Wes Boyd's
Spearfish Lake Tales
Contemporary Mainstream Books and Serials Online

The Girl in the Mirror
Book 3 of the Bradford Exiles
Wes Boyd
©2005, ©2011



Chapter 19

October 10, 1998

"I will admit now to having regrets that we didnít try it earlier, when the estrogen might not have gotten in the way," Eve told the group. "But it was for other reasons than you might think. It would have given me a depth of experience that would have been useful to me in my professional life. Still, the experience was rewarding, and I enjoyed it at the time."

"Well, I did too," Shae blushed.

"Yes, we were both young and foolish," Eve grinned. "Which leads to an interesting observation. I think youíve learned by now that sometimes language and definitions break down when used about me. As my father said, ĎSometimes weíre just going to have to put up with surreal.í This is one of those instances. As I told you, we both considered it a lesbian experience at the time, and it may have been the main reason besides the estrogen why it was conventionally unsuccessful. But, as Iíve also told you, there are those uneducated and insensitive people who would consider me to still be a man, no matter the changes Iíve gone through. Those people would consider my sexual relations with my husband or any other man to be homosexual. If we take their definition at least part of the way, were I to have an affair with a woman, that would be considered heterosexual, correct?"

There was laughter. "Yeah, I think I see what you mean," Emily grinned.

"As I said, definitions break down. Personally, I consider myself to be a pretty straight woman, but a part of my work is with people who have gender identity problems, or other problems relating to their sexual identity. Sometimes I have difficulties in identifying with those problems until I stop and remind myself that Iíve had the experience of both heterosexual and homosexual relations both as a man and a woman. You donít get much more sexually polymorphous than that. I mean, Iíve covered all the possible angles."

Again there was laughter around the table. "So howíd you wind up in psychology?" Scott asked as the laughter died down.

"Iím afraid I have to back up a little on that," she replied. "In fact, it goes back to when we were in high school, and I was going through counseling in order to examine my own gender identity problems. It was not difficult, and I will not detail it, since weíve already covered much of what was discussed. In the opening sessions, much of the material was on issues Barb had already raised with me that time at Dress to Desire. I found the process interesting, though, and one day I happened to ask a clinical psychologist, Dr. Ramsdell Ė one of the three counselors I had at different times Ė what it was that a clinical psychologist did. We went well over our scheduled session time, and he recommended a couple books. I read those over while we were still in high school, and that got me to thinking.

"I started college with the intent of getting a degree in business, and possibly even going to work for General Hardware Retailers. I have to say that my heart was never in that, but after my mediocre grades in high school, I was not at all sure I could handle the course work at a college level. As it turned out, I got excellent grades that first year, which if nothing else helped prove that my transgendering had been the proper move. Although Shae and I had a relatively uneventful freshman year, other than the parts involving her basketball, it was an interesting and rewarding one, and it proved to me I could handle more difficult work. So, for a number of reasons, not the least of which was a desire to better understand myself, before we finished our freshman year I switched my major to psychology, and I eventually wound up as a clinical psychologist. Dr. Ramsdell had a great deal to do with that, but realistically, it was Barb who planted the first seeds back there, that first day at Dress to Desire."

"Did you ever see her again?" Sonja asked.

"Relatively recently," Eve smiled. "I had a conference in Chicago and some time to spare, so I dropped by Dress to Desire, reminisced with Carl a bit and asked if it would be possible to thank her personally for changing my life in so many ways. The three of us wound up having a quiet dinner that evening. She remembered me well, to my surprise. Sheís ten years older, still quite well adjusted and happy in her life. She is still estranged from her parents and siblings, but has been reunited with her son, who now has two small children of his own. Sheís quite the proud grandparent, and I was happy for her. She said she was happy that things had worked out for me and proud of what I have accomplished." She let a short silence pass. "And I still donít know if her name is really Barb, or what, even though she did a great deal to change my life."

"You had the surgery after you got out of school that year?" Emily asked. "It must have been you who Shae was on her way to see when I saw her the last time before tonight."

"Yeah, it was," Shae smiled. "I sort of had to take over for Barb and tell her not to do it one last time."

"Which both she and my parents did," Eve grinned. "Just as they were rolling me into the operating room, and I was already nearly out of it from sedation. I know I just brushed her off, since I felt a great peace with my decision. Any anxiety, any worry that I might have had was long in the past, and really, I only felt anticipation."

