Being confronted with the simple question; Do you dress in women’s clothing?, is quite an unnerving experience. I probably had it coming for years, but it still caught me off guard that Saturday morning. In a strange way it also came as a kind of a relief. It wasn’t quite the shock that I always imagined it would be. It felt familiar, like it was something I had been waiting for a long time. There was no panic and certainly not the proverbial “sinking feeling”. Was I ready? Ready to tell her about that part of me she’d never seen. Ready for what was next. It was clear that things were going to change in my household. There was no way out this time. A defining moment in my complicated little life.
Maybe I could had told her myself long before, but the fear of losing it all had always been too great. I lost count of the many occasions when I thought I was ready to come clean but never had the nerve to press ahead. Each time I failed it raised the bar for the next opportunity. Doing so, nothing really changed and through time my fear of coming out, grew to such proportions that in the end it left me nothing than the easiest option. I decided to take my secret to the grave. Still I dreamt of a world where I could be myself, show my true face. Oh how I wanted to scream out and tell my loved ones what was going on behind that thin layer of male varnish, but I simply couldn’t. Years made the gild crackle though, showing a glimpse of the girl underneath. But the frustration also grew, often tipping the balance the wrong way.
As the children grew older the occasions I was able dress up became few and widespread, often limited to an odd afternoon or evening. tThey became hasty affairs in lost hours, not very enjoyable most of the times and barely enough to keep the deepest frustrations at bay.
I had become a bit sloppy in clearing my tracks, maybe unconscious, maybe for her to pick up on the signs. But the long brown hair in the sink hadn’t resulted in anything more than a raised eyebrow. Every now and then she stumbled upon suspicious details, but I was able to talk myself out of it on every occasion. Unable to give in, slowly digging my own grave.
But this Saturday morning it was all different, she obviously knew, I could tell from her face. Tired of three decades cloak and dagger that lied behind me, I wasn’t even going to give it a try. Wearing myself out over this scenario for the best part of our twenty years marriage finally came to an end. She’d set the first step and relief was all I could feel, not worry about any possible consequences. Later she told me she could see the weight dropping of my shoulders, when I just took a deep breath and confirmed her question.
That morning our lives changed for ever.
How she found out?
I’ll save that for another time.