Bye Rhod, Hi Em
“Well done girls!” Fran Cowlishaw stated as the music came to an end.
The Foresters finally relaxed and collapsed to the Drama Studio's floor.
Fran scanned her merry band, all the originals were here – Maddy, Bernie, Alison, Gaby and of course the newer recruits including Em. Usually with this sort of extra curricular activity there was a fair amount of personnel change but this lot had stuck with it, despite everything - even Gaby was still turning up to every session. Gaby. What an enigma! Then there was Mfanwy, a different story entirely; if ever there was a girl in the wrong body she was it.
Of course she knew that a lot more men and boys dressed up than you'd ever think but she'd never expected to have to contend with it at school and here she was with two pupils in the same year group. The strange thing was that somehow they were both managing to keep their two personas separate enough that it was really just a handful of the staff and their close friends that were in on things.
Although the two kids were, are friends they'd both got to this point along very different routes. With Gaby it was almost a comedy of errors – the more she'd found out the more improbable it all seemed, even the headmaster seemed determined to keep Gaby around. The poor kid has had a lot to contend with this last year what with his mother's illness and so on and now he was having medical issues of his own too. Despite that she was always bright and cheerful, it was Drew who could be a bit moody and withdrawn.
Now Em was another matter altogether.
“Okay girls, that's enough for tonight, see you next week.”
The girls collected their stuff and left Fran to tidy up before leaving.
Yes young Ms Morgan. While Gaby is, well she's blonde and definitely a bit of a looker, Mfanwy certainly has to make more effort to look female. Perhaps that's how she keeps Rhod and Em so separate? As far as I know Rhod has never been identified as a girl whereas I know Drew has more than once. In fact until he turned up to try for the cheer squad I hadn't had an inkling that there was even another transgendered child at the school let alone the same year as Drew.
Turning out the lights she headed towards the staff block to collect her own stuff.
Yep Em certainly is different to Drew in so many ways. That was made so clear in the States; at times she was girlier than the real girls, which was a bit irksome at times. What did Frank call her now? Oh yeah, prissy. Well maybe that's a bit strong but I know what he means. Of course the biggest problem is that Rhod wants to be Em with a passion and that's starting to show through. When I say problem I mean potential problem not just for him but the school. Although there are policies in place to protect gay students from abuse it's all a bit grey with TG, a male student in a dress would really be a problem. Unless of course no one knew but how long could you keep it a secret – really?
She got in her car and negotiated the exit onto Mansfield Road before returning to her musings.
There is just no way Rhod could leave and Em arrive without someone making the connection, after all they hang out with the same kids and I'm sure there are other students living near the Morgan's. No, that is just not an option is it? I guess in the end it will be Mr. Wood's decision, we can't exclude the kid if he does decide to turn up in a skirt but it really would be better if that didn't happen. I'll talk to the Head tomorrow.
“Rhodri Morgan, just what are you up to?”
“Don't you nothing me young man.”
“No Mum.” He sighed.
“Now go and get changed your Da will be here soon.”
Time with Rhodri Morgan senior was a mixed blessing of course. The good was that he got to be Em right through till Sunday night, the bad was that it was time away from Mum. Cherys is okay but Dad is a bit full on at times. Still the three of them were going to London for the weekend, which was pretty cool even if it was mostly for the Rugby. Not that Rugby was that bad – if you only had to watch, hopefully Cherys could get them out of having to watch it in any case.
The change from Rhod to Mfanwy still took some time even if it was well practiced by now. Mum had finally agreed to buy some really realistic breast forms that stuck on like Drew's even if they were a bit smaller. At least she got her own clothing allowance now so her wardrobe was more suited to a modern teenage girl! It's not that the stuff mum and Cherys bought wasn't nice but it was hardly hip was it? Maybe they'd get to go shopping in London? Ally would be so jealous if we did.
