Life is strange: there are so many question—two of the very basic ones being about how life once started and gender.What’s confusing are not the questions themselves, instead it’s all their varied answers. But life didn’t emerge out of chaos, and gender was there already from the beginning and without any questions ever had being asked. And if we should ask, the only answer ever needed is:We all are children of the universe.
... It was Saturday, the best day of the week because her dad was home from work. Amy longed for these mornings. After she had quietly opened her parents’ bedroom door, she made her way slowly to her father’s bedside, trying hard not to wake her mother. This morning, as every Saturday morning, belonged to Amy and her dad... In this gentle tale, a young girl befriends a special flower, taking her father with her ona journey of understanding.
Did life happen by chance or was it somehow planned, just as birth can be? To find answers about our existence we have to search far beyond the obvious and deep within.We all look at ourselves and living differently, but from afar our existence are the same energy, life as such doesn’t differ. The child within can cover the distance. It see us through past and future and guides us where to go.
Life in ancient times may have been different then, but some of their issues are still valid, bothering us still today.This fairytale in all its simplicity tells about life and us humans in a both specific and general way, where identity and our true selves—who we are—turn into question, ...as a little boy out shopping with his mother and wanting her tobuy him a dress instead of trousers and a shirt.
This story is based on a true event and its complex implications. It’s about transsexualism.This emotional journey will take you beyond what is generally understood, and even farther beyond what modern science has included in its understanding. Keep in mind though that it is based on real events. In fact, what happens in this book is happening to others right now.
These fourteen poems are very much connected to the previous story 5 “Behind Waves” and all of them are very essential to the story.Even though these poems were written as a part of the story, they also have a story of their own to tell, providing the larger picture.To recognize oneself when looking in a mirror and be able to share emotions is a must and is what these poems and poetry story tells about.
This is a short story and it’s about a boy and his grandmother and how small insignificant things, a coincident, a thought, can last and be passed on through generations like forever.The story isn’t just fantasy, the boy, grandmother and the bottle of sand happened and I happened to be there. The event got stuck in my mind, so later on I wrote this story down as a sort of reaction to what I saw and felt happened.
This blog story series has seventeen entries,which happened during a period of three weeks’ out cliff-path walking from January 21 to February 13, 2009.When I got the idea I wasn’t too keen to reveal my location at first, so I kept it a secret till the last entry, if you wonder about that.What those my thoughts were is still difficult to say, so I will leave that to you to discover.
This story, a kind of fairytale in fact, tells about a girl who have a hard time being bullied and with no friends around. And it tells about how things sometimes can change in a magical way.Once upon a time, as in this fairytale, is actually not that long back in time at all. But still, those ancient forests may scare us even today, and even if heavily reduced in size. However, fears of the forest can change by just going there for a visit.
This story is the first I wrote back in 1995. At that time I wanted to find out if I was able to write, so initially this story which I had in mind was a test. But when starting writing I couldn’t stop and in the end I really liked the story as it turned out. So why not publish it on this site, too, for any of my Swedish readers.One odd thing with this story is that it involves a painting which you can have a look at on the front cover. A quite special and “magic” painting in fact.
This saga is kind of contemporary and it begins when you start reading. Even if the past is there at the beginning, the future is, too. It tells about people that found a way to create their own society and it is not just any people...
Once Upon A Time
As this saga continues it will take you to a place beyond imagination. We only think of societies we are aware of, but here we enter another kind of awareness where science and fantasy merge. Possibilities which them others not discovered yet...
In war as well in peace, arms of various kinds are needed... and earn money from. Who’s’ in power spending all that money, is another thing needed to monitor and keep track on. As from now, both these things are done the enchanting way...
The beginning of it all and everything
– 001:000/I –
ContentsPageForeword.................................................1Children of the Universe, introduction..2Children of the Universe, the tale……….3-5About the tale……………………………………6 About life……………………………………….7 About death……………………………………8 About God……………………………………..8-9Final word………………………………………..10
– 001:001/1 –
— Foreword —In one and many ways, this is how it all started. And I would like to think that this is how I “me” started to exist, too.About “Across Borders” and this I “me” and all happening, this tale is both easy and impossible to understand at the same time.With this I “me” as the impossible part and the easy part is us meeting, which I guess those of you that have met me can agree on.“So who are we? Would we like to meet?”In case, and with this universal tale in mind, “Where in universe?” and “When in life?”“So where are we?” and“When in time are we present?”Some of the answers you will find hidden in-between the lines, but well within reach if you open your mind and honestly want to know.“So where am I?” and “When in time am I?”If you reach out towards the sky, find your star and trust life as in this tale, that’s how we meet.Li Sam
– 001:001/2 –
Children of the UniverseLife is strange: there are so many question—two of the very basic ones being about how life once started and gender.What’s confusing are not the questions themselves, instead it’s all their varied answers. But life didn’t emerge out of chaos, and gender was there already from the beginning and without any questions ever had being asked. And if we should ask, the only answer ever needed is:We all are children of the universe.
– 001:001/3 –
. . .From the very beginning there were earth, water and heaven. At that point our planet Earth didn’t exist. It was just there as a mass, floating around in space without meaning or the notice of anyone.When the first beams of sunlight found their way to its surface, Earth emerged as a newborn child. She turned and danced around the sun, showing herself from all angles. The sunlight made her feel warm and happy. At night she rested, and when morning slowly woke her again, she showed herself more beautiful than the day before. No one questioned her existence and no one ever questioned that she was a she.Very soon after our mother Earth began to produce life, and her beauty increased even more. But life didn’t just happen out of nothing; the sun wasn’t the cause alone. All the stars far away saw with wonderment what was happening—they hadn’t seen anything like this before.
– 001:001/4 –
Stars surrounded our mother Earth as in a theatre, expectantly waiting for her next turn. And with every turn, their friendly relationship grew stronger. With the attention she was shown, she felt like sparks were lighting a fire surrounding her, and soon after love occurred.All the stars gathering around her made the sky open, letting energy flow. Even from afar her love reflected increasing and eternal beauty.The starlight brightened the night, and Earth allowed beams of light from all over to find their way to her heart. The starlight made Earth pregnant and bonds of love emerged as signs of the Zodiac across the sky.Our mother Earth nurtured every beam that touched her, even from the tiniest little star far away, and she made them grow. The energy she felt touched her soul and made her more beautiful than ever before.At daybreak she turned to the sun, making life aware. At night, stars tucked life in, providing comfort while sleeping. Wherever she turned, light as in a marriage gently caressed her soul,
– 001:001/5 –
promising eternal faithfulness. And as a mother in a universal, loving relationship, Earth made life a home.Mother Earth feeds our bodies. The sun enlightens our minds, making us see. And like a father teaching his children, stars guide both you and me. In life we sparkle as the children of the universe we are, and like stars shimmering in the sky, we will never be forgotten.. . .Li SamJune 2005
– 001:001/6 –
About this taleI wrote this small piece in June 2005, a period in my life where I was very uncertain if I was going to survive the year or not. It was not about me being life-threatening ill or risk having an accident or such; instead this I felt went far deeper to an emotional level, where I felt that something within me was in a process of shutting down.However, there was this spark, like an ancient light from afar looking down at me as I wrote.I didn’t know the term systemic constellations then, but still and in a bigger picture, which Earth constellations represents, this ancient kind of tale has something to say.Whatever this piece is or could be regarded as, sometimes, and in mysterious ways, things you write and have no idea about, later on turn out true. And why not? In my search for the truth in me, this tale was one of the first that popped up in my mind.
– 001:001/7 –
The way this tale tells about life is universal in all aspects and why not embrace it as that. A universal saga from far back in time when all life started and became aware.As I was writing, my thoughts were all over the place connecting to whatever. Thoughts, which I would like to share with you here, about the path I was walking.So here it is, the beginning of a journey.About LifeThere are things about life which we wonder about because we don’t quite understand them. And there are things we don't want to know.If we don't learn about our fears and denials, doesn't that make us blind and unable to be even aware of what we're missing?People have problems in life for lots of reasons and often awareness and understanding can be the guiding star to find out what in life they are looking for and how to get there.
– 001:001/8 –
About DeathIn life, there are many more things about death we don’t understand and wonder about. And again, there are things we don't want to know.If we learn about our fears of death, might we not gain something rather than losing?Sometimes people die for no obvious reason and some of them take their lives while young. Can that guiding star guide us in death, too?About GodGod is a friend of mine. I don't need a special house or any church to go to and I don't need to pray to connect. My God isn't like that. My God is with me all times, wherever. And as a child of the universe God provided me a body and made me alive. The body I was given wasn't me, but the soul God made me was and still is.Even if my body were wrong, for whatever reason, I'm proud of that character, the role I had to play. When one day late in life that character became aware of me, he took me by the hand, leading me to the light I could follow.
– 001:001/9 –
That light was created for me, illuminating paths through the universe we shouldn't miss.As people we often forget about our true selves and only think of our bodily parts, expectations and how others want us to be.Whatever disabilities we have, the soul is free. God is life, and those star beams that once made us, that light are we.…Then I also started to wonder where all our life journeys ends? Because if there’s a beginning there have to be an end, right?Will Earth vanish in the same kind of magical manner it once emerged? But something can’t vanish into nothing, can it? Or if it can..., nothing can’t vanish into itself. Or can it?As I see it, whenever and wherever an ending occur, it will always be the beginning of a new story or an eternal tale like this perhaps, right?
– 001:001/10 –
— Closing Words —Whatever this tale is, I’m not going to close it. Death is one thing and you may forget about me and this tale, which is okay. Even so and that’s it, I’m happy.From across borders (a place I sometimes visit) I see this “Children of the Universe” tale as very real, alive and present, forever and today.So in the end I will be sticking around after all. Where and whenever we meet doesn’t matter, as that me I am will not vanish. And perhaps… beyond, where horizons meet, like in a highway intersection, our lights will cross. Even if just a slight touch, mother Earth will sense it!Love, Li Sam
Childrenof theUniverseThe beginning of it all and everythingThis is the entry to “Across Borders” it’s from here our lives and living first started.We all know that our children, the first green grass showing and that the first spring flowers are all unique, and it’s there where we meet.Welcome!
— Dedication —I dedicate this little fairytale story to life and all that’s living, especially children.Often we forget small living things as if it doesn’t matter whether they’re dead or alive. And sometimes in triumph we collect for profit what once was a free spirt, without a thought for the consequences. Where life ceases to exist, hardcopies of the past take over.What we seldom realize is that our memories are what keep the past alive. It’s there, within us, that the real values of life are be brought into the future.Fairytales are like riddles telling us that what children see as the truth, we never should diminish, ignore or treat as forgotten.Li Sam
– 002:001/2 –
— Foreword —This story was originally written summer 2002 and first publish in a book format 2008. The cover art and other illustrations that may appear are all made by Lisa Maynard.The reason for this story is manifold and it’s still one of my favorites, as it takes on life at its core. This story is not meant to lecture what to believe or what to regard as true or not. Instead it’s meant to draw your own conclusions.If you make the same conclusions as me, the author, doesn’t really matter. What matter is how you perceive the story and how it might fit in with your realities as you experience them. Then I of course hope that you will enjoy the story.However, there are a lot of issues brought up in-between the lines in this story. Later on I will address these issues as Story Insights, referring to this site Earth constellation activities for those of you interested.Li Sam
– 002:001/3 –
The FlowerChapter 1In a village on the outskirts of a big city (well, in this little tale it could be any city really), the rising sun had begun painting the grey sky bright blue at the horizon. A little girl named Amy slowly woke and turned her head towards her bedroom window. She lay there quite still in her bed, waiting expectantly. As the first sunbeam found its way inside, she quickly rose. As silently as possible, she tiptoed out in the corridor and snuck into her parents’ bedroom.
– 002:001/4 –
It was Saturday, the best day of the week because her dad was home from work. Amy longed for these mornings. After she had quietly opened her parents’ bedroom door, she made her way slowly to her father’s bedside, trying hard not to wake her mother. This morning, as every Saturday morning, belonged to Amy and her dad.As far back as Amy could remember, her father had gotten up early on Saturdays and taken her downstairs to the kitchen for a breakfast just for the two of them. Amy was now four years old, and from the day she had gotten her own bedroom Saturday mornings had developed into a contest to see which of them could wake the other one first. Nowadays, she always won. Even if her parents were awake when she came in, they pretended to be sleeping; they both enjoyed the sound of small feet creeping in and their daughter’s tiny voice close to her father’s ear."Daddy, Daddy, the sun is up!" Amy whispered, gently shaking his arm, which he had put outside the bed covers for her. He slowly opened one eye to look straight at her, and he smiled. Amy put her small finger in
– 002:001/5 –
front of her mouth signaling for him to be very quiet, and he crawled gently from his bed. Then they both tiptoed out into the hallway, closing the bedroom door silently behind them.As usual, when the bedroom door was closed the big chase to the kitchen began, led by Amy jumping and laughing. Once settled in the kitchen they immediately started to discuss what they should do that day. The sun rose quickly. Sparkling sunbeams were crossing the kitchen window like arrows, and one by one they lit up the air around them. Amy and her dad peeked out through the window. It was early spring, and it seemed to be the beginning of a very nice day.Amy was at a charming age. She was old enough to have passed the baby stage and, now more than ever, was developing her personality. But she was young enough still to have an open mind and clear thoughts, very characteristic for a curious kid discovering life. Her tiny body was healthy and strong, and she had a child’s pretty face and long blond hair just below her shoulders.Amy’s father looked very much as many fathers do: a little tall but not oddly so, a tad bit skinny,
– 002:001/6 –
and of course handsome. At least Amy and her Mother thought so. He had short graying hair, and most times he dressed casually, like he’d rather be out hiking with his family than taking part in the work-a-day world. That day both Amy and her father were still in their pajamas. After checking the weather conditions from the kitchen window they opened the door a bit to their small back garden. On the doorstep they stood for a while feeling the outside air heating up with the sun. The smell in the air and the sound of the songbirds outside promised that the first really warm spring day was here. It hadn't been raining all week, the weather had slowly improved day by day until the sky was clear blue, and this brilliant Saturday there was not a cloud as far as they could see.Amy’s father smiled gently at her. "I know¬—we can have an outdoor breakfast. We can take everything we need, walk up in the forest, and have a breakfast picnic there.""Yes, yes!" Amy agreed, jumping around.“Okay, what do we need to take with us?” Amy’s father asked, looking around the kitchen with a mock puzzled expression.
– 002:001/7 –
Amy was quick to rise to the occasion. “I know, I know!” she cried happily, looking up at her father’s eyes.He let Amy hold his hand tightly as she jumped up and down beside him. He bent down to her and said with a smile, “Okay, show me!” And she most happily did.Amy and her father were used to exploring the kitchen together. As far back as she could remember, her father had carried her around in one arm, and with the other he had picked things out of the fridge, taking out mugs and plates from cupboards and sets of cutlery from drawers. Whatever her father did to make them breakfast, Amy was there with him, always watching. And when she got older, Amy enjoyed helping prepare breakfast with him.Now they had a new challenge: they were going out to have a breakfast picnic! Amy took her father by the hand seriously, leading him around the kitchen to point out what to take.“We need cocoa for me and coffee for you,” Amy pointed out.“Yes, that’s right.” her father answered with a confirming nod back at her.
– 002:001/8 –
For every item Amy pointed out, her father commented approvingly in the same way. After they had packed most of her suggestions, he chose the last items they needed and took his time explaining why they needed them and where everything was. He showed her even the items she was not supposed to touch, like knives, and he thoroughly explained why she was not allowed to touch them. Amy trusted her father, and it was with a true understanding that she agreed to do as he told her. Their mutual trust made no scolding necessary.In a basket they had packed a big blanket to spread out on the ground and jackets in case they had misjudged the weather. They topped those with muffins, cut fruit in a bowl, juice, water, milk, two mugs, some plates, cutlery, and napkins. In a vacuum jug, they had poured hot water for making their cocoa and coffee.When they were ready to leave their house, the sun was well over the treetops. They could feel a pleasant heat from it. The air still was a bit cool, but that didn’t matter. The crispy-dry, light air, all the birds singing, and the first fresh smell from flowers opening up all around served as an extra sweater keeping them warm.
– 002:001/9 –
As they went out of their house, through the garden, and onto the sidewalk of their street, Amy was holding the other end of the basket handle, pretending to help her father carry it. Both of them were more jumping their way to the forest than walking.“What is that?” Amy asked, pointing at a small bird hopping from branch to branch inside a hedge they just were passing.“It’s a house sparrow,” her father replied.“What is he doing there?” Amy asked happily with eyes as big as saucers. She had seen sparrows before in their garden and in other places, too, but never in a hedge like that.“I’m not sure if it’s a he or a she, but I think it’s searching for a place to build a nest for this summer. You know these little birds are very clever: they build nests in places where other animals can’t find them or get to them,” he told her while showing her the big, sharp thorns growing on branches inside the hedge.“And these tiny buds will soon be leaves growing out from every branch, covering the nest so no one can find it later on.”Amy listened closely, her clever mind moving
– 002:001/10 –
from each explanation to another question. “Why doesn’t the bird get hurt on those big thorns?” she asked.“Well, I don’t know really, but I guess the bird is small and quick enough to pass through without getting hurt.”Amy was amazed by the little sparrow hopping quickly around inside the hedge. Even though her father couldn’t completely answer all her questions, she was happy with what answers she got. So they continued their walk together to the forest.As they walked, they talked. Amy could ask her father anything without him getting bored or irritated. Farther up the road, she stopped again, looking down at the sidewalk just in front of her. A strange, colorful, tiny creature was crawling on the ground, trying to get somewhere.“What is that?” Amy asked, laughing at the funny way this little creature was moving forward.“It’s a caterpillar,” he told her, joining in on his daughter’s giggling.“What is he doing?” she asked, still laughing.
– 002:001/11 –
“It is crawling around like a baby, like you did before you could walk. And do you know what?” he asked in a revealing tone, trying to get all of Amy’s attention. “When it’s old enough, it will pop up into a butterfly, just like popcorn we cook back home, you know.”Amy laughed loudly, looking happily up at her father, who was showing her by placing his hands together and opening them wide, imitating the popping sound she knew.“No!” Amy said with a glittering, doubtful joy spreading over her face.“Oh, yes,” he repeated with every happy noise his daughter produced. Each time he also repeated more vividly his imitation of popping corn kernels in a pan.Amy laughed even more. She so loved her father playing with her like that.There was no one else out as it still was early. The forest was not far from their house, and a path wide enough for both of them to walk side by side led into it from the end of their street. It was part of a multi-acre park, and to be this close to a village it was rather unspoiled. There was a pattern of paths crossing it, but all were
– 002:001/12 –
rather badly kept, so not many people wandered them. Amy and her father tried to go here when the weather was fine. Their strolls always led to something that caught Amy’s attention and spurred her questions.Once in the forest, they didn't have to go far to find an open field with old hardwood trees standing on one end up a slope facing south. Their path crossed the field in the middle, but it was not difficult for them to make their way to the slope. The high trees surrounding them were a protection from the chilly wind. And the sun now was washing heat over them like small waves softly rolling up on a beach. This day became more and more promising the higher the sun rose in the sky, and it was a very happy father and daughter there searching for a place on the slope to spread their blanket.The old leaves on the ground were crisp and dry, and they crackled under their feet. The grass had just begun to grow, and they could see small islands of young green blades sticking up through this carpet of old, light-brown leaves. The dry leaves created a welcome protective shield from the still-cold earth below. As they spread their blanket in the exact
– 002:001/13 –
middle of the slope, Amy jumped on every inch of it until no more cracking could be heard. After she had made sure she’d cracked all of the leaves under the blanket, she and her father started to unpack their breakfast basket. Amy unpacked the muffins, and her father started to make the cocoa and coffee.They both took the time to really enjoy their breakfast in the sun. They looked around at the signs of spring, listened to birds, and Amy asked her father about every new thing she saw and every new bird she heard. In his usual pleasant manner, he answered all her questions to make her happy. And if it wasn’t Amy doing the asking, it was her father.“What is that?” he asked, pointing to an ant trying to cross over their blanket.Amy knew what it was, as she had seen ants before in their garden. Now it was her turn to explain. “It’s an ant,” she was quick to say.“What is he doing?” her father asked, continuing to look puzzled and pretending not to know.“He is looking for something to eat,” was Amy’s confident reply.
– 002:001/14 –
Her father blurted, “Oh, no, he is coming to snatch my muffin!” He mimicked fear, moving away from the ant and holding his muffin high.“No, no! Ants don’t eat big muffins,” Amy told her dad while laughing.“He’s coming for my coffee, then?” he asked, holding his mug of coffee high in his other hand.“No, no. Ants don’t drink coffee,” Amy replied, laughing even more.Wherever the ant went in its attempts to cross the blanket, Amy’s father moved away in fear. If it wasn’t their breakfast, the ant might have been after him to bite him. Amy laughed loudly when the ant was approaching her father, and he pretended not to see so the play would continue. For a while, the little ant provided full breakfast entertainment before it reached an edge of the blanket and disappeared among the leaves.After they had finished eating and had packed everything back in their basket, Amy started to watch other insects doing all sorts of things as they popped up on the leaves surrounding the blanket. For a while their blanket was like a raft
– 002:001/15 –
floating on a leaf sea, and the insects popping up were like fishes saying hello to them.This little game kept Amy momentarily occupied, but soon she was discovering new things out there in the sea of leaves. Amy’s father enjoyed resting on the blanket in the warm sun and crispy clear air as his little daughter walked among the leaves entertaining herself. Her imagination kept her busy, so he didn’t need to follow her around.Amy went from place to place talking to herself, singing and making whatever kinds of noises crossed her mind. Her father had been listening to her for some while now, hearing her giggling and laughing at something. Her laughter increased, so after a while he slowly sat up, curious as to what had caught her attention and kept her occupied for so long.Not far from the blanket, Amy was bending down on her knees, slowly lifting a leaf and peeping under it, giggling and laughing. She would gently let the leaf down and then lift it up again and start this same procedure over. Her father couldn't remember seeing Amy so cheerful before. It looked as if she were in the middle of a hide-and-seek game. Slowly, he
– 002:001/16 –
moved nearer to see what she was playing with."What are you doing?" he asked, smiling.Amy, still on her knees, looked up at her father with a happy smile all over her face. “I'm playing with the flower," she answered, and she gestured for him to bend down to have a peek.He lay flat on the ground to look at the leaf. Then Amy slowly lifted it again. As she did, a little, bright pink flower popped up and seemed to peek back at him. When Amy gently put down the leaf again, the flower bent in a friendly bow, and it looked as if it were hiding. He couldn't help giggling with his daughter as she once again lifted the leaf and, after a peek, put the leaf back over the flower. As he watched her play this game, Amy’s father tried to identify the flower; he thought he knew most of the flowers in the neighborhood but he couldn't recognize this one. "I wonder what kind of flower it is," he said as they looked at it one more time.Amy just shook her head quietly."It must have a name,” he said with a twinkle in his eye. “I know . . . We have a big book about flowers at home. We can bring the book here
– 002:001/17 –
and see if we can find out its name."Amy immediately accepted her father’s proposal. They both stood up, and Amy fetched a nearby stick that her father asked for. He stuck the stick straight in the ground to mark the flower’s location. Amy was so enthusiastic about the flower and finding out what its name was that they hurried back home to fetch the book.When they arrived home Amy’s mother had just gotten up and was eating her breakfast in the kitchen. She looked a bit surprised to see them back home so early."Mummy, Mummy, we found a flower and Daddy and I are going to find out its name," Amy said as she rushed into her mother’s arms.Amy’s mother lifted up her little girl and went out in the hallway, looking a bit puzzled at her husband as he closed the front door behind him. He just repeated what their daughter said and snuck into the kitchen, putting leftovers from their picnic back in the fridge and leaving the basket and the bag with the blanket in a corner nearby. He then quickly proceeded into the living room, deliberately avoiding his wife for further explanation. He got the book, took
– 002:001/18 –
their little daughter from his wife’s arms into his with a mysterious smile, and rushed out, with Amy laughing and waving “bye-bye” back at her mother.Amy was still laughing when her father put her down outside the house, but she quieted down and shushed her father just as he was shushing her. They didn’t want to let her mother know too much—the flower was their secret. They skipped back to the forest just as they had when they’d left it, jumping and hiding sometimes so no one could see where they were going. When they found their special stick, Amy eagerly bent down to see if the flower still was there. Her father lay on the ground next to her with the book in front of him.For Amy, this was a new game. Her father turned a page, she lifted the leaf, and they both looked first at the flower under the leaf, then at a picture in the book, and then at the flower again. Each time they compared the flower with a picture they both shook their heads. The book was thick with a lot of pictures in it, but they couldn't find any picture that matched the little flower under the leaf. Amy looked at her confused father and he looked back at her.
