“Why do you like her?”

“Huh!?”

“I said, why do you like her?”

“What are you talking about?”

“The girl that just left, the one in the turquoise top, why do you like her?”

“How can you tell?”

“I’m a bar lady, I notice things. Or maybe I’m just bored. I don’t know but your face always seem to light up when she enters and droops when she leaves. That got me thinking: Are you a stalker?”

“Well, since you seem to know more about me than I do myself, you answer it: Do I look like a stalker?”

“No you don’t.  Besides, if you were, you wouldn’t still be sitting here, would you? You haven’t answered my question yet. I can see that you like her but let’s be honest, both of us have seen her waltz out the door enamoured with more than one guy. Now, why would a sweet little tranny like yourself be interested in a, how to put this delicately, loose girl like her?”

“Humphh.”

“I mean, why don’t you try coming here in boy mode once, maybe she’d be interested then? She certainly doesn’t seem to discourage advances, who knows, it might be your lucky night. But then, I’ve never seen you leave here with anyone, and you only ever have eyes for her, which tells me you’re not gay… are you?”

“It’s complicated… and screwed up. Besides, I don’t sleep around. I’m conservative.”

“A conservative tranny? Now that is screwed up! A conservative tranny in love with a promiscuous girl? Wait, let me get the phone, Jerry Springer needs to hear this!”

“Tell me about it…”

“No please, it’s a slow night, feel free to tell ME about it. Why is it complicated?”

“Oh well, I may as well… Yes, I do like her. I don’t want to come here in boy mode and try pick her up for a one-nighter. I like her more than that. Besides, what if she rejected me? I’ve seen more guys strike out with her. That could be the end of it. Just like that. Or maybe she’d recognize me, and run for the hills. I can also tell she’s definitely not into girls, or bisexual. So approaching her like this is also a sure-fire no-no. But I also don’t want to deceive her, I’m a boy but also a girl sometimes. I don’t know what to do.”

“In the meantime, you’re losing out on something that could be great. That is if you could cure her wandering.”

“I suppose so but isn’t having something better than having nothing?”

“Sweetie, trust me, you HAVE nothing right now.”

“But she’s not shown any interest in me, ever.”

“That’s because you haven’t shown her anything to be interested in. Showing a girl what clothes you like to wear is no way to her heart. Maybe if she could see your heart, the clothes wouldn’t matter.”

“I suppose you’re right.”

“And I still don’t understand what you see in her.”

******

“So, what’s your story?”

Alvin whipped round at the sound of the sweet, singy voice behind him.

“Whaaat?”

Caught by surprise, he was at a loss for words, completely not how he pictured this happening…

“Well, before I dispatch anyone to the “Pervert” list, I like to know what their story is.”

The alarm bells went off in his head. He’d seen her enter, but thought it’d be like all the other times where he’d go home frustrated after seeing her leave.

“I’m not a perv…”

But then his eye caught hold of the lacy hem of his dress sitting neatly two inches above his panty hosed knees. He was stepping right into this!

“You just pencilled in your name.” she proceeded.

How could he fix this? By now an unknown man had joined her. She spoke again as he was too perplexed to speak out.

“While you’re looking for your tongue, could you please scoot over in the meantime? You seem to be taking up three chairs.” She pointed to the open chairs either side of Alvin.

Flabbergasted at her forwardness Alvin leapt out of his chair catching his leg on the end of the bar, promptly ripping a run in his pantyhose.

“Ooh that’s no good, bursting out all over the place are we?”

She sat down with her company and proceeded to ignore him in favour of the man in the dark grey suit. This was wrong, all wrong! What could he do? Demurely, he looked down at his lap, as he tried to gather his thoughts on how to rescue this dire situation. In his troubled eyes his scarlet dress seemed to reflect his heart by changing shade, from shame to irritation, from outright outrage to unadulterated passion for this girl, now happily chatting away to her preferred company. He did not know what to make of it though when the dress turned burgundy. He stuck out his hand to touch it, to somehow try and fathom what this change of shade in his minds’ eye could mean. Then he noticed it not disappearing behind the mound as it normally would. Only one mound! He’d thought he’d stock up on what was on public display first, and then fill in the hidden gaps later, but he knew he’d been caught out. His feet sloshed in his stilettos as he ran for the bathroom door, but he could still hear her (sweet) voice in the background:

“Ooohh honey, you just went to the top of the list.”

