The way the string of led lights tied to the headboard illuminated his face made me gasp. This man… he was not classically attractive, but I thought he was pretty darn cute. When he was being serious, he was downright handsome. But what I saw this time… the only word that came to mind to describe him was 'beautiful'.
My world changed on April 19, 2018, and I wasn’t even aware of it for another month. I guess I should start at the beginning, and then get back to my beautiful man.
My best friend, my “wife” of many years, Pam, came to visit shortly after my daughter’s 15th birthday. We would occasionally share a joint when we spent the night at each other’s house, but that night, she couldn’t spend the night, so she left me one as a 4/20 gift.
I smoked ⅔ of the joint on April 20, and enjoyed a nice high. I was a lightweight by even the lightestest of lightweight’s standards at that point, so that ⅔ was plenty. Saturday, the 21st, my daughter had a friend spend the night. Said friend is transgender, and at one point in a conversation, the friend said to my daughter, “So, you still go by ‘she’?”
Alarm bells went off in my head. Three years of post-puberty angst flashed through my head. The therapist she’d been seeing for just over a year… did she know something she wasn’t allowed to tell me?
I hate my boobs.
I fuckin’ hate having periods.
Being genetically female fucking sucks.
I had sympathized with every complaint because I agree fully… but maybe they were more dysphoric statements than bitchy girl comments.
I mulled it over in my head all day Sunday, and while she was at school on Monday. There were some symptoms that had cropped up recently that came to mind, plus she was hiding in her room a lot. I added everything together. I was pretty certain that I no longer had the daughter I had yearned for.
Serra decided not to go to her Pathfinders meeting that night, feeling uncomfortable in churches and with the younger girls that would be attending with them that night. She hid in her room, and I sat at my computer, as we both did so often. Finally, I went up to that level of the house to use the bathroom, but stopped at her door, first.
“Mom, when you’re done, can I get our book?”
We have a journal that we pass between so we can communicate with less immediate pressure.
I paused for a moment before I answered. That was the perfect opening. “Sure, but before I get it for you, I have a question.”
I inhaled deeply and looked at her. “Are you transgender?”
She wrapped her arms around her reddening face, slammed her head into her pillow, and gave me a thumbs-up.
I nodded, said, “Okay,” and tried not to let on that my heart was cracking down the middle.
We chatted a bit, and he told me his name was Phinn. It felt ludicrous to be asking my own child, at 15 years old, what their name is. But here I was.
“I’m leaving it up to you to tell everybody else. You do it however you feel is best.”
And so, Phinn chose to change his facebook name from Serra to Phinn, and his gender on facebook from female to male.
A shitstorm fell upon me after that, but we won’t go into that today. What we’re here to talk about today is my beautiful man.
The 23rd was the day everything actually started to change. That was the day I was introduced to my second son and told I no longer had a daughter. The 27th was the end of the beginning. After fielding questions and thinking about everything that had to be done and doing as much research as I could think of where it came to my new son, when I went to bed on the 27th, I smoked the last third of that 4/20 gift and pulled out my little blue computer.
Full disclosure: I am writing this while stoned.
What I did that night, though… I logged onto pof.com and started talking to whoever messaged me. This one guy was really polite, and stuck around more than a handful of messages. He never pushed for pics from or to me. He was just an all-around sweet guy. The next day, I woke up to a good morning message from him. I don’t think a day has gone by since then that I haven’t received a good morning message from him. Dawson, as I was to learn was his name, and I chatted on the pof app for a few hours, until I suggested we switch to texting. We exchanged numbers, and I got to know this sweet guy.
After about a week, we met for the first time. My first thought upon seeing him was that I thought his face looked longer than in his pictures. We had a good first visit, but when it came time for another visit, I chickened out.
I really really liked this guy. A lot. But I was feeling smothered, which made no sense. After a week, I finally figured out what was going on. I’m a meds-for-life kinda gal, and one of my meds got switched at the pharmacy from extended release to suspended release, and for some reason, the suspended release really screwed with my anxiety levels. So I arranged to procure some natural remedies to tide me over until I could get my meds fixed, and met him a second time.
As soon as he walked into my house that morning, my stress melted away. I felt safe. I felt like I was where I needed to be with whom I needed.
That same night, my kids and I went out to Pam’s place for the weekend, and while I was texting Dawson and talking to Pam, Pam and I were almost convinced that Dawson was going to drop the 'L' bomb on me. Pam advised me to drop him like a hot potato if he did. To run. Run far, far away.
Honestly, at that point, I probably would have said it back if he had said it. For the record, he didn’t.
We got together again, and later, after I had gotten home from his place, he asked me to be his girlfriend. I agreed, and the more time that went by, the more I was thinking that I wanted to tell him I loved him.
I was back at his place, and I told him I wanted to tell him something, but… I couldn’t get the words out. I was nearly in tears, I wanted so badly to tell him I loved him. My heart was bursting with love for this man, and I couldn’t get my mouth to open and pop out three little words.
A deep breath. “Iloveyou.” All in one breath. Did he hear me?
He leaned down and said, “I love you, too,” and kissed me.
Every single day, I fall deeper in love with him. Every time I have to say goodbye to him, a piece of my heart rips out and stays with him. I don’t think he realizes quite how tight his grip on me is.
Today was supposed to be a celebratory day. It was my older son’s 17th birthday. He’s not home to celebrate with, but I could have pretended. Instead, I found out that someone I have been friends with for more than ⅔ of my life...is dead. She’s gone. I’ll never see her again. I’ll never hear her voice again. She’ll never assure me that her medical problems are no big deal again.
Rest in peace, Blaine.
Today has been a really hard day. The birthday kid isn’t here. My friend is dead. Phinn spent most of the day holed up in his room (typical teenager). So, I was quite alone most of the day. But still, despite having to work, Dawson still checked on me to make sure I was doing ok.
I think he is a beautiful man. I wish he (and everybody) could see what I see.