A Dreadful Misunderstanding

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Contently Deranged Travelers
A boy offends some tough girls. They give chase, strip him and leave him naked. He steals a dress from a clothes line to cover himself on the walk home. Before he can take the dress off, his mother sees him and thinks he is embracing his feminine side; but it is all a dreadful misunderstanding.

Submitted: May 12, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: May 12, 2017






A Dreadful Misunderstanding

Part 1 – Captured by Amazons

Part 2 – The Journey Home

Part 3 – A Mother’s Confirmation Bias (Seeing what she expects to see)

Part 4 – Transformation

Part 5 – Never-Ending Story


Part 1

Captured by Amazons

It was a nice day so I decided to walk home from school instead of taking the bus. It was only a half-hour walk. Mum wouldn’t be home from her meeting until after five o’clock, so I was in no hurry.

I had covered less than half the distance home when I came across about a dozen girls in some kind of sporting uniform hanging out by a bus shelter. They were about my age or a bit older. I didn’t recognise any of them from school, so they must have arrived on a bus from another part of town. They were boisterous and blocking almost the entire width of the footpath. Hooligans, I thought grumpily. There was just enough room for me to edge past without having to step off the curb. Suddenly a girl stepped backward into me as I tried to get past.

‘Look out you silly cow,’ I said irritably as I grabbed her to save us both from falling. There are places on a young lady that a young man should not grab; at least not until they are properly introduced. By chance, I grabbed one of those places. The young lady was not pleased.

‘Hey, watch it you creepy little pervert,’ she said. ‘Did you just call me a cow?’

‘Moo,’ I said rudely. I hadn’t cared much for her analysis of my character. She answered in words rarely heard outside a rugby changing room. I walked on.

‘Hey you,’ she yelled. ‘Don’t you dare walk away from me when I am talking to you’!

Even if she had asked me nicely, I was disinclined to stay for a chat. She had such a nasty temper. The other girls were shocked that I had so shamelessly groped and insulted their friend. They started to follow me. Should I fight or flee? Silly question; I fled!

The girls took up the chase, whooping like a band of Amazon warriors in pursuit of Hercules. They were gaining on me. I remembered how Hercules had fared in the hands of the Amazons. I ran faster.

I had no chance of outrunning these dashing damsels. Their dash was a lot faster than mine. Logically, I should have stayed on the street where witnesses might have discouraged the Amazons from doing me harm; but logic and panic do not sit well together. Almost out of breath, I swerved into the doubtful sanctuary of trees and bush that separated the street from a large grassed park. That was a big mistake. Instead of finding refuge, I had led my pursuers into a secluded clearing well out of public view.

The attack upon my person came swiftly. I think I could have handled two or even three of these Amazons; but Hercules himself couldn’t have coped with a dozen of them. They bore me to the ground and enthusiastically peeled off my clothes like they were peeling a banana. Decorum forbids me to describe the wickedness that followed. My dignity was left in tatters; but at least I was not physically harmed. The avenging Amazons left me cowering naked in the middle of the clearing a long way from home; but not before they had thrown my clothes high into the fronds of a nearby Phoenix palm. It wasn’t very nice of them.


This happened in 1955, long before cell phones and the internet. At that time, I was just fifteen years old and living with my widowed Mum. Apart from my thick mop of hair, I was pretty much like other guys of my age. I had a healthy interest in girls but was too shy to do much about it, so I had never been on a date. I was self conscious about my hair too. It wasn’t long by today’s standards – not even down to my collar – but I was often teased about it. I begged Mum to let me get my hair cut short like the other guys; but she wouldn’t hear of it. ‘You should be glad to have such a lovely head of hair,’ she would say. ‘It would be a sin to cut it short’. I sometimes wondered if she would rather I had been born a girl.