“And you’re a slut.” he could feel his lips forming the words, yet he was not sure they actually left his mouth.

Alvin cleaned up as best he could. He thought to himself what a right royal mess this had turned out to be. Drying out his dress and shoes seemed the least of his problems. Like his mom always said: It would be funny, if it wasn’t so tragic. Satisfied that it would suffice to get him home, he dragged himself out the bathroom door, knowing that he’d probably have to cop some more flak. She was still at the bar, but her company seemed to have made a break for it. The fire in her eyes told him that he more than lipped the words.

“Oh… she’s back, do we need to put her in dia…”

It was only then that she noticed Alvin’s decidedly flat chest on the one side. Instinctively, and unthinkingly, she stuck out a hand and pinched the other. Somehow the remaining water filled balloon survived the scrutiny, sparing him further embarrassment. She turned away from him and sat back down on her chair, none more was spoken. Quietly Alvin gathered up his things, pulled on his coat and muttered a farewell to the sympathetic looking bar lady. All he wanted to do was get out of there, never in his worst nightmares had he imagined things going this wrong.

******

Mia met Steven in her final year of varsity. Steven was a quintessential,  and very attractive, jock who enjoyed the usual pursuits of a young male:  sports, hunting, drinking and chasing girls with his testosterone infused buddies. Friends initially, a softer side of him opened up to her once she got past the hard exterior he portrayed to the world. They grew closer as time passed and continued dating after entering the rigours of the working world. One day he got down on one knee, proposed and she gladly accepted, safe in the knowledge that this was “The one”.  The date was set and her life was perfect. A dream husband with a good steady job who loved and adored her, what more could she ask for?

Mia was finishing off her post-graduate studies part-time whilst working as a shop assistant in a Victoria’s secret store to foot the bills. One day a stocky crossdresser came in and innocently  asked to be fitted for a bra. Her conservative upbringing came to the fore as she chased him out the door. Looking around she was flabbergasted to find the store manager frowning down upon her with a finger also pointed towards the door. She grabbed her stuff and with a “What is this world coming to?” she was gone. Good riddance she thought, her graduation wasn’t too far off and then she’d pursue the career she’d always dreamed of. In the mean time, she’d rather flip burgers than deal with perverts like that. For now, she thought she’d surprise Steven who was working from home on a big project.

Mia snuck in the back door of Steven’s place and made her way to the living room where he always worked on his laptop. She heard him speak:

“Yes mommy.”

Mia was befuddled, Steven never called his mom that, so she paused in the hallway. A creaky voice sounded from the laptop:

“Mommy will clean you now now!”

“Ooh…  yes mommy!” Steven sounded as if he could hardly contain his excitement. Mia could no longer contain her disdain and leapt round the corner. Naked, but for an oversized nappy, Steven was lying on his back, draining a sizeable baby bottle.

Mia moved on from Steven quickly. Despite her background, she was always open for suggestions in the bedroom, but this was maybe a bridge too far for her. Besides, since her heel cut a nasty gash across his cheek, Steven really wasn’t that attractive any more. Disillusioned by her own naivety, Mia swore to avoid any and all perverts, and became quite cynical about it. She started to frequent a nice bar in close proximity to where she lived, and found that she wasn’t all that conservative any more.  Would she ever let an upstanding man into her heart again? Only time would tell.

******

Mia had one last look in the mirror after brushing her teeth. She looked herself in the eye. Could it really be true? The bar ladies’ words still rung in her ears after her complaint:

“He called me a slut!”

“Don’t you think you provoked him  enough? You called him a pervert for dressing like a girl, yet I’ve seen you walk outta’ here knackered with more than a couple of guys? You think that makes you any better?”

Could she really be that hypocritical? “Oh well …” she thought as she drew the covers over her nose: “… bygones.” Still, she could not put the expression on his face after she pinched his “breast” aside as she lay in bed sleepless. There was real hurt there and no matter how much she tried to convince herself otherwise, she knew she had crossed the line. Okay, okay I will apologise next time I see him she thought as she drifted off.