Dad and Mrs. Morgan the second were waiting in the parlour when Em finally made it back downstairs, the sullen teenage boy replaced by a bouncy clothes horse!
Back to February 26th 2004
Sylvia glanced at her offspring while they waited at the clinic in Nottingham. Although unaware of it this was the self same place that Drew was scheduled to visit tomorrow. Rhod was engrossed in his book, one of those Pratchett stories that he was always reading. How did we come to be here? Gender Dysphasia Clinic, what does that mean? How have things come to this, it's because I forced him into being Mfanwy isn't it? They were early for their appointment but at least the waiting area was pleasant and the coffee machine was working. There were only two other people waiting just now, a gangly teenage girl and her mother, both reading magazines, was that girl like Rhod?
Her thoughts drifted off…
"You did say." I mentioned.
"But a dress Mum?"
"I know it's a bit strange Rhod but it was your Gran's idea. Your Dad has never seen you, your Gran never told him as much as your name, I asked her not to"
"Why?" Rhod whined.
"Well if he was interested he could ask couldn't he?"
"Well he never did. And now he has some notion that you'll go and live in Wales with him and Cherys. Your Gran said that knowing how he thinks, if he finds out he has a daughter he'll not ask you to go - some macho thing."
"Never mind, will you wear the dress for me? Just for one day?"
"I guess." Rhod had reluctantly agreed.
Yes that was certainly the start of all this kafuffle. At the start of course it had been a bit of a giggle, buying a few bits of girls clothing, teaching Rhod how to behave and so on. It had been a success in doing what was intended, putting Rhod senior off of wanting their son move to Wales with he and Cherys, the ‘new' woman in his life. Maybe it was too successful as Cherys took a shine to little shy Mfanwy, named after my mother, and things started to escalate.
I really should've put a stop to it then. Sylvia mused. Things had really started to escalate though when it was agreed that ‘Mfanwy' go to stay with ‘her' dad when Gudrun visited from New Zealand last year. That meant ‘her' staying with Cherys and her dad for over a week, which meant ‘she' had to be Mfanwy for the whole time. Did that push the child over the edge?
“Fiona Roberts?” a nurse called out.
“Here.” The gangly teen opposite replied.
“Room 3 please.”
The girl and her mother collected their stuff and left the Morgan's alone in the waiting area.
Doctor Johnson had never said anything to her about her part in all this; in fact she had only been supportive since they started coming here after that debacle during the exchange visit last summer.
Of course Sylv knew that Mfanwy wasn't alone, or even that rare in society. Young Drew obviously had similar issues and tended to have a higher profile as his alter ego Gaby than as himself. It was almost an open secret in the village about the Bond boy, more people knew than you'd think but as they were mostly older and outside the kids world of influence she was fairly certain the lad thought it was still a secret. But lets face it; in a small place like Warsop the appearance of a new teenage girl was unlikely to be missed. That she hung with ‘Drew's gang' only made it easier to identify the pretty youngster.
Things with Rhod really did seem to come to a head last August though, he had come out to his friends and that mess with Dan. Until then it always seemed that Mfanwy was a necessary evil – totally separate from his life as Rhod. But it was like a switch had been thrown. It wasn't anything immediate but where previously a visit to her dad was a loathsome event, she seemed happier going and getting ready – she'd even started practicing with makeup and stuff like that. Which was the point where Sylv realised she needed help.
Her thoughts were interrupted again by the nurse.
“Us” Sylv replied.
“Room five please.”
“So Em how was America?” Dr Johnson asked.
“Well cool! We even won the cheer contest!”
“Your mother tells me you spent the whole trip as a girl?”
“Yeah, I know I wasn't supposed to but I really wanted to be me while we were there. And Gaby was there too so it wasn't like it was just me.”
“Yes you remember, I told you about her before, she's really Drew but she spends half the time as a girl, anyway she was a girl in Virginia too so I wasn't alone.”
The Doctor made some notes, is this Gaby one of our patients?