– 002:001/19 –
"I just can't find it here. This must be a very special flower you found." He wasn't sure if he was mistaken, but that flower just wasn’t pictured.Amy looked with wonder at her father in the same way he was wondering what to do next."I think we will have to ask a gardener or someone who knows about flowers,” he told her. “If this is such a rare flower that it's not in this book, we’ll have to tell other people about it.""Why do we have to tell other people?" Amy asked, a bit concerned, as this was to be their secret.Amy’s father looked thoughtfully back at her, trying to figure out a way to explain their obligation as citizens to report unusual and rare findings to authorities. After he considered it, he explained that the flower she had found was like meeting a new friend, and that other people, who also liked flowers, would very much like to meet their new flower friend, too.Amy was satisfied with her father’s explanation, so they both stood up, leaving the flower as before: covered by the leaf and with the stick in
– 002:001/20 –
the ground to mark its place. This time after they walked back home, Amy rushed to her mother to tell all about her newly found friend. It was no secret anymore. Amy’s father went to look in the telephone book for someone to verify if the flower was rare or not. He found a lot of gardeners and one garden society not far away—he thought that maybe the garden society would be best to try first.Surprisingly, the telephone number for the society chairman was listed, so, after glancing at the clock, Amy’s father called it. And his good luck continued when the society chairman himself answered. Amy’s father explained their discovery as the society chairman listened politely, trying to get a picture of who was calling and how much he knew about flowers in the area. The chairman explained that they had the neighborhood very well covered and he himself knew the forest rather well where the flower was supposed to be growing. However, he was a little puzzled when he heard about the book they had used to try to identify the flower—it was rather new and regarded as a complete work."Anyway, I have an opening this afternoon and
– 002:001/21 –
I haven't been to that part of the forest for a while, so why don’t I come over and have a look?" the society chairman said.They agreed to meet a couple of hours later. Amy’s father told Amy and his wife about the conversation, and of course Amy got excited and jumped around, talking about her new flower friend even more.Time moves slowly for a little girl waiting for a visitor to arrive. But as expected, at the agreed time the doorbell rang. Amy’s father opened the door with her peeking out curiously from around his legs. He and the visiting gentleman shook hands, and then the chairman bent down a bit to greet Amy, who was now hiding behind her daddy’s legs. The society chairman was a nice-seeming, elderly gentleman, well dressed for an afternoon walk in the forest. Amy’s father helped her put on her jacket, and then he asked the chairman, “Should I bring the book?”"You can bring it if you like; it might be useful," the chairman answered. He was thinking, “That way I can find the flower in the book for them.”With the book under Amy’s father’s arm, they left the house and walked up the road to the forest. Amy was still a bit shy with the
– 002:001/22 –
chairman and stayed close to her father, holding him by the hand all the way.When they reached the open field and saw the slope, both the father and his little girl pointed out the place where the flower was. As they reached the marking stick, the chairman bent down. Amy, who wasn’t that shy anymore, gently lifted the leaf to let him have a look. The chairman smiled at her and then looked under the leaf. It was indeed an unusual flower that peeked out from under the leaf at him. The chairman started. He had been dead certain that he knew all existing flowers in the country by memory, but he couldn't place this one.After peering at that flower on his knees for a couple of minutes, the chairman looked up and told them that he wasn’t sure, but he thought that the little flower was extremely rare. He explained to them that he knew of similar flowers, but this little flower wasn’t of the same species. He bent down again to have another look. He carefully lifted the leaf away from the flower, which slowly straightened up a bit. He also moved some other leaves away, revealing the dry, brown dirt underneath.
– 002:001/23 –
The flower was not big, but it had a special demeanor to it that made it interesting. Its petals were bright pink and were shaped like a bell, but with its edges bent inwards. A dark yellow spot on the petals’ bottom edges was surrounded by a near-white ring, and that made the flower seem like it was looking back at you. Its stalk was about three-inches long, and there were only five tiny leaves growing off the bottom of the stalk near the ground.The chairman looked around the ground nearby and asked if they had found any more flowers of the same kind. But both Amy and her father shook their heads. “We hadn't been searching for more flowers,” Amy’s father replied.The chairman carefully replaced the leaves covering the flower and stood up. He now had a more serious look on his face. He asked them not to tell anyone about this discovery until he had had a chance to investigate more. As they walked back, the chairman explained that if the flower were as rare as he thought, they had to take measures to protect it from being destroyed. For example, experts should be brought in to examine it and the area
– 002:001/24 –
surrounding it. Amy listened to her father’s and the chairman’s serious discussion, and then she got a bit shy again. She kept near her dad all the way back home. Once there, the chairman promised to keep them informed about the outcome of his investigation, and then they parted in front of the house.Amy immediately ran inside to tell her mother what had happened. Then her father completed the story, with the details of all the chairman had said. He sat in the living room and placed his daughter on his knee, and they both smiled at each other, with the little girl laughing happily as her father tickled her stomach and told her that their little flower friend probably was going to be famous.
– 002:002/1 –
Chapter 2The next Sunday morning as Amy and her parents were having breakfast, they could hear cars driving up the road, stopping and turning their engines off near the path into the forest. They all got a bit curious, as it was still early and few cars drove up this little blind alley. So after breakfast Amy’s father went outside to have a look. He could see at least three cars parked near the path into the forest. He ducked back in and called for Amy: “Let’s go and see what’s happening.” Of course Amy wanted to, so they quickly dressed, and out they went.When they reached the path into the forest, they could see five cars parked there, almost blocking the entrance. “That’s the car belonging to the garden society chairman we met yesterday,” said her father. “There are probably a lot of people visiting our little flower friend. Let’s go have a look.”When they walked out into the open field, some of the newcomers were bent on their knees around the little flower, and others were
– 002:002/2 –
carefully searching the grounds nearby.As Amy and her father drew closer, one man searching the grounds came toward them. He announced with a stern countenance, “Don’t come any farther. This is a restricted area.”As he spoke, the other people on the slope looked up to see who the new arrivals were. The flower society chairman was among those surrounding the flower. Recognizing Amy and her father, he walked down to meet them. He greeted Amy’s father kindly and bent down to say hello to Amy. But she had grown shy again because of all the people around so she hid behind her father’s right leg.“I’m sorry I haven’t been able to call you yet,” he continued, “but I’ve been extremely busy contacting the people you see here. They’re examining the flower and the grounds for more of the same species.”The chairman brought Amy and her father with him into the inner circle and showed them around, explaining what they had found so far and what they were planning to do next. “These are botanists from around the country. No one yet has been able to identify the flower as belonging to any known existing species. We’ll
– 002:002/3 –
have to investigate more. There will probably be a lot more people involved in this, when all is said and done.”The chairman then excused himself by saying that he had to continue his work. So Amy and her father walked down the slope and back to the path in the middle of the field. For a while they stood looking at the people working on the slope. They couldn't hear what was being said, but they could see that all of them were very excited.Amy pulled her father's jacket sleeve to get his attention. “Why can't we go and visit our flower friend?” she asked him earnestly.He lifted her in his arms, smiling as they walked home and he tried to explain. “The people we saw there need to find out where the little flower came from and if there are more flowers under the leaves nearby. They don't want us to walk around there in case we might stomp on one,” he said.Amy looked at her father with a serious and sad expression. "I wouldn't stomp on my friends," she said.Her father looked back at her and smiled
– 002:002/4 –
understandingly. "Of course not—you would never do a thing like that."He tickled his daughter on the stomach, trying to cheer her up. And Amy, who loved her father very much, laughed as he jumped around with her in his arms for a few steps. When he put her down, they went hand in hand back home cheerfully, chatting as usual, skipping along at times.Once they got home, change started happening quickly. Cars were driving up and down the road in front of their house, and neighbors were talking about what was happening up there in the forest. On the evening news on TV, people were discussing the discovery of a new plant and showing close-up pictures of the little flower. The garden society chairman was interviewed as the person who had discovered the flower. Sitting there watching, Amy’s mother expressed her dismay that the chairman received all the credit for the discovery. “It was Amy who first discovered the flower!” she said.The next day was Monday. Amy’s father had to go to work, and her mother dropped Amy off
– 002:002/5 –
and picked her up at a nearby day care center while she worked part-time. Amy didn't think much about the flower at day care because she was fully occupied with playing with the girls and boys there. She started to talk about the flower only when she got home, when she heard and saw the traffic on the road.Traffic had started very early that morning, with big trucks joining the cars on the road by the path. When Amy’s father left for work, several of them had already driven up and back again. The little path through the forest to the flower in that open field was obviously in the process of being turned into a road, and the workers there seemed to be in a hurry.Building a road sometimes seems to take ages, but this roadwork was something else. It all started with a couple of huge trucks that literally carved their way into the forest over the path, leaving behind a wide, flat surface. That bigger path was then filled and evened out with coarse gravel from a seemingly never-ending chain of trucks. The little girl’s father visited the road site after work on Tuesday to ask what was going on. Workers told him that the road was leading up
– 002:002/6 –
to the open field and that the park and parking lot they were building there was to be finished on Friday that very same week. Obviously this ambitious plan was no joke, as the following days were to prove. The traffic of cars, trucks, and people involved in this project appeared to double each day that passed. The effort and money being spent on it seemed to not be an issue.For Amy’s family and all the neighbors, this roadwork and attention on their street made for an exciting time. Yet Amy hadn't forgotten the little flower, and she knew that the new road leading right up to it would introduce even more people to her little pink friend. Finally it was Friday, and the road up to the field was going to be finished later that afternoon. When Amy’s father came home from work, they had planned to see the flower again. Amy had come home earlier with her mother and was very excited, waiting impatiently. When her father finally walked in the door, Amy’s mother dressed her in warm outdoor clothes while he put his work things away in a corner in the study. Then they both left the
– 002:002/7 –
house in a hurry, smiling at each other in anticipation as they walked up the road.The new road was finished, but a few workers were still there cleaning the worksite. Others were putting up road signs showing the way to the open field in the forest. Reporters were standing under lights with cameras rolling, all talking about the new flower and the site that had been built for it. The amount of attention the little flower was getting was almost overwhelming. Even local politicians and ministers were involved. The very street names had been changed, and the new road and parking lot up in the forest were named after a famous man from a big city nearby. Amy’s father read all the new signs for his daughter as they passed them and explained to her that their small village was now famous all over the country. The new road was wide with a sidewalk on one side, so they walked up that, giggling about being the first people to use it. When they came to where the former open field had been, they saw that it was now divided into two parts: one was a big parking lot and the other, where the little flower lived, had been turned into a park.
– 002:002/8 –
A rather high fence surrounded the park, preventing people and animals living in the forest from getting near the flower. A wide gate at the end of the road, close to the parking lot, marked the entrance to the park.Amy and her father looked around as they slowly walked hand-in-hand towards the park gate. Even though the park construction had not yet been completely finished, they could see that it had all been very neatly done. Right next to the park gate stood a wagon that looked more like a small house, selling coffee, tea, sausages, and sweets. Amy and her father walked up to the park gate where another, smaller house-like wagon had been erected on the other side. A sign on the wagon wall announced that a part of the entrance fee for the park was to support the state’s efforts to preserve areas of special interest, rare plants, etc. The entry fee was not high, but it wasn’t cheap, either. Amy’s father had promised his daughter they would see the flower, so he paid the fee, and in they went. The park was built along the slope, with small paths wandering around and occasional benches along their sides. A long
– 002:002/9 –
path encircled the park with a round paved area in the middle. In between they had left the slope as it originally had looked. Low, iron fences surrounded these natural islands, with “DO NOT ENTER” signs on each one. In the very center of the middle paved area, the little flower was standing alone on display in a low flowerbed.Lots of people were walking around admiring the park and the flower, but the park was not crowded. Many of the visitors carried cameras around their necks. Signs scattered intermittently told about the park, the flower, and its benefactors, pointing out that the park was built by the country garden society and sponsored by the state. The signs said the flower was discovered and named after a famous professor from the main state university of agricultural and environmental research and that the flower was the only one of its kind; no other flowers had been found in the area. At the end of the sign there was a long list naming benefactors with titles such as minister, professor, lord, etc.The little girl and her father hurried to the flower. Many people were surrounding the
– 002:002/10 –
flowerbed, and a park guard was placed nearby to keep order. Amy and her father found an empty space between two men with big cameras. The flowerbed was surrounded by a circle of thick chain hung on six stone pillars. The ground around the flower was cleared of all leaves, grass, and weeds, and the little flower stood alone in the middle, looking more beautiful than ever. It was stretching straight up and had grown at least twice as tall as when they had last seen it. The five tiny leaves at the bottom of the stalk had not changed much in size, but their color had become a brighter green now. The biggest change, though, was the flower petals. They had opened, and the previously bright pink color was changing to white.Amy and her father stood looking at the flower together with all the cameramen taking pictures. The cameramen were stretching, bending, and moving around to get the best picture. Amy's father was amazed at all the people coming to see the little flower and all the excitement it caused. And as he stood there looking around at them all, he felt Amy pulling his jacket sleeve to get his attention. He looked
– 002:002/11 –
down to see her pointing at the flower with a sad look on her face."Daddy, the flower is sad," she said quietly, looking a bit upset.He looked with surprise down at his daughter, not knowing what to say."The flower has no friends," Amy continued, looking even sadder than before.Amy’s father was stunned. He lifted his eyes from his daughter and looked at the flower, trying to figure out what on earth she meant. He did not notice Amy sneaking out from the circle of people.Amy quickly ran to the nearest spot where she could find some old leaves. She grabbed a small pile with both her hands. Quick as lightning, she ran back to the flowerbed, passing between people’s legs, where her father still stood puzzled by what she had said. She ran under the chain to the flower standing there alone in the center of the flowerbed and lifted her arms, letting her load of dry leaves fall evenly over the flower to cover it.The flower bent down in a gesture of gratitude as detritus fell from Amy’s hands. When her
– 002:002/12 –
hands were empty, she stood there next to the flower with a happy look on her face. Of course the people standing around started to shout at her. “Hey there, stop that … Oh god, do something, she’s killing it! … Get out of there right now, you stupid kid! … Can someone take that brat away from there?”The park guard stationed nearby stepped over the fence and grabbed Amy by the arms, lifting her up and back over the chain. Amy kicked and screamed angrily. Everything happened so fast. Amy’s father, now suddenly awakened from his puzzled moment, relieved the park guard of his screaming and kicking daughter. As he did so, he got a sharp scolding from the guard for her behavior. “You can be prosecuted for things like this! You’re responsible for your kid and you’re gonna pay!” the guard told him angrily.People around agreed loudly with the guard. Amy silently burrowed closer into her father’s arms. But she was not hiding or ashamed for what she had done. Amy was certain she had done right, and she sought the comfort of her father protecting her, standing up for her in front of all those nasty people shouting at them.
– 002:002/13 –
As Amy’s father stood there holding his child and puzzling over what had just happened, the park guard radioed for assistance. Soon, park officials from each direction jogged over and carefully picked away, leaf by leaf, the grass and weeds covering up the flower. They cleared the area entirely, and the little flower started to rise again. Evidently it was not harmed in any way. The park officials now surrounded Amy and her dad and told them harshly, “Both of you have to leave the park, and you’re banned from here forever!”Amy’s father slowly carried her away from the crowd. After they had left the flowerbed, the spectators gathered around the flower again. Amy’s father didn't turn back or say anything; instead he let the child rest silently in his arms with her head on his chest. As he walked away from the crowd, Amy’s father gradually started to understand what his daughter had meant by what she’d done. Looking back at the park, now and then he could see glimpses of the little flower between people’s legs. It was not happily peeping back at him as he had seen before when Amy had lifted the leaf that had been giving it shelter.
– 002:002/14 –
Instead, he saw the flower stretching up and looking around for something to cover it up again. He felt like the little flower was trying to reach higher and higher, looking farther away for someone friendly to protect it. But all the flower could see were angry feet and legs surrounding it like a fence, preventing any contact at all.As they walked down the slope and out of the park, Amy’s father couldn't see any friendly faces in the park anymore. Even though people were smiling, their smiles looked more like greedy leers to him. The heavy chain around the flowerbed that had previously appeared beautiful in its simplicity now seemed like a chain that would hold a slave to a post. The photographers became hungry dogs gathering around a piece of meat, ripping a bite off the little flower’s soul with every snap of their cameras. The park guards were more like prison guards, poisoning the air with their very presence.But the flower was no criminal, and she (as he now thought of it) should never be exploited like this. All her dignity had been stripped away. Her image was being sold bit by bit to
– 002:002/15 –
selfish souvenir hunters to be hung on cold, naked walls.Everything he saw in the park now was made out of greed. Everyone he looked at was there only to gain profit from a simple flower. The benefactors, who claimed to pay for all this, did it with other people’s money and government taxes. They associated themselves with the flower to gain fame for themselves, letting the media portray them as caring people who protect the environment for everyone. No, Amy’s father couldn’t see anything in the park he liked anymore. He felt both sorrow and shame for betraying the little flower, but there was no way he could undo the damage. As he left the park, still with his daughter in his arms, he felt relieved, like he could breathe again. Amy hadn't said anything since the park guard had handed her over to him. She could feel that her father was upset in a way that was new to her. But she also could tell that he wasn't upset at her, so she continued to rest safely in his arms.After a while, they started chatting quietly to cheer each other up. It didn’t take long before Amy’s father put her down on the new sidewalk
– 002:002/16 –
so they could walk hand in hand. When they reached home, Amy was the same happy girl she had been just an hour before, jumping along with her father and asking questions.Once inside the front door, Amy immediately ran to tell her mother what had happened. Amy’s father could hear them chatting animatedly in the kitchen. He could also hear his daughter telling the story her way, making him once again understand how right she had been. He didn't want to disturb them, so he sat down in the living room, sadly looking out through the window but seeing nothing.Shortly, his wife approached him with a puzzled look on her face, asking him to verify what their daughter just had been telling her. The little girl came jumping in after her mother with her usual happy face and tried to climb her father’s knee where he sat on the sofa. He smiled as he lifted her up to sit with him. Then he nodded back towards his wife and confirmed, “Our little girl couldn't be more right in her description of what happened.”Amy’s mother looked back at them and could feel that something had changed. There was something she couldn't put her finger on, but
– 002:002/17 –
she guessed that she would get the whole story later when their daughter had gone to bed and they were alone. It had been a full day. At bedtime, Amy’s father gently tucked her in. With Amy safely asleep in her bedroom, he told his wife the story again from his point of view, leaving out only how badly it had affected him. At this moment he wasn't sure himself how his feelings had changed, and he had to give it some thought in private, some time to let it sink in.The next day was Saturday, and Amy and her family seemed to be as happy as they were before. Amy woke up early as usual, and she sneaked into her parents’ bedroom. After waking her father and helping him prepare breakfast, they discussed what to do that day. In spite of what had happened the day before, Amy wanted to go up in the forest to see the flower again, but they both agreed not to go into the park. Neither of them wanted another confrontation. This time they had their breakfast at home and then they walked up the road into the forest, avoiding the main gate.The park wasn’t open yet at this early hour, and
– 002:002/18 –
they didn't stay long enough for it to open. They wandered around a bit, and from one spot outside the park fence they could see the flower there in the flowerbed surrounded by the chain. They stood there for a while looking at it without saying much. They didn't have to talk; both of them felt the flower’s presence and that was enough.Two weeks passed, with Amy and her father visiting the flower almost every day. Sitting outside the park fence they could watch the flower grow in height, trying so hard to look as beautiful as possible, attempting to attract someone who would cover it up and return its dignity.Then early one sunny Sunday morning, as Amy and her father were sitting outside the park fence watching the flower continue to grow before their eyes, it slowly started to bend down, seemingly in a gesture of sadness. Its petals fell off, one by one, like tears, and its leaves sunk farther and farther towards the ground. When the little flower had no petals left, its stalk slowly sank onto the dark, bare earth. With what seemed like a last, slow sigh of
– 002:002/19 –
sorrow, the little flower died.Lying there naked on open soil and hurt deep down to the root of its soul, the little flower never rose again. Its life was over within a half hour, but for Amy and her father time stood still. It was like they were each holding a deep breath that lasted through the whole event. As they started to breathe again, they both stood up, holding each other’s hands, and after a while just like that they slowly started to walk back home.Amy’s father was kind of in shock as they walked down the slope to the sidewalk. It was Amy who started their conversation. “Do you think the little flower liked us?”He lifted his daughter up, smiled, and hugged her as hard he could without hurting her. “I am very sure of that. Otherwise the flower wouldn't have played with you like it did,” he told her.As they walked, they reminisced about sitting there on the slope having breakfast, playing hide and seek with the flower and the leaf over it. Their normally good moods returned, and after a while Amy was again that same happy little girl as always. When she talked about the flower, it was with the joy of having had the
– 002:002/20 –
pleasure of meeting her and being her friend.Over the next few days Amy and her father continued to walk up the road to the forest, talking about the little flower and remembering their joyful moments there as they enjoyed their weekend mornings together. But as days and weeks passed with the flower gone, the park grew deserted. Now all the park guards had left and the two small houses near the gate had been pulled away. All that was left was a ripped-up field, broken fences, and a parking lot starting to fill with litter. The stately signs with the names of benefactors had quickly been removed and no one but Amy and her father talked about or even mentioned the little flower again.As children grow and take on new interests, their memories fade. But for Amy this little incident with the flower did not. As time went by, Amy and her father nursed the memory and kept it close to their hearts. And through their shared happiness the little flower was given a place to rest in peace.The End
– 002:002/21 –
— Closing Words —To perceive a story like this might not be that easy because of its many contradictions floating around beneath the surface.In real life we often struggle with contradictive behavior without being mentally aware of it, like having no clue what’s going on or how to react and respond to a situation.If you engage with this site Earth constellation activities, this story most likely will change in its meaning while doing so. There’s more to learn and experience from this story reading it a second time and again, as your awareness of realities, life, living and the self develops.Nothing is simple in life, same as with this story. But what is it that makes life so damn complicated? Well…, what do you think…? Wouldn’t that be something to discover?Li Sam
– 003:000/I –
ContentsPageForeword.................................................1Children of the Universe, introduction..2Children of the Universe, the tale……….3-5About the tale……………………………………6 About life……………………………………….7 About death……………………………………8 About God……………………………………..8-9Final word………………………………………..10To have a better look at Lisa Maynard’s illustration, click the “Poster PDF” button.