******

Alvin took a while to get over the events of that fateful night. He never wanted to go back there again. Yet, there wasn’t too much alternatives for a guy of his inclination in this town, they had always welcomed him there, and he seemed to have a rapport with the bar lady. So after containing it for two weeks the urge to dress overcame him again, and he decided to head back to his old joint. If he saw her again, he would just ignore her and he was sure she would probably extend him the same courtesy. If she didn’t, well then though it would pain him, she would be fair game. He decided to put on a simple black skirt with a colourful form hugging top and put some extra effort into his make-up. If he was to go down in flames at least he wanted to look good doing so.

Alvin was a bit overcome as she approached him on entering the bar.

“I just wanted to…”

“…come  heap some more woe on me?” he completed her sentence.

She seemed momentarily stunned, regained her composure, turned and took a couple of strides before stopping and completing her sentence.

“… apologize.” and she walked off.

Realizing he spoke too son, Alvin wanted to bite his tongue but the damage had been done. They avoided each other for the rest of that evening but the battle lines had been drawn.

******

Mia met up with an old friend from school at a coffee shop one morning. Mia met Wanda through Steven and they struck it off immediately. In time they became something akin to best friends, their relationship even surviving the break-up with Steven.

Wanda was a very athletic specimen and liked nothing more than to compete with and beat the boys at their own games. Mia enjoyed Wanda’s company because she had none of the pretence some of the other girls seemed to have. What you saw was what you got with Wanda.

Mia could see Wanda was not her usual self, she seemed a bit shaky. Mia chatted away amicably but she noticed the conversation drying up from Wanda’s side.

“What’s  wrong Wanda? Did I say something wrong?”

“No, not at all.” came the reassurance, but Mia could still sense that something was up. So she decided to push on when the conversation was still meted.

“Wanda, please tell me what’s wrong? I’ve known you long enough to know that something’s up. You know I will gladly listen and help wherever I can. We’ve been friends for a long time and I think you owe me some trust.”

Wanda bit her lip, looked down at her lap and then promptly broke down crying. Mia had never seen Wanda in something approximating this vulnerable state. She always seemed so strong.

“I have a confession to make…” Wanda spoke.

“Please Wanda, you know you can trust me.”

Wanda looked up from her hands, locked her gaze with Mia’s and spoke uncertainly:

“Mia, I want to be a man. I am transsexual…”

Mia thought she could handle anything, but this hit her like a ton of bricks. Sure, Wanda was never like the other girly girls, but she was never manly. She even managed to pull off wearing some very shapely dresses on occasion, though she never seemed comfortable in doing so. Wanda took the opportunity to tell all since the floodgates had been opened. Mia was the quiet one now as she tried to absorb the torrent of emotion flowing freely from her friend.

When a break eventually came  Mia spoke up:

“I’m sorry Wanda, but this is all just too much for me to digest. I have to go, I’ll call you.” With that Mia got up and walked out. She felt bad just leaving her friend up in the air like that, but she could handle no more.

A couple of days later Mia worked up the courage to phone her friend.

“Wanda, I’m so sorry I walked out on you like that. It was inexcusable.”

“It’s okay Mia, I’m sorry for dumping so much on you all at once.”

“Wanda I can understand that you’ve been through a lot to have arrived at this point. I know this kind of thing doesn’t happen overnight, and that you’ve probably been through a lot. But… But I would just like to know why? Why do you want to be a man? Why are people like this? I mean  I saw this poor sod in a dress at the pub the other night pretending to be a girl. Why do you do this? Why does he do what he does? Please don’t get me wrong, I am trying my level best to understand this. At the fear of sounding judgmental, this is strange behaviour you know!”

“Mia if I could give you the answer to your questions, it would solve most transgender folks’ problems. Nobody really knows why. No clever psychiatrist, scholar or clergymen truly has an explanation. And those affected certainly has no explanation either, they just try to find a way to deal with it. I try to deal with it on a daily basis, and I can tell you this much: It is hard…”

Wanda paused for a while then continued:

“Will you still be my friend Mia? I know it will be tough on you as well but…”

“Wanda I would not be much of a friend if I rejected you in your hour of need would I? Yes, I will still be your friend, but let’s take it day by day. I am trying to come to terms with this as well, so I can’t promise anything.”

“That’s all I can ask for.”

“So how is Steven doing.” Mia asked matter-of-factly.

“You know him, he’ll never grow up.” Wanda responded.