Part 2

The Journey Home

Left alone at last, I took stock of my situation. I knew that the Phoenix palm had poisonous spikes at the trunk ends of its fronds, so climbing it was out of the question. For all the good my clothes were to me now, they might as well have been on the moon. I found my bag, which I had tossed into a bush during the chase so I could run faster. I was glad to have that because it held my house key, and a pair of gym shoes that would protect my feet on the long walk home.

The bag was big enough to conceal the most private part of my anatomy, but it was awkward to carry that way, and it didn’t hide the fact that I was otherwise naked. I looked around for something else that might cover my nakedness. I considered using small leafy branches for cover, but the leaves were too small and the branches too scratchy. I needed the broad smooth leaves of a flax bush, but none grew in this part of the park.

My best bet was to look for something useful in the backyards of houses that backed on to the park. With that in mind, I crept through the dense belt of trees and bushes that separated the open area of park from the street. I reached the row of houses without incident. Fences hid me from the view of residents, but cover from the park was sparse; just an occasional growth of trees or bush. Fortunately, the park was deserted at that time of day; but I kept a wary eye out for people out for a walk as I flitted like a ghost from tree to tree and from bush to bush.

I looked over each fence in the hope of finding a clothes line bearing something that I could borrow to wear home. On such a fine day, I expected to find lots of clothes to choose from, but most of the lines were bare. Any washing that had been on the lines must have dried and been taken in before I got there.

At last, I found a promising line that held, among other things, some shirts and a pair of shorts. The fence was high but it had a smooth wooden cap which I thought I could slip over without doing myself a mischief. I had slung one foot over the top of the fence when a sudden loud barking caused me to change my mind. I retreated hastily to the cover of nearby trees and looked anxiously round to see if the barking had attracted anyone’s attention.

‘Shut up!’ somebody yelled. The barking stopped, but the dog didn’t move. I reluctantly left the shirts and shorts behind. By then, I was getting desperate. I would have settled for a sheet or a towel, or even an old cardboard carton. At last I came across another house that still had clothing on the line; but it was only a dress and a petticoat. A further search revealed nothing else that I could use, so I reluctantly went back to reconsider the dress. Given my limited options, there wasn’t much to consider. I could walk home in a dress or I could walk home naked. It had to be the dress.

I looked carefully over the fence to see if there was any sign of life; animal or human. A cat glared back at me from a sunny spot on the back porch. The coast was otherwise clear. The fence was made of rusty corrugated iron with no cap on the top. Climbing over that would have been extremely hazardous, but I didn’t have to do that. There was a gate in the fence which the owner had neglected to lock. It took only a matter of seconds to liberate the dress. The only witness to my crime was the cat, who glared at me once more, yawned and settled down for a sleep.

Clutching my prize, I made for the nearest grove. There were no bushes to hide behind but the thick foliage cast a deep shadow in the bright sunlight. No sooner had I reached this sanctuary than I heard children’s voices. Lots of children’s voices; adult voices too. They had arrived at the park for their regular sports training. My need to get away from the park had suddenly become urgent.

I examined the dress. It looked about the right size for me. It was a blue dress of a kind that a girl might wear for best. It had short sleeves, a peter pan collar and a full skirt that reached below my knees. I struggled into it and immediately lost my way in the mass of fabric. At last I poked my arms triumphantly through the elusive arm holes, only to find that I had the dress on back to front. I fared better on my second attempt. It was the right way round, but the zip was behind me. I couldn’t stretch my arms far enough to get it more than part way up.

I rummaged in my school bag and found a piece of string, which I poked through the hole in the zip slider. This enabled me to close the zip by pulling up on the string. The bodice was snug but not too tight. I removed the string and put it back in my schoolbag, not realising that I had effectively locked myself into the dress. The skirt hung listlessly about my legs. It probably needed a petticoat to fill it out, but I wasn’t concerned about that. The dress would get me home without risk of arrest for indecent exposure, and that’s all that mattered.

