Molly sat stunned by the revelation. She had known there was something not quite right between her and the man she had planned on marrying. Was she still planning on marrying him, or would she call it off and take the chance on finding someone new?
Across from her sat Steven, his hands clasped together, his elbows resting on his knees as he leaned forward, more to support himself than to be nearer to her. His hands shook slightly, but the worst was over for him. He had purged his greatest secret. All he could do now was wait.
Was he a he? Molly glanced at Steven. A she? An it? It was all too confusing. What was it that was creating this gender confusion? Was it something in the air? In the water? In the food? Was it the chemicals that industry and government was purported to be pumping into the populace? Or was it simply a matter of time, of the community believing it was time to stop living in the shadows.
She didn’t know. She didn’t care. Molly never thought of herself as a homophobe. She had many gay and lesbian friends. Her own brother was bi, though he wasn’t exactly out to everyone. Even she had dabbled with women a couple of times in college. She didn’t see anything wrong with it. It was a simple matter of wanting an experience, one she was happy to have had the opportunity to take advantage of.
This, however, was something completely different. She had been to the drag shows. She had been friendly, if not really friends, with a few drag queens. They were different, a group of men mimicking women for the entertainment of an audience.
Was that what Steven was? She didn’t know. Steven claimed it wasn’t. It wasn’t a fetish or some other cheap sexual thrill. “I’m supposed to be a woman,” he said unsteadily, terrified of sharing his secret. “I can’t in good conscience allow us to get married with this hanging over us. I won’t do that to you. To us.”
“Does that mean you’re planning on having a sex change?” Molly asked, not wanting to know the answer, but needing to know it as well.
“I don’t really know,” Steven shrugged. “I mean I haven’t dressed up in ages. I don’t want to be some creepy guy in a dress,” he tried in vain to joke. He cleared his throat. “I just know that I’m miserable and depressed, and my therapist believes it’s related to me being transgender. Whether or not I transition is still kind of in the air, but….”
“But you’re preparing me for it, just in case?”
Molly stood up and walked away, stopping short of leaving the room. She didn’t know what to do. Should she stay? Should she cut her losses and walk away? Though they have been dating for almost two years, their engagement is only a few weeks old. They hadn’t even begun planning for the wedding. Now she knew the wedding would have to be put on hold for now, at least until she knew what she was dealing with.
“I never wanted this,” Steven said quietly. “I never did. “That’s why I never dated anyone. I didn’t want to be put in this position. I didn’t want to put anyone through it.”
“So why did you ask me out?” Molly cried. “Why me?”
“You asked me, if you remember,” Steven smiled. “I resisted for months.”
“And I refused to take no for an answer,” she chuckled darkly. “I never knew enough to just let things go. Where does this leave us?”
“It leaves us with a decision, I guess,” Steven smiled sadly. “Either we stay together, or we break up. Either we accept that I may become a woman, or rather that I accept that I am a woman, or refuse and watch me become more and more depressed. I mean, I’ve been close to just ending things several times.”
“Do you mean breaking up with me or…?”
“I mean killing myself. It’s exhausting to live a lie, and my life has been a lie since I was old enough to learn to act my part. I’m kind of done pretending. I’m done playing the part of Steve.”
“Does she – do you have a name?”
“I’ve always been partial to Victoria,” Steven admitted.
“I would have thought you would have choses Stephanie,” Molly teased.
“I never liked the name,” Steven confessed. “I want a clean break from this identity, a new start.”
“It sounds like you have already made up your mind.”
“No, but I guess I’m leaning towards a decision.”
“And that’s why we’re here.”
“I can’t make any promises,” Molly sighed. “I wanted a family. How does that affect your, well, your swimmers?”
“Already ahead of you. I have an appointment at the sperm bank next week, just in case.”
“You’re doing this, aren’t you.”
“Probably, but I’m not a hundred percent. Not yet.”
“I’m with you,” Molly walked back and fell onto the couch next to Steven. “I’m here, and I’ll support you regardless. I can’t promise I’ll want to get married, but, I’ll be here.”
“Thank you.” Steven relaxed. “That’s more than I expected.
“It’s the least I can do,” Molly shrugged.
“What do you mean by that?”
“I mean you stood with me when I had my health scare last year.”
“I don’t think it’s the same thing.”
“Maybe not, but we’ll just have to see where this goes.”