“So you had to present as a girl 24/7 for what, six weeks?”
“Yeah it was so cool! Everyone thought I was a girl and I stayed with this senior in her apartment, which was brill. Sandy is really cool, you'd like her lots.”
That had been several weeks ago, just before Easter the Doctor had agreed to Em starting with a mild dose of hormones to replace the placebos that she'd been taking since the autumn. And now Sylv was trying to work out how her almost fourteen-year-old son could become her daughter with the least impact.
“Well if you are sure Cherys, it should only be to the summer holidays.”
“I wouldn't have offered if I didn't like having her over. I'm sure we can get her enrolled at the High School in Aberdare without any trouble, her cousin Eilwen *.”
“Thank you so much Cherys.”
“Like I said, we'll enjoy having her.”
The call went on to logistics and stuff but it was at least arranged now. Chery's thought that Em had been excluded from Warsop College for some trumped up charge – well it was trumped up but not by the school! The Doc had suggested moving to a new area and or school and this was Sylv's solution. No one knew Rhod in Cefnpennar** so that was the biggest hurdle covered, if things went to plan Mfanwy could return to Warsop for the Autumn term and the start of her, and by then it will most assuredly be her, GCSE courses. Cherys wouldn't take any nonsense from her husband's offspring and at least Em would have family around her.
Now she had to break it to Em! The kids were all going through a bit of a tough time, the Bond's were leaving the country and according to Mfanwy (she had to remind herself to use that name now), Drew and Maddy were no longer seeing eye to eye. Then there was poor Ally, she was still having problems after the shooting incident and here I am taking her best friend away too. Bernie seemed to be the only one without issues and she was now spending a lot of time with that new girl, what's her name again? Oh yes, Helen. Those five seem to have always been together, doing everything together, it must be at least since starting junior school.
“Can you spare me a moment or two?”
“Sure Mr Wood.”
Fran put down her book and followed the head to his office.
“Sit yourself down.” Mr W instructed.
“Is there a problem?”
“Not as such, I've just had a meeting with young Rhod Morgan's mother.”
“You know of course about his gender issues.” It wasn't a question, just setting the scene. “Well Mrs Morgan is withdrawing her son from this school on Friday.”
“It seems that her son is starting to transition to become female and both she and the doctors feel it would be best to do this in a new environment.”
“Oh, I didn't realise she, he was that far along. I'm sure we could have coped with things.”
“Its not whether we could but whether Ms Morgan could so I'm afraid you will be losing another of your cheer squad.”
“That's the least of the worries.”
“I suppose it is. Apparently they have relatives in south Wales; she'll stay with them for the time being. I think Ms Morgan was being optimistic when she suggested that Mfanwy could return here in September.” Mr Wood went on.
“I hope she can, those kids are quite close and with the Bonds leaving in the summer too…”
“Well thanks for telling me, I've become quite attached to that little gaggle myself.”
“As have we all Fran, as have we all. I just thought you'd like to have the heads up on things.”
“You're leaving? When?” Drew requested.
“Friday, I'm going to live with my Da for a bit.” Rhod supplied.
“Its not so bad really, mum says I can probably come back in September.”
“I'll be in Germany then.” Drew noted. “We'd best give you a good send off then.”
Rhod noted Drew's expression and tone.
“It's something I have to do Drew, you know that I'll be Em when I come back?”
“No they won't do that until I'm sixteen at least but its bye, bye Rhod, hello Em as far as everything else goes. After the weekend there won't be anymore Rhod.”Drew was almost in tears. Deep down he'd known that this is what Rhod really wanted but it felt like his mate was being cruel on purpose, taking away his best mate and replacing him with an often-vapid girl. Not that Em wasn't fun to be with but she just wasn't, well, Rhod! The two youngsters were at a loss to how to react, Drew felt an urge to just hold onto his mate, as if that would stop all this happening.
Maddy Bell 19.12.06 © 2006
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