I worked my way back to the street, keeping as close as possible to the fence line. At any moment, I expected someone to yell ‘Hey, look at that boy. He’s wearing a dress!’ but nobody seemed to notice me creeping along in the shadows of the fences. I reached the street without incident and stepped cautiously out of the bushes. There were no shadows to creep along here, so I couldn’t make it home without being seen. People were sure to know that I was a boy in a dress, but that couldn’t be helped. It was better than being seen naked.

A few people glanced at me curiously; but none seemed aware that the girl pattering along in her best dress was really a boy, despite the incongruity of my schoolbag and gym shoes. That surprised me. My confidence grew as people passed me without screaming, fainting or calling the police. I felt … invisible. I laughed and started to skip along, flipping my skirt cheekily from side to side. Then I saw a surprised look on the face of a matronly lady. This was not the best way to avoid attention. The lady stared at me for several seconds before flashing me a kindly smile. She started to say something, but then changed her mind. This would give her something amusing to tell her lady friends over tea and muffins. Had she seen through my disguise? I didn’t want to know.

As I neared home, my confidence took a hit when I realised that the dress wouldn’t fool anyone who knew me. I quickly combed my hair forward with my hands to cover as much as possible of my face, and then slouched along with my head bowed and my hand on my chin as if deep in thought. I came close to braining myself on a lamppost, but my ruse worked. I reached our front door without incident and rummaged in my bag for the house key.

Once safely inside, I could hardly believe that I had successfully walked all the way home disguised as a girl! With relief came reaction. I shivered and felt a bit queasy. I pulled myself together and headed for my bedroom. If Mum came home early and caught me dressed like this, a touch of nausea would be the least of my problems.

I paused as I passed Mum’s room. She kept a full length mirror in there. Perhaps I could take a quick peek to see how I looked. It wasn’t vanity. I was just curious. I stepped in front of the mirror and stared transfixed at the pretty girl who stared right back at me. That couldn’t possibly be me – but it was! I was mesmerised. My hair was in a mess. Without thinking, I reached for the hair brush on Mum’s dressing table and started brushing.

It was now well after five o’clock. My journey home had taken longer than I thought. The sound of a key being inserted in the front door lock hit me like a bucket of iced water. Mum!! I couldn’t let her catch me in her bedroom like this. Oh God! I tossed the brush back on to the dressing table. It fell to the floor. I picked it up and put it on the dressing table, knocking several bottles and tubes of stuff over in the process. Keep calm! Keep calm! I managed to put the stuff on the dressing table back more or less the way it was, and then dashed for the door, reaching in vain for the zip slider as I ran. That threw me off balance. I stumbled out into the hallway, crashed into a hall table and deftly caught a ceramic statue of a scantily clad nymph just before it hit the floor. I placed the nymph carefully back on the table and turned to face the front door.

‘Uh … hello, Mum,’ I said lamely. I took a sudden interest in the floor at my feet and tried to make myself invisible. If I had looked up, I might have seen a surprised smile on Mum’s face; a smile that she quickly concealed.


Some time would go by before I learned the reason for that smile. Mum had, in fact, wished that I had been born a girl, especially since I was the only child that she could ever bear. Her only hope of having a daughter of her own, then, was for me to come out as transgender. What she thought she saw in me that day was an illusion born out of hope.


Part 3

A Mother’s Confirmation Bias

Mum concealed her joy at seeing me in the dress; but she only saw what she wanted to see, and what she wanted to see wasn’t the real me.

‘Where did you get that dress?’ she demanded, putting on a stern face. She didn’t ask me why I was wearing a dress. She thought she knew that much already. She just wanted to know where I got it.

‘I … uh,’ I muttered.

Her stern expression slipped into a smile of encouragement. ‘You know, you should be wearing a petticoat under that dress,’ she said.

‘That’s not funny, Mum.’

‘It wasn’t meant to be, dear. Turn around.’

‘Huh?’ I said, not understanding.

‘Give me a twirl so I can see you properly.’