– 003:001/1 –
— Foreword —This poem at its entire is from 2012. However, the middle stanza “Where Horizons Meet” was first written five years earlier when I first got to see an illustration made by Lisa Maynard.The illustration was originally meant as a cover for another poem that I had written, but the image was so different in its approach and I felt some other words wanting to come out with it. And it didn’t take me long to write them down, like they had been waiting within me all along.During the years after that I’ve always had this feeling that this middle poem had something to do with my tale “Children of the Universe” and as I gradually started to gain awareness of life’s most inner secrets, two other additional stanzas “Where Waves Fall” and “Ground Takes Form” popped up like from nowhere in my mind.In a bigger picture, the meaning of these three stanzas put together, has everything to say about life at its core, far out and deepdown to the tip of its roots.Li Sam
– 003:001/2 –
Where Horizons MeetDid life happen by chance or was it somehow planned, just as birth can be? To find answers about our existence we have to search far beyond the obvious and deep within.These three poems, which from the beginning was one (Where Horizons Meet), creates an emotional life cycle of our very being.We all look at ourselves and living differently, but from afar our existence are the same energy, life as such doesn’t differ. The child within can cover the distance. It see us through past and future and guides us where to go.That afar place is both now and eternity at the same time and is what made us happen.
– 003:001/3 –
— Where Waves Fall —Life begins takingshape like tiny drops in the sea.We feel life like meetingwith ourselves, you and me.Like drops joyfully playing atthe wave tops, we aim high.When the sun lifts us higher wecan even touch the sky.As a drop of rain you’re born,later we meet again in lakes and streams.On the ground you travel with timethrough fairy forests, land and dreams.As a child that first drop will feed you,it makes you grow fast as a weed.Whatever flower you will be, you are waterat heart like the very first seed.Even if an ocean appears to be thesame water, dark, vast and deep.It’s where the waves fall we exist, it’sthere we sparkle and weep.
– 003:001/4 –
— Where Horizons Meet —Beyond horizons is wherenight turns into dawn.There we dream of a future,it’s there we are born.Our past may haunt us, makingus afraid of the dark.In our fantasy the light is, it’s therewe can find a spark.The child within will guide us to wherewe need to go.Deep within we can feel it, we don’thave to know.Where horizons meet is where the past andfuture merge.It’s there beyond, within us, where life andlove emerge.Looking back you see the futureas from the other side.Trust the child within you and youwill never need to hide.
– 003:001/5 –
— Where the Ground Takes Form —Where time travels,we—body and soul—have to go.At the edge of time the ground rises,it’s there where we grow.If our time starts to shift and circle,gets lost, or fades away,We must hold on to time and bring with uswhat we need to stay.The ground you have walked,stays safe and happy through time.If you feed life for your future,even mountains can be climbed.The one you wish for, a beloved fromwhom you don’t want to part,You have to live for, too, share groundand keep close to your heart.The child within should never be abandonedor left to suffer alone.That child is your drop of life, it’s guiding you,taking you home.
– 003:001/6 –
The EndThat home the poem ends with is not just a house, apartment or a property something. Instead it’s what makes a home like anywhere, that inner feeling.“What is a home? My home, what is it like?”If you never have felt home, that inner feeling, how then, can you know what home feels like.What the poem also tell us about, is that we all carry that home feeling within us. The child within us is that feeling, it’s there within,you two “in harmony” have to meet.Li Sam
WhereHorizonsMeetDid life happen by chance or was it somehow planned, just as birth can be? To find answers about our existence we have to search far beyond the obvious and deep within.These three poems creates an emotional life cycle of our very being. We all look at ourselves and living differently, but from afar our existence are the same energy, life as such doesn’t differ.
The King and the Boy
Life in ancient times may have been different then, but some of their issues are still valid, bothering us still today.
– 004:000/I –
ContentsPageEntry 1Dedication...............................................1Foreword………………………………………....2The King and the Boy, the farytale......… 3-24The End……….…………………………………..11Entry 2Fairytale extensive insights Gender…………………………………………..1 Personality…………………………………….2 Integrity………………………………………..3 Perception…………………………………….4 Belief…………………………………………….5 Inclusion……………………………………….6 Exclusion………………………………………7 You……………………………………………….8 Me………………………………………………..9Conclusion……………………………………….10Closing Words………………………………….11
– 004:001/1 –
— Dedication —If I were to dedicate this tale to anyone, it would be to the children, each one of them, and especially the very young ones.Their upright sincerity and straightness in all their personality and all what they do and say, is a guideline to me and something that we adults should cherish and learn from.Their truth is different from what we as adults see as true and right. But whatever. We should never deny our children their truth, because in the end of it all, it will be them guiding us home.So to all you children, this tale is for you! Li Sam
– 004:001/2 –
— Foreword —I wrote this short tale in November 2005 and in a lot of terms this tale very much reflects me, my thinking and my overall style of writing.Regarding Earth constellations, this tale has a lot to do with that and everything, and contains several underlying layers, which I have added as extensive insights following the tale.These insights are intended to widen our views, like we in Earth constellation workshops can visualize any of the tale’s issues brought up and then in seminars we can use that to expand our thoughts and thinking by discussing various conclusions perceived from various positions.However and whatever layers, I hope that you will find the tale worthwhile reading as is.Li Sam
– 004:001/3 –
The King and the BoyOnce upon a time there was a kingdom where everyone was happy. Everything was in perfect balance in this peaceful place and no one ever asked any questions. Then one day it happened: A little boy became mightily unhappy.The little boy was out shopping and he wanted his mother to buy him a dress instead of trousers and a shirt. When the little boy asked his mother about the dress, she kindly looked down at him and, in a soft friendly tone, she explained no. The little boy couldn’t understand in spite of his mother’s thorough explanation. All his girl playmates wore dresses, so why couldn’t he? He looked back at his mother with big wondering eyes and asked her “Why”?
– 004:001/4 –
The mother stood for a moment thinking and then realized that she didn’t know the proper answer herself, so she started to ask around for help. But no one she asked knew the answer either. The only advice she got was to go to the king who was regarded as a very wise man. However, even the king didn’t know why it was the little boy should not wear a dress. But he couldn’t reveal his ignorance to his people because he thought that would be most embarrassing.He felt he needed to come up with a proper answer to the little boy’s question, so he invented the word “gender” and told the little boy’s mother to explain to him that he couldn’t wear a dress because he was a boy, and boys don’t wear dresses.Happily the little boy’s mother went back to her son and told him in the same soft friendly tone as before what the king had told her to say.The little boy looked back at his mother with even bigger wondering eyes than before and once again asked “Why?”, whereupon the mother once again had to go back to the king for an answer as she herself wasn’t too sure about what the king meant.
– 004:001/5 –
The king now realized that he had a bigger problem to deal with than he first thought. Wise as he was, he decided to better define his new term “gender” by trying to figure out the difference between boys and girls and men and women. He thought that by doing this he would make clear to all of his people what gender they each belonged to and consistently what was expected from them. No more questions would be asked, and everyone would go back to peace and happiness again. As the king started to define what he thought are gender differences amongst his people, he used small pieces of wood to show what he imagined in both genders for character and looks. He shaped the pieces so they easily could remind him of what he considered to be male or female characteristics, and he made it possible for the wooden pieces to fit together to make an image of a person, either male or female.When the king finished he had a lot of wooden pieces and he felt very satisfied with himself. But before he could make use of them, he had to see if these pieces worked as he had planned.
– 004:001/6 –
So in secret he tried to label the people of his kingdom, male or female, by using his wooden pieces. First he tried with a gardener he knew well, a big strong man. He built the gardener with as many pieces as he thought fit him, but the resulting person didn’t turn out the way he thought it should. The wooden pieces he thought matched the gardener’s personality and looks didn’t fit together, and there was a strange mix of male and female pieces amongst them. The pattern the wooden pieces showed was a mess, and the king had to admit that to himself. So the king tried once again with another person, a woman he also knew very well. But the same thing happened. When he examined the wooden person he’d constructed from all the characteristics of this woman, he had a big mess once again and, as before, there was this strange mix of male and female pieces he wasn’t able to understand.The king became puzzled. But still wise as he was, he asked for the little boy who had started this confusion. The king spread out all the
– 004:001/7 –
wooden pieces on a big table in a big room in his castle, and then he showed and explained every wooden piece to the little boy (but he didn’t tell him about the male and female difference in shape). The king then asked the little boy to select those pieces he thought fitted him most.The little boy seemed to like this game, easily selecting his pieces and putting them all together quickly. And now, right before the amazed king’s eyes, the image of a little girl emerged.All pieces fitted exactly to create a full person. However, there was this one odd piece that the king noticed because it showed a vagina.The king gently asked the little boy why he had chosen that piece and not the piece showing a penis. “After all”, he said to the little boy, “You have a penis, haven’t you?” The little boy calmly looked up at the king and answered, “But it’s wrong.” The king straightened up, looking very surprised by the little boy’s answer, and he started to examine the wooden image more
– 004:001/8 –
thoroughly. He couldn’t find anything wrong with it. The little boy hadn’t made a mess of the pieces he had chosen, and the king had to admit that he would probably have done so if he had tried himself. The king was forced to conclude that the little boy knew exactly what gender he belonged to and, as the king saw it now, the little boy was right. It was just that one wooden piece that was out of place. The kindly king looked at the little boy with concern, since if he was able to spot this error so easily, so would everyone else in his kingdom. He thought, “Now what to do… how do I fix the problem?” With a deep frown in his forehead the king stood there thinking hard, with the little boy looking up at him with big trusting eyes. After a long while the king suddenly smiled back at the boy. With a small tingling bell he called for his royal magician. When the magician silently emerged before him, the king told him to fix the problem so that the last wooden piece would fit.
– 004:001/9 –
The magician looked at the wooden image the little boy had created of himself and scratched his head, puzzled. Then he said to the king, “But all the pieces fit together, so what am I supposed to do?” The king laughed silently back at him and said, “Oh no, it’s not the wooden pieces that are wrong; it’s this little boy that doesn’t properly match his own image.” The magician looked at the little boy and then started to smile widely as he began to understand. He held his magic wand over the little boy’s head and mumbled some strange magic words, and then he silently vanished in the same magical manner he had appeared.It worked. The former unhappy little boy, now a happy little girl, finally was able to accompany her mother and buy that dress she so eagerly wanted. And the king now understood that neither he nor anyone else could tell the true gender of another person, but anyone using his wooden pieces could reveal the proper answer to him. Each person alone knew by heart how to put
– 004:001/10 –
their pieces together, making them fit, and the wooden pieces that in the beginning had puzzled him so, now made him understand.The king named his wooden pieces a “puzzle”, and he used it whenever a gender question was brought before him. And he used it wisely, so everyone in his kingdom lived happily ever after.And, if you didn’t know it before, now you know the true origin of a puzzle.
– 004:001/11 –
The End…but perhaps not after all. You see; tales like this just don’t emerge out of nothing and their saying just don’t vanish, regardless of time and even if we adults would like them to.So the following ten tale insight pages that I‘ve provided, are mainly for those of you interested in Earth constellations, but all you others are of course welcome to have a look you, too.These entries can each be visualized on their own in Earth constellation workshops and be referred to in both lectures and seminar, but they can also be approached one following the other, in order to get the complete picture of what this tale is telling in-between the lines.I the author, hope through these pages have brought you something to talk and discuss about, rather than me telling you.Best regards, Li Sam
– 004:002/1 –
— Tale extensive insights —About “GENDER”Whatever determinant there are that can be said differentiate us the most, gender must by far be the winner as everything that comes after is based on gender in the first place.Strange is that we refer gender as opposites, almost as black and white, when in fact men and women can vary so much over the border in their appearance and still be and identify as just men and women.It becomes even stranger when some people identify themselves as both genders. Some others identify as a third, fourth, fifth gender and so on and some no gender at all.So what is it that decides gender, what does it do and looks like? There are children born so call intersexual, which means their bodies developed both genders, both physically and medically. How do they know their gender?
– 004:002/2 –
About “PERSONALITY”Regardless of gender, what is personality? What makes a person?We can either be a mother, a boy or even a king, but what is it that makes them that their person, besides their assigned labels?The personality of a mother, how does that work? Isn’t that just what’s expected of her when having brought birth to a child… and this is the trick; a mother has to be a woman, right?Then we have the boy which didn’t fit in with his description. And what about the King? Is that personality a function or a real person?As we grow up, somewhere along that line we miss the point about being a person. The children knows who they are, their personality is already there at birth and without having been taught about labels or how to behave. How does their personality change? Can it?
– 004:002/3 –
About “INTEGRITY”So Now! Either I have got my gender and personality assigned for me, or I am who I am. But where do I fit in? Where do I find me in life? Is it me in charge and is it just about behavior and looks?No of course not! We have family, their money, possessions’ and all other worldly stuff they are fighting over and for, like position and prestige, and somewhere in that mess we’re squeezed in.We do change and vary our looks and behavior depending on fashion and occasion and we do so to either to please family, people we meet or ourselves. If we think of integrity as them who’s in charge of all “me” puzzle pieces, then; isn’t it them who are living my life and not me?It all comes down to sharing and we share our lives differently with different people. If we’re not in control of our lives we have no integrity. That “me” needs to show, that’s how “I” gain integrity, expand and make my life happen.
– 004:002/4 –
About “PERCEPTION”We can always assume and refer things to be whatever. But how do we reach our conclusions, what are all those assumptions based on?A simple answer would be that we base all our conclusions on our own lives and living, which means that nothing else is really relevant, other than in relation to ourselves.We can of course read a book and such and learn from others, but that’s just living, that’s what we do and are supposed to do, right?To perceive someone different than we assume a person to be is a serious challenge affecting all we are. From small silly irrelevant details to major changes in gender, we are hit hard and in very much the same way, and it does have an impact on our integrity and we don’t like it!But let’s say you skipped assuming things and instead perceived what was honestly presented to you, wouldn’t that turn things around?
– 004:002/5 –
About “BELIEF”Whatever we believe, it’s about trust! And trusting a person is difficult, as it to some degree means that we give up on ourselves and our own judgments, for instance, how to perceive a person.But strange is that growth in integrity can turn these kinds of unsecure feelings around. The little boy trusted the King, but not for what he first said, instead he trusted the King’s puzzle and being allowed to place the pieces himself.There’s a difference here between believing a person and believing in what they do. Like if you just believe a person, you give up integrity. But if you believe in that persons’ doing, you need integrity to be able to defend that trust.There’s no problem trusting a person to be who they claim they are as long as you don’t give up integrity. Meaning that belief and trust rely on integrity, it emerge the other way around.
– 004:002/6 –
About “INCLUSION”Within a Kingdome, it’s assumed that we one way or the other look after each other for better or worse. Whatever that better and worse is doesn’t quite matter here, but instead when and where to draw the line. There has to be setup some kind of border to sort of protect the Kingdome’s existence and its values.Interesting is that everything is about borders and limits—territory, whatever—and it’s valid so far for here; gender, personality, integrity, perception and beliefs, too.Now! In this tale you could say that the little boy both challenged and crossed all whatever borders and limits there was, but not quite.The only thing challenged here was the King’s and his Kingdom’s ignorance, nothing else. All it took for the King, was to admit his ignorance in order to make the little boy inclusive.
– 004:002/7 –
About “EXCLUSION”Whatever is outside is not relevant unless it’s threatening anyone’s, existence. So we create ourselves borders, like castell walls protect a Kingdome, to keep that whatever we fear out.To keep us safe we assign guards to protect our values and we trust them like no questions asked, so that we happily can carry on with our lives without being bothered.That outside the walls eventually start to fade away and with no questions asked, the outside finally cease to exist (for better or worse) from everyone’s conscious. No one minded as this was what the King was there for, keeping everyone safe and unknowingly happy.But this King was different as he looked for the better. His integrity were strong and wide enough to expand his borders and that way he made his Kingdome and everyone in it grow.
– 004:002/8 –
About “YOU”Then there is this about you, whoever you are. Where do I find you? Are you inside or outside any of this tales borders, or any other borders set up?If you are inside, how tight are those borders and how many of the same you are there? If you are outside, will we ever meet? Or the reverse.Well one thing is for sure if you’re outside, you won’t be missed. Like in this story, that girl the little boy was, she wouldn’t be missed either. That outside you, that little girl, how do I know I would have liked to meet either you or her?Well! There are some things about life and that is all we made ourselves miss. And if that we missed is happiness, what then? You might be happy without having met me, but would I?The King here was right in so many senses whatever borders. You can always override them all by trusting life as appears.
– 004:002/9 –
About “ME”Now… this “me” is a concept that we nearly know nothing about. But as usual we take most things for granted “assuming” me to be who I am. But isn’t that just the “me” I’m aware of?As we grow older and hopefully wiser, too, we may think that this awareness of ourselves has increased like a lot. But really, has it?If we examine all the many more bits and pieces of ourselves that we’ve got aware of during our lifetime. Are those pieces really me or are they just a mish mash of what family, friends and people in general, and me wants me to be?If you were to fit your life puzzle upside down, the soul image of you would appear face down. Then, if you dare to turn that image, do you think it would match who you think you are? To face what we’re not aware of can be both scary and lifesaving at the same time—very much like a fairytale, like this one, with a happy ending.
– 004:002/10 –
— Conclusion —To finally end this tale, I would like to share a moment with you here.There are reasons for everything and this small tale is no exception. That girl emerging is very real and in fact very much more so than the boy ever was in the first place. But it takes some efforts to switch and perceive that little girl after first having perceived her as a boy.There’s some sense in this, as well as there are in reality, too. The ability to recognize what may prevent you from turning from perceiving that boy image to perceiving the girl, is very much the same key that can be used to unlock most relation problems, experiences which otherwise could be too hard to understand.It all has to do with allowing yourself the time, learn to see, observe, trust your true self and separate what’s real from what is an illusion.A reflection of life,-Li
– 004:002/11 –
— Closing Words —To explain a tale like this I don’t think anyone should try to do, at least not the author. This tale is for the reader to understand their way exclusively and regardless whatever extensive insights there might be.Whatever extra the insight section provides, it’s not there to try to oppose or direct anyone’s thoughts and thinking.Instead, if a tale challenge you by raising too many and perhaps uncomfortable questions, you should trust your soul feelings more than anything and anyone else. The true soul you are, that child within you, will guide you right.Li Sam
The King and the Boy...a contemporary ancient tale
This fairytale in all its simplicity tells about life and us humans in a both specific and general way, where identity and our true selves—who we are—turn into question.
DedicationFor a story like this that’s special in every way, you might think its dedication would include a lot of people. But this is a one-person dedication only.It’s not about what she contributed to make this book come true; this dedication is about friendship.In the process of changing sex, your friends easily disappear. And you can’t always count on new friends. Although this person didn’t know much about transsexualism before she met me and I had no idea how she would react, she started working with me because of her professionalism. But this manuscript has made us friends.So this is for you Shelly.Marianne sends her love too.-Li
– 005:001/2 –
— Introduction —This story is based on a true event and its complex implications. It’s about transsexualism. Even though this phenomenon occurs rather commonly (1 out of 500 people are transsexual, or even more) and therefore affects us all, most of us don’t want to talk about it. And even though transsexualism occurs worldwide, regardless of sex, race, religion, society, and upbringing, we work hard to deny its existence.Even if you have heard about transsexualism and think you know something about it, you most certainly don’t know what this story is about to tell you.This emotional journey will take you beyond what is generally understood, and even farther beyond what modern science has included in its understanding. Keep in mind though that it is based on real events. In fact, what happens in this book is happening to others right now.
