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No Real Choice Part 3


Sam let his mind wonder as it does when he gets stressed. His rollercoaster mind went to overdrive, bouncing from one thought to another. The ride started, as it does with work and his current project, the development of a software package coordinating various data bases to make corporate research more efficient. His firm had been hired to create the interface. It was an interesting coincidence that his client was a non-profit supporting the LBGTQ community.

Then the roller coaster in his mind had started going up the first hill. One day Sam asked his daughter if she had seen or met any boys that she wanted to date. He remembered her response as  peculiar in that she said nothing really, she just shrugged her shoulders and changed the subject. No, he thought it was not really strange for her, it was how she dealt with conversations she did not want to deal with. 

Kammie and Sally had been friends for as long as Sam remembered. They met in school he thought, and had always been close since. He thought Kammie was a good kid and he knew her parents. They'd had many cook-outs over the years. He never told Sally how he felt about her homosexuality, he just told her that he supported her and loved her. Yet, he had to admit to himself that it disturbed him a little. 

He grew up in a world where men and women got married and lived happily ever after. Yet, his first job was in a restaurant and most of the waiters were gay. At the time he did not know about gay women except what he had seen in Playboy. That brought a smile to his face, all those magazines between his mattresses and the ones he found in his fathers dresser...

He remembered reading some sci-fi story that dealt with over population and how the society dealt with it. It turns out, in the story, that there was a decline in fertility in women and a raise in declared homosexuals, both men and women due to overpopulation. He wondered if that was happening here and now.

About that time, Ed made his way back and slumped into the chair with a sigh. The two men, the two fathers sat in silence for a time. Sam let the quiet continue while still wondering down his own internal road.

The hospital waiting room made him a little uncomfortable. Just waiting, made him itchy to do something. I am a man of action, that thought made him smile. In truth, he always felt that he had to be moving and doing something, Batman he was not, but it always felt better moving. Sam looked over at his friend and saw his discomfort.

Being a man of action, Sam said, "Let's go outside, this hospital is getting too close for me." He saw Ed's hesitation and stated, "You know it's gonna be couple of hours before Mandy is released. And just sitting here is gonna drive us both crazy."

Ed hesitated a moment. "Yeah, there's nothing for us to do here, let's get some air, clear our heads," Finally, he stiffly stood up and made his way to the exit. Sam motioned to the girls where they were going. Sally nodded and turned back to her girlfriend. 

The day sky had darkened with the threat of an impending storm. "Just what we need, a tornado to blow this stinkin' place off the map," was the quip from Ed.

Sam saw the anguish trying to take over his friend, yet hesitated to reach out. "Does Alice know yet?"

 "No. I am not sure where she is right now. We talked a couple weeks ago. She said something about going someplace for a while for work." He rubbed his eyes. "I was not really paying attention. You know how she rambles about shit. Oh yeah, I think she said she was going to Topeka, their office is there, or something like that. I kinda envy the way she travels. She says it is a pain living out of a suitcase, but I think she really enjoys it..."

"Ed?"

Ed continued, "Yeah, I know I ramble a little too.
"I got the call about when I was finishing lunch. I was outside the warehouse, sitting at one of those stone tables. We were talking about canoeing. It's just about that time of the year," A slight smile slipped past his worried eyes. "They called me to the office over the speakers. I've done that more than once; called someone to the office for an emergency. Just about that time Dan, you know him right? Dan came out the door and started over to our table. I flashed on Mandy's clothes, but tried to deny it. As Dan got to our table, I remembered it was Gym day." His head dropped a little. A deep sighing breath shook Ed's frame.

"Ed?"

Ed continued, "He said there was an incident at school and that I should go. That was when he said I should come here, not the school. And now here we are."

The two fathers stood in silence starring out over the mountains surrounding and their stormy clouds over them. 

"Wish I had a beer right now," Ed finally let out. Sam looked at his friend. "No I don't." he thought a minmute, "I have always said that when I really need a drink is when I need to stay away from it." A little  grin escaped Ed's worried mouth and Sam could see he was visiting a memory. "My Chief always said just that when we were on liberty, or if one of the guys was having girlfriend troubles, tis was when we should stay away."

Sam waited.