I obediently twirled. The dress flared out and then wrapped itself around my legs when I stopped. What was that all about? I looked at Mum enquiringly.

‘Hmm, you look very nice,’ she smiled broadly, and then resumed her stern expression, ‘but I still want to know where you got that dress.’

‘I … ah … I borrowed it,’ I replied.

‘Who lent it to you?’

‘I don’t know. I got it from somebody’s clothes line.’

‘You mean you stole it!’ said Mum.

‘I couldn’t help it. I had nothing else to wear home.’

‘What do you mean? What happened to your clothes?

‘I kind of lost them.’

‘Lost them?’ she asked. ‘I’ve told you before about leaving your clothes in changing rooms.’

‘No, no. I didn’t leave my clothes anywhere.’

‘Then how could you possibly lose them?’

‘Well, they’re not actually lost. I know where they are, but I can’t reach them.’

‘William! If you don’t start talking sense I will get cross. Don’t you understand? I am trying to help you.’

Mum wasn’t going to be put off. I had to tell her something but I couldn’t bring myself to admit that I had been stripped by a bunch of girls. Instead, I told her that I had fallen foul of some guys who stole my clothes and threw them into the Phoenix palm. Mum wanted to call the police; but I didn’t want that. I made the excuse that the police might want to arrest me for stealing the dress.

‘Well,’ said Mum. ‘If you had to steal something to wear home, at least you chose something nice.’

‘I didn’t exactly choose the dress,’ I protested. ‘I found some shorts and a shirt … but there was this dog you see ...’

‘Oh, of course,’ said Mum. She didn’t believe me. ‘Look, it’s OK,’ she added. ‘There’s nothing wrong with wearing a dress if that’s what you want; but it isn’t yours. You ought to take it off now.’

‘I can’t.’

‘Well, if you want to keep it on for a little bit longer …’

‘No, no, I mean I can’t take it off because I can’t reach the zip.’

Mum laughed. ‘Well, that’s one excuse I suppose. OK, you can keep it on for now, but only while I get dinner ready.’

‘Mum! I really am stuck in this dress. I need to take it off.’

‘Oh, alright; but once it’s off, I can’t let you put it back on again. It belongs to someone else.’ She reached for the zip.


After Mum released the zip, I went into my bedroom and changed into my own clothes. I left the dress in a crumpled heap on my bedroom floor. By now, it was clear that Mum wasn’t going to chastise me for wearing the dress. She wasn’t even cross with me for stealing it. The whole affair was over with and there was nothing more for me to worry about. Except there was. Mum raised the subject of the dress again later in the evening.

‘What were you going to do with the dress?’ she asked.

‘Take it back I suppose,’ I muttered. I hadn’t really thought about it. I didn’t want to face the householder, but I knew I would have to give the dress back. Perhaps I could put it in a bag and toss it over the fence. With luck, I thought it might land on that stupid cat.

‘That’s good,’ said Mum, ‘but it’s a bit late to take it back tonight. It’s Saturday tomorrow. You can take it back after lunch. I will come with you.’

‘No, Mum, that’s OK, I will just …’

‘I said I will come with you,’ interrupted Mum firmly. ‘We have no idea what the people who live at the house are like. You ought to have an adult with you to explain what happened.’

‘In that case, do you really need me to be with you?’ I asked hopefully.

‘Of course I do,’ said Mum. ‘I want you to do the right thing and apologise in person. Apart from that, you must leave all the talking to me. Do you understand?’

‘Yes, but shouldn’t I explain …’

‘No! Not a word. They won’t believe your story. Trust me. I think I can offer an explanation that they will accept. You might even have their sympathy. I could offer to buy the dress but we’ll see how it goes.’

‘Buy the dress? Why on earth would you do that?’

‘Oh come on, William,’ said Mum with a wink. ‘You don’t really have to ask me that do you?’

‘Mum! I’m getting a bit old for dress up games.’