– 005:001/3 –
What we try to deny, hide, and even kill is an inherent part of nature and very much a part of ourselves as human beings. Gender is basic to everything we are. Gender defines life. Why deny the beauty of life, the persons we are?If there is a message this story might convey, it’s that you and people around you do have a part to play in giving this story, and others like it, a happy continuation.I hope you’ll enjoy this colorful journey, as well as my company along the way.Yours sincerely, Li Sam
– 005:001/4 –
End of a Day (1/1)Huge waves crashed ashore on a tropical beach warmed by the midday sun, on a small island in the middle of nowhere in the Indian Ocean. Peter and Sara, a middle-aged, loving, Swedish couple, had found a place, a spot on Earth, where life was different, as if life meant something else to them here. Their happiness and relationship had grown stronger during all their years together, but, as on any paradise island, life changes as you follow the phases of nature and let it take control. This time nature was going to take Peter and Sara on a journey beyond their known beliefs and imagination, indeed beyond all possible understanding.Peter and Sara had been on these islands, the Seychelles, the year before. On this particular small island called La Digue they had found a
– 005:001/5 –
pretty, clean cottage with a kitchen where they could be by themselves, cooking fish they could buy from local fishermen along the small village beach. On this trip, before reaching their small paradise island they had planned to stay a couple of days at the main island Mahé and visit places they had enjoyed on their previous visit traveling around the Seychelles archipelago. The airplane landed on Mahé in the middle of the night, and as Peter and Sara stepped out in the pitch dark, the warm, humid air surrounded them. The airport was just big enough for a jumbo jet, and only a small mobile platform with metal steps led Peter and Sara directly down to the ground not far from the arrival building. It was a warm, pleasant night, but it was windy. And what was that smell? Peter and Sara recognized the smell of paradise from last year, but this time there was something else the wind was carrying. They weren’t aware of it specifically, and had they been, they would have had no way of knowing its significance.This time they had brought only clothes suitable for this climate, so they didn’t have
– 005:001/6 –
much to carry. They were met at the airport by a woman working for a tourist company who would take them to a small resort called Sunset Villas near Beau Vallon Beach, one of the best beaches on Mahé Island. The woman’s car was small, and Peter had to push the passenger seat all the way back to squeeze in because of his long legs. He was muscular, but that didn’t show: only his slimness and height were apparent. Sara was fairly slim too, and of medium height; she took the seat behind the woman driving.The airport where Peter and Sara had landed was well protected from the ocean by several small islands and reefs nearby, and with all the other noises around they hadn’t yet noticed the sound of the waves. As the small car had passed the only real town, Victoria, and climbed over a passage to the north side of the island, noise from the outside vanished. As they came downhill and closer to the beach the sound of waves started mingling with the sound of the car engine. The sound of the waves was powerful, and the already small car felt even smaller. There was not much light outside the airport
– 005:001/7 –
and along the roads, but Peter and Sara safely reached the resort, where just one lamppost struggled to illuminate the four-car parking lot where they stopped. As the woman with the resort turned off the car engine, the sound of heavy waves rolling ashore was roaring. Peter and Sara unloaded their bags while the driver walked to a small house to get their key. When she returned, she told them where to go and gave them the key and a small torch, as there were no lights along the path leading up to their cottage. The cottage itself was perched on a rather steep slope, and the stairs to it seemed to lead up into darkness. There were no lights coming from within or from any of the other cottages on the slope, so Peter and Sara had to rely on the torch. It was a strange feeling, climbing the stairs, as the sound of the car driving away faded into the night.The darkness amplified the sound of the waves beneath them as Peter and Sara climbed the stairs, and somewhere in the middle they stopped together to listen. They could remember the slow peaceful cycle each wave continues as it washes up on shore, like an
– 005:001/8 –
endless string of pearls fed by the sea, growing and then disappearing as the string breaks. But now, was that sound all they heard? As Peter and Sara listened, they recognized the cycle of the waves, but they couldn’t remember ever having heard surf sound so powerful. It seemed as if the waves were trying to climb up to them, to grab hold of their feet, and by force take them out to sea. Sara suddenly lost her balance and Peter had to hold her by the hand as they completed the climb to their cottage. The cottage was nicely prepared for them, and they were tired from traveling, so Peter and Sara tucked themselves in bed while listening to the sound of the waves filling each corner of their bedroom.The next morning came soon as the sun rose from the sea, and Peter was quick out on to the cottage veranda to have a look over the beach and the waves that had been so present for them all night long. Sara got up too and followed him out. It was a beautiful morning, and the wind had calmed down a bit. It was as if the sun had broken the spell cast by the night, the spell that feeds our deepest fears and most vivid imaginings.
– 005:001/9 –
Peter looked toward the horizon, smiling. The waves that were rolling in on the beach were not as big as he had felt them to be in the dark, but they were bigger than he ever had seen on this beach before. Sara came up next to him, searching for his arm, first skeptically looking down at the beach and the waves and then up at Peter’s happy smile. Peter had learned body surfing the year before and he loved to play around in the water, waiting for the right wave to carry him back up on the beach. Sara was not that enthusiastic; in fact she was afraid. It was not the water itself that scared her, but when Sara felt the power of a wave grabbing hold of her legs she panicked. Even if the surf was mild, she often felt vertigo when the smallest bit of water reached up to touch her where she stood.Because they’d been here before, they knew exactly what they wanted to do and where they wanted to visit that day. For Peter this was holiday, but he of course had to bring his laptop, mobile phone, and other things that would keep him busy. Because he was self-employed, a contractor in electrical engineering for the last twenty years, he never really relaxed; he never did nothing. Even when it
– 005:001/10 –
looked like he was resting, his mind wasn’t. It had happened more than once when Peter was trying to tell Sara about one of his new ideas that Sara just moaned back at him saying, “Oh no, not again.” If it wasn’t work that occupied Peter’s mind it was renovating old houses on the small farm where they lived, and if either of those weren’t enough, Peter could always find new ways, “impossible” ways as he called it, of cooking. In some ways Peter was different from other men. When he and Sara first met, Sara was skeptical, yet she didn’t know why. It wasn’t his looks that made her hesitate, since Peter was a very handsome man. He was also polite and he didn’t force his way as many men Sara had met before had done. Sara didn’t want to get tied up in a serious relationship, but the sexual attraction she felt when she met Peter she couldn’t deny. Peter turned out to be a very gentle, caring person, and there was even something shy about him, but without him backing off from situations or putting himself in the shadow of others. Sara was an independent person, and with Peter she felt encouraged to be the person she truly was.
– 005:001/11 –
Peter never tried to control her as many other men had tried to do in her earlier relationships. If Peter was different, Sara was not, apart from choosing Peter as her life partner, of course. Sara was pretty by normal Swedish standards, with dark brown hair, grey-blue eyes, and medium height and weight. In fact, everything about Sara could be said to be normal. But it wasn’t for being normal that Peter had chosen to stay with her. What he liked was that she never forced herself on him or tried to make him do things he wasn’t comfortable with, and most important was that she let him be. Especially sexually, Peter had always had this problem with women: they sort of waited him out, and when nothing happened they lost interest. Peter never felt that pressure from Sara, and whatever happened between them sexually always came naturally from a lovely day together.Even though they’d both grown older now, their attraction from their first meeting was still intact. They both had aged beautifully together and had maintained their relationship without any strings attached; they just enjoyed being together, and sexually Sara felt more
– 005:001/12 –
than satisfied. The confidence Peter projected in public may not follow him in bed, but Peter was careful to take his time, and to Sara he felt safe. For other people, Peter’s careful behavior was sometimes seen as boring, and even if Peter wasn’t directly ignored he was very much avoided. It was just how things were and it didn’t seem to bother him at all. It didn’t bother Sara either, and the more she grew to know him, the more she appreciated being with him.Now they were out on their own again, this time planning what they were going to eat on this slightly familiar, still exciting island. Peter was responsible for cooking, and he had made up his mind that on the menu was fish and whatever they could find locally. So one of the first things Peter and Sara did, after signing for a small rental car provided by the resort, was to drive to the fish market in Victoria to explore. Besides, they had nothing in the fridge so they had to shop before they could have breakfast.Exploring this part of Mahé Island (even on empty stomachs) was fun, and Peter and Sara enjoyed every minute of it. After a first tour around the market it became clear: Fish, fruit
– 005:001/13 –
and vegetables were going to be on the table this evening. But which fish? There were a lot of different types of fish displayed that Peter had never seen before. And the ones he had seen he didn’t know how to cook. But what Peter didn’t know he turned into his “impossible cooking,” thrilling in the challenge of cooking something entirely new without any safety net. Sara liked these cooking adventures and she very much took part in whatever he did, or at least, she tried to do. Peter’s impossible cooking had become a sort of hobby to him. He enjoyed using cookbooks more as a source of ideas, not as rule books to be followed word for word. Methods of cooking were also something he enjoyed investigating—once he had read that in the Stone Age people cooked food in holes they dug in the ground, so of course Peter had to try that. He had dug a hole in their garden and covered the bottom and sides with stones, and then he filled the hole with logs he had chopped to fit, and he lit it all on fire. When the fire had burned out it left a red-hot charcoal bed in the bottom of the hole. Peter had selected a pork loin about two pounds that he wrapped in
– 005:001/14 –
aluminum foil and placed on a flat stone on top of the charcoal bed. Then he found a big flat stone to cover the hole, and he sealed the hole with dirt. “Four hours,” Peter had said to Sara that it would take, but in reality he had no idea how long the pork needed to cook in that hole. After one hour a thin smoke pillar smelling of pork rose from the ground, and Sara told Peter to check it. “It’s okay, just as it should be,” he assured her without knowing. After two hours the smoke had increased and the smell of burnt pork permeated the entire area. Sara didn’t want to say anything, but she laughed inside. Well, Peter just had to go pick out his now over-cooked, black piece of meat. But even so, Peter and Sara dined happily on side dishes, and Peter repeated that “the wine is good anyway.” Somehow his impossible cooking disasters didn’t matter; what mattered most were their moments together having fun. But Peter did learn, and after several stubborn tries he got it right and most often very right, surprising even Sara.That morning at the market they selected a big fish, much too big for just the two of them, without knowing what it was. Every fish on
– 005:001/15 –
display was strange to them; the only fish they could relate to was some kind of tuna, but that was no sport for Peter, and anyway, they didn’t want to eat just tuna on their holiday.So they bought this strange-looking fish, some vegetables, fruit, and other groceries: bread and such they needed for their relatively short stay on Mahé. And then, well, what to drink? They bought some bottled water, but they had no intention of drinking water with their exotic meal, whatever it was going to be. So they’d also brought with them some bottles of very special wines they had purchased on a small car excursion through a wine district called Franken in Germany. It wasn’t many bottles, but it was wine saved for celebration. For Peter and Sara there were never enough occasions to celebrate in a year, and anyway, with whom would they celebrate? They often celebrated being together, and as Peter was leaking ideas all the time, his ideas of celebrating something were one of his specialties. These ideas Sara never moaned about. Whatever would become of this evening dinner, they should celebrate it, and if it wasn’t for their first day on holiday the
– 005:001/16 –
celebration could well be for the strange fish they just had bought.They drove back to their cottage and unloaded everything on a kitchen table in the back of a big room. The front room had a beautiful view out over the ocean, with a few palm trees between them and their view of the whole bay and the beach below. Alongside the big room serving as both kitchen and living room was the bedroom, and in the back of the bedroom there was a door to the bathroom. Outside was a big veranda with a roof protecting it from the sun. When Peter and Sara had sorted out all the new groceries and put them away, they finished unpacking from their very late arrival last night. As they unpacked their light bags, they prepared a breakfast of tea, toast with butter and marmalade, some sort of cheese that looked familiar, juice, and of course fruit. Local fruit here was just delicious, and it also turned out that the trees on the resort bore fruit. A quiet young girl from the staff gladly provided fresh papaya, some sort of grapefruit, melon, and some other fruits Peter and Sara had never seen before but loved.Everything seemed perfect.
– 005:001/17 –
After an exotic yet comforting breakfast Peter and Sara cleared the table, putting everything back in its place again, and then they prepared for their first real island excursion in their new rented car. The Seychelles Islands have left-hand traffic, an inheritance from the British who had left the islands to its natives not long ago. Peter was used to left-hand traffic from before, and their earlier journey out shopping had gone well, so Sara didn’t worry that much as they left. She knew though from last year that most roads were very narrow, and the hill and mountain roads could be steep. In fact Mahé Island was a big granite mountain rock sticking over three-thousand feet straight up from the surface in the middle of the Indian Ocean, with at least a three-hour flight in any direction before anything else could be seen that was not water. The space to live on was limited, and houses often were climbing up what seemed to be impossibly steep slopes.Peter slowed in the car just after they had left the resort. The road was curvy and went close to the shore, with just a tiny little piece of beach between it and the ocean. As the road turned inland, he increased his speed a bit. He still
– 005:001/18 –
couldn’t go fast though, as the road was just too curvy, and when it climbed uphill the power of their small car was not enough. At the other side of the hill Peter and Sara had to trust the brakes. To Sara uphill was okay, but downhill on these curvy roads was something else. Peter liked to tease, and he tried to show off as if there was nothing to it, but even so he realized this was no game. Many cars they met drove full speed and passed closely. Other cars coming up from behind tried to pass and some even tried to pass in curves with no view in front of them at all. Peter often turned aside, letting other cars pass safely instead of challenging fate. He didn’t want to show Sara that he too was anxious driving on these roads, but he never did foolish things, and after a while Sara felt safe with him behind the wheel.So they drove around the coastline, stopping here and there to visit places they knew from last year. They had of course brought their bathing suits and some simple snorkeling equipment, but as they visited beach after beach on the west coast, the waves were more than they’d counted on.
– 005:001/19 –
As they reached the southwest end of the island they found an amazing beach, Anse Intendance, that stretched wide before them. It was fully open to the west, with no protecting reefs in front, so the ocean had full access to the beach and showed its entire strength. These waves weren’t just rolling up on the beach. Even though the wind had calmed down a lot, the ocean had not. It didn’t look that bad far out, but when waves reached the shore they were pressed together rising from the sea, and they threw themselves up on the beach with a power that made even Peter think twice. There was no way to get in to swim, Peter knew that, but he just had to tease Sara for a start by walking out to the edge of the water. He stood there watching the waves, letting the remaining water of a big wave wash up his legs. The returning water was strong and the water wall that was rising up from the ocean was enormous. How high the waves were exactly Peter didn’t know, but it wouldn’t be an exaggeration if the highest waves reached thirteen feet or more.Sara was scared and called for Peter constantly as he stood at the edge of the ocean. After he’d
– 005:001/20 –
had enough of the wild ocean and the teasing, he walked back to her, and then they walked together along the shore a bit before turning back to the car. In some spots on their walk the water reached high up on the beach so that even Sara got wet. One of these times Sara felt something burning on her instep. A tiny thread-like thing was attached to her skin, and only after several attempts did she manage to get it off. But it left a red, itchy, burning mark, both on her foot and her fingers, proving that an encounter with something unknown had taken place despite her care. The journey back was a pleasant one despite Sara’s still-burning wound, and they made it to the cottage well before the sun went down. They arrived safe and in a good mood, so now it was cooking that mattered. Peter enjoyed this part of the day most: different and interesting. Peter had always liked fishing since he was a little kid. There had been a couple of small lakes where he lived, and he had enjoyed cycling out there with his simple fishing gear—a rod, line, cork, and hook—just to be by himself. As a child Peter had friends and had no real problems in school, so it wasn’t a retreat, but
– 005:001/21 –
sometimes he just felt like being alone. This fishing interest had followed him as he grew older, and when he married for the first time and had children (before he met Sara) he moved out from the town of Stockholm with his family to be near the coast, where he could go fishing whenever he wanted.Peter had enjoyed fixing dinner for his family when he caught enough fish for a meal. Whenever he thought about back then, he always smiled to himself, remembering the children’s complaints to their mother. His wife Ann had been much older than him and had brought two of her own children into the marriage, both teenagers. “Mom, why can’t we have the same food as everyone else?” they’d whine. Just a couple of months after Peter and his family had moved out to the coast, his daughter was born, and as soon as she got old enough she too complained about his strange cooking. This didn’t bother Peter though; he just saw it as a challenge and he did everything to improve his cooking, and that really included everything.“What are you laughing at?” Sara quietly asked him with a smile as they climbed the stairs to
– 005:001/22 –
their cottage.“I’m just thinking of the first time when I managed to hook an eel and tried to cook it for dinner,” Peter said, and once again he started to tell the story.Sara didn’t mind hearing that story again as it was so typically Peter, and she loved him partly because of these kinds of stories. He’d been out in a small boat very early in the morning and was going to try a new way of fishing. He had made himself a long line with loops every ten feet, and on each loop there was a short line with a hook attached. On each hook was a small piece of fish as bait. The line was about 140-feet long, and the evening before Peter had placed the line at the bottom of the sea with two small weights on each end, and with two other lines with empty plastic bottles attached as floating devices marking out the location. Now was the time to take it all up. The sea was rather deep there so it took a while before Peter could feel some resistance from below. And once he got the contraption up to the surface he didn’t know what to do. There was just this one eel but it had made a mess of all the line and all the hooks—it was all like a
– 005:001/23 –
ball of yarn impossible to untangle, and the eel was rather big, three feet or longer. It was well hooked but it was definitely not still. After a while Peter managed to lift the eel inside the boat by the short line attached to the hook, but then he had to cut the line as he didn’t dare to have the ball of line with all its hooks in the boat at the same time as this now very wild eel. The eel was heavy, and putting it in the plastic bag he had brought with him was not easy. He managed to get the tail in the bag and tried to lower the rest of the eel in, but the tail quickly was up again and out of the bag. Peter tried to hold the eel firmly in his right hand and force it into the bag, but that didn’t work either, and now the saying “slippery as an eel” really made sense to him. There was no way he could hold the eel no matter how hard he squeezed. But during this struggle Peter noticed that the harder he squeezed around the eel’s body, the more it used its tail to slip out of the grip backwards. So with that in mind, Peter held the eel high using the line, and with his other hand he placed the plastic bag with the opening right under the eel. When he got the eel’s tiny tip of a tail hanging inside the bag, he quickly grasped
– 005:001/24 –
the bag opening around the eel’s tail and squeezed as hard as he could. The eel immediately reacted, working itself backwards into the bag. Peter then was quick to knot the bag closed. Now finally the eel was trapped.It was a very proud father who came home with his catch that morning, showing the moving bag to his wife and later the children. Still though he was thinking, everything was good and well so far, but how was he going to kill it, and what kind of dish can you make with an eel? For those in the know, you just don’t kill an eel like any other fish; you have to empty it of all its blood and kill it that way. But Peter didn’t know that, so he took the eel bag with him in the kitchen, and with the eel still in the bag, he cut off the eel’s head. Out came the headless, squirming eel leaking blood all over the kitchen, even slipperier than before. When the bloody, headless eel escaped the bag, Peter’s formerly excited family escaped the kitchen, shouting.Dinner that evening was definitely not going to be eel: that was a united decision by the family without Peter having a say. However, Peter did learn, and later there were many eel dinners
– 005:001/25 –
enjoyed by the family, some dishes even the children very much came to like, and years later they asked him to cook these dishes when they visited him and Sara.Sara was very happy that this new fish they had bought was dead for sure, no surprise there. As Peter finished telling his story they had entered their cottage, and he had opened a bottle of their very special German wine. They now were sitting on the veranda chatting, sipping the wine, and looking out over the ocean. After a while relaxing and getting in the mood for cooking, it was time.Peter had become quite skilled at preparing fish, so this new one was no problem for him. While Sara prepared the fruit and vegetables and laid the table, he cut out two very nice-looking filets and salted them, then melted butter in a frying pan and added a curry he had discovered last year at the market. First he fried finely chopped onions in the curried butter and took the onion out of the pan, and then he fried the fish filets. When the fish started to turn light brown, Peter took it out of the pan too and added thick full cream and the chopped, sautéed onion back again to make a thick tasty
– 005:001/26 –
sauce.Peter and Sara had a wonderful evening, and the wine was just perfect. The night air had gone pitch dark, with only a couple of lights shimmering below their veranda, creating shadows from trees and bushes slowly swaying in the now soft, calm breeze coming in from the sea. The temperature was exactly right, and Peter and Sara stayed up as long as they could, enjoying the scenery. Even at home they enjoyed just sitting in the evening after a good meal; they didn’t have to say much because the silence spoke for them. A light touch and a kiss conveyed their feelings this night just like during their other nights together. The love Peter and Sara shared had grown during their almost twenty years together as a couple. They had not married; it never had been an issue for them. They were a pair because they enjoyed and loved each other. Peter was the one with children but Sara hadn’t gotten that far. She had been married a short while before she met Peter, but for Sara marrying made her ask herself, “Is this all there is?” After a few years being married, she couldn’t go on cheating herself, showing a
– 005:001/27 –
happy face when she was not. Marriage to her became a mere institution, with a lot of things she had to do to please her husband and family, but nothing for herself. Sara had lived by herself for three years before she met Peter. Peter’s wife Ann had died from breast cancer when his youngest daughter was only three years old, and he had been left alone with the children. Life for Peter during that time had been hard: It all started when his wife got the message about her breast cancer, and only days later she lost an entire breast to surgery. From the beginning her condition was declared minor, with the surgery being routine, and the doctors told them not to worry. But watching his beloved Ann die during the following year made something die within Peter. The concepts of faith and trust in people, believing that people help each other in times of difficulty, all became a dark ugly lie for him. Sometimes people’s irrational behavior and fear when confronted with unpleasant situations really can screw things up. In Peter’s case, he became unpleasant to be with because his wife had died. What was there to talk
– 005:001/28 –
about? Can you really invite a person who just lost his wife to a party where everyone else has a partner? People may have meant well, but most times their half-hearted attempts to reach out to Peter only hurt him further. Peter had one neighbor friend who said to him first off, “Peter, leave your kids with my wife and we’ll go next door and drink some beer.” For Peter, that attitude came as a shock. “What does he mean? Am I supposed to neglect my children and shove them aside for some stupid beers?” No, Peter just quietly answered that he couldn’t do that. And as a consequence he became an odd person in the neighborhood, and especially the men started to avoid him from that day on. Somehow though, he’d always gotten along well with the women, and, even though most women followed their husbands’ example, there were two who kept in contact with him. As it turned out, these two women provided the only decent adult contact Peter experienced for years after his wife died, until Sara came along.Peter’s own family, his parents and his sister, also weren’t close. Peter and his father had never gotten along, so as an adult, his only
– 005:001/29 –
contact was with his mother and sister. And even after Peter’s wife had died, his father often prevented his mother from helping. Peter’s sister lived with her own family in a small village far away so they didn’t see each other often. During the summers though Peter’s youngest daughter Jenny could stay with them for a couple of weeks, and that helped him get some time of his own. If Peter’s family was a sad story, Ann’s family was worse. They didn’t do anything to help, and they didn’t visit or try to take care of the children. What Peter got were demands by phone about what he should do and blame for when things didn’t work out between him and the children, as often happens in situations like that. So with no support, Peter had to manage on his own.This, however was a long time ago, and, as people like to say, time heals every wound. Or does it?Out on the veranda, Peter searched for Sara’s hand, and they inched closer. Just sitting there smelling the air, hearing the waves down below,
– 005:001/30 –
and feeling each other’s presence was holiday for them. As they started to prepare for bed they were treated to a memory from last year: a six-inch-long, bright green lizard was on the wall just above their bed. It was catching flies that were attracted by the light and the white walls and roof in the bedroom. Peter didn’t bother to scare it away because he and Sara had learned to appreciate the little creature. They let the contended lizard carry out his work catching flies in silence.Peter and Sara snuggled close in bed. They could carry on like that for hours, but the long trip and their first day’s adventures forced them to pay their dues. Even so it took some time before they fell asleep. The slow roaring pace of the waves filled the night, and Peter and Sara fell asleep, holding each other by the hand as so often before.