"How long have you known about Sally?" asked Ed. "I mean...you know what I mean."

"You mean when did she tell me, or when did I begin to know she did not like boys?"

"When did she tell you, I guess."

Sam took a deep breath and said, "I don't know, maybe about 6 or 8 months ago."

"How did it go?"

"Her mom messed around that way."

"That way?" said Ed managing a little smirk.

Sam looked at him with a chagrinned smile. "Yeah I know, we're supposed to except how they are and not question it. But, you know me. I don't think of it as a choice, but you know I think some people DO have a choice, and some do it just to mess with some people's heads."

"Have you heard from her lately?"

A deep sigh, "No. The last I heard, she was with some older guy in Chicago. I think I don't really care. I got the prize. I won. I guess because of that, I sometimes wonder if Sally is really gay, or just experimenting." Sam thought a moment and continued, "You know, I remember when I was that age," he looked at his friend, "Do you? I remember wanting to experiment...with everything. Of course we did not call it experimenting. Sometimes I wonder, I kinda hope, that this is what Sally is doing...what is going on in Sally's head, maybe she is just trying something out."

"Kinda like going after the black girl, instead of the blond?" finished Ed.

"Yeah, I think. Now, because of all the equal rights chatter, it is more OK to be gay. Come out of the closet, I mean."

"OK? No. I don't think OK is the reason. Maybe 'challenging' is the right word, or 'exciting'."

"You know Ed, I really don't care how she feels, I mean boys or girls, I just want her to be happy, well grounded. I don't know how to say it...Maybe 'At ease with herself'."

"But you would like her to have kids someday."

"Yeah. And I have to admit, I want them from a 'traditional' relationship. I think that may not happen though." Sam paused a moment, then jumped into it and said, "Ed, why is it easier to except a gay child, than it is for a trans one?"

A sharp glare from Ed made Sam begin to understand some of the shit his frien was going through. He is all turned around in his head. This thought brought a heaving sigh.

"I asked her to keep quiet about it for now...until I could get a grip on it. I'm still working on the whole concept." A little smile of chagrin spread across his face. He looked up at his friend and said, "I think it has to do with this, I mean her having a cock, thinking he is a she. I'm sorry, but that confuses the hell out of me."

"Imagine how Mandy feels," said Sam.

"It may be easier than you think, Sam. Let's remember, they don't have our years of prejudice to overcome."

"How did you find out about Mandy? I know it must be hard to get into that mind set. Calling Andy---Mandy."

"Yeah, I know. I still slip up. I hope after a bit it will become more natural."

Sam kept quiet, waiting for Ed to continue.

"She was acting kinda funny walking around in her mothers' clothes. I keep some around for when she comes by. She was spending a lot of time in the bathroom and when Andy came out his face was always squeaky clean. In the beginning, I thought maybe it had to do with with missing her mother. At least that is how I wanted to believe it. After a while, I got up the courage to ask her what was going on. After some talking and even tears on her part, it all came rushing out. Truth is, I am glad it took time for me to get my head around the whole thing, 'cause I don't know how I would have responded otherwise. That was about the same time I think, that Sally told you."

Sam was proud of his friend, he could tell the man was on the very raw edge of his emotions, frankly so was he, yet he kept the ball rolling. 

"It was a little shocking even though I kinda knew, "said Ed. "At first, I thought he was gonna come out as gay. Then he told me he identified as a girl. I gotta admit, that set me back on my ass. The truth is, I didn't know there was a difference."

"I think that the next generation of parents will have it easier," said Sam. "We are the first ones who have to deal with openly gay and transgender people. Our kids are the ones who will be the next set of parents and they are the ones experiencing our tribulations."

"'Tribulations?"' laughed Ed. "Now that's a ten dollar word! But it works here. We are new to this aren't we?"

"I love my kid, she knows it, I know and every one who knows us, knows it too. But, I gotta admit, I think it would be easier to deal with boys, than what I am going through right now."

Ed's big paw of a hand cuffed Sam's shoulder, "I hear that, my friend."

"Why is it so hard to except all this?"

Another sigh from the big man, "Maybe because we have to except all this," Ed turned around and looked back at the hospital."

"Yeah."

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