‘Who said anything about games?’ she replied seriously.

My smile evaporated. Was she having me on?


Part 4


I had no trouble finding the house, even though I had only seen it from the back. It was the only single story house in that part of the street. Mum led the way up the path. I dawdled up behind her carrying the dress over my arm. The urge to turn and run was almost irresistible. Mum rang the doorbell. The door opened to reveal a kindly looking lady of indeterminate age; not at all the ogre I had feared. She smiled at us enquiringly.

‘Hello,’ said Mum. ‘I’m Margaret Corbett. I was wondering if your daughter is at home.’

‘It’s nice to meet you. I’m Emily Wilson,’ said the lady who wasn’t an ogre. ‘I’m afraid my daughter Marilyn moved out a long time ago.’ Her eyes fell on the dress that I was carrying. ‘I see that you have Marilyn’s dress there young man. What’s this all about?’

I hung my head, not daring to speak. Mum had made it clear that I was to leave all the talking to her.

‘William was playing in the park behind your place when he saw the dress hanging on the line,’ began Mum. ‘It’s such a pretty dress that he couldn’t take his eyes off it. Then he saw that your gate was unlocked, so he went in for a closer look. Next thing, he took the dress and made off with it. It was a silly impulsive thing to do. He is sorry now and has come to apologise.

Mum, what are you doing? I thought desperately. That’s not true. I took the dress because I had to. It was an emergency.

‘Goodness me,’ said Mrs. Wilson, looking at me in wonder. ‘Whatever did you do that for? Did you want it for your sister?’

‘He hasn’t got a sister,’ said Mum.

‘Girl friend?’

‘No, he is very shy with girls.’

Mrs. Wilson looked at me thoughtfully. I could see her taking in my mop of hair, my fresh yet-to-be-whiskered face, and the way I clung to the dress. I knew that she had reached an ‘aha’ moment. For me, it was more of an ‘uh-oh’ moment.

‘I … I wasn’t going to keep the dress,’ I blurted.

‘Are you sure about that?’ she asked with a knowing smile. ‘I would like to hear more about this,’ she said, turning to Mum. ‘Why don’t we go inside so we can have a nice chat in comfort?’

‘Thank you, Emily,’ said Mum. ‘We would like that.’

No, we wouldn’t like that at all! I thought. I decided to break radio silence.

‘Mum,’ I said. ‘We really ought to go now. I have homework …’

‘It’s Saturday,’ said Mum in a tone that discouraged any further discussion.

We followed Mrs. Wilson into her living room. It turned out that she lived alone. She was delighted to have visitors to brighten her afternoon.

‘Tea?’ she enquired.

‘That will be lovely’ said Mum.

Over tea, Mum and our hostess chatted about me as if I wasn’t there. Mum gave me a glowing character reference. I felt that she put too much emphasis on what she liked to call my feminine side. I didn’t know I had a feminine side. I thought I was masculine on both sides.

‘Does he like to dress up as a girl?’ asked Mrs. Wilson. Yikes! I hadn’t expected that. I wondered how Mum would answer. More lies?

‘He’s never done it before, but that doesn’t mean anything. He’s never had the opportunity … at least, not until he found this nice dress on your clothes line.’

‘I see. Has he been wearing it?’ asked Mrs. Wilson.

‘Oh yes! He just couldn’t take it off.’

Only because the zip was stuck!

‘Look, I’m really sorry that William has been wearing the dress, Emily,’ said Mum. ‘Marilyn might not want her dress back after that, but I’m willing to pay for it.’

‘Oh that won’t be necessary,’ said Mrs. Wilson. ‘I was going to donate the dress to a charity shop anyway. Marilyn grew out of it and left it here when she moved out. I found the dress and petticoat when I was clearing out her wardrobe. I gave them a wash and they were drying on the line when William saw them. I’m surprised that he didn’t take the petticoat. It’s really quite pretty.’