"You werenít nervous, or anything?" Vicky asked.

"Nervous about the surgery itself," Eve told her. "It is fairly major surgery after all, near the surface in a sensitive part of the body where there are a lot of pain receptors, so I knew the recovery was going to be painful. And of course, any surgery is always a risk in itself. Along with that, there were some unknown issues about the outcome." She let out a sigh before she continued. "Weíve reached one of those points I warned you about that may seem rather gross and disgusting to the squeamish, and there are some issues that may make people uncomfortable. Yet, I canít avoid those areas if Iím going to tell the whole story, so consider this a fair warning."

She stopped and looked around the table, but no one made a move to leave, and she could detect no protests. "All right," she continued. "Iím not going to talk a lot about the surgical aspects themselves. In some respects it is not terribly difficult surgery, but it is delicate, and to do the best possible job requires a great deal of skill, especially if a high level of sensation and muscular control are to be attained. Itís much more than simply chopping off the genitals and cutting a hole, at least to do it right. Iíve heard it said that many transsexuals tend to consider their surgeons to be someone standing next to God for the changes they bring to their lives. It was that way for me, at least in the long run, so in a way, Iím sorry that I have no real memory of the experience.

"I recall slowly becoming aware of my surroundings, and having a great deal of pain in my groin. It was painful to the point where I was on decreasing levels of morphine for several days. I tried to hold down on its use, even though the relief it gave was quite blessed. I slowly became aware there were several drains down there, along with surgical dressings in strange places, and I was catheterized, which was also less than comfortable. After some days, some of the dressings were removed, especially some of those inside me, and with the help of a mirror I saw my new vagina for the first time. It was not a pretty sight, all red and swollen, and there was minor infection, but Ė and I donít know how to otherwise say this Ė it was there, and it felt like an enormous victory. Iíd really done it!"

She stopped and looked at the group for a minute. Several of the men had very uncomfortable looks on their faces, as if considering what would happen if they were to wake up in such circumstances. She grinned, and pressed on.

"One of the issues involving the success of the surgery is the ability to urinate, and it was the first and most important post-surgical hurdle to cross. Quite obviously, the plumbing is somewhat different than I had been used to. More importantly, the muscles controlling it were not the same, nor were the signals controlling them. If I proved unable to bring myself to urinate and control it, there was the possibility of further surgery that might correct the problem, but it might not. A small percentage of transsexuals cannot pass that hurdle. Some find themselves permanently incontinent, and others have to learn to catheterize themselves, so that was a major concern. To be a little gross, some hours after the catheter was removed I sat perched on the pot for nearly an hour trying to find the muscle command to empty a bladder that was becoming painfully full. I was finally able to, with some difficulty." She let out a sigh. "The results were painful, and a mess. I mean, I sprayed down just about everything. As it turned out, once I had healed a little more and the swelling went down, I was able to get it under better control, and after a month or so I was able to urinate much like any other woman. But, there was a while there that taking a leak also involved a mop and a shower afterward."

There was laughter again. "After I passed that hurdle, I was released from the hospital, but I still had twice-daily clinic visits for the next several days, so we stayed in a nearby motel. I was still very tender, so Iím glad that Shae and my parents were able and willing to help me. Iím afraid that it was a bit distracting for my father especially, but he was the one who had said we were going to have to learn to put up with awkward from time to time and he got a larger than normal share of it. Now, one of the facts of my life from the point that the packing was removed from my vaginal canal was the fact that it would have to be dilated regularly and frequently during the healing process. This would insure that things wouldnít grow together in ways we didnít want them to, so that I had the potential of being sexually active in the future. Being dilated sounds like a medical term, but you ladies present will understand that it was not the most comfortable feeling to have a large dildo stuck up there for many hours a day. And weíre not talking comfortably large; weíre talking large enough to stretch things."

Again Eve paused and glanced around the room, to see uncomfortable looking expressions again Ė this time on the faces of several of the women. "Yes," she grinned. "Every bit of it. They say you can get used to anything, and I suppose I got used to that after a fashion, but the truth of the matter was that it was mostly boring. I had to lay more or less flat on my back and not move much, with nothing to do but read or watch TV, and occasionally, if I was lucky, sleep a little."