– 005:002/1 –
End of a Day (1/2)The few days Peter and Sara stayed on Mahé Island went by quickly. They spent most of their time on a small beach that was well protected from any surf, and they drove around in their rented car visiting favorite places and sites that were new to them. The evenings they spent on their cottage veranda celebrating a different exotic fish dish each night.When the time came to continue their holiday on La Digue Island, Peter and Sara packed their few things and drove to the airport. They left their rented car there and checked in to fly out by helicopter to their little paradise island. Their flight was only half an hour, but it was a memorable trip. As they lifted from the airport and climbed in the air, they could see their destination far out surrounded by water. They also could see other islands forming a small and very beautiful archipelago near the airport. The helicopter gave them a wide panoramic view over this southeast side of Mahé Island, a sight they hadn’t experienced when arriving and leaving by plane.The flight over the sea was spectacular enough,
– 005:002/2 –
but as they closed in on La Digue their excitement grew. The pilot kindly took them on a small sightseeing detour including flying in low from the east over the sea and one of the most spectacular beaches you could ever imagine. This was Grand Anse, the beach Peter and Sara had dreamed of when booking this holiday trip. They flew close over the tree tops, following the small road to the beach from the village on the other side of the island, where they landed at the end of a small open field. The airport, or whatever it was, had a shelter for a maximum of two persons (if they left their luggage outside) and a pole with a sign indicating that this was indeed an airport. It was grassy all over, and someone had tied a cow to the pole, probably to keep the grass short. The cow however didn’t move, so the helicopter pilot had to land beside it. The cow didn’t seem to notice.The few cars on this island were mainly for transporting tourists with luggage, so Sara and Peter got in one waiting for their arrival. The taxi chauffeur loaded Peter’s and Sara’s light baggage and drove them to a small self-catering resort, Mer Gardens, that they had found the
– 005:002/3 –
year before. The village on the west side of the island was small, as was everything else in this unique little microcosm. It had spread on the only flat area available; otherwise the island was hilly, with one big hill in the middle and a smaller one in the south ending steeply in the ocean. The Mer Gardens resort was placed right in the middle of the village, but the village beach was still close, only five-hundred feet away. Grand Anse beach was a little more than a mile away and you could either walk or cycle there. Mer Gardens had only three cottages and a small reception building. Peter and Sara’s cottage had a complete kitchen with a side door, a big bathroom, a bedroom, and a very comfortable living room connecting both kitchen and bedroom, with a full-length veranda in front of the cottage, which also served as entrance. The family who ran the resort was friendly, and everything was nicely prepared, much to Peter and Sara’s liking.Right after they had checked in and been shown around, they quickly unpacked, grabbed their bathing suits, towels, and sunscreen, and then cycled to the Grand Anse beach they just
– 005:002/4 –
had passed over in the helicopter. The small road they took passed between the two major island hills. After a short and pleasant ride, Peter and Sara left their bicycles behind a sand dune at the end of the road and walked the few steps to the beach. The beach stretched a third of a mile wide, with the only building being a small palm-leaf restaurant that offered soft drinks, beer, and lunch at the end of the road where Peter and Sara had left their bicycles. There were seldom more than thirty people at this beach at a time, so they really could feel they had the beach to themselves. A big tree, near the north end where people entered the beach, offered protection from the sun with its widespread branches, so most people spread their blankets there in its shade. This popular spot had the biggest waves rolling in close to the shore. Peter and Sara had found another place, about three-hundred feet farther south towards the middle of the beach, where they could get some shade from a branch of a big tree in the background. Smaller waves broke on the sandy shoals there, stretching out a bit from the
– 005:002/5 –
beach. Peter liked this spot best, as he had learned how to body surf here and the waves rolling in could carry him a long way up on the shore if he got it right.The wind they felt at the airport had churned up bigger waves than they had ever experienced on this beach, up to ten feet high and perhaps more than sixty feet apart. But here on this side of the island, sheltered from the wind, the waves broke in a more controlled manner, but the amount of water each wave carried and its power were both impressive and scary.It was high noon when Peter and Sara spread their towels in the shade of the big branch stretching out from behind them. Some people were in the ocean swimming or stood in the water’s edge, constantly moving up and down on the beach as waves came rolling in. Behind the breaking waves the water seemed calm, and although swimming was perhaps not the right word for it, swimmers were out there, moving up and down like corks. The only problem was getting out there and back. It was obvious that some swimmers knew how while others didn’t. Peter and Sara watched the people out there playing among
– 005:002/6 –
the waves, and sometimes a few were washed up on shore, totally out of control and being very funny about it. People who knew how to handle themselves, on the other hand, were able to get past the waves and back to shore with style.After watching for a while Peter just had to go in. Sara followed him to the water’s edge and wet her feet, but she stayed there. It took Peter a while to adapt to these new conditions, but soon he managed to ride on some big waves all the way up on shore, filling his swimming trunks with sand in the process. Sara stood most of the time with water no higher up than her knees, trying to figure out how to get in while avoiding the waves. They looked rather harmless a bit farther out, but as they came closer in they rose up as a wall of water and collapsed not far in front of her. The amount of water washing up on the shore and back again had enough power to tip her, even if it only was knee-high. Sara experienced that a couple times, with the same result as Peter: sand in her swimsuit. After that she retreated to their place in the shade.Another couple, maybe twenty-five to thirty
– 005:002/7 –
years old, arrived on the beach as Sara was sitting on her blanket looking doubtfully at Peter playing in the water. The couple brought with them a baby not more than six months old, and they sought shade from the same tree branch where Peter and Sara had spread their blankets. There was plenty of room for them. They were French-speaking, but neither Peter nor Sara could speak or understand any French, so their conversation was limited to “Hello.” They seemed newly married, perhaps visiting the Seychelles for the first time. It didn’t take long before the French man was out swimming, trying to learn how to body surf like Peter. The woman was very much like Sara, afraid of the waves. Every now and then, after tucking her sleeping baby in some white towels, she went down to the water front, but not farther out than up to her knees too. Very quickly she experienced the same as Sara—a big wave washed up on shore and made her fall, and when all the water returned, it dragged her out quite a bit before she was able to stand up again. It was obvious that she got scared, and she immediately walked back to her blanket. In spite of several tries and the encouragement of
– 005:002/8 –
her husband she didn’t get any farther out that day and neither did Sara.Peter wasn’t half as persistent to get Sara into the water as the French man was with his wife. Throughout the afternoon Peter tried a couple of times to help Sara by telling her where to stand to let a wave pass and when it was safe to get in, but Sara got scared every time a wave got close and did the opposite of what Peter had told her, so she frequently fell in and was washed up on shore. Peter laughed, but Sara didn’t. The amount of sand filling her swimsuit on each of those trips was uncomfortable, and there was nowhere to shower. Peter and Sara were the first to leave the beach, but before they cycled back to the village they just had to have lunch at that palm-leaf restaurant behind the beach. As they came over the sand dune, they could smell it: fish. Of course it had to be fish, but it smelled wonderful even if it was predictable. As they stepped under the palm-leaf roof the smell became more intense, so it was going to be grilled fish for lunch. The floor of the restaurant was sand, and there was a bamboo wall in the back; behind was the kitchen and in
– 005:002/9 –
front was a small bar. In a corner next to the wall, open for everyone to see, was an oil barrel cut lengthwise, set on scrap metal poles with the open side up. On this crude iron grill was a very big fish, nearly the size of the barrel, suspended over a glowing charcoal bed. Many lunch guests now began to gather inside the restaurant. The tables were very simple, just planks on poles, with cut logs as chairs around them. A small ring of people interested in what was going on were gathering around the cook, and he willingly explained for everyone what kind of fish it was and exactly what the lunch options would be.Peter loved this and Sara did too. They quickly choose a place to sit, and then Peter just had to go have a look at the fish. It was a red snapper, the cook said, and it was huge. To cook the fish was really simple; it had just been set there, nearly whole. The cook showed Peter how he had done it—his only nod to gutting was having cut the gills off. Peter had grilled fish the same way back home even though every cookbook he had read said to fully gut fish. By doing it this way all the juices were kept within the skin, and the meat didn’t dry out during grilling. It was a
– 005:002/10 –
different way of preparing fish but a much tastier one. Peter was quickly back to Sara, who was holding their places, and with a broad smile he told her that he had been right all the time about cooking fish. After all their playful arguing about Peter’s impossible cooking, here was the proof that it wasn’t that impossible after all. Sara smiled back at Peter and went to see for herself. It wasn’t that she disapproved of his cooking; on the contrary, she loved when Peter took charge in the kitchen as he often did. It was just that Sara followed cookbook recipes and Peter did not, so who was right? There was no winner in this game, but both of them enjoyed debating about what might work or not.Just as the cook at the palm-leaf restaurant gave a perfunctory nod to regular cooking by cutting the gills off the fish, the restaurant itself gave a nod to regular dining with one wire for electricity and one pipe with fresh water, plus two big refrigerators with cold beer, some wine, and various soft drinks. Peter and Sara ordered a beer each, and after sipping for a while, chatting, and digging their toes in the sand, the
– 005:002/11 –
fish was ready. People lined up at the barrel grill to eagerly watch the cook fold away the skin from the fish and carefully pick out a piece for each guest on a platter. Another girl assisted the guests with their choices of sides, rice and fruit, and there was a lot to choose from. Lunch was the same price whatever you choose so you could have any mix you wanted. Both Peter and Sara loved to try out new things so they really felt like they were in heaven now.They sat eating and chatting at the palm-leaf restaurant for almost two hours, enjoying a mix of fruit for desert as well as coffee. In a place like this there was no dress code, so people came and went as they were in their swimsuits or whatever they had on. There was a joyful atmosphere all around, and Peter and Sara left in a very good mood, picking up their bicycles and cycling back to the village again, happily discussing what to do next along the way.Back in the village they bought groceries, including yet another mystery fish from a fisherman at the beach that was big enough for another of Peter’s “impossible” meals. So it was a happy Peter cooking dinner this evening, and Sara shared in his excitement.
– 005:002/12 –
Their dinner was perfect, as it had been each evening on Mahé Island, and they still had a bottle of wine saved for the occasion. The night came quickly, and Peter and Sara loved the peace of sitting out on the veranda, finishing their wine in the quiet, listening to all the sounds produced by the ever-changing cyclical night. The warm humid air and the smell from the sea surrounded them. The sound of the waves wasn’t overwhelming because on this side of the island a big reef forced the waves to break far out. After a couple of hours of quiet and some ice cream and later coffee and cognac, they went inside for bed. The feeling from sitting out on the veranda in silence they brought with them inside. And as so many times before, they fell asleep holding each other closely.The next day the wind had calmed down even more to nearly nothing, but large waves were still washing up on shore. After a long relaxing breakfast, Peter and Sara cycled to their favorite beach again, and about twenty minutes later the French couple showed up and settled down beside them just as they had done the day
– 005:002/13 –
before, and once again they exchanged a short “Hello.” Peter and Sara kept by themselves. If Peter was not in the surf swimming, he and Sara were strolling along the water’s edge back and forth in the sun. Early on the sky was clear blue, and later in the afternoon white cumulus clouds developed, just enough to keep the sun from barring down on them so relentlessly. Even so, they had to do a quick march from their blankets to the water’s edge to avoid burning their feet in the hot sand. The French man spent most of the day out swimming in the waves, and it was obvious he was having fun. He also persistently tried to get his wife out swimming with him, but Peter and Sara could see that she still was afraid. Eventually, later in the afternoon, she finally got out there with him. They had carefully tucked their baby up in white linen and towels for sun protection, and it remained asleep as they maneuvered through the breakers and made their way to the calm water behind. Peter had been out swimming but came in to sit with Sara. As he looked out over the ocean he saw the French couple about a hundred feet
– 005:002/14 –
out, but now to the north, across from the big tree where most of the people on the beach sat watching the waves roll in. In the afternoon the waves got higher as the tide came in, and the French couple were out there alone. Peter had looked towards the French couple several times now, wondering how they were doing out there. Their baby was still asleep, and they were just floating up and down on the wave swells like two corks. Their situation seemed harmless, but, in Peter’s mind, out there past the breakers was not the place to be for so long.He decided to walk out in the water to his waist to consider the French couple once again. That’s when the woman started shouting for help. He could hear her well, and so could everyone else sitting on the beach under the big tree just in front of them. But no one reacted. Peter was about three-hundred feet away and silently assessed the full situation. First he turned to look at Sara sitting on the beach near the sleeping baby, and he saw that Sara too could hear the French woman shouting for help. He knew that they couldn’t reach the shore because of the outgoing current. As the tide moved the waterfront farther up on the
– 005:002/15 –
shore, the waves just grew higher and higher, and the outgoing current increased in strength. Right in front of the people sitting under the big tree the waves now reached ten feet—sometimes it seemed even more—and then collapsed with a roar, not the fairly harmless splashing sound from earlier in the day. Even though everyone on the beach saw the French couple and could hear the woman shouting for help, no one did anything, no one moved. Peter’s mind flooded with memories from when his wife Ann had died, twenty-four years ago. He’d gotten so little support from friends and family back then, and he’d seen how false people really could be. And now when Peter looked at all the people just sitting there on the beach, entertaining themselves by watching the couple out there behind the waves drowning, he got so disgusted that all those sour feelings from back then flooded his body.Peter knew he had a decision to make, and quickly. There was no way he was going to escape this situation by just standing there watching, like everybody else. That would have been the same thing as abandoning his children
– 005:002/16 –
after his wife died to go drink beer with his neighbors. Peter hated the attitude that even suggested something like that. Those men had been no friends of his, and whatever the people on the beach were thinking there in the shade of the tree, he hated them too. Almost immediately he started to swim towards the French couple. As the sand bottom disappeared under him, he could feel a strong current grabbing hold of him, moving him rapidly towards the spot where the French couple was out struggling. Peter realized that they all were caught in a riptide, and that there was no way back. Sara, who saw Peter start swimming out there, became scared like never before. In her mind she screamed “No, no, no. Come back, come back,” but she sat paralyzed on her blanket, watching Peter quickly float away from her.As Peter reached the struggling couple they told him in French and then repeated in English what he already knew, that they couldn’t get to the shore. He could see that especially the woman was beginning to get tired. Peter told them in English that he was going to try to help, and then they all started to swim towards
– 005:002/17 –
the shore three-hundred feet in front of them. At the first moment the woman started to swim, Peter knew she would never make it. She hadn’t enough power in her stroke so the current held her back constantly. Peter grabbed her by her arm just below her shoulder and tried to push her as she swam, and it did help a bit, but he had to force himself to swim as hard as he possibly could, and without having warmed up first his leg immediately cramped.For a few seconds Peter floated on top of a wave, watching the audience on the beach right in front of him. He then looked beside him at the woman trying for everything she was worth to get back to her baby on the shore. Her husband tried to push her other arm as Peter did, but that wasn’t helping much. The audience on the beach didn’t even bother to walk to the restaurant fifty feet away for help. They just sat there watching, as if they were expecting them to drown, and after that, there would be laughter and applause with cheers of, “Dammed good show!” At that moment Peter became so fed up with people that he didn’t bother trying to saving himself. He didn’t care if he died out there, and he was
– 005:002/18 –
no longer scared.On the beach by herself Sara couldn’t move from her blanket. If Peter wasn’t scared, Sara was terrified. She looked several times at the baby still sleeping not far from her, and she didn’t know what to do—she was frozen with panic. She saw some heads out there among the waves disappearing and reappearing again, and each time she lost sight of Peter her despair increased. “The baby, what will happen to the baby if its parents don’t come back,” Sara repeated in her mind. And if the destiny of the baby alone on a foreign beach in the middle of an ocean, in fact in the middle of nowhere, wasn’t enough, the thought of losing Peter was something she just could not bear. It was only the shock and the panic that prevented her from crying aloud.Now when Peter looked at Sara on the beach his mind was blank. The French woman was still swimming next to him though, and she was trying so hard. She reminded him sharply of himself struggling for his children when his wife died—here she was struggling for her life and for her baby on the beach, with no help from onlookers. If it was the last thing Peter did
– 005:002/19 –
in his life he so wanted to ruin this performance for the audience sitting there on the beach. He’d been in situations before where he had to push himself more than he thought possible in order to survive, and he had learned to ignore pain in the process, so Peter started to swim again. After a couple of hard strokes his left leg went numb, but even so he managed to swim at almost full strength. He watched the waves coming up from behind them, and as the swimmers managed to get a bit closer to the shore, the wave tops began to break as they passed. Peter looked for a good wave, and as it reached them he pushed the woman with all his strength and let her ride the wave forward. It carried her a couple of feet farther, and then Peter swam up to her quickly so he could continue to push her by the arm.It was working: bit by bit they got closer to the shore. Still everybody on the beach continued to watch their struggle of survival without the slightest attempt to help. The waves were stronger closer in, and consequently the outward current was stronger too. It was like swimming uphill, and the closer
– 005:002/20 –
they got to shore the steeper the hill became. The only thing that brought them forward now was trying to surf the waves as their violence increased. Peter would push the woman forward so she could ride the waves, but then she would get farther and farther away from him and he had to struggle hard to catch up with her to keep her in position for the next wave building up from behind. Suddenly, as Peter was looking back for a good wave, he saw that the next one was going to be a bad one, over ten feet or even taller. They were in a dangerous position of getting hit by it when it broke. He tried to tell the woman that they had to let this wave pass, but she didn’t hear or wasn’t receptive to him. She just continued to swim as hard as she possibly could, trying to reach the shore and her baby.Peter held her by her arm as that wave hit them dead-on. He felt like he had been grabbed by the neck, thrown forward, and pressed down to the ocean floor. The woman immediately slipped out of his grip. He was like a rag in a washing machine, totally unable to move even a finger or tell which way was up or down.
– 005:002/21 –
Before Peter was entirely out of breath he was able to swim to the surface, and luckily after a few panicked seconds the French woman rose to the surface not far from him. He quickly swam to her side and starting pushing her again, and she continued to swim without saying a word. The next wave to come at them was almost as high as the previous one, but they had been thrown forward quite a bit and had not been dragged back so far, so this wave didn’t hit them as hard as the last one did. But even so, Peter wasn’t able to hold her this time either and was pressed under the water once more. Thankfully again they both turned up quickly afterwards, and with Peter’s help they were able to keep some of the progress they had gained.The following waves coming up from behind were good to them and carried them farther to the shore, to a point where Peter for the first time could feel the sand when he tried to stand up. But the water was still too deep for firm standing, and the current dragged them out again. This tug of war continued as a couple of good waves got them closer in, and finally Peter was able to stand and keep contact with the
– 005:002/22 –
bottom, and the next wave washed them up entirely. Now, for the first time, Peter saw a man in the audience walking down to them with the obvious intention of helping the French woman stand up. To Peter’s relief she was able to stand by herself without even looking at the man coming towards her. He stopped, baffled, and then returned to his seat among the others in the audience.The French husband had managed to reach the shore too, and he came up from behind. The weary threesome walked together to Sara and the baby, who had slept through the near tragedy. Peter’s stretched leg hurt again when he first stood up, but he managed not to let that show as they walked back. They didn’t talk much, but the woman thanked Peter for saving her life, and her husband looked approvingly at him, giving him a universal thumbs-up. Peter nodded back at them, trying not to show the pain he felt in his leg and the pain he felt inside caused by the audience on the beach. He did not feel happy that he had made it. He was relieved, but not at all happy.Sara sat there on her blanket watching the
– 005:002/23 –
three silently climb out of the ocean, with more than worry in her eyes. She saw the French woman check her baby and then lay down on their blanket beside it, obviously exhausted and trying to calm herself from that almost disastrous experience. Her husband was standing up at the edge of his blanket, and after a short while he turned away from the beach and his wife, revealing to Sara an entirely ash grey face. He was without a doubt in shock. Peter thought it best to leave them alone, so the two of them packed their things, and quietly they said goodbye to the French couple and left. They hadn’t gone far before Peter heard the French woman calling after him. She was now running towards them weakly. She said just one thing to Peter, that she didn’t know his name. He said it and she repeated it once, with perfect pronunciation. Peter nodded to confirm that she got it right and then they separated and never met again.To get to their bicycles Peter and Sara had to pass all the people along the beach. Peter wasn’t happy, Sara could see that. She didn’t know what to say so they didn’t speak. As they got closer to the people sitting there on
– 005:002/24 –
their blankets, Peter felt something die inside him. He looked at those people, but nobody was looking back at him. He could feel it, he could smell it: All the contempt and estrangement he had felt all those years ago was back, and this time it was beyond any human decency. Like a cat having outlived his nine lives Peter had now outlived his. He felt like he wasn’t supposed to have survived this incident, and the people on the beach were showing him their disapproval. He didn’t get one appreciating look back; they all ignored him or looked away as he and Sara passed. Peter could feel that something had changed in him, but he didn’t know what.On the surface, the remainder of Peter and Sara’s vacation was just fine. Peter continued to go out swimming and body surfing among the waves as before because he wasn’t afraid. While snorkeling he encountered his first shark, and not even then did he get scared. It was as if life didn’t matter to him anymore. He didn’t want to discuss what had happened, and he didn’t want to tell Sara how he felt because, in a way, he wasn’t able too. There was a sort of numbness in his mind, as if he had lost touch
– 005:002/25 –
with reality, with a gnawing anxiety that maybe reality no longer existed for him. Peter didn’t want these all his strange feelings to destroy their vacation, so he continued on with what he previously had enjoyed the most. They made their mornings long and lazy, and the days passed with cycling around the island on small excursions for an ocean dip or a fruity cocktail in a local bar, and they spent most of their time on their favorite beach and at their palm-leaf restaurant in spite of the incident that nearly ended in catastrophe. Once they went on a day excursion to another even smaller island where they had lunch. On a small beach there protected by a reef, Peter and Sara had a very close encounter with a sea turtle. The turtle was at least two feet across, and for some reason it fancied Sara and followed her when she was out in the water. It got so close that Peter and Sara touched it, this wild, mysterious animal interested in them. In the evenings they prepared their own dinners at the cottage and made the most of it as usual. Peter continued his impossible cooking, trying out every way to cook foods he found on the island that he hadn’t tried before.
– 005:002/26 –
One day he got a tip to be at a spot on the beach outside the village at a specific time, to meet some fishermen who had been fishing far out and were coming in just there and then. That evening as the boat came in some men unloaded their catch and carried it up on the beach to the shade of a tree. There were only local people present and Peter had no idea what they were talking about, but by approaching them he somehow got their approval to select a fish among all those spread out on the beach. They were all very big fish, and Peter choose one of the smallest ones, but still it must have weighed around eight pounds at least. Peter paid for the fish and cycled back through the village holding it by its tail in the one hand he could spare from the handlebar. That fish covered four dinners, and not one of them was like the others. If it hadn’t been for that incident on the beach everything would have been perfect, and in most ways it was. But Peter’s numbness and strange unhappiness didn’t go away.Peter and Sara had been together for seventeen years, and they had become very close. Sara sensed that he didn’t want to talk about what
– 005:002/27 –
was bothering him, and for that reason she let it be. Eventually she thought that Peter would say something, but even after they got home he didn’t talk about what had happened. His continued silence about something so intimate bothered her a bit, but even so she didn’t feel alarmed. Peter was stubborn, in fact very stubborn, and Sara guessed that the strangeness would go away unmarked, as many others had before it.In fact though, the incident behind the waves had greatly affected Peter, and he wasn’t the only one. Sara had been concentrating on him so much that she had forgotten about herself; she was so happy that Peter had made it to shore and come back to her that that was the only thing that mattered, and when Peter acted as usual, she didn’t want to talk about it then either. The happiness of being together overshadowed everything else.
– 005:003/1 –
End of a Day (1/3)Back home Peter returned to work in his home office as usual, but work wasn’t fun anymore for him. He had problems concentrating too, but he didn’t think that much about it because he’d had “down days” before, and always eventually things were pretty much all right again. But this time his bad feelings didn’t go away. Instead their intensity increased, and Peter slowly realized that his new problems must have to do with that incident on the beach. He didn’t want to talk about it with Sara, mostly because of his stubbornness, but there was something more to this that he couldn’t put his finger on. Any normal person would have taken anti-depressants or herbal drugs or at least have gone to see a doctor of some kind, but not Peter. He seldom used medicine, and there was no way he was going to a doctor. He didn’t even comfort himself with alcohol; he had almost completely lost his appetite for both drink and food. Instead he stoically endured his misery by applying his own kind of medicine: hard work and denial.