I have since learned that the frothy tulle undergarment was known as a rockabilly petticoat. Yes it was quite pretty but that meant nothing to me. The dress had served my purpose well enough on its own.

‘William must have wanted the dress very much to risk stealing it,’ said Mrs. Wilson. ‘That’s no excuse of course. He ought to be punished for that, but I do understand.’

Understand? No way. I wished Mum would let me speak up. 

‘I won’t sell you the dress,’ continued Mrs. Wilson. ‘I’m giving it to William so he won’t have to think of stealing another one. I’m sure the charity shop will get along very well without it.’

‘That’s very generous of you, Emily. Are you sure I can’t pay you for the dress?’

‘Of course I’m sure,’ said Mrs. Wilson. She turned to look at me, ‘It’s so nice to see a fine young man exploring his feminine side.’

Well, that wasn’t how I expected things to go. At least I wouldn’t be arrested for stealing the dress. Maybe we could go home now and get rid of the dress some other way. But then Emily Wilson had to go and ruin the rest of my day.

‘I’m dying to see him in it,’ she said, glancing fondly at me.

What? My heart sank. I had to say something before this went too far.

‘I … I’m sorry Mrs. Wilson,’ I stammered, ‘but you have got this all wrong. I only took the dress because …’

‘William!’ interrupted Mum sharply. ‘Mrs. Wilson already knows why you took the dress. I know how shy you are about that but the least you can do is let her see how it looks on you.’

Did Mum really believe what she was saying? In hindsight, I think she did. Before I could gather my wits, Mum started to unbutton my shirt. In no time at all I was standing in the middle of Emily Wilson’s living room wearing nothing but my white cotton jockey briefs.

‘Oh, just a moment,’ she said. She jumped up and hurried out of the room, returning a few minutes later carrying a plastic bag containing the frothy petticoat. ‘He will need this’.

‘It’s lovely,’ said Mum, drawing it out of the bag. ‘You didn’t tell me there was a petticoat with the dress,’ she said to me accusingly. ‘Do you mean that we can have this too, Emily?’

‘Of course,’ she replied. ‘It isn’t any use to Marilyn now. I want William to have it. A dress with a skirt like that looks awful without a petticoat to fill it out.’

‘I told you that you should be wearing a petticoat under the dress now didn’t I?’ Mum told me smugly. Mum knelt down before me and held the petticoat open for me to step into it. I wondered what the penalty was for matricide. Mum slipped the petticoat up to my waist. I felt like something that ought to be hung on a Christmas tree! ‘Now raise your arms’. Mum dropped the dress over my head and zipped it up. That hid the frothy petticoat, but I could feel its pressure against my legs. The bodice felt snug on me except where it was a bit loose across my chest.

‘Hmm,’ said Mum patting the place where a girl might be developing boobs. ‘We will have to do something about that.’ I cringed. I could admire a good set of boobs’ but not on me. Once I was dressed, Mum borrowed a hairbrush from Mrs. Wilson and brushed my hair into a more feminine style.

‘Oh he looks so pretty,’ said Mrs. Wilson, ‘but those shoes don’t look right. Just a moment.’ She disappeared, and returned after a few minutes with a pair of white flat heeled shoes that looked about my size. ‘These belonged to Marilyn. She outgrew them. You can keep them if they fit.

I sat down on a footstool and slipped my feet easily into the shoes. I felt like Cinderella trying on the glass slipper. Just like Cinderella’s slipper, the shoes were a perfect fit.

‘I hope you don’t mind but I can’t resist adding this,’ said Mrs. Wilson, producing a tube of lipstick. Of course I minded! I turned my head away and was rewarded with a cuff on the ear from Mum.

‘Don’t be so rude,’ she scolded.

Mrs. Wilson hastily drew back. ‘I’m sorry, I …’ she began.