Mia could not help but smile at the thought. When she broke up with him, she never thought it was necessary to tell anyone why.

******

A couple of days later Mia felt like some familiar company, so she phoned Wanda and asked her to accompany her to the pub. She knew that there was always a chance her weirdo “friend” could be there, but decided to go there anyway. She felt maybe just a little bit spiteful  (towards the weirdo). Besides, she always enjoyed the atmosphere there, so she decided she would not be done out of it for fear of running into that clown. “She” was there alright, dressed smartly as per usual, but both of them managed to avoid each other for the better part of the evening. Mia was gone for a while as she took an important phone call outside and then stopped at the ladies’ on her way back. She thought to herself she would have chased him right out of there if he was in there. Mia scouted the pub for her friend as she walked out of the restroom. “No!”, she thought as she noticed her friend sitting right next to her nemesis happily chatting away. “I leave her alone for half an hour and she gravitates to the one person I’m trying to avoid”. Steeling herself for another confrontation she walked over. Her resolve seemed to harden with every step.

“Wanda, I see you’ve met up with my favourite little sissy, whatsisname…”

An icy silence followed. Wanda seemed genuinely embarrassed. She managed to pull herself together.

“This is Alvin or I suppose Alvin… nah tonight? And this is my friend Mia.”

“Hi, we’ve met. Well, sort of .” came the neutral reply from Alvin.

There was a lot of standing, staring into space and very little by way of conversation. Nobody really had anything to say. Eventually Wanda spoke up.

“Alvin… nah it was really nice meeting you. I enjoyed our conversation and I hope I will see you here again. Mia, I have an early start tomorrow so maybe it’s best to head home. Bye Alvinnah.”

Mia didn’t need too much convincing as her friend pulled her towards the door.

“Bye!” somehow she managed to check her tongue from adding “pervert”.

The friends sat in the silence of the car on the way home. Mia was oblivious as her friend spoke up:

“Don’t you realise that you insult me as well when you insulted him like that?”

“What? As far as I know you have a genuine condition called transexuality. You’re a man born into a woman’s body. He just has a perverted fetish of running around in women’s clothes and that in public no less!”

“Mia did you bother to have a look at my clothes tonight?”

“No I didn’t. I’m used to seeing you in jeans and a top, so what?”

“It is not a top. Have a look at the overlap. It’s a shirt, not a blouse. I bought my first pair of men’s slacks yesterday, I just didn’t have the guts to wear them out with you tonight. So, technically speaking I’m a perverted fetishist then as well.”

“I never thought of it that way.”

“You have to realise it is a lot harder for a guy to wear woman’s attire in public and get away with it. Also, he is not a “sissy”. If you bothered to actually give him the time of day, you would have learned that he is just a crossdresser and therefore a lot less advanced on the transgender scale than myself, the person you purport to being friends with despite my “perversion”. Pretty soon the effects of the hormones will start to show as well, what then? Will you toss me out with the other “perverts”  as well?”

Mia took a couple of moments to digest what Wanda said. Wanda was right, she had to admit, but something spurned up in her so she had one last go.

“You two seemed quite enamoured with each other. Why don’t you two get hitched, then you can be the man and he/she can be the wife! You can be the perfect couple!” Mia’s voice was dripping with sarcasm.

Wanda tried to keep her cool as she replied:

“You are right Mia, I do find Alvinnah cute. There is only one… no two  problems with your take though.”

“Please don’t keep me in suspense any longer Wanda, or should I start calling you Wade?” came the reply.

“Well first off,  Alvin is not transsexual.”

“So what does that mean? Transsexual…Transgender, potato potatoe, tomato tomatoe…”

“It means he is happy to be a guy, you know a man most of the time. Alvinnah just gets a look-in every now and again when his masculine wheels come off.”

“You see: pervert! Jumping back and forth between genders like that. It’s not right. Make up your mind already. So what is the other reason, you are not man enough for him?”

“He’s not into me.”

“Oh… so he likes “real” men then? Or is he a lesbian?” Mia spat the words out.

“No Mia, he likes you.”

