Erica's Special NightErica sat on top of the picnic table on the patio behind her home. She stared off into the clear, full-moonlit night sky, as she often did, contemplating life. The clean, fresh scent of an early summer rain shower, somewhere off in the distance, filled the air. It seemed so ironic that the clarity of the night was in such stark contrast to what she was feeling. She wished life did not make her feel so shameful, alienated, and scared.
Erica could see that the lights in the family room were still on as she sat there in the dark, just outside of the beam of light filtering through the closed vertical blinds of the patio door. Erica knew that her parents were still waiting up for her. She glanced back over at Rachel's house, her neighbor and long time friend, her best friend and pretty much her only. There were no lights on at her house.
Gathering her courage, Erica inhaled deeply, trying to calm her nerves and telling herself that the time had come. With one final, deep, chest-heaving breath, she exhaled, stood up and stepped down off the table, her heels making a light click as they made contact with the brick surface of the patio. She stood there for a moment looking down at her ,soft pink, gown and bending over, she straightened her hose, pausing for a moment to admire how beautiful her french-tipped toenails looked in the 2 inch open-toed strappy heels she had borrowed from Rachel. She was so proud of how beautiful she looked tonight and for a moment reflected on all of the fun she'd had. Taking a step towards the back door, she glanced back at Rachel's house hoping for a last second reprieve, but the Governor was not calling.
Erica's head was held low, her stride slow and heart pounding for she dreaded what she was about to do. Yet, no matter how hard she knew it was going to be, it was something that had to be done, she had to face her parents. She had been planning this moment for months and wasn't't about to back out now. Pausing with her hand held on the doorknob she once again looked back at Rachel's house, thinking, 'where are you', 'we were supposed to stay together', and you said 'you would watch over me tonight.' But there, in the moonlight Rachel's dark house stood unmoving, uncaring, and lifeless. Erica was upset that Rachel disappeared on her tonight of all nights, but more than that she was upset over the fact that she had disappeared, period. It was not in Rachel's character to be thoughtless and uncaring and Erica worried that something had happened to her, something awful.
Erica again took a deep breath, cleared her mind, told herself everything was going to be OK and stepped into the kitchen, quietly shutting the door behind her. She knew that in mere moments her parents were going to be possibly upset with her, probably want to disown her, lock her away so that no one would have to know what an embarrassing disgrace to the family, she was.
Standing in the kitchen, shaking like a leaf, she knew her parents were sitting in the next room waiting for her. She quickly adjusted her hair bow, straightened her dress one final time, and glanced down at her perfectly manicured fingernails, stalling. She heard the sound of the television go away, muted.
"How was the prom, dear?" her mother called to her.
"Alright.", she answered.
The prom, had not been "everything" she had hoped, but she did not have any regrets, until now. Just second thought's about what she was about to tell them.
"Come in here and tell us all about it," her mother said.
She knew she was about to have their undivided attention, for there was no way they would be able to look at the television once she stepped into the room. "Mom, Dad I've got something I need to tell you." Any parent could hear the reluctance in the statement; they heard it many times over the years. "Mom, - I spilled my milk," "Mom, Dad - I broke the lamp," "Mom, Dad - I wrecked the car." Could any words prepare them?
Heels clicking lightly on the hardwood floor, Erica stepped down the hall towards the family room, through the doorway next to the television, and into the light.
With a slight gasp, her mom's jaw dropped, speechless and breathless. Her dad looked up, his eyes growing large; face red with a very perplexed look upon it. Both her parents just sat there for a moment, staring at her. They acted initially shocked and confused but not terribly horrified. Slowly they examined her from head to toe, as she stood before them in silence.
Erica wore a tea length pink taffeta gown with thin, clear spaghetti straps. The bodice hugged her tightly giving her the shape of a young woman several years older than her age if 16. She had on two inch open toed, pink heels that color-matched to her gown and showed off her pretty French-tipped toenails. She was wearing a mother of pearl necklace with faux-diamond earrings that projected brilliant flashes of reflected
light and a pink ice tennis bracelet. A touch of blush made her cheeks a soft pink, to match the pale pink lipstick that highlighted her full lips. Her light pink, almost white, French tipped acrylics made her fingers look oh so dainty and cute. She also carried a small pink and white sequined purse, tucked under left arm. She wore a wig of hair much longer than her own, long brunette locks of ringlet curls that fell to the middle of her back, just below her shoulder blades; her tanned skin glowing beautifully.
As she stood there shaking, pulse racing, heart pounding; tears started to swell in Erica's eyes. ba
"Where are the clothes you left here wearing?!?" dad asked.
"At Rachel's house," Erica stared down at the floor, unable to look him in the eye.
She had never intended to hurt her parents, wishing that they would never have to know, but it was the high school prom, and she was not going to miss it; nor did she want to go through the rest of her life with regret. Her parents had always told her that she had to make every moment count because once that moment's gone you can never go back. They told her; in an effort to keep her grades up, an earned 'C' is a recorded 'C', you can't go back and change it. She understood what they were saying; you've only got one life; live in a way you will never have to look back with regret wishing you had done things differently.
"Is that how you went to the prom?" her dad asked.
Erica's lower lip quivered, "Y-yes, yes sir."
Erica mind traced back over the events of the evening; remembering how she and Rachel had been planning this night since January. She remembered how Rachel helped to transform her from the lonely, confused, unhappy male; Eric, into the lovely, bubbly, happy Erica, standing here now. She thought back to that Saturday at the mall when Rachel had spent the entire day modeling prom dresses for Eric and how she had saved him from embarrassment by purchasing the clothes for him, as well. She thought about the small collection of pantyhose, shaper, panties, bra, and one-piece swimsuit she had in her room, in a box hidden in the back of the closet. Rachel had given Eric the denim skirt, and cute silk top hanging behind all the boring boy clothes, in the same closet, along with her favorite pair of low rise flared-leg jeans with the pretty little pink bows sewn along the seam of one leg.