‘No,’ said Mum. ‘He’s just being shy again. He isn’t used to wearing makeup.’ She turned to me and said, ‘Look, Mrs. Wilson is just trying to make you look nice. You don’t really mind that do you? What have you got to say to her?’

This was my chance to say what I thought, but all I said was, ‘I’m sorry, Mrs. Wilson. It’s just that boys don’t usually wear makeup.’

‘That’s alright, I understand,’ said Mrs. Wilson. ‘It’s OK to be shy, but you don’t have to be shy with me. You can call me Aunty Emily if you like.’

I decided that calling her aunty would not be in my best interest.

‘A touch of eye makeup would look nice too,’ interrupted Mum from a world of her own. ‘He has such lovely eyes.’

Mrs. Wilson needed no further encouragement. She fetched her cosmetic bag and went to work with enthusiasm. I couldn’t see the result because there was no mirror in the room, but I imagined myself looking like a clown.

‘Now stand up and let me look at you,’ said Mrs. Wilson. ‘You remind me so much of Marilyn.’ That was not surprising. Almost all she could see of me belonged to Marilyn, except the part of my face that wasn’t covered in makeup. I was still impersonating Marilyn when Mum decided it was time we went home.

‘You have been so good to us, Emily,’ said Mum. ‘I can’t thank you enough.’

‘That’s quite all right’ replied Mrs. Wilson. ‘Please keep in touch and be sure to pop in again. Bring Marilyn with you’.

Marilyn?? Was that just a slip of the tongue? I suppose it might have been. In her daughter’s clothes, I must have looked more like a Marilyn than a William, that’s for sure.

As soon as we got home, I asked Mum to undo the zip.

‘No hurry,’ she said happily. ‘The dress is yours now. Enjoy it. I know you want to.’

I was sure now that Mum really thought that I liked dressing up as a girl and that I was just a bit shy about showing it. The only way to get the message through to Mum was to take the dress off and never put it back on again.

Before changing out of Marilyn’s clothes, I sat on my bed for a while deep in thought. Was I being too hasty? I didn’t want to upset Mum; but did she seriously hope that I would start living as a girl? I tried to think what that would be like. I conjured up thoughts of makeup, nylons, suspenders, beauty salons, bras, jewellery, hair spray, manicures, perfume, night cream, shoes, bags, chick flicks, women’s magazines, and … Argh! No, I just wasn’t cut out to be a girl. It didn’t take me long to get changed. I used the wire coat hanger to undo the zip and some of Mum’s wipes to remove the makeup. I went through to dinner when Mum called, leaving Marilyn’s stuff in a heap on my bedroom floor.

Mum’s face fell when she saw me dressed in my own clothes.

‘Oh,’ she said.

‘What?’ I asked.

‘Nothing,’ she replied.

And that was the end of that.

Part 5

Never-Ending Story

A story is never-ending. Only the telling of it comes to an end. The untold sequels continue until the end of time. The telling of this story could end right here and be thought complete; but what happened next was really weird. I cannot leave it untold.

To explain this I will have to backtrack a little. After contemplating and rejecting the supposed joys of girlhood, I didn’t get changed straight away. I was curious to know how I looked after the makeover at Emily Wilson’s place, so I skipped through to Mum’s bedroom and headed for the full length mirror. I took one look at my image and stood mesmerised. It wasn’t me. It was Marilyn … and she looked lovely.

I waved my fingers at her. She waved back. I smiled at her. She smiled back. I could easily fall in love with this girl. I moved closer to the mirror and reached out to touch her hand. Our fingertips touched, but I could feel only the cold smooth surface of the mirror … the mirror that would always stand between us.

I stepped back and looked at Marilyn sadly. ‘This will never work,’ I told her. ‘There will always be this barrier between us.’ I saw a tear run down Marilyn’s face. I turned my back on her and walked away.

‘Goodbye, Marilyn,’ I said without looking back. ‘It’s over between us.’

‘Oh, William.’