******

Alvin was still rooted to the bar. Somehow he could not garner the strength to stand up and go home. The situation was hopeless and it crippled him. Was he some weird form of masochist that liked to come back for more pain? No, he didn’t like the way she treated him, but he could not help but feel that it was just a facade, something borne out of pain suffered in her own life. But how could he break through the barrier and touch her heart? Did she even have a heart? She did her level best to disprove that theory on a regular basis.

“Tsk Tsk Tsk… what a sad lot you three are…”

It was the unmistakable voice of his favourite bar lady.

“Tell me about it.”

“You must be a sucker for punishment. Why you just seem to fall for that skinny bitch more and more, is beyond me. Get a grip man.”

“You’re right, as always.”

“You know that her friend is totally into you though?”

“I didn’t notice.”

The bar lady sat a mug of beer down in front of him.

“I don’t like beer.” came the reply from Alvin.

“It’s not a beer. I’m buying you a draft, because you’re so daft.” Alvin could not help but smile at the lame look on her face.

“Maybe you didn’t notice, since she sat herself down quietly next to you, but when her friend ran out to take a call she could not make her way over to you fast enough. She may not be the looker that her friend is, but she seems an awful lot nicer. What is it with you men that you will put up with almost anything as long as you can be seen next to a pretty girl?”

Alvin finished of the draft a lot quicker than he expected and promptly ordered another. The bar lady continued:

“If anything your “girlfriend” seemed to be more into her friend than you. Some weird form of musical chairs that you lot are playing. Each in love with the next. Why don’t you change the order up and go for what’s her name again… ahh Wanda!”

“You know that despite this..” and Alvin pointed at his clothes “…I’m still into girls right?”

“I’ve gathered that.”

“Kerry, soon enough Wanda will go by the name of Waldo. Here’s YOUR draft.” With that he promptly stood up, slid the untouched mug back towards her and walked out the door.

Alvin stood in front of the mirror, Kerry’s word’s hounded him: “Maybe if she could see your heart, the clothes wouldn’t matter.” How could he make her see his heart? Could he somehow fashion an opportunity to break through to her? It was hopeless, she would never give him the time of day, let alone agree to anything. The phone ringing pulled him out of his discourse.

“Hello.”

“Hi. How are you doing?” the familiar voice at the end of the line beamed.

“I’m doing okay sis, what have you been up to?”

“It’s what I’m getting up to! I’ll be in town next week, mind if I stay over?”

“You know you’re always welcome here. I can do with some company.”

“Glad to hear that…”

They made some practical arrangements and hung up. They’d have plenty time to talk when she arrived. Alvin looked forward to it, ever since growing up they’ve gotten along well, and it would be nice to have some friendly female company for a change.

The next week Alvin picked his big sister up from the airport. The very next day she was insistent he take her to the park. She lived up north, an area known for its foul weather,  so she wanted to make use of the brilliant sunshine to be had and catch some rays. Alvin took the day off, they packed a picnic bag and had the most fun he’d had for a long time just missioning about the park like the crazy kids they once were. Eventually tiring from the exertion, they collapsed down on a blanket and engaged in some light hearted conversation.

“So, how’s it going with the girls? My little brother still a heartbreaker?”

“You know very well I’ve never been a heartbreaker.”

“I still hold out hope though.”

“That I become a heartbreaker?”

“That you find someone special, dimwit”

“Airhead!”

“We certainly are sounding immensely grown up today…”

“You bring out the best in me.”

Leila all of a sudden got a serious look in her eye. He knew his sister well enough to know not to continue teasing her, call it experience.

“Alvin you know that I’ve forgiven you a long time ago, right?”

“Yes sis’, I know.”

“Have you managed to forgive yourself though?”

“I’m getting there.”

“Alvin, it is imperative that you forgive yourself.”

“Such big words.”

“Stop skirting the issue. Say it. Do it right now!”

“Say what?”

“Stop playing stupid games. Say it. Say you forgive yourself.”

“You forgive yourself.”

“Alvin!”

“Okay! Okay! I forgive myself.”

“Look me in the eye Alvin. Now say it like you really mean it: I forgive myself for what happened to my sister.”

Alvin pulled his eyes off his shoes, tearfully looked his sister in the eyes and managed to mouth the words. After a while of sacred silence Leila ventured to speak up:

“So there’s no girl?”

“There is. Well sort of. But she will have nothing to do with me.”

“So things really haven’t changed since we were kids.” Leila left it at that, knowing that her little brother would own up spontaneously when the time came.