"While everyone else waited on you hand and foot," Shae snickered. "But what I remember more than anything else is the times in between."

"Yes, I suppose I overdid it a little," she blushed.

"No," Shae grinned. "You overdid it a lot."

"Yes, but it felt so good," Eve grinned as she recovered her composure. "I donít know if anyone here can identify with my feelings at that point, but after all those years it felt so unbelievably good to be rid of all that stuff between my legs and finally be like I was supposed to be that I felt like I wanted to show it off a little."

"Show it off a lot," Shae laughed. "What Eve is saying is that unless someone got on her case real bad sheíd wander around the motel room bottomless just to show off that the stuff was gone."

That touched off some laughter, and as soon as it died down a little, Eve added, "Well, itís not like I had anything to hide anymore."

That set off another round, before Shae continued, "It would probably have been OK if it had been just Arlene and me, but her dad had some troubles with it." There was more laughter as people visualized the scene.

"Well, I was rather proud of it," Eve grinned. "Shae, as well as you knew me, and you probably knew me better than anyone on earth by that point, you had no idea of just how wonderful it felt to finally be the woman I knew Iíd been all along. Yes, I was showing off, and I picked up a little of that from you, I think." She let out yet another sigh, and said, "What I wasnít realizing was I was still in transition a little. It works a little differently for everyone, of course. As you have seen, there was a great deal of preparation, both mental and physical, before I could actually have the surgery, and I had seen that as an end in itself, the final hurdle. It wasnít, of course, but it was more fun along the way than the earlier steps."

August 7Ė8, 1989

Life was good.

Eve was perfectly satisfied with everything as she lay on the deck of the pool in the back yard in Wheat Ridge, catching some Colorado elevation summer sun to work on her tan, wearing a pair of sunglasses. Nothing else, just the sunglasses.

There was still a few weeks until she had to head back to Ball State, and she proposed to make the most of them. But then Ball State promised to be a little different than last year, too, at least partly because of the new major, and the new goals that went along with it. This could easily be the last long, lazy idyllic period she could expect in her life, and sheíd spent many hours out catching the sun in the nude, or at the most in a string bikini, glorying in the wonder of really being a woman at last.

Almost two months after her reassignment surgery the pain was gone and the healing essentially completed; even some spots that had been tender werenít anymore. She was still having to dilate, although nothing like sheíd had to in the weeks following the surgery, but now it was rare, and more of an infrequent inconvenience than a major hassle. Still, when she glanced down her naked body to her groin, it was a little amazing to see that her unfortunate birth defect was finally gone, and it was a wonder to finally feel whole.

Lost in her reveries, she didnít hear steps approaching from around the house, so the words "Hi, Eve!" from her neighbor made her give a start.

"Oh, hi, Beth," she smiled as she calmed down a little, and rolled over to be able to raise her head to talk to her friend. "Whatís happening?"

"Not a lot," Beth smiled. "I see youíre catching some rays again."

"Iíll be back in Indiana all too soon, and there wonít be the chance to get out like this."

"In the nude, especially," Beth grinned. "I like to do it when I can, but when youíve got a brother around the house, itís not as easy."

"I suppose," Eve grinned. "Boys can really be a pain sometimes, canít they?"

"Yes," Beth said. "I often wonder what itís like to be a boy and be that crazy, but I guess Iíll never know."

"Iíll take being a girl, thanks," Eve laughed. "What brings you over today?"

"Jack and I were talking it over," she said. "Weíre just a little bored, and wouldnít mind having something to do. We were talking about maybe taking Donnie, and going up into the mountains and doing some camping."

"Sounds like itíd be fun," Eve nodded.

"I think so," Beth agreed. "Jack and I were wondering if you might like to go along, I mean, if youíre healed up enough."

"If youíre talking a backpacking trip, I donít think so," she replied. "And itís less a question of being healed up than it is of being inactive so much that Iím not in good shape."

"Weíre not talking backpacking," Beth explained. "Jack and I know some places up on the east side of the Medicine Bow Mountains, up around Red Feather, where we can camp out of the Jeep. Itís four-wheel drive to get in there, so we ought to be pretty alone."