I froze. Could it be … but it was just Mum calling to let me know that dinner would soon be ready. I went back to my bedroom and got changed, ready to face Mum and put an end to her dreadful misunderstanding.


Despite Mum having been convinced that I wasn’t keen on the idea of spending the rest of my life as a girl, she still thought I was a nicer person when I was in a dress. She didn’t tell me that in words. The approach that she took was more insidious. She hung the dress and petticoat in my wardrobe where I would see them every day. The message was clear. ‘Come on and wear us, you know you want to’. The message was easy to ignore. The dress, not so much. It was a constant reminder of Marilyn, my first love. I felt such a heel for rejecting her, but what else could I do? She wasn’t real.

Marilyn was often on my mind during the weeks that followed. She even invaded my dreams. I wanted so much to see her again; but the only way I could do that was to lend her my body. I had to dress myself in her clothes. The temptation to see her became irresistible. I told myself that just once more wouldn’t hurt. Mum need never know.

I chose a time when Mum was outside doing some gardening. I closed my bedroom door, undressed, and took Marilyn’s clothes from my wardrobe. This time, I managed to get the dress on the right way round, and used the same trick to get the zip done up.

The first time I had worn the dress, it had meant no more to me than a means of covering my nakedness. My pretence at being a girl was solely to avoid attracting attention. This time it was different. This time I was aware of intimate contact with something delightfully feminine. The way the clothes felt on me and the faint smell of girl that clung to them was … exciting. I could hardly wait to see Marilyn. My bedroom mirror was too small for that. I needed the full length mirror; but that was in Mum’s room.

I cautiously opened my bedroom door and peeped out. No sign of Mum. I crept along the passage toward her room, and then I heard her voice. I stopped so quickly that I would have run into myself if I had been two people. I relaxed. The voice was coming from the garden. Mum was engaged in one of her marathon gossip sessions with our neighbour. I felt that it would be safe enough for me to nip into her room for a quick look in the mirror. It would only take a couple of minutes.

The moment I saw Marilyn in the mirror, a strange feeling washed over me and I lost myself somewhere in the cosmos. I have no idea how long I stood there with Marilyn; but the next thing I remembered was trying to kiss her. The feel of cold glass on my lips brought me out of my trance. Marilyn scowled at me. I guess she didn’t enjoy that kiss either. I gave her an apologetic smile. She smiled back, but there was something missing. Of course! She wasn’t wearing any makeup. I glanced at Mum’s dressing table with its orderly litter of cosmetics. I had as much chance of applying makeup correctly as I had of painting the Mona Lisa; but I had watched Mum applying lipstick often enough. I could at least do that for Marilyn.

A voice somewhere inside my brain screamed at me to get out of Mum’s bedroom right now; but I couldn’t leave yet. Not with the job unfinished. I went over to the dressing table and sat down before it. I found several shades of lipstick. I wondered which one would be right for Marilyn. I pulled the cap off a tube and sniffed its contents. It smelt nice. Then I sensed somebody behind me, and a familiar voice brought me back to reality with all the shock of an ice cold shower.

‘Wait a bit. Let me do that for you,’ said the voice.

‘Mum!’ I squealed in a panic, dropping the lipstick from my numb fingers. I warned you, said my inner voice smugly.

‘Just give me a few minutes will you?’ said Mum happily. ‘Don’t move. I’ll be right back.’ She disappeared.

Marilyn disappeared too. I could no longer see her in the dressing table mirror. I jumped to my feet and dashed over to the full length mirror. Marilyn wasn’t there either. She had dumped me! All I could see in the mirror was a panic stricken boy looking utterly stupid in a girl’s dress. What on earth had possessed me? I had to get changed, but it was already too late for that. Mum would never unsee what she had just seen!

I heard Mum at the telephone.

I heard her dialling.

I heard her speak.

‘Hello? Emily? I’ve got such exciting news.’





© Copyright 2017 Joe Stuart. All rights reserved.

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