Drama Contemporary LGBTQ+

I sat idly at the table playing with my food, doing my best to avoid telling my daughter about my decision. What would Amanda think, I said to myself. Glancing at her eyes, I could tell she sensed something was off. She repeatedly shifted her focus from her dish to my face, until she couldn’t stand it anymore.

Gently, Amanda placed her fork on the table, and as it struck its surface, its sound broke the deathly silence filling the room. “What is it, dad,” she asked.

It was a simple question, one that should have been easily answered, but I had to dig deep in my soul to find strength to drag those words out of me. “Honey, I’m quitting my job.”

Maybe if I told her I was planning to get married again or was dying from cancer, she might have been prepared for my response, but the idea that I wanted to quit my profession completely blindsided her.

Through sheer determination, she gathered herself together and asked the most obvious question of all. “After all those years of practicing medicine, why would you want to give up on it now?”

While the exasperated look on Amanda’s face tore into my heart, I desperately searched for a short answer to give her, but I came to realize one didn’t exist. With no other recourse available, I recited the long version.

“As you know, I’ve been performing surgeries transitioning men to women and women to men for the last fifteen years, but until today, not once did I ever think much about the peculiar choices they made or how they wanted to live affect me. Who was I to argue with someone who believes they were trapped in a gender not of their choosing? My job was to give them what they requested, for a price of course. That was until Mary walked in my office.

“When I close my eyes and look back, I can recall the moment she appeared. It was right after my first appointment, and I had just gotten off the phone with your mother’s divorce lawyer. The leech she hired saw the word Doctor in front of my name and decided to try to suck every dollar out of me as possible. As much as he tried to convince me the reason, she cheated on me was because I ignored her and drove her to infidelity and how it was my fault, I ended up telling him to pound sand. I may have no love for lawyers, but when it comes to your mother, I will love her always, even if it means we must live apart.”

“Dad!” Amanda blurted out. “I’m tired of hearing you wail about your divorce. Get to the point.”

“Sorry, sweetheart. Let me continue. Apparently, my emotions were written on my face, for when Mary walked in my office her brow furled and she immediately asked, “Are you okay, doctor?”

“The first thing I thought was, why is she worried about me? Shouldn’t she be concerned about her upcoming surgery? I recalled what was written in her medical records. Mary McLane, once named Gary. Profession, Librarian. Psychological profile, stable. Fully aware of ramifications from transitional surgeries. Taken estrogen and progestin for the past two years. Breast augmentation completed as well as minor procedures to facial enhancements and hair removal. Currently preparing for final genital reassignment surgery.

“If you ask me Amanda, I’d say her journey down the road to perdition was nearly completed, and my office was her final stop before checking into Hell. Realizing her plate was full, I asked her, “Why are you worried about me?” It didn’t take long to find out the answer.”

She replied, “I’ve seen that look a hundred times, doctor. It’s the looks of someone about to lose something or someone important. I’m guessing the latter.”

“The look on my face must have been more telling than my sealed lips, for she continued, “Being a librarian is more than putting books on a shelf. In fact, the most important job of a librarian is being able to deal with dozens of people and their everyday problems. That includes sharing their joys as well as their griefs. You may ask why do they reach out to me? The answer is obvious. In their hearts, they know I’m a safe haven to unload their worries. So, tell me, doctor, what burden weighs on your shoulders?”

“Never had I experienced a patient come through my doors and console me the way she did, and at the same time, I asked myself, Why am I listening to her? The answer? Her words, though simple, touched my heart. Pride has always been a burden I carried, but at soon as I heard her speak, I threw my pride to the side, and before I realized what I was doing, tears were flowing down my cheeks, and I was sharing all the sorrows and pain I had pent up for the past several years to a complete stranger.

“As I sat there crying my eyes out, Mary silently stood there, and compassionately looked down at me with her loving face. When I finally finished, it felt as if the world was lifted off my shoulders. I looked up at Mary and through mt feeble lips, I asked, “Who are you?”

“Mary pointed towards her file and replied, “Your file may tell you who I am, but says nothing about who I was. I was Gary McLane. Physically, I was male, but by the time I reached sixteen, I knew I was a woman at heart, and even though I knew I was a woman trapped in a man’s body, I continued to hide it. How could I tell anyone I was so different, so alone? I continued my life in hiding. Sadly, I can’t recall a single day that I was happy. When I reached my mid-twenties, thoughts of suicide danced in my mind. It was then I came to realize I had one of two choices. Either die or quit denying who I truly was. That’s why I’m here today and not buried in a cemetery. Learning my happiness was more important than what people thought of me was a difficult path I had to follow. But in the end, I’m glad I traversed it. So, it’s my turn to ask you, are we so different?”

“The words Mary spoke echoed through my mind. Are we so different? Did we both go through life trying to live up to other people’s expectations, even at the cost of our own happiness? There was no arguing that point. But what about reality? Mary was born a man. Genes don’t lie, so why is she denying her gender? But how is gender defined in your mind? There was no straight answer. Still, she had a point. My grandfather was a doctor, as was my father, so why do I assume I have to be a doctor as well? Truth be known, I always wanted to be a guitar player in a rock & roll band. Sadly, I never shared my dream with my father, and because of it, I ended up living the life he chose for me. Nothing could have made me more miserable.

“So, I looked at Mary and declared, “You’re right. We may be similar, but we do have one major difference. Where you had the courage to change your path in life, I don’t have the strength to do so. Unlike you, I couldn’t face my friends or family if they found out I stepped down from such a lucrative career. They wouldn’t understand how I could do such a thing.”

“I’m so sorry to hear that, doctor. I only hope that I’m wrong and you will find some peace and happiness in your life, and for your wife as well.” Then she looked at the clock and continued, “Oh my, time has flown. Please, let’s continue with my consultation so you can get to your next patient.”

“Ten minutes later, she was gone, but her words remained in my heart.”

As Amanda’s eyes remained transfixed on me, the edges of her lips turned up. “That guitar you keep in the closet, do you ever...”

“Every night. Before I go to sleep, I play at least one classic rock hit. A grin spread across my face. “You should come by and hear me some time.”

Amanda laughed. “I might take you up on your offer.” After taking a sip of wine and savoring the momentary silence, she asked, “Mary’s quite the woman, isn’t she?”

I may not be a God-fearing man, but I do believe in angels, and that they come in all shapes and sizes. Believe me, if one ever entered my life, it was Mary.”

September 12, 2022 17:33

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Trebor Mack
03:05 Sep 22, 2022



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Howard Seeley
16:20 Sep 14, 2022

A word from the wise comes from all places. Enjoy!


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