– 005:003/2 –
But Peter’s attempts at pretending as if nothing had happened didn’t work, and those bad feeling got worse. In fact, they began to invade his mind in a direction he had tried to avoid long ago, a direction that scared him. He knew this direction from before he’d met Sara, and even though he’d always been honest with her, he hadn’t told her this.It all had started with his first wife, Ann, when she was still alive. Once Peter had overheard her friends playfully discussing men’s legs, and he’d heard that he’d been voted as having the best looking legs around. So privately Peter teased Ann a few times, claiming to have better-looking legs than even she had. One evening when the older children were out and their little daughter was asleep, Ann picked out a pair of black stockings from her drawer and threw them at Peter. She smiled and told him to put them on, in a challenging tone. He did and showed off, with Ann pretending to be critical about how his legs looked. She then opened her drawer again and picked out a short, black slip. “Let’s see now,” she said. Peter playfully put the slip on. It induced a strange feeling for him that included sexual
– 005:003/3 –
excitement but also something else he didn’t understand. They had both laughed at it all and had tried it a couple of times more as a fun thing to do, a new kind of foreplay, but it had never gone any further. A couple of years later Ann became sick with breast cancer, and the fooling around with lingerie stopped.Yet, after Ann had been dead for about a year, Peter began feeling a strange urge to dress in lingerie again, but this time his motivations were different. This time he was alone, and his work, the children, his finances, everything just went full-tilt around the clock and he could never find any time for himself. It was hard for him just to make a living for himself and his children, and he felt very much alone. And it was in those lonely moments this odd urge grew stronger. So, very ashamed, Peter bought himself some lingerie. Dressing up didn’t feel like a sexual game anymore; everything felt very contradictory and confusing. He felt compelled to dress up, but he hated himself for what he was doing: he knew he wasn’t supposed to do this, but that strange, pleasant feeling he got when he did
– 005:003/4 –
dress up said something else. Why on earth did he feel so good about it when he didn’t want to do it in the first place? It was like something else was taking over in place of the now-gone sexual arousal, and Peter couldn’t figure out what that was.This urge came over Peter at times when he felt alone, and somehow it served as comfort for him, at least that’s what Peter had thought. Dressing up reminded him of the good feelings he had shared with his wife, of the comfort of being so intimate with someone that you could both laugh and enjoy something as silly as wearing women’s clothes. But at the same time there were so many emotions evoked by this simple act, and often Peter got scared about what he was doing—the thought of being some kind of pervert more than once crossed his mind. So, after two years of occasionally dressing up, Peter stopped and threw away all the lingerie he had bought since Ann’s death.He tried to forget about the whole thing, and after he met Sara he’d thought that everything would be okay, that this strange urge to dress in women’s lingerie would now disappear permanently.
– 005:003/5 –
Sometimes that seemed true, but not all the time. On two occasions when he‘d been alone for a couple of weeks his urges to dress up came back. He had focused on every reason not to give in, but in the end he was unable to resist even with all the willpower he could possibly summon, so he bought new lingerie for himself. He felt very confused though and didn’t like what he was doing, so eventually Peter threw it all away, and he had managed to keep it a secret in order not to upset Sara or risk their relationship. Now ten years had passed between the last time Peter had dressed in women’s clothes and this recent trip to the Seychelles Islands. Once he was home, suddenly the urge to dress in women’s clothes was back again, and in a strong way Peter had never felt before.Now that they were back, he was finding himself alone a lot: working from home in his own engineering job, with Sara on a nursing assignment in Gothenburg, a city far away, and coming home only for the weekends. This arrangement had so far worked very well, and Peter didn’t mind being alone because he always had so much occupy his mind. But
– 005:003/6 –
suddenly everything seemed different now; something had changed. Peter’s depression was now taking an even stranger turn. He felt as if his body were pumping bad fluids through it. He had trouble sleeping and concentrating and even just relaxing. During the lonely evenings, the complex feelings that dressing up had produced in him before truly haunted him now. He didn’t like himself when he had dressed up; it wasn’t natural and he couldn’t help thinking of himself as a perverted person. And yet the same motivators that had drawn him to dress in women’s clothes before were working hard on him now. In his loneliness Peter went to Sara’s drawer and borrowed some silky panties, stockings, and a short slip. Once he put them on almost immediately he could feel his body calm down, and he could rest. And he wasn’t merely comforted: he felt as if his whole situation eased up. The pumping of bad fluids didn’t feel that aggressive, and somehow his bad thinking of himself took another turn: it all felt so natural, as if wearing these clothes was the right thing to do. And most of all Peter was able
– 005:003/7 –
to sleep. Yet over the course of the following days and weeks Peter’s emotional pain and his feeling that bad fluids were pumping through his body got worse. He got so that he had to dress up in lingerie in the evenings just to relax and to be able to sleep. He bought some lingerie himself so as not to mess up Sara’s drawer, and as before he felt very ashamed for what he was doing, and yet he was also relieved. On weekends when Sara came home from work he tried to act like everything was normal.Although the sleeping got better, his work situation got worse—he just wasn’t able to concentrate anymore. The computer monitor became a blur, and he needed to check everything that he had written and calculated over and over again and still there were errors he wasn’t able to detect. He even could see himself producing errors, as if he were watching himself aim at one key while he pressed another. Keeping up his small production of electrical engineering products was another problem because his whole body was protesting—he got sweaty and cold, and his ability to put things together and make things
– 005:003/8 –
work seemed to have washed away. Instead Peter found himself out often, walking on the county farm where they lived with their dog Daisy, a nine-year-old collie. Even the dog reacted as if there was something wrong with Peter.While out with Daisy Peter started to have trouble coordinating his walk. He felt unbalanced; he needed to lift his feet high to avoid stumbling, and when he put them down he felt numb. Daisy used to go on side excursions, happily sniffing the ground for other dogs, but now she stuck with Peter, not leaving him for a second. When Peter sat down to rest, as he had to do more often now, Daisy sat right in front of him and whimpered.Peter also started to experience real eating problems—nothing he cooked had any taste anymore. Eating became a chore that he had to do in order not to get sick. It was as if even the feeling of hunger was fading away.What was wrong with him? During those evenings he spent alone dressed in women’s clothes, he felt like the answer was very close. That urge had almost become a demand, and that both scared and pleased him. He was
– 005:003/9 –
pleased by all the strange and pleasant feelings that dressing up produced in him but scared of the implications. And as time went by, these new feelings increased and added to the pain Peter had begun to feel. The feeling as if bad fluids were pumping though his body had turned ugly, and with it there was a terrible pain, a physical pain beyond imagination. It was like an open wound inside him, and that bad fluid circling around in his body was flooding the wound along with everything else.This misery had increased for a couple of months, and it was now late summer. Peter’s work was a disaster, and there was not much of anything he could do anymore. He felt he was entirely filled with bad fluids up to his neck, and going to a doctor was no longer an option because there were no doctors who could cure him. As if he had cancer, Peter felt like he had only a couple of weeks left to live, for surely the bad fluid would start to fill his head and he wouldn’t survive.Sara could both see and feel that there was something wrong with Peter that she’d never experienced. She had many different fears, especially of him leaving her, but Peter
– 005:003/10 –
continued his silence and she didn’t dare to ask. Long ago they’d planned on a short holiday trip that was coming up in a couple of weeks, and Sara hoped everything would improve then. But Peter’s pain escalated, and that last week before their holiday he couldn’t work at all. All his body was full of bad fluids, his head too, and he couldn’t feel his feet when he went out walking; everything was just getting scary-crazy. There didn’t seem to be any point in eating, and Peter felt as if his whole body was shutting down. He hadn’t drowned back there behind the waves, but he felt like he was drowning now in the bad fluids that were filling his head, preventing him from breathing.Peter knew he had to tell Sara about his depression, the sickness he felt, and even about the lingerie and what he thought was going on inside him. There was no way he would be able to make this holiday trip in the condition he was in now; he was running out of time. That last week while Sara was away working, in his despair, not knowing how to explain his situation to her, Peter wrote his feelings down.
– 005:004/1 –
Night (2/1)The long summer they began with their Seychelles trip in May had now come to an end, with the still-warm air at the farm smelling like autumn. Sara came home late one Friday afternoon, having finished her last week of work before their holiday. As she drove up the driveway she could feel something strong, but it wasn’t the excitement of anticipated vacation . . . something was wrong. Their dog Daisy didn’t come to meet her as she usually did. Instead she was standing close to the house, just looking at Sara as she parked the car. The dog’s carriage was sad, with something unrecognizable about it, and Sara instinctively knew that it had to do with Peter. As she walked up to the house Daisy slowly came to meet her with her head bent down. It was not a happy dog Sara gently embraced around the neck. And the licking she felt softly on her cheek further confirmed that message.
– 005:004/2 –
After a short bit of petting and eye contact as she tried to cheer Daisy up, Sara rushed into the house. Daisy followed her to the kitchen door, but that was as far as she’d go. As Sara opened the door she spotted Peter sitting in his chair in the living room. Peter didn’t move; he just looked at Sara with a bent head and big, sad eyes. Sara put what she was carrying on the kitchen sofa. Her small summer jacket she took off and placed without looking on a table beside the living room door. When she entered the living room and met her very depressed husband sitting in his chair, she immediately sensed that this was it: he was going to tell her something shattering, and a chill crept up her back. Peter asked her to sit down in the chair next to him, with a small table between them. Sara did so without saying a word, and then Peter took a deep breath, still staring at the floor. Peter opened his mouth, and as he tried to talk he started to cry. Sara was even more confused; she had never seen him this way. She rose from her chair, went over to him, and put her arm over his back and hugged him gently.
– 005:004/3 –
“What is it, what is it you’re trying to tell me?” she whispered in a friendly tone. Peter’s crying got heavier, and she tried her best to give comfort without knowing what for.After a while Peter got hold of himself a little, and, with a broken voice, he carried on, telling Sara about how bad he felt. And with another deep breath, Peter also told Sara about dressing up in women’s lingerie to ease his pain.Sara felt confused and yet relieved—there was no one else—Peter wasn’t going to leave her. And she’d known he’d been really depressed all summer. But what was that other dressing-up thing, what was that all about? What was it Peter was trying to tell her? Peter saw the confusion in her face and slowly handed her an envelope that had been on the table beside him with a poem inside it. Sara received the piece of paper with mixed feelings, looking first at Peter and then at the page.
– 005:004/4 –
MeAt dawn a little girl is about to see the light.A gentle touch, something is not right.She has longed with enthusiasm and joy,but the touches she feels are meant for a boy.Blindfolded she’s held back by a silent ban,not to interfere with her image of a man.With no friends for comfort or hand to hold,the little girl does what she has been told.While her manly image grows strong, but sad,the little girl collects pieces of a life she never had.The pile of pieces grows high as years pass by.The little girl cherishes her pile, while wondering why.Being who I am, is that so wrong?Her pile grows heavy, her waiting has been far too long.As pieces of her life fall hard to the ground,for her only sorrow and pain are there to be found.Blinded by her manhood image and eternal lies,Will she ever see her true face, before she dies?
– 005:004/5 –
This poem stunned Sara. She could feel tears building up inside her; somehow she understood the importance of the moment without knowing what it really meant yet. Still on one knee next to Peter, Sara searched for him, and he did the same for her. They hugged each other gently as if they both understood that this moment was going to change their lives forever.Time stood still. When Sara was able to speak again she asked Peter about the lingerie. He was completely, emotionally exhausted, but he appreciated her kind tone, and he felt he had nothing to lose anymore. He told her that he had bought his own lingerie and had been hiding it from her.“Can I see it?” Sara asked quietly, with a soft smile.Peter didn’t think, he just nodded back and answered “of course” in the same way. Sara sat back in her chair while Peter slowly tried to stand up. It was not easy, Sara could see that, and it took a while before Peter found his balance. Having been sitting for a long while waiting for Sara was one reason, but his body
– 005:004/6 –
condition with all the bad fluids and numb legs and feet affected him the most.Sara could tell that this was no joke, and her instincts told her to stand up and support Peter, but she remained sitting, just watching him. Peter did his best to act somewhat normal, but at this point nothing was normal any longer. He slowly walked through the kitchen and into their bedroom, and from the bottom of a drawer he took out a small package where he had kept his lingerie. He unwrapped the package on their bed and carried to Sara some panties, a slip, and a pair of black shiny tights. As Peter entered the living room he carefully held up what he had brought with him and showed Sara. She looked the lingerie over and commented that what Peter had bought looked really nice, and with a small glint in her eye Sara said that she wished Peter had bought her such nice lingerie too.Peter smiled at Sara thankfully. She didn’t shut him out and she didn’t try to make a fool out of him. Instead she invited him into a quiet, joyful conversation about the issue he was most afraid to talk about.
– 005:004/7 –
“Can I see you wear it?” Sara asked with a gentle smile.Peter wasn’t prepared for that response, but again Peter wasn’t prepared for anything. Sitting there waiting for Sara to turn up, he saw no future beyond this day; there was literally nothing left of him, as if everything could have ended right then and Peter wouldn’t have bothered to stop it. But he did hear what Sara said and something within him responded. “Of course,” he said, and took the lingerie back with him into their bedroom. He wasn’t deliberately thinking, but he knew that something was taking over his thinking for him. He let it.“Let’s see now, what am I going to wear,” Peter heard a voice within him say. And as the voice spoke to him, he tried to match up some of the lingerie he had in order to look as nice as he possibly could. The voice Peter heard wanted to feel good and make the best of this awkward situation. Peter didn’t think in terms of trying to figure out what would make him look most like a woman; he was in search of comfort. And now the voice didn’t want to feel good just for its own sake as had happened so many times
– 005:004/8 –
before when Peter had to dress up to ease the pain; no, this time there was a difference. The voice wanted to feel good dressing up for Sara.And Peter did dress up for Sara. He didn’t have much to choose from but he wanted to look as decent as possible, if “decent” was possible for an old man in young women’s lingerie. He put on a pair of ordinary, rather small, black panties first. Then he selected a pair of black tights with a medium shine and not too thin, so that his leg hair wouldn’t show too much and destroy the impression. Then Peter put on another pair of black panties, but these much more refined with lace and shining silk. He had only two slips, but it took a while for him to decide on the tight, knee-length, black silk one with a slit ending rather high up. He had no shoes or matching top to wear, so a black T-skirt had to do, and barefoot he returned to Sara still sitting in her chair in the living room.Sara felt like she had been sitting there quite a while, wondering what to expect. She had heard serious activity from the bedroom, and now she heard Peter quietly approaching over the kitchen floor.When Peter showed up, she was neither scared
– 005:004/9 –
nor amused. “Not too bad,” she thought, and to a certain degree she was pleased. After a couple of seconds with Peter turning around and showing himself off, Sara stood up and put her arms around his neck and hugged him hard. Peter responded with appreciation for Sara, the woman he felt he had always known and loved.They stood there for a long while. When Sara started to loosen her grip she told Peter that he could bring his lingerie on their little week holiday, and that he could dress up in it whenever he felt like it.Hearing Sara say that made something change within Peter. What he felt was the shock of sudden happiness. That bad feeling and all the pumping suddenly stopped. It was a turning point. He felt like he’d been climbing a high wall, struggling hard for every foothold, and at the top where only a fall remained he found a simple ladder that safely took him back to the ground again. But it was not the same ground as before, and Peter was keenly aware of that.Sara and Peter’s small week holiday became a wonderful experience for both of them, but also very different in many curious ways. One big difference was that they went clothes shopping
– 005:004/10 –
a lot, and Peter enjoyed it for the first time in his life. When they looked at clothes for him they passed by men’s clothes and went straight for women’s, and they bought him several pieces, including a matching top and skirt. Peter also enjoyed helping Sara pick out what she could wear.Out shopping like this, Peter and Sara could talk and enjoy each other’s company as never before. Sara just couldn’t believe the change in her husband. Even though Peter got better from his illness every day, he kept his lingerie and dressed up in the evenings because it made him feel good, and Sara supported him in doing so. Peter was amazed; dressing as a woman felt so natural for him. Something had changed, and he was now at the starting point of something new, the starting point of exploring his true self.As soon as Peter and Sara returned from their carefree trip, the very day they returned, in fact, Peter’s situation became clear to him. What he had written in his poem to Sara was the truth: he was no man. In fact he was a girl, and the lingerie he had been putting on made the girl
– 005:004/11 –
inside happy, along with other positive feelings he never had felt before. Just by knowing this new truth, feeling what it brought to him, and making the little girl happy, he saw the summer’s pain and all those bad fluids that had assembled in his body slowly start to fade away. “But who is she; who am I?” Peter started to ask himself as he settled back into work at home, with a newly found vigor.He knew without a doubt that this was a matter of life or death for him. He immediately rejected the notion of trying to go back to normal and denying the truth, knowing that would bring back the pain much faster and heavier than before. Peter had felt a strong urge in his body that had been suppressed for so long, and he just couldn’t ignore the girl inside any more, the girl he now felt surely he really was. As they settled back home that fall and Sara saw Peter working happier and in the evenings sometimes wearing the women’s clothes they’d bought on their trip, Sara also became aware that something as big as life and death was happening. Even if she didn’t understand it, she
– 005:004/12 –
supported Peter and helped him to dress up some evenings. She just wanted him to be happy. Neither was sure what they were doing, but one thing was certain: Peter was dressing up more often and looking increasingly like a woman.This slow change continued throughout that winter, but never took Peter over. For one thing, he knew that Sara had problems with it. This dressing up was no game as it had been with his first wife when all this started. They celebrated Christmas and New Year quietly together but somewhat carefully around each other. Peter tried not to dress up in women clothing’s all the time, and Sara tried to hold on to her relief that at least Peter seemed happy, that he was still with her. They saw other people less and less though. That Easter evening they had been cooking dinner, and with Sara’s assistance Peter had dressed up in a full outfit of women’s clothes as well as makeup and a wig. They had done this a couple of times before, but this evening was different, very different. Slowly Peter’s consciousness faded away as in a deep fog, and
– 005:004/13 –
something else emerged to take control. Peter’s whole carriage changed, and his manners and way of walking became very womanlike. Basically everything that remained of Peter, the male Peter, washed away.One thing they had bought during their increasingly fun shopping trips was a pair of high-heeled shoes for Peter. The new shoes where only two-inches high, but for a beginner these thin heels were not easy to manage. But Peter had practiced, and this Easter evening he walked easily without thinking. The happiness that flooded his body made him smile as Sara had never seen him smile before. At one point when Peter entered the living room with two plates, Sara froze. She was standing only a couple of feet away and right in front of him, but she stared at him in shock. “Who are you really?” she asked, with a scared voice and a pale face.Peter was himself shocked to see Sara so pale and didn’t know what to say. The first words that came out were, “But, I’m me,” and there it stopped with Peter and Sara staring at each other. Peter didn’t know where to put the plates he was carrying, and it took a while before he
– 005:004/14 –
was able to set them down at the nearest empty place on a table.“I’ll go and change,” he said with a disillusioned tone.“Yes please,” Sara replied gratefully, still staring at him as he left the room.Sara saw an innate change and Peter felt it. Such total happiness was exploding within him that he was unable to control his behavior. The girl he had sensed at the turning now for the first time showed herself to him, and she was beautiful. Dressing up brought him such peace in his soul, which told him that he just couldn’t be wrong. He had to follow the girl within, as his past male appearance literally was killing him. He had found his path, the key to his true self. But would Peter be able to unlock what had been hidden in his soul and carry on, and what’s more, would Sara be able to follow?Peter and Sara talked about it in the most logical manner possible after that event, Peter trying to explain what he had to do and Sara passively supporting him without really knowing what was happening.