She thought about the thrill Eric and Rachel both had had when they ordered the wig and breast forms from the Internet. She thought of the excitement of the day they arrived and the joy Eric felt the first time he tried them on. She thought about all the times, practically every afternoon, when her parent's thought their son was only studying science, history, and math at Rachel's house, and how, in reality, Rachel was putting
him through a crash course in all things feminine; teaching him how to do his nails, apply make-up, walk in heels, sit like a girl, carry himself and act completely feminine; basically everything a teenage girl knows about looking, feeling, and being attractive and feminine.
She thought about the Saturday evenings, and how, with mom gone to her weekly wine socials at the country club and dad on the golf course; she would spend all afternoon at Rachel's house, transforming into Erica and how they would don short skirts or tight jeans, do each other's make-up and hair, then go out for a drive around the other side of town, in Rachel' mom's convertible, stopping for burgers' at Johnny's; the spot where all the cross town rival high school boys hung out, ogling the females. She reminisced about that one 15 y/o boy, Ryan, that had been taken with Erica and how he nervously flirted with her, every time they went there, totally unaware that Erica was really a guy underneath the illusion of the cute teenage girl he saw before him and how this had made Eric feel totally at ease and comfortable as Erica.
She was jolted from her reminiscing by her father's voice. "So how did it go? Were there any problems or issues tonight? Do you have any regrets for going dressed like?" her dad asked.
"It was lovely, and no, no daddy, I don't have any regrets. Not now."
Mom stood up and walked over to her son, and reaching out she took Erica's hands in hers. For a brief moment she admired her son's pretty, feminine fingernails, the tiny little cubic zirconium "engagement" style ring on her right ring finger and how dainty and feminine they made her son's hand's look; then she looked Eric in the eyes with a single tear escaping the corner of her own.
"I'm disappointed, but not in you. No, I'm proud of you. I'm proud that you had the courage to make the moment count. Proud that you were courageous enough to do what your heart was telling you you had to do. No, the disappointment is that you didn't confide in me earlier and as a result, I missed getting to be apart of your big night. Prom is a big deal and you look very pretty and...I didn't have a hand in it. I missed getting to take you shopping for a prom dress. I missed helping you pick out your jewelry. I missed everything It hurts that you didn't feel you could talk to me, You know we have always tried to instill in you acceptance, open-mindedness, tolerance and understanding in everything, " She started to cry, crocodile tears rolling off both cheeks as Erica's dad put his arm around mom and gave her a comforting hug.
Erica was stupefied by her mother's statements. She was floored by her mom's reaction. This was something she had never dreamed could happen. Now her mind was blank. Just moments ago, before entering the house, she had tried to create all the arguments that her parents would have and the only counterargument she could think of; to apologize, beg forgiveness, and swear to never do it again.
"Mom, I'm sorry." She did not want to hurt them. "I'll never do it again, I swear." She did not know what else to say.
"Yes you will," mom replied between sobs. She knew that, obviously, this was not the first time her little baby had transformed himself. With all the trouble he had gone to to look as beautiful and completely feminine as he did standing before her, as important as this obviously was to her, she knew that tonight would not be the last. No Erica was doing too convincing of a job at appearing as a girl to convince her it was a one time thing. And if she were to be honest with herself, she knew she didn't really want it to be the last time either. Having had to have a complete hysterectomy after giving birth to Eric, she had always wished she could have another child, a daughter she could take shopping and buy all kinds of pretty, feminine things for, and she had not kept that a secret from Eric.
"Mom, I'm real sorry. I SWEAR, I'll never do it again."
Erica's mom got control of her emotions. "Don't make promises you can't keep, sweetie."
"We're not angry with you, honey," his dad stated.
"But, Dad you've got to be disappointed. I mean, what parent wouldn't be, especially a father, seeing his son standing before him, all traces of masculinity gone, replaced with complete femininity." Erica replied, because that was the only way she had imagined it would go.
Her mother reached out and hugged her and her Dad joined in, holding them both, pulling them into a nice, warm lingering embrace, tightly against his chest. Once her father had released the embrace and given his child a sweet kiss on her forehead, he stretched, and stated, "I'm going to go to bed and leave you two to talk. You and I will have a long discussion about your future, tomorrow morning over breakfast at Cracker Barrel. That is if Erica will join me."
Just before turning to head into the bedroom, he leaned in to give Erica's mom a kiss on the cheek and whispered in her ear, "Take as much time as you need." Then leaning over toward Erica he gave his child another kiss,this time a soft peck on the cheek then said, "It's going to be alright, dear. Goodnight, girls."
Erica heard her father's words, goodnight girls. That was a word she had long dreamed of hearing her dad say in reference to her, but never dreamed she ever actually would.
"Come, honey, let's have a seat on the couch. I have so much I want to know. By the way, what name have you chosen?", her mom asked as she took her son by the hand and led him to the love seat across the room. As she took a seat she noticed how naturally Erica reached and smoothed the back of her dress, so as not to wrinkle it as she sat down on the edge of the couch, back straight, knees together, legs crossed at the ankles, one hand on top of the other; resting on her lap.
"Sweetheart, when I was pregnant with you we decided we didn't want to know if we were having a boy or girl until you were born, so I had 2 names picked out, Eric, and Erica."
"I know, mom. You have told me several times before. That's WHY I chose Erica,... for you."
"Oh honey, you are such a sweet, loving child."
"So,... Erica, how about you start by telling tell me all about how this all started. I want to know everything leading up to the prom and how Rachel plays into all this. Oh, and before you begin, tomorrow after your breakfast with dad we are going shopping. "