******

That evening they ordered out and decided to just spend a quiet evening at home.  The evening offered the usual light hearted banter between siblings but took a funny direction toward the end.

“You know that I love you right, Alvin?’

“I’ve gathered that.”

“And you won’t mind if I’m being brutally honest with you?”

“You’re always brutal. What’s this about?” he couldn’t help having a dig at her but was curious. It gave her the strength to push through.

“So you won’t mind if I tell you that I’ve grown weary of you.”

“What?”

“I’ve grown weary of you.”

“What on earth are you on about?”

“I want to see my little sister.”

“Huh!?”

“I want to see her! You know, from way back when. I demand to see her.”

“Don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“C’mon on Alvin, I know she’s still there.”

You could cut the silence with a knife.

“You went through my stuff, didn’t you?” came the icy reply.

“Yes Alvin, I had to know.”

“How could you?”

“Alvin, I miss her. I miss my little sister. I want to see her. I want to go out with her. I know, you’ll get pomped up and we’ll go out tomorrow night!”

“No!”

“It’s decided then. We are going out.”

“No way!”

“We’re going out! I’m the oldest. Besides, didn’t your mother teach you to be accommodating to your guest’s needs?”

“Leila, you’re acting childish. And don’t bring mom into this, she definitely won’t approve of me going out as a girl.”

“Well at least the shoe is on the other foot for a change. It’s settled then: the sister’s are a goin’ out!”

“Why do you always get the better of me?”

“Because I’m so sweet.” she flashed him her best smile whilst batting her eyelids.

“I’m not your husband, that’ll not work on me.” he sounded determined.

“Well then, you know it’s not polite to say no to a person in a wheelchair right?”

“I can’t believe you’re this conniving.”

“Hey, I’m just using all the weapons at my disposal. What’s wrong with that? So we’re on then?”

“I’m afraid you already knew the answer.” His resolve melted.

“See, it worked after all.”  as she gave him a hug.

******

Alvin decided to take the “safe” bet and go to his usual haunt. He was sure SHE would at least respect that he had company and leave him alone. Besides, the longing was still there and though he knew it would be best to make a clean break, he would like to see her one last time. Why did it pain him so, yet he was still powerless to put a stop to it?

As usual Alvin and Wanda… err Waldo gravitated towards each other. They’d grown fond of each other, happy in the knowledge that they’d never be more than friends. Mia was off on her own as per usual and Leila was happy to indulge in their boyish banter.

“Why did you go for Waldo? Wouldn’t something like Wade be cooler?” Alvin enquired.

“It seemed more appropriate, seeing as I’m trying to find myself.” Waldo grinned.

“Touche!”

“I even managed some facial hair growth. Didn’t you notice?”

“Let me have a closer look. Uhmm… Why yes! One… two… three! They seem very delicate though. Did you comb them?” Alvin enquired.

“What are those? Why do they sit so high? Your face also seem to be melting. Uh-oh definitely more than three stubbles showing there!” Waldo countered poking Alvin in the chest.

“Okay! Okay! I did a poor job tonight, my sister kept rushing me saying: For the life of me I can’t figure out why you take more than two hours to dress up! Hurry up, I don’t want to spend the whole evening watching you admire yourself in the mirror!” Alvin made up a high-pitched effeminate voice to the detriment of his sister.

“Concerning hips, you could have mine, since I won’t be needing them anymore. Not that I ever had proper hips but you could have them just the same.”

“Well you can’t have my beard. Reminds me I’m still a guy. But I’ll take them hips for sure…”

Mia appeared out of nowhere but refrained from jumping at the chance like she normally would. Alvin looked at her with some apprehension. He’d hoped to avoid her verbal onslaught tonight in the light of his sisters presence. He feared the worst would spew forth any moment now.

“Hi Alvin… nah. Your girlfriend seems a nice lady and I’m sorry I judged you on face value before. Would you please forgive me? Can we please start over?” came a softly spoken, but evidently heartfelt, response from Mia.

“I would like that, and please forgive my behaviour as well. This is my sister Leila, Leila this is Mia.” Alvin introduced them before Mia spoke up again.

“Nice to meet you Leila. I saw you in the park yesterday. I didn’t recognise your company at the time, but thought he was sweet.”

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