Sunday was one of the harder days in this whole journey. M and I flew across the country and then drove another hour to go back home again. Home, to see my parents. Home, to visit and catch up with things. Home, to share a few meals and drink some good wine.
Home, to tell my parents their first born son is becoming a woman.
The closer we got to my parents place, the higher the tensions between M and I. We started the trip before the sunrise on the west coast and M slept most of the way on the first flight out east. She woke up somewhere over Texas jolly and light hearted. I, however, was nervous and getting more so as the trip wore on.
Our plan was for me to change into Rick at the Starbucks near their house. Head to the house, eat the good meal I’m sure my Mom would cook, and drink some very good wine I had brought. All of this as Rick.
The only thing about this plan I wasn’t worried about was the wine.
As we drove that last few miles M did her best to keep me sane and smiling. Starbucks is a great place to change from one gender to another because most of their bathrooms are single stall bathrooms with a lock on the door. It’s been a long time since Rick was out and changing back into this abandoned persona was harder than I had planned. More and more as I look into that mirror I see her. I see Dana looking back, I see the face I think belongs there. In that Starbuck’s bathroom mirror I see Rick, the old, tired man I used to be. To think I could just change my clothes and have his face stare back at me was a shock. My eyes swelled up and tears started flowing. E steals your ability to control your emotions; once the tears start it’s hard to stop them.
So Rick and M drive the last ten minutes to my parents with red puffy eyes and a nervous smile. As usual my Mom has dinner ready as soon as we walk through the front door and we go right to the kitchen to eat. I pull out the bottle of wine I brought with me to celebrate the news and grease the gears. I had forgotten how much my Dad knows about wine and one look at the bottle told him this was not an everyday bottle of wine, this was a bottle to mark a big day.
Dinner went well, the steak and potatoes my Dad still loves. I’ve given up meat long ago to get my body in shape for this path, so I didn’t eat much. That and my nerves were killing me. As dinner neared the end there was a break in the conversation, and with some hesitation I finished the wine in my glass, and I told them the news.
Then, just like every other time, stunned silence.
The news was clearly bigger than they could process and all my Dad could say was he loved me no matter what and it would all be fine. I had given up my position in the family as the first born son and as much as I hate the expression, became their only daughter.
We didn’t have enough wine.