"Sure, sounds like fun," Eve replied. "I donít have a bit of camping gear. I havenít been camping since I was in scouts, and I didnít stay in them long."

"We should have enough lying around," Beth smiled. "I think if youíre involved, we ought to be able to talk the folks into it."

"Is there some problem?"

"Well, yeah," Beth sighed. "My folks, well, theyíre not too hot on Donnie, you know that."

Eve did. It would not be the first time sheíd made a fourth on a double date with Beth and Donnie and Jack, not even the first time this summer, but usually it was messing around in the afternoons or evenings. It was no trick to see that there was something going on between Beth and Donnie, just as it was no trick to see that Beth and Jackís parents were a bit on the over-controlling side considering that both of the kids were over eighteen now. "So, they think itíd be safer if I was along?" Eve grinned.

"Well, yeah," Beth nodded. "Donít get me wrong, Iíd like you to go along and have fun with us, but if I had the chance Iíd rather it was just him and me."

"I understand," Eve smiled. "Jack knows about this, of course."

"Sure, heís the one who suggested it," Beth nodded. "He knows I want to get away with Donnie."

"All right, then," Eve grinned. "Iíll be glad to help out. Iíd love to get up in the mountains for a few days, anyway. Have you ever been in Indiana?"

"No, Iíve never been east much."

"Flat and dull, like a boyís chest," Eve grinned. "When are we planning on doing this?"

"Jack and I thought that if you were up for it, we could take off tomorrow morning. Where weíre planning on going is back up away from things, and weíd probably have a better chance to be alone for two or three days during the week."

"It should work just fine," Eve nodded. "I have no idea of what I need to take, clothes or like that."

"Not much, just casual stuff, shirts and jeans, shorts, and a swimsuit or two," Beth explained. "Thereís a little mountain stream with a pool where you can almost go swimming if you can stand it, since the water is really cold. But donít bring too much; thereíll be four of us, and there wonít be much room for gear, too. Weíll all have to keep it down."

"I can keep it down if I have to," Eve smiled. "You can handle the tents and sleeping bags and camp gear?"

"Sure, no problem, we have lots. You want to come over? Weíll tell Jack and Mom that itís a go."

"Sure, it was getting dull lying around here anyway," Eve replied as she twisted to get up. "Itíll be nice to have something to do. Letís go."

"Uh, Eve," Beth said shyly, "Donít you think you ought to, uh, put something on?"

"Oh, good grief," Eve blushed, realizing she was still wearing nothing but her sunglasses. "I guess I forgot. Give me a second."

A rather skimpy string bikini lay close at hand, and as she began to tie it on, Beth remarked, "You know, itís a little strange."

"What?"

"Last summer, you hardly ever got out in the sun at all, and when you did you wore that gross one-piece, like you were some kind of a religious fanatic," she said. "This year, it seems like youíre out here all the time in a tiny bikini or nothing at all."

"Iíve changed a lot in the past year," Eve conceded as she tied a string. "College can do that to you, you know, and I suppose itís changed me more than most."

*   *   *

Beth hadnít been kidding when sheíd said it would take four wheel drive to get up to the spot in the Medicine Bows that she and Jack had been thinking of. It was rough and bumpy, and even with the seat belt, Eve had to hang on as Jack wrestled the Cherokee up the alleged trail.

It had been a couple hoursí drive up from Wheat Ridge, and most of it was easy, four lanes, then two lanes. Eve had sat in the seat across from Jack, while Beth and Donnie sat cuddled close together in the back Ė at least until they got to the rough stuff and had to hang on for dear life.

For a ways, the going became a little easier, and Eve leaned back in the seat, rested a little, and glanced over at Jack behind the wheel. Jack was actually a pretty nice guy, all in all, and had become something of a friend over the past two summers. He was probably not a guy she would have cared to make a life with, for a number of reasons, and there were a lot of things that they didnít see eye to eye on. In any case, they both would be off at college again soon, far, far apart.

Jack was fun up to a point, and although theyíd been pretty straight with each other, last summer and again this summer thereíd been a few innocent, and some not-quite-so-innocent kisses and hugs and touches.

What with everything, there was an obvious scenario that Eve had been considering, and this trip might offer a good chance.

Jack bounced the Cherokee through a wallow, up a steep slope, down a rough two-rut for a bit longer then turned off in a flatter area and headed cross country a little. "Dad found this place years ago," he explained. "Itís real quiet and peaceful, and people donít seem to come up here much. We ought to be pretty alone."

A couple minutes later, after twisting down among rocks and trees, he brought the Jeep to a stop alongside a small rock-girt stream, with a pool in front of them. Mountains rose high above them, but if they looked down the valley to the east they could see the flats of the open prairie. It was a really nice spot, Eve conceded as she unbuckled the seat belt and got out of the Jeep.

It took a while to set up camp Ė Eve had no idea of what she was doing, so that didnít speed things up any. Eventually they were pretty well done, and they sat around by the stream, eating sandwiches and holding cans from the cooler full of Coors that none of them were old enough to drink legally.

In the afternoon, they explored up the stream a little, just to have something to do. Well, at least Jack and Eve explored up the stream, Donnie and Beth were off in a different direction, doing something else. Eve suspected what but didnít really care.

In the evening, they had hot dogs roasted over an open fire, and as the shadows crept down the valley, the evening began to fall, and the fire began to cause flickering shadows around the campsite, the four sat, beers in hand, and Beth asked the question that Eve had been expecting since sheíd been invited on the outing: "Eve, uh, would you have any objection if we didnít, uh, have the same partners in the tents as we talked about?"

"Not at all," Eve grinned. "At least if itís OK with Jack. I figured thatís what you had in mind when you asked me up here in the first place."

"Youíre right," Jack said. "In fact, Iíll admit to being the one who suggested it to Beth, so if you want to get pissed with someone, get pissed with me. Iím not asking you to share the tent; Iíll sleep in the Jeep or under the stars or something."

"We, uh, hate to have to do it this way," Beth told her. "But Donnie and I donít get the chance to see each other much during the year, and during the summer my folks always have their eyes out."

"I understand," Eve smiled. "And donít worry, I wonít tell. The two of you have fun."

"Eve, youíre incredible," Beth shook her head. "We, well, we werenít sure how you would take it."

There were a few minutes of switching gear. Donnie hauled his sleeping bag and clothing up to what had been the girlsí tent, perhaps forty or fifty yards upstream from the guysí tent near the campfire, and out of sight behind some bushes. Jack helped Eve haul her gear back down to the other tent, and then, a bit sheepishly, Beth and Donnie headed back up to their tent while Eve and Jack sat around the dying fire in the falling darkness.

"Eve, youíre a real good sport about this," he said. "I sort of have a girlfriend down at Tech, so itís different for me, but Beth, well, she doesnít get the chance very much and, well . . . "

"You want to help," Eve finished for him, feeling his discomfort. "Believe me, I understand fully, and envy her a little." She slid over next to Jack, reached out and put her arm around him. "Sheís a very lucky girl to have a brother like you, whoíll do something like that for her. A lot of brothers wouldnít."

"I just want her to be happy," he said.

"Thatís understandable," Eve replied. "We all want to be happy. Jack, it would make me happy if you didnít think you were run out of the tent tonight. Thereís no reason for you to have to sleep under the stars or in the Jeep."

"But wouldnít . . . are you saying what I think youíre saying?"

"Yes, Jack, I am," Eve grinned, and she pulled him close and gave him a little kiss. "You didnít think Iíd planned on letting Beth have all the fun, did you?"

"But . . . I thought . . . well . . . "

"Jack, you and Beth arenít the only people who do things differently at college than they do at home."

"Well, all right. I have to say I was envying Donnie more than a little, too." He let out a long sigh. "Eve, I didnít plan on this happening, so I have to ask you, are you on the pill or something? I donít want to worry about getting you pregnant."

"No, Jack, itís not a problem," she said. "Iím not on the pill, but you donít have to worry about getting me pregnant. I canít."

"You canít?" he said. "I didnít know that."

"You didnít need to," she smiled. "Jack, you know I had surgery earlier this summer. I had a bad growth down around my uterus, and it had to be removed."

"I didnít know that. Iím sorry."

"Donít be. If I hadnít done something, it probably would have killed me sooner than later. That means I can never have children, but to me it was a fair trade."

"Yeah, I guess it is, when you put it like that," he grinned, leaning forward to kiss her again. "Eve, youíre some woman."


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