– 005:004/15 –
Sara’s life had in one instant changed completely. It was like every bond keeping Peter and her together as a couple was suddenly torn apart, and now she felt like she was floating with no direction at all. She still saw Peter, the physical person she loved, and she recognized his kindness and all the other characteristics that made him Peter to her. But that woman, who was she? The sexual attraction that from start had made them a couple and kept them together for so many years was gone. That little tiny piece called “gender” had ripped the carpet from under Sara’s feet, and she felt like everything, her whole life, was beyond reach and slowly floating farther away from her.Peter didn’t see this change for her. Just as Sara had no way of fully understanding his point of view, he had no way of recognizing, much less understanding, hers. His attention was on himself for the time being.Dressing up had changed Peter’s understanding of himself and helped him pull out of last summer’s deep depression, but the pain he’d felt then was still there, still lurking and sometimes getting stronger. He understood
– 005:004/16 –
that he had a problem he had to deal with; the pain in his body told him that. But he didn’t know where to turn or whom to turn to: psychologists or psychotherapists or any other “-ists” person. As psychology wasn’t at all his field and he didn’t consider himself a mental case (not yet anyway), he dismissed that kind of help.What he did do after a couple of weeks and a lot of thought was call a gay organization that claimed on their website to represent so-called transgendered people too. They listed a telephone number for people experiencing problems, so, with much trepidation, he started there.But after twenty minutes talking with one of their counselors Peter hadn’t learned anything more than what was on the internet. He was told though that he could continue his search for help by contacting a psychiatry office assigned to the area where he and Sara lived. So after a couple more weeks and anxiety he went down that road reluctantly.First he had to search for which office he was supposed to call for his location, all according to strict Swedish social healthcare laws. But
– 005:004/17 –
after a few short telephone conversations with the people at the correct office, he asked for an appointment. Even if going there felt totally wrong—he was sure they didn’t understand what he was talking about—Peter had made his mind up to discover what help might be available. And as bureaucracy now took over, things had to go by the book, so Peter had to receive a letter confirming his appointment. The problem with this was that his address in national registers was different from the country farm where he and Sara lived because he’d kept his small apartment in Stockholm; he used that as his business address and for convenience his living address as well. The problem was that his mother had been living there after her divorce six years ago. To prevent this letter from being sent to his now elderly mother and most likely opened by her, Peter informed the staff to send the letter to the farm address, and he was ensured by the integrity of the office and policy regulations that that’s what they would do.It had become June, and a first summer shower
– 005:004/18 –
had just passed outside on the farm. In many ways the summer had started strangely: it was cold and the weather shifted all the time. Even so Daisy was outside, as she often was regardless of the weather. If it were raining heavily she might consider moving under the front porch, but not always. Daisy had her routines with Peter, including their long walks together, but he was so odd now that Daisy stayed close by, as if she were watching out for him.Peter sat working when the phone rang—it was his mother.“You’ve got a letter from this… psychiatry office, saying you have an appointment there. Are you sick?” was the first thing Peter heard his mother say.God no, Peter thought. Not this. Damn.“What? What are you talking about?” was what he heard himself saying.“You have received a letter here from a psychiatry office—have you gone mad? Only crazy people go there!” Peter’s mother repeated, a little more demanding.“Stop it, I’m not crazy. It must be something
– 005:004/19 –
they sent wrong. You should know, haven’t your doctor appointment letters gotten lost before, and who knows who received them?” Peter repeated in an angry tone.“Maybe that’s happened once or twice, but it’s got your name on it!”“What do you think national registers are for? Everything’s connected to your birth certificate number, and if that’s wrong somewhere then everything else will be too.”“But…”“I don’t want to discuss something as stupid as this. Why in the first place did you open my mail?”“It had that office stamp on the envelope…”“So then you opened it? Was it addressed to you?”“But everyone knows that it’s a letter coming from a cuckoo house, and I’m entitled to know—I’m your mother, aren’t I?”“No you’re not entitled to know. You just send that letter to me with the envelope and all and I’ll call these people up. Can you do that?”“Yes I can, but…”
– 005:004/20 –
“Was there something else?”“No.”“Talk to you later then, bye.”Peter’s mother did as she was told, and when he got that letter in his hand he called those people who sent it to the wrong address. They told him that their “assurance of integrity” was no longer valid as his case had moved into the hands of another person whose job it was to send out these appointment letters. By that conversation Peter was to understand that regardless of content, these letters with their “cuckoo stamp” were going to be sent despite any patient requests. Neither security nor integrity existed. These people didn’t want to understand the situation and didn’t care to. Peter cancelled that appointment.So he was on his own again, trying to do more research. After reading a lot of stories on the Internet about people who seemed a little like him (sometimes, but sometimes not, it was so hard to tell), he found that an English psychiatrist was often mentioned who had his own private practice in London where people could go for counseling. Peter traveled now and then to England to meet clients for his
– 005:004/21 –
engineering company, so on one of his next trips he went to meet with this psychiatrist. Two summers had passed since that incident on the beach, and it was now the beginning of another fall. In London of course it was raining, and on Peter’s appointment day he’d made himself free the whole day as he didn’t know what to expect. It was a very stressed and unhappy Peter who entered this doctor’s office. He was amazed, though, to find that for the first time here was a person he could talk to who understood what was going on and could put words to Peter’s feelings. He was told that he most likely was “Gender Dysphoric,” although he had no idea what that meant. He wasn’t in a position to grasp such a new, big concept, and this talk about going to therapy was not an option. He didn’t want to start therapy, and anyway he certainly couldn’t travel to England every week for it.A month later, at the beginning of October, Peter went once more to meet with this English
– 005:004/22 –
doctor, but he still wasn’t capable of fully understanding what the doctor was saying or was happening to him. Disillusioned by the idea of ever getting help, Peter realized that he was on his own—that it was up to him and him only to help himself. However, those visits to England did have an effect. Now for the first time Peter had some kind of reference, something to go on and relate to that made a difference. In fact, what this doctor did when he kindly accepted Peter—letting him understand that he was not mentally ill at all and treating him as a normal person—was lifesaving. Peter’s frustration and pain had been close to bursting, but through kindness and professional knowledge these two meetings put Peter back on track again. Now it was a new track that Peter didn’t know anything about.He was beginning to think that he needed to go out in society and meet others, people like him, in order to learn where and how he fitted in. There must be others, he thought—who were they? After some internet research, Peter had found a dressing service in London that dresses men to
– 005:004/23 –
look like women. They also offered escort services to clubs where dressed-up men could mingle with like-minded people to dance and talk. For Peter this was like a crossroads. His mind said no, NO, Never, but everything in his body said Yes. To describe him as having mixed feelings would be a vast understatement. Everything in his upbringing, everything he had learned and relied on, in fact everything he knew and was able to understand was screaming NO. But still his body said yes. And it was a yes without any complicated demands, only to obey. It was a simple, clear yes without alternatives, like a whisper reaching through despite all other noises. Sara had nothing to do with this—this decision excluded all rational thinking. This was about Peter’s body and soul purely, and he just had to go.First he wondered that if these clubs existed in London then maybe they existed in Stockholm too, but couldn’t find any, and the more he thought about it the less he wanted to risk being seen by anyone he knew. So gradually, at night after his business meetings, Peter explored various underground clubs in London
– 005:004/24 –
while dressed as a woman. His initial impression was amazement at the variety of people and personalities he met in these clubs—he hadn’t had any idea of this underground world previously hidden to him. He had of course heard of homosexual people, but he’d never met anyone like that, not that he knew of any anyway. And he’d heard of transvestites and drag shows and drag queens, and twice he’d even been to a drag show just to see what it was like. He had also seen pictures of men in women’s clothes before, but mostly related to porn. So he hadn’t really confronted his feelings about sexual difference. He had just stamped it all in his mind as weird. Now that he was out visiting these clubs, he met a strange mixture of people dressed up as women, as men, or as whatever. Even though some were dressed outrageously, it didn’t matter to him. And though some were sexually provocative in their appearance, that didn’t matter either. They all blended in together as people of the same species, Peter too, and he was received politely and nicely by all he met. The winter Peter continued this sort of research
– 005:004/25 –
whenever had business in London to attend to. After having visited a variety of clubs, meeting so many different kinds of people he’d never even imagined, Peter had to give up all his old beliefs; all the conservative moral talk he had been filled with from childhood simply wasn’t true. These seemingly odd people were people like him, different in some ways, but that was just a part of their personalities and had nothing to do with making them weirdoes, freaks, or perverts. Looking back on childhood teachings about sex and norms and morals as Peter did now, sex and morality seemed like it had been black and white then. Out here mingling with all these different people, Peter saw life now in colors.Sara meanwhile was really worried about Peter out on these adventures. It was the underground clubs that bothered her, not knowing what they were exactly. To her he could be beaten or even killed going out and showing himself like that. And if that wasn’t enough, what was he doing out there anyway, what was happening? Peter was very careful to tell her where he went, what he was doing, and
– 005:004/26 –
what had happened each night, but these details tell her what was really happening with her husband. He even brought home pictures to show her how he looked dressed as a woman. The dressing service had really done their job well, and many times Sara had difficulties recognizing her husband. She didn’t like this. But she didn’t tell him about her concerns, mostly because she had no clue how to express what she was feeling. So she kept her feelings to herself and continued passively supporting Peter, unsure about their future.Slowly a sort of frustration had begun to grow within Peter as well. He’d learned a lot being among those colorful people, but he never really felt like he fit in, and that bothered him a great deal. Even though he’d met some very nice, caring men like himself dressed as women, most of them dressed up for a totally different reason than he did. Many wanted to exhibit themselves; it was a sexual kick for them. But it wasn’t like that for Peter. Plus, the other dressed-up men he went out with were often very nervous and needed a lot of drinks to calm themselves down, but Peter didn’t.
– 005:004/27 –
Dressing up calmed him to a state of total comfort. And what about that other part? What about the pain? Why had this happened all of a sudden to him? Most everyone he met had different stories than his that never mentioned pain. Peter was learning that there was an invisible barrier between him and the others, and he started to sense it growing stronger.Furthermore, the pain had started to come back worse. Even though it wasn’t as bad as it had been, Peter worried it would resume full-force. Again he found himself in a dead end. Mingling with these people at nightclubs—was that really him? The returning pain told him no. And even worse was that he had no more alternatives left for what to do next. Despair had started to grow again. But oddly he still imagined a light, an insight that he couldn’t identify. There was this something there that Peter wasn’t able to put his finger on, even if it often felt so close. He had tried everything, but this rational search had led him in circles. He felt like he was walking around, reaching out for a candle in
– 005:004/28 –
the center of his circle, but afraid of getting too close and burning his fingers.This light in the circle was related to yet another group of men he had started to learn about, men who didn’t just dress as women in clubs but who had changed gender entirely and were living as women during the day too. That English psychiatrist had mentioned a new term for him, TS, which he knew meant transsexual, but he wasn’t able to understand what it meant in relation to the only men he’d met so far who dressed as women, these fun-loving men who appeared as women for sexual kicks.Where were the people who lived as women for real? He wasn’t sure if he’d met one, so he didn’t even know what a transsexual person looked like.And then there was this compelling book about transsexualism he’d spotted and hadn’t dared to buy. It had been written by a transsexual woman the same age as Peter, and its short description had hit him hard, revealing a striking resemblance between himself and her. Yet for almost four months of cursory soul-searching Peter had refused to buy the book. It was just like before when he felt so sick: Peter
– 005:004/29 –
was denying his true self because he was scared of what he might discover by learning more.Because now he knew that even after revealing his pain to Sara and gaining her passive support, even after dressing up at night and meeting others who seemed like him, Peter had gotten stuck in his search for himself. Instead of abating, his frustration and pain became ever more present, no longer eased by dressing up. And added to the pain now was aggression, a sharp urge to do more about his situation, something drastic. This urge grew almost out of proportion, and in May, almost exactly two years after that incident on the beach, finally the aggression made him buy that damn book just to get it over with.
– 005:005/1 –
Night (2/2)That read hit Peter hard; it seriously shook him up. The book told about his pain in almost the same manner as he had felt it, and the resemblance with the author’s experience was striking. But the author, a transsexual, had undergone an entire transformation to ease her pain; she had become a woman. Peter got seriously scared. “Changing sex, me?” he thought. The total impact of what that meant began to grow within him. Peter had begun to look at himself in a mirror with a taste of disgust developing in his mouth. After reading this book, the male appearance staring back at him started to hurt. Peter had felt pretty sure by now in his heart that he was a woman, and now thanks to what he was learning about transsexualism he knew it with his mind too.Yet again, there was a big difference between him and some of the others he had met out in clubs and tried to identify with: they apparently knew from childhood that they had been born
– 005:005/2 –
into the wrong sex, whereas Peter had not. This difference bothered Peter a great deal. But the more he tried to figure things out through reading bits here and there about transsexualism, the more a pattern had started to emerge. Even though he hadn’t known he was different from childhood, he had felt the urge to cross-dress at times, without telling anyone. Plus his shyness and sexual contact problems with girls were very much like some stories of transsexuals he had read.Peter had always, even from as early as childhood, avoided looking at himself in mirrors or photographs. That much he remembered strongly. He never had liked clothes either (but as a boy that wasn’t unusual). Talking to this English psychiatrist, Peter had learned that these kinds of behaviors revealed a transgendered pattern more than playing with gender-specific toys did. Slowly things started to fit in his understanding, and all those questions and all that searching had led Peter forward, even if his despair sometimes seemed overwhelming. As things started to make sense to him now, he was like a spring flower, waking up from a bad dream.
– 005:005/3 –
Peter felt as if he was taking the girl within him by the hand and letting her lead him to find himself. He now understood that he had to trust his feelings and do what his body told him to do; what his brain had done so far was only create chaos, diverting him in wrong directions. He now also understood that he had to be more confident and adopt his new identity as a woman. Even during the daytime while working at home, he no longer looked quite right as a man, because male clothes no longer could cover the girl in him. She was out, and she was him. The only thing left was the image of that man, a role he once played.At home, Peter and Sara’s dog Daisy, who now was constantly present and followed Peter almost step by step, was reacting to these changes in him. For dogs, emotional contact and other delicate senses are extremely well developed and vital for both survival and well-being, so Daisy was well aware what was going on and obviously worried. It didn’t matter how cheerful Peter was with her, Daisy was a dog he just couldn’t fool.Peter had had many strange moments with Daisy throughout the years, and he’d learned a
– 005:005/4 –
lot from her. Often she’d sit on the lawn path in front of their house, and by her carriage and the way she threw looks over her shoulder seeking eye contact with Peter, he knew she wanted him to come and sit beside her. So he did that often, and with his arm around Daisy’s neck he could sit there for a long while gazing into the forest.In this position Peter used to chat with Daisy quietly, and once in a while she turned to him and gently licked him on his cheek. In the beginning Peter didn’t understand why she did this, but he’d always enjoyed those moments. Now, however, Peter became very aware that Daisy was searching for contact. She couldn’t talk, but Peter could feel her emotions. Daisy probably knew Peter as nobody else did, and now it was as if she were trying to re-establish their relationship. And how stupid it might seem, but in that position Peter started to tell Daisy about his dilemma and all the feelings he had inside, and the dog responded as if she were satisfied, like now she wasn’t left out anymore.Peter had lived an almost full life not knowing who he really was, but his soul had known from the start. As years had passed, the girl him
– 005:005/5 –
within couldn’t find anything to live for any longer, and as a consequence Peter’s body had begun to shut down. What Sara did, accepting and encouraging Peter’s dressing up in lingerie, brought back hope to the little girl and made her want to live again. Sara didn’t bring Peter back to life; she instead brought life to Peter in a way she didn’t understand. Sara truly saved Peter from dying that first evening of revelation, and she gave him—and the girl within—a reason to live. Peter knew this.Sara didn’t see it, though, and in fact she had great difficulties coping with Peter’s new life. Like Daisy, Sara was shut out. But unlike Daisy, she didn’t know what to do to re-establish contact with him. With Peter out dressed as woman, that essential emotional bond between them was gone. The contact Sara was searching for, like Daisy beckoning Peter to sit beside her, was her husband coming back to her and a reassurance that everything would return to normal eventually. But that was only a wish that she deep down knew would never become real.As Peter now had become more aware of his real identity as a woman and what he needed to
– 005:005/6 –
do, a new major concern arose like a wall surrounding him, preventing him from proceeding. Sara, the wall was Sara. He wasn’t afraid that Sara would try to stop him or forbid him, since that wasn’t like her. No, this concern was far deeper—it was the little girl within Peter who was taking control, making him aware of Sara’s despair.While out, Peter had adapted the name Patricia because it fell easily from his lips and was close to Peter. But later he knew that he’d have to pick a new name if he really was going to pursue a gender change. For one thing, he would need an official female identity for his driver’s license and passport, but he’d have to confront the Swedish healthcare system once again in order to get that done. Before he was allowed a female name, the Swedish system required that he first undergo surgery for removing his penis, and then he would have to live as a woman for at least two years. But Peter needed his new identity now, surgery or no surgery, because he was dressed as a woman often yet did all his business under a man’s name and ID. So he legally changed his name to Robin, a unisex name, and to be extra
– 005:005/7 –
cautious he kept Peter as his middle name.On to the next step: removing his beard. As Peter was officially a resident of Stockholm, he had to seek public healthcare there. And by helping his mother to an apartment of her own that suited her better now that she was getting older, Peter was able to come back to stay in his apartment again occasionally, this time as Robin, and consider the public healthcare system once more.This was May, two years after that incident on the beach. Sara could enjoy her husband when he was Robin, but her contradicting emotions grew. With the image of Peter fading away, she didn’t know where to seek comfort. Robin? Yes, she was there, and throughout that third summer, she was present more and more. But who was she?Once when Peter was visiting his Stockholm apartment he again contacted that psychiatry office he had rejected previously in anger. After all, he had to go there first in order to get a recommendation to a special transgender office for people in the process of changing gender.
– 005:005/8 –
Just like before, Peter called this psychiatry office and asked for an appointment. As before he was told that he couldn’t expect to be seen any sooner than three months. Peter tried to argue that he had serious problems and at times felt quite bad, but they told him that this condition that he was claiming had the lowest priority, so he’d have to wait until the legal limit of a first consultation within ninety days. Peter had read on the internet that people often committed suicide with this condition, and having felt the pain of gender dysphoria he well understood why this happened. But this was of no concern to the people working at this office, not even when Peter tried to point it out to them.Once Peter received that appointment letter for the end of summer and began his wait, he couldn’t help feeling the ninety-day period was created deliberately, with a malicious consideration of his situation.Those ninety days were a struggle, but during that time Peter and Sara’s relationship, in spite of everything, had begun slowly developing as Sara got more used to being with Robin. Peter appeared only when they were out near their
– 005:005/9 –
farm where people knew him; when he was in Stockholm, it was Robin pretty much all the time. Robin was out. She had learned to cover her beard growth with makeup, and in many ways she now looked quite female in a skirt and heals. During her trips to England she had visited a voice specialist and had learned to raise her pitch to sound more like a woman. Sara had on one occasion been out with Robin in Stockholm, and that had gone well without any incidents, so Sara wasn’t that worried anymore either. Being with Sara helped Robin a great deal to cope with her situation while she was waiting for the dreaded official healthcare appointment.What helped so much was that Robin liked Sara. In fact Robin loved Sara. She loved to be with Sara, cooking dinner, being out shopping, and yes, even having sex with her, too. Nothing of that had changed. Those inner feelings while loving Sara had always been Robin’s, never Peter’s. Peter was just an image, a manhood image, with the outward trappings that made it possible for Robin to make love to Sara. These moments of close contact Sara too liked very much, as she could feel her husband in Robin.
– 005:005/10 –
Through these emotional moments together, Sara could find some sort of comfort about their situation, and Robin felt the same.And so finally, another fall appeared and Robin dressed for her appointment with this person, this psychiatrist who for some reason had extended her waiting to the maximum. At the registration counter, Robin registered as Robin, as she now had changed her name and all her IDs to match her feminine face with makeup and long hair (a wig Robin wore while she was growing her own hair). Waiting alone in the waiting room, she watched the staff occasionally walk by and the clock eventually pass her appointment time. After ten minutes she heard a quiet discussion in the corridor between the lady she had registered with at the counter and another woman. The other woman gestured a bit wildly and said “But he’s not here! If he’d registered, where is he?” The counter woman looked down the corridor and spotted Robin, and with a small discrete nod she whispered to the other one, “There he is, that’s him sitting in that chair.”With no further delay, Robin was guided into an office by the other person in the whispered
– 005:005/11 –
conversation, the psychiatrist she must have had her appointment with. They didn’t smile or exchange any friendly introductions, and after Robin had put her coat on a hanger behind the office door and sat down in a chair across from the psychiatrist’s big desk, she sat down too. Already as she entered that dark grey, institutional room, Robin could feel the atmosphere filling with contempt; she didn’t feel at all welcome.No one was saying anything at first, so Robin simply handed over her English psychiatrist’s letters in order to explain her situation. The doctor glanced at them, still with a contemptuous expression, and then she put the letters away without having read a word.“These are not valid here,” she said while slowly turning her face towards Robin again.“Why are you here?” was her next move.“It’s all explained in the letters—that’s why I brought them. I need a recommendation to be referred to that special transgender office at the city hospital.”“What makes you think you’re going there?”“What do you mean? I have a problem with my
– 005:005/12 –
gender—I was born a male and now I know that I’m not a man, I’m a woman. And I have to do something about it. It’s all there in my letters. Is reading English a problem for you?”“We just don’t give away recommendations like that. First I have to determine clearly that you suffer from a condition that we can’t help you with here before I can refer you elsewhere.”“What does that mean? According to the healthcare regulations I’m aware of, stating that I’m transsexual is what they’re supposed to do at the city hospital.”“You first have to be transsexual to go there.”“Okay, that’s there in my letters, and it’s all stated by a psychiatrist specializing in transgendered issues in England who has at least twenty years’ experience in the field.”“That is not valid here. We have to make sure that you can’t be cured in any other way before we can refer you further.”“What do you mean, “cure” me? What do you know about transsexualism? How are you going to cure me?”“I have been treating a couple of other patients who claim they want to change sex, and with
– 005:005/13 –
the right medication they’re now able to live a fairly normal life.”At this point Robin had heard enough. That person sitting there with practically a grin on her face seemed to enjoy the idea of pumping up her patient with drugs as a way to try to cure her of “wanting” to be a woman. Robin had read about some cases a long time ago when psychiatrists seriously had tried this, with the result that people were drugged beyond recognition or killed themselves. Not one case had later been proven a success. Instead these psychiatrists had forged their results to cover up their failure. And here, now, in Sweden, Robin had a doctor in front of her who seemed to have no idea what she was doing. Or did she? Was this way of mistreating transsexual patients something she enjoyed, or was she just following bad regulations no matter what? In any case, aware of her doings or not, she just didn’t seem to care.“What the hell is this—what’s happening?” were Robin’s stunned thoughts. She’d gotten up her courage to make this appointment and then waited for three months to get a referral, and instead all they were going to do was drug her?
– 005:005/14 –
With sharp words she told the doctor how incompetent she was and then stood up, taking back her letters and walking to the door for her coat.“What are you going to do now?” were the only bitter words aimed at her back.“I would never tell you,” Robin answered as she left the room with her coat on her arm and without saying goodbye.Robin’s anger carried her back to the apartment, but when she started talking to Sara over the phone the pain started to come back. Sara could hear it, and she was scared. What had happened? What was going to happen now?It took some days for Robin to assemble herself after that encounter. To both her and Sara it was clear they were on their own as before; the world-renowned Swedish healthcare system had shown its ugly face, a bad side from the past when people had been institutionalized and even killed because they were thought of as less than human. Now Robin knew what the Swedish healthcare system and authorities thought of her and that she just had to accept it.
– 005:005/15 –
However, Robin was not the kind of person to accept such a condemnation, and likewise neither was Sara. So after that nasty experience, Robin had to take control of her situation again, and Sara did her best to support her.Throughout that fall and early winter Robin hovered between the farm and Stockholm, between man and woman. And she made several discoveries in her new life. One was that, compared to what she had experienced so far in Sweden, the psychiatrist in England had been very good to her—he had treated her with accuracy and care, and she better understood that now. So, even though it had been a year since she last saw him, she made contact again. This time she had gained confidence and in many ways had begun learning what was going on within her. Therefore, unlike their nebulous discussions before, this time talking with him would be more an exchange of information about the condition of gender dysphoria and how to deal with it. Robin knew this much, that people with this condition did change gender, but the practical concept was still unimaginable to her.
– 005:005/16 –
Yet it was always on her mind.One of the first subjects Robin brought up with the doctor was Sara’s situation. So far Sara had relied only on what Robin had told her about gender dysphoria and on her own instincts. Robin knew this limited frame of reference was a problem, so she arranged for Sara to meet with the doctor in private. She was very specific, telling him that their meeting was to be strictly confidential—Robin didn’t even want to know what was said between them.At Robin’s urging, Sara finally relented and met with the doctor in London for an hour that October. And she talked and talked. Finally she was able to release a lot of the pressure and anxiety she felt. As the doctor had done with Robin, he had been both accurate and kind with Sara, explaining in full the situation and that it was no light matter. Instead he had given Sara an understanding that this was for real and needed to be dealt with. Sara felt there was no point to that part of the discussion though—she had seen her husband suffer, and deep in her heart she felt how bad the situation really was.
– 005:005/17 –
During whatever happened there in that room, Sara found confidence by talking to this man, and she now knew better what her husband’s condition was all about. The meeting also had the effect that she and Robin now could more thoroughly discuss their situation together, and if they didn’t directly understand each other, they did develop a respect for each others’ perspective.Their relationship became of great concern to Robin. She didn’t want to leave Sara and she didn’t want Sara to leave her either. All those years together did mean something to Robin; even when she had been living as a man the joy of her life had always been Sara.As Robin’s confidence as a female had grown she also had felt a growing distance between herself and Sara, as if Sara were unable to hold on, as if she were letting go of that last string that kept them together. Robin couldn’t go back to being Sara’s husband Peter; she knew that she just had to follow her new path because she would die if she went back. For Sara now it was like she was standing there at the turning, hard-nailed to the ground and
– 005:005/18 –
watching her husband walk away in a new direction. Was she supposed to follow him? Was she wanted? Did she want to follow? Everything had happened so fast. Where did all this leave her? She loved him, but really, who was this other person—Robin? What would become of Sara now? Since Sara had begun to go shopping and eating out and generally having fun with Robin, she had subconsciously been thinking, “What if loving Robin means I’m a lesbian? I’m not a lesbian! Or what if our relationship ends here? Am I supposed to find another man? I don’t want to find another man! I love Peter! But what if he never comes back?” There were a lot of “ifs” and contradictions circling in Sara’s head. She still loved her husband—was he there somewhere, there within Robin, or had she lost him forever? Most of the time Sara could still recognize Peter even when he was dressed as a woman, but the difference between the man and the woman went deeper than clothes. Robin was much more joyful and in harmony with herself than Sara ever could remember Peter to be. But the more she compared the two, the more she saw
– 005:005/19 –
her husband, the person she loved, in Robin. For her this was the decision of her life. Should she leave this complicated mess or should she follow the person she loved no matter what?For Robin, awakening to her own situation meant that she had begun to look at Sara’s situation with different eyes than before. She saw that Sara suffered in much the same way as she did. This change in gender was a problem not only for her, but in magnitude it was an equal problem for Sara too. For Sara this wasn’t just a matter of simply accepting a change in gender or not; this confusion was about something much more, and to Sara it hurt.Robin was tormented by the rift in their relationship: How could it be possible for her to help Sara, when she, Robin herself, was the cause of all Sara’s miseries?As Sara’s confusion grew, Robin tried every possible way she could think of to please her and ease her pain. Part of her attempts was to arrange evening dinners on the farm that fall and winter so that they involved the three of them, including Daisy. It didn’t matter if cooking dinner took the whole evening, because to Robin being together was what
– 005:005/20 –
mattered. Daisy enjoyed her role in the process, and her acceptance and welcoming of Robin quietly affected Sara. The dog’s presence, carriage, and whole attitude towards Robin had changed from the days when she was so worried about her master—now she acted with Robin as she had before Peter had been so sick. Sara saw this especially one evening right before Halloween.Robin was going to cook liver, and the way she prepared this dish it would take the whole evening. It was almost below freezing outside, and when Robin stepped out of the car from having been shopping, Daisy knew by the smell of her groceries that dinner was going to be special that night. A little later Sara came home from work, and she and Robin had a small whiskey in front of the fireplace that Robin had lit to warm the room. Robin had done some preparation, but still the old wood stove had to heat up some more before dinner could begin. To offer Daisy a snack in the meantime was of no use—she wouldn’t touch it. From the minute Robin had come home with the meat, Daisy was waiting. This dish was Daisy’s absolute
– 005:005/21 –
favorite and very much Robin’s and Sara’s too.Robin started preparing the pre-cut liver pieces by rolling them around in a plastic bag together with a mix of flour and salt. Then she fried them in an old-fashioned cast iron pot. Daisy watched every move and smelled every smell. It took almost two hours before Daisy was served, and during that time she never left the kitchen. And to see Daisy eat this rather spicy food was a joy. She took her time, with small bites instead of everything at once; it was like she wanted it to last longer. Robin had cooked more than enough for the three of them, and there wasn’t a more content dog going to sleep that evening anywhere on earth. Dinners like this, with them all together enjoying each other’s company, made Sara feel good about the three of them and helped a lot in her search for a relationship with Robin.One thing Robin learned that winter was that bringing back the image of Peter in Sara’s life again just made things worse for her. There was a contradiction in all this: what Sara most wanted was her husband Peter back, but that wish also made her depressed, and she wasn’t able to recognize or understand the connection.
– 005:005/22 –
The image of this in-between Peter/Robin person sometimes evoked a strange emotional turmoil, and in one way Daisy made those feeling stronger—by showing her affection towards Robin very much in the same way as she had done with Peter. This was one way the image of Peter was kept alive for Sara. But Daisy’s calm attitude towards the whole situation mostly eased Sara’s pain. Daisy was not just a “one-man dog,” she was a great comfort for Sara too. They had their own way of talking, and often Robin spied them both sitting out on the porch together communing like they were comforting each other.This ongoing repetition of Sara’s mental ups and downs made Robin realize that there was something else in their relationship; it had to be something else that kept them together other than sex, this standard, assumed man-to-woman connection. Robin knew that Sara didn’t want to leave her and that Sara’s problem was more about how on earth she could possibly stay. Robin blamed herself; had she during this process—her process—ever given Sara a reason to stay? “No,” was the obvious answer that Robin had to admit to
– 005:005/23 –
herself.Robin’s guilt carried on developing with little deep communication between her and Sara. They talked, but never about what was bothering them both. For Sara life was a routine: going to work and coming home from work (dotted with comforting dinners), and even though everything was different than before, nothing was happening, nothing regarding that.What was happening though was that Robin, in the beginning of September, had started electrolysis privately in order to get rid of her beard, and now the process was continuing successfully. She had had to do something to rip off that maleness that was torturing her, so in a way pursuing electrolysis privately had been an act of desperation. Electrolysis hurt, but Robin never felt it like that. That physical pain was nothing compared with the pain of watching her beard grow; for Robin there was no problem extending the treatment to over an hour as long the electrologist could keep up her concentration. To some degree she had felt very ashamed going to the clinic as a man, having his beard
– 005:005/24 –
removed without explanation, but the procedure itself was easy, and no one asked any questions.Sara didn’t mind that drastic action, at least she hadn’t said so. But as had happened before, Robin, unaware of the frustration and turmoil that all the guilt about Sara was causing, was building a wall of confusing feelings day by day to a height dangerously near crashing. Robin once more had these thought swirling in her head: “Why exactly does Robin want Sara to stay? And as what—my wife, even if I change gender?”Christmas was close, and one evening like so many times before they both were sitting in front of the fireplace, each with a small whiskey they enjoyed after Sara had come home from work, before dinner. Robin’s mind was elsewhere so they didn’t talk. The first and obvious answer to this repeating question in Robin’s head was: “Robin loves Sara.” But after thinking that answer through a second time, Robin felt something thick in her throat, and she started to cry, heavily. It was
– 005:005/25 –
like she felt a shock Robin wasn’t prepared for. Her tears flooded her eyes, and she felt as if all the organs in her body were running wild. In one instant every hope for a new life that Robin had started to build crashed.“What is it, why are you crying like that, what’s wrong?” Sara exclaimed with fear in her voice and eyes.“I don’t know, I honestly don’t know,” Robin tried to answer in her best possible manner, but it didn’t sound that good, and her breathing didn’t work properly. Her heart was beating irregularly, and the words she produced came out merely as a broken whisper. Her blood was pumping in her veins like wild white-water rapids in the springtime. Robin suddenly felt like she was drowning again, and the instant impact of all the pain and misery happening so fast almost killed her right there.“Please talk to me—what is it?” Sara exclaimed once more, now with tears building in her own eyes.Robin just sat in her chair, breathing with difficulty, staring out into nothing. Sara hurried over to her chair and, as she had done once
– 005:005/26 –
before, she kneeled down and gently placed her arms around Robin’s neck, trying to get as close as she possibly could. Robin responded weakly, but with an honest, true appreciation, letting Sara know that she was still with her.After about twenty minutes Robin’s breathing became more regular, and in a few more minutes she was able to straighten up a bit, putting her own arms around Sara. “I’m okay now,” were the short words Robin produced as Sara stood up stretching her back after that awkward position.“What was it?” Sara gently asked one more time.Robin whispered, “I’m not sure, I just felt so bad thinking about the whole situation. I don’t want to lose you.” As those last words passed her lips she started to cry again.“I’m not going to leave you,” Sara replied, trying to cheer Robin up a bit.“Yes, I know, and I hear you saying that, but this whole situation—what’s becoming of us? Sometimes I just don’t know.”“Do we need to know that now?” Sara asked.
– 005:005/27 –
Robin had to calm down a bit and think before she could answer. “You’re right—we don’t need to know that now. But you must feel that frustration too?”Sara wasn’t really prepared for that question coming from Robin. This was the first time Robin showed Sara that she really cared and not just only told her so.Sara said, “Yes, I do, but I also hope for the best. I do have my moments most of the day, like when I’m at work and I don’t know what state you’ll be in when I get home, if you’re alive or not.” Sara said this shyly, not knowing how Robin would react to hearing her deepest fears.“I’m sorry. But you know I’m not suicidal … you know that, don’t you?”“Yes, I know, you’ve told me so. But when I see you getting this bad I get so scared, it gets so close like you’re dying.”“I know what you mean—I can feel that too. But if it’s up to me, I’m not going to die. I still want to be with you and I’m not going to leave you.Robin slowly stood up and placed her arms around Sara and hugged her gently. In many
– 005:005/28 –
ways they both had reached out to each other, and their embracing showed gratitude, a relief, and a will to move forward.“What do you say, shall we cook some dinner?” Sara asked after a while.“Yes, let’s do that. I’m okay now.” Robin answered in a recovering tone, trying her best to please Sara and not scare her again.Sara took the lead in the cooking that night. Robin tried to remain strong beside her, and gradually the atmosphere grew pleasant and caring between them as it was so many times before. Robin wasn’t able to eat that much, but she enjoyed what she had and she very much appreciated the moment being with Sara.After dinner they returned to sit in front of the fireplace where the fire had begun spreading heat and light throughout the room. They stayed up long that evening chatting, and even if Robin had trouble sleeping with difficult thoughts keeping her awake, she felt so grateful to Sara for supporting her.It took Robin several weeks to recover. She had lost a lot of weight due to this incident, and only gradually was she able to eat healthily
– 005:005/29 –
again. Work was not possible to the same extent as before, even though she had cut back at working so hard since that event on the beach.Throughout that winter holiday season, as Robin started to recover she also started to realize the existence of deep emotional bonds that she and Sara shared. And Robin also started to realize that her joy was Sara’s joy too. But not on the surface—instead it all happened deep inside.As that cold winter progressed on the farm, Sara’s understanding also grew from sharing in Robin’s joyful self-discovery. This process was not all that easy—her new awareness seized her violently on several occasions, as she was forced to confront her still contradictory feelings about Robin and her continued attraction for that image of Peter. There was so much in Robin that reminded Sara of that person she never had stopped loving. Contributing to this confusion was Daisy’s unequivocal acceptance of Robin as well as the very farm around her, with all the work that
– 005:005/30 –
Peter had done there, putting his mark on everything. Simply accepting that Robin was here to stay—thinking that if she purposefully, intellectually approved a new order and then everything would be fine—just didn’t work all the time. It was late February now, and in May it would be three years since that incident on the beach. Those last couple of months after Robin’s recovery had turned out to be a happy period for the two of them. They could talk about themselves together, and when they were in Stockholm they could go out together naturally. To some degree it seemed that everything would turn out okay after all. Even if panic often felt close by, Sara managed to assemble enough courage to stand up for her love and accept the truth. Robin was her love, without her being lesbian, Sara understood that now. But it wasn’t just a simple fact, because there was more to discover.
– 005:006/1 –
New Dawn (3/1)In spite of all that had happened, Sara and Robin were still together, and they were happier than they had been in years. As Robin gained confidence in her female self, her new persona had a profound effect on the way she acted and thus on her physical appearance. Even what made her happy was different now. All in all Robin seemed to be a much happier and enjoyable person than Peter had ever been.Peter had always had this strain about him; he was tense during even mundane, daily activities and was seldom at ease. It was obvious to anyone that Robin was not like that at all. She was happy when she and Sara were out shopping, for instance, in a way Peter never had been. They could have real fun talking about clothes and themselves: what to wear, how they looked, what was outrageously priced and what was a deal. They also enjoyed discussing other people when they were out: what they were wearing and how they looked and behaved. The
– 005:006/2 –
world was open to them as it hadn’t been before, to examine through similar eyes as comrades, as friends. Many times when they were out shopping together, Sara was the one who got tired first and wanted to go home, and that certainly had never happened before. Dressing up and shopping made Robin happy, but of course things like clothes held a secondary role for her. Lost pieces of her life, those pieces the little girl within had collected, slowly and delicately started to find their place in her new life. It was not dreams about her appearance that drove her forward; her motivation was rooted in discovering the actual person inside her. And deep down there were pieces of her true self that for so long had been denied. She felt like all those years when her soul, her true self, was hidden, her emotions couldn’t be fully shared with her loved ones, and consequently these feelings got stuck inside her. It was like sharing her emotions was the air she breathed, so she had been drowning.Back when she had been maturing as the man everyone knew as Peter, the little girl inside was absorbing all that was happening around her,
– 005:006/3 –
but the emotions she felt as a girl were trapped inside; she couldn’t “live” them out. All those important milestones in her life that she needed to pass and the emotional maturation she needed to experience were missed. As Sara mused on Robin’s past, she thought about how people (and especially animals) could die of sorrow, and she began increasingly to understand Robin’s situation. Sometimes she wondered if she herself would have made it if she had looked like a man as many years as Robin had. No wonder it all came crashing down, Sara thought when looking at her husband now, no wonder Peter had gotten that ill. The real wonder was that Peter had managed to survive this far. And now Robin was living out all those trapped emotions, so Sara tried to support her in making it happen.Robin’s focus on shopping and looking pretty reminded Sara of herself as a teen, and in fact there were so many holes in Robin’s past to fill and so many emotions to live out that Robin was experiencing her puberty. She had no choice but to pursue these interests so her self-image could catch up with her middle-aged body. And as any teenaged girl she was indeed
– 005:006/4 –
beginning to appreciate her body. Sara thought it strange that Robin wasn’t focusing on the breasts she didn’t have or the absence of a vagina, those most-female, intimate attributes. Instead Robin was talking about her hair and her legs. And as time went on Robin discovered new parts of herself, such as her feet as she enjoyed painting her toenails and discussing nail polish. Her lack of breasts and a vagina seemed secondary at this point, and the reason was very simple: she didn’t have them. But those parts of her body she did have that allowed her to express her femininity she flaunted.Sara and Robin were both learning about this bizarre phenomenon of transsexualism together. There were so many experiences and feelings Sara had taken for granted having been born as a woman, and all those were the same feelings the little girl inside Robin had picked up and hidden away when she grew as a man. Robin now needed desperately to express these hidden emotions, so that every new discovery about her body hit her like lightning. One Thursday in March as they were sitting
– 005:006/5 –
cuddling on their sofa after dinner, Robin burst into tears. Not sad tears, but happy ones. She explained that Sara, somehow, perhaps by instinct, had been passing her hand through Robin’s hair as if she were comforting a woman. There was no way to tell the difference in how Sara touched her beloved just by watching the two of them, but Robin felt the difference, and her emotions let loose.How did it feel to Sara to love someone who sends out such contrary signals? For Sara the person she loved as a man—she’d married him and lived with him for years as a man—now he seemed so much like a woman that she found herself touching him as if he were a woman. These shocking feelings hurt like a bee sting. Sara had continued to seek comfort in thinking that this would soon come to an end and her husband get well again. Now nothing pointed that way. She straightening up and moved away from Robin a bit, and then she was quiet. Robin hadn’t noticed. She said, “What do you think? If I put up my hair like this, how does that look?” She’d felt
– 005:006/6 –
such joy from Sara touching her hair like she had. She held up her lengthening hair in the back a bit and shifted her position to let Sara have a look from different angles.“I don’t know. You haven’t got that much hair; it’s hard to say,” was Sara’s short reply.“Or, what about a ponytail then?” Robin asked, shifting her hands so a small tuft stuck out between her fingers.Sara tried to be as kind she could. She knew how much this meant for Robin, her beloved husband. But the happiness Robin showed left no space for Sara’s mixed feelings, and she just wanted to go away. Sara thought she’d had a handle on their relationship, an understanding about who she loved and why, but seeing and feeling her husband change step by step like this hit her hard. Undeniably, she still missed her husband, and Robin now was not able to compensate for that loss.Sara and Robin were indeed walking side by side on the path of self-discovery. But for Sara there was this other side of the coin: what she was losing along the way.
– 005:006/7 –
As Robin was appreciating life as experienced by a woman for the first time, she was also learning why she had felt the way she had as a man. She figured that even as the little girl inside her had tried to be kind, hoping to receive that response of human appreciation and love we all need to feel alive, she hadn’t gotten it back. Because people gave their love and kindness to that male image, she hadn’t been able to receive it. Peter probably would have died if it weren’t for Sara. Sara brought hope to the little girl inside Peter, and the little girl immediately responded. After all, even if she looked male, she had an opportunity to be with someone who cared for her. She could belong with Sara and, hopefully together with Sara, belong in the world too.As Robin gained confidence, more and more pieces of her body were put in place and she looked upon herself differently than before. It was a positive, building spiral. Each new discovery and pleasant feeling gave her courage to move forward, putting more pieces in place on her path to herself. That little girl inside
– 005:006/8 –
brought joy to everything she did to improve herself as woman. One Friday Sara left work a bit earlier than usual. It was early spring and snow still covered the ground, but the sun was shining from a clear blue sky and warming the air. Daisy ran wildly down to meet Sara as she drove up the driveway. That happy dog ran around the car barking and jumping, everywhere at once.Daisy was now quite old for her breed, so it was unusual to see her being this joyful. Sara stopped the car before she drove it into the garage so she could stop and laugh at her. When she opened the car door, Daisy flew in, licking her on her hands and anywhere else with a free spot to lick. Like a child speaking too fast and too loud when she’s exhilarated, Daisy told Sara that there was going to be a party.Sara left the car in the driveway and let her happy dog lead the way up to their house. Daisy ran up and down trying to get Sara to hurry. When she came up the small path, she could see Robin in the front yard. A little closer she
– 005:006/9 –
could see that all their garden furniture—table, sofa, chairs—had been placed on planks laid out on the snow that still was almost a foot deep.“What on earth are you doing?” Sara asked, laughing.“What? I can’t see anything,” Robin said looking at the sky. When she was outside Robin didn’t normally dress female; she wore just ordinary jeans, a big warm sweater, and boots. It was obvious she’d been working hard out there. “The garden furniture—why have you taken it all out now? It’s still snowy! What’s all this for?”Robin responded lightly. “So what? This is a perfect spring day, and this good weather is supposed to continue for the rest of the weekend. I’m not going to let some silly snow on the ground prevent us from starting up our summer garden feasts.”“But it’s still March!” Sara exclaimed with a grin.“Not the way I see it.” Robin was quick to answer back.Robin had laid planks from the front door of
– 005:006/10 –
the house across the yard and to their outdoor fireplace, from which she had shoveled away all the snow. There was a high pile of logs in the middle of the fireplace and some crisps and peanuts out on the table. It looked as if everything was prepared for.“Okay, if you say so,” Sara said with a happy smile. This was just so typical Peter, and yet it was Robin, too. So which one was it? She didn’t bother with the distinction or even logic—this silliness she liked. “I’ll just park the car and dress up for the occasion.”Robin was in an exceptionally jolly mood. With Daisy trotting all around her she lit a fire under the logs in the fireplace. After Sara had gotten into some warm pants and a sweater suitable for an early spring outdoor dinner, Robin had prepared the drinks. They were, of course, two large Bloody Marys, their special summer drinks. And Daisy too had some special pre-dinner treats, although not drinks of course, but if Robin and Sara were going to have a party Daisy was never left out and she knew that. She received a plate of good cheeses and some beautifully cut pieces of garlic salami, the same as Robin and Sara were having along with
– 005:006/11 –
their nuts and drinks.Daisy just loved this—she ate her starter in harmony, tasting every piece. When she was finished she lay in the snow behind the garden couch where Robin and Sara sat and she sniffed the air. Not far from her, next to the fireplace, Robin had prepared a plate of three big, juicy slices of pork loin that had been lightly brushed with oil. There were big potatoes and yellow onions wrapped in aluminum foil on another plate. Daisy purred with content—for her things just couldn’t be better. She and Robin had come to terms with each other, as if they had found each other again, and with Robin and Sara sitting on the garden couch chatting as they used to do, she was in heaven.She’d been enjoying these small garden parties with just the three of them since she was a small puppy, and not once had she tried to snatch a bit of meat that wasn’t hers, even though the preparation plate was just a couple of feet away on the snow-covered ground. It didn’t matter if Robin and Sara went in the house to prepare something and left her all alone with that plate of juicy meat—she didn’t touch it. Daisy lay there in the snow smelling
– 005:006/12 –
and listening, and waiting patiently.That Friday afternoon passed in a state of grace. After the fire had burned down to a red hot charcoal carpet, Robin had placed directly on the hot coals first the potatoes and then after about fifteen minutes the onions. About twenty minutes later she put an iron rack from an old fridge over the whole coal bed, and on that the three pork loins. Daisy wanted her pork rare, so she got hers first, while Robin’s and Sara’s grilled a few minutes longer. Robin had also picked out a bottle of their best wine, a Tomasi Amarone from Italy, and as such dinner was served. Sitting there with the snow all around them they took their time, Daisy too. A happier dog at moments like this did not exist.And there was dessert, with all kinds of cheeses, crackers, olives and whatever they could find in the fridge that suited them. And of course, Daisy got her share too.During the time it took to grill and eat, the day turned into late afternoon, and from late afternoon it turned into evening. As the sun sank below the horizon the air became a bit chilly, but that didn’t matter. Robin and Sara went inside to fetch some blankets and pillows
– 005:006/13 –
and some candles for the table to lighten up the evening. Daisy went on a few small excursions, but she was soon back checking if something more had been placed on her plate, and most often it had. Robin had placed more logs in the fireplace and made coffee over the open fire.While sitting there enjoying the afternoon, the evening, and seeing the sun go down behind the horizon—something changed in Sara. The strain she had felt and the deep sadness about losing Peter was softly changing into joy, a joy for being with Robin. There was so much about Robin that was Peter, in spite of the change. And there was so much more in their relationship that was not gender related, and, strangely, love was one of these things. Sitting there Robin and Sara held each other gently, and now and then they kissed.As if a tear from losing someone could be the same tear from finding someone, Sara let that tear fall. Robin saw the tear coming and hugged Sara gently. Talk was unnecessary, just like so many times before, and they stayed outside to stretch the evening as far as they could.Robin felt more alive than ever and that Friday
– 005:006/14 –
afternoon was one of the happiest in her life. Yet, still her development wasn’t complete. There were some pieces of herself that the little girl inside wasn’t able to live with, and those were the pieces belonging to her face. As her body felt increasingly feminine, her face was standing out as not being so, and Robin felt a renewal of her old pain inside. Even more important than breasts and vagina, more so than she ever had thought possible, her face was vital to her. “Can we talk?” Robin asked Sara one evening a few weeks later.The soft, begging sound in Robin’s voice made Sara