people I knew who wasn’t on the list of those I’d talked with. I hadn’t actually seen him for several weeks, though he called me every few days to invite me to dinner or a movie or a play. We were never able to get together — our schedules didn’t often have the same evenings free, and when they did, I invented some activity to keep myself unavailable.

Now, when I finally had some time on my hands and nothing left to do but sit around and second-guess myself, Brad called.

After a minute or two of catch-up chit-chat (wouldn’t he be shocked if I told him what I’d really been up to?), Brad asked me to have dinner with him at a new Japanese restaurant. At that moment, I realized that I hadn’t given nearly enough thought to my future involvement with men. Did I want to break completely with my past, or did I want to retain my ties to the few single men who seemed to have some interest in me (namely, Eddie and Brad)? I wasn’t prepared to make that decision on the fly. “I’d love to if we can fit it in,” I said. “I’m free tonight and tomorrow night, but after that I’m going to be out of circulation for about six weeks.”

“I’m fine for tonight,” Brad said, “but I have to work tomorrow night.” We made quick arrangements to meet at the restaurant and I hurriedly began the process of making myself presentable.

The restaurant was nice — a very attractive place, with excellent service and food. We chatted pleasantly about inconsequential things during the meal. Brad wondered why I was going to be unavailable for six weeks and I muttered something about “girl stuff” — a bit of minor surgery with a fairly long recovery period. He didn’t want to talk about girl stuff.

The evening was so pleasant that I wondered if perhaps I shouldn’t just let things slide and wait until after my surgery to rethink my relationship with Brad. In the end, however, my curiosity overwhelmed me: I just had to ask him about his novel.

“It’s coming along pretty well,” he said. “It’s hard to find writing time, but I’ve outlined the entire story. It will run about forty chapters, and I’ve completed a draft of the first ten.”

“That’s a lot!” I said.

“I’m hoping to finish it by the end of the year.”

“Is it still based on that boy Jim knew in prep school?”


“What happens to him — your hero — after his freshman year?”

“He’s no hero,” Brad said vehemently. “He may be the major character in my story, but there’s nothing heroic about him. Nothing at all.”

I seemed to have touched a nerve. “Sorry,” I said. “So, what happens to what’s-his-name?”

“His name is Alan,” Brad said. He paused. I suddenly felt a bit woozy.

To Be Continued

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Category: 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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