THIS AND THAT

Fiction by Jenny Dean
2012 All rights reserved


                                  

 PART TWO

 

Mom was tucking me in as usual one night, when, instead of a quick kiss after my prayers she said, “Mandy, I’ve decided to adopt another child.  It’s best for you and I always wanted more than one.  I won’t always be here, and a brother or sister would be a blessing to you after I’m gone.” 
        I was stunned! “Oh Mother, please don’t.  I don’t need a brother or sister.  I just need you.  I don’t want anyone else, please!” 

But she only smiled and said, “Darling you’ll understand and appreciate it when you’re all grown up, believe me.” She held me for a while then kissed me and left.

 I cried for a long time that night, hating the idea of not being the one and only.  I hoped she would forget or change her mind.  I tried putting it out of my mind, but then one morning I awoke early to muted sounds coming from her room. 

When I walked in she was sitting at her dresser in a silk dressing robe and slip, brushing her hair.  I saw her girdle and hose on the bed next to one of her traveling outfits.  Aside from that I knew something was up because Rita, her special maid, wasn’t doing the brushing and then I noticed two large suitcases by the bed.  She saw me in the mirror and said, “Darling, I was going to wake you before I left.  Aunt Louise and I are going on a little trip.  Mr. Bender is traveling with us too.”  He was our family lawyer.  “I’ll be back in a few days, and Rosa will take good care of you while I’m gone.” 

I burst into tears, ran to her and held her as tightly as I could, knowing in my heart what was going to happen.  She was gentle and loving with me and I saw her eyes mist when she leaned over to kiss me goodbye later and then walked toward the waiting car.  I knew she was going to bring someone else home.  I was shattered. 

The house felt so empty after she left.  I felt abandoned and asked Rosa where Mom was going.  She reluctantly said, “France.” 

                                                                                  ______________________________

 

A week later, I saw one of our cars driving up with my mother in the back seat - and someone else sitting next to her.  I just couldn’t look, and ran to my room, burying my face in my pillow.  In a few minutes Mom walked in and said, “Mandy I have someone I want you to meet.”  I slowly looked up and saw a kid about my age, with pretty blue eyes and wavy blond hair that fell almost to their shoulders.  A boy!  A very pretty boy! 

Mom said, “Mandy, say hello to Andre.”  I couldn’t speak.  Then he said in accented English, “Hello Mandy, I’m glad to meet you.”  Even his voice was pretty. 

I reluctantly said, “Hello Andre.”  It was hate at first sight.  The little twerp couldn’t even talk right.  He also sounded like a girl!

Mom came to my room that night as she always had and held me.  I was still.  There were no tears this time as she hugged and kissed me, telling me how much she had missed me.  I felt betrayed. 

She talked softly, explaining again why another child was a good idea, and then said, “Mandy, I just have to tell you that Andre has no family, no one else to love him but us.  I only ask that you give him a chance.  Will you?”  I wouldn’t answer her, so she just sighed and asked me to think about it and kissed me goodnight.  As she started to walk out of the room I cried out, “Mom!” and held out my arms.  Then the dam broke, releasing a flood of tears. She held me again, this time staying until I fell asleep.

One thing has remained the same my whole life - my kind and loving mother.  That she shared her love with Andre too, is no surprise to me now.  She had a huge capacity to love and I was so lucky to have had her love me first.  It never diminished.

Sometime during the night, I thought I heard him crying and went to his room and quietly opened the door.  The moon was shinning through the window, filling his room with dim light.  He looked like an angel in profile as he stared out at the star filled sky.  Then he saw me and quickly wiped tears from his cheeks.

I wanted so much to hate him, but at that moment I just couldn’t.   He gave an uncertain smile and said, “Mandy I’m so sorry you don’t like me.  I have a secret to share with you that might make you happier.  I’m really a girl.  I know I am.  But of course I’m not as pretty as you.” 

I’d played doctor with some of my male cousins and friends, so I knew the difference between girls and boys, but I didn’t interrupt.

Then he said, “Everyone says I should be a girl.  I’ve always felt like a girl.  Mother Amy promised she would take me to see a special doctor who might be able to help me be a real girl.  In my heart I am a girl, Mandy, I just feel it.”

Yep, that sounded like my mom all right.  If anyone could make good on such a promise, she could. I had to admit he sure looked like a girl, a very pretty girl too.  He stood there in the moonlight with that angelic face, blond hair shimmering, wearing a long nightshirt mom had bought for him to sleep in - and he said I was pretty!

I’d had all I could take for one night and managed to kiss him on the cheek and go back to my room.  Perhaps I would give him a chance after all.  Maybe a pretend sister would be easier to take. 

I made it one week and then lost it with Andre. 

I attended a private girls' school, which required uniforms. I hated them even though Mom had the blue skirts and white cotton blouses tailor-made.  I was somewhat mollified when she finally bought me some bras. 

 I was nine when my breasts began to bloom and Mom decided it was time for bras.  I remember the wistful look on her face as she put my first one on me and adjusted the straps.  Then she smiled and said, “A girl just feels prettier wearing a brassiere, don’t you think, darling.”  I sure did, as I looked at myself in the full-length mirror.

The last Friday of every month was dress-up day at school and we were permitted to wear one of our own dresses and have lunch with our moms.  She brought Andre and a hamper filled with lunch goodies. We were both on our best behavior.  It was a nice visit that ended with a kiss from Mom, and even one from Andre.

That afternoon Jeffery, our driver, picked me up as usual and brought me home.  When I walked into my room to take off my dress and change into shorts, there was Andre wearing one of my blue petticoats, with a white bow in his hair - also mine, with one of my bras in his hands, trying to figure out how to put it on!  I went ballistic, hollering at him, screaming that he was never to come into my room again.  Mom came hurrying in just as Andre ran out of my room in tears.  It was a good thing I didn’t know he was also wearing a pair of my panties!

Mother calmed me down and told me she and Andre had an appointment with a special doctor who might be able to help him.  In the meantime, she didn’t see anything wrong with buying him some girls' clothes of his own.  At least he wouldn’t be trying to wear mine - I hoped.

The next day was Saturday and Mom kept her promise.  We’d finished breakfast and she said, “Children, we’re go shopping today.”  As usual, I asked, “Shop for what Mother?”  The ritual was intact.   Mom smiled and answered, “Oh, this and that.”  As I giggled, Andre looked at us, totally confused. 

“Andre can wear his clothes today until we find him some new ones that he’ll like.  Andre, we’ll shop at the same stores and shops where we buy Mandy’s clothes and you can wear a pretty dress home.”  Andre was so excited I thought he would pee in his pants at the news.  I just had to ask, “Mom, do I get anything new?”  She smiled and said, “Oh course you do, darling.”  Now we were both happy - for the time being, anyway.   

      PART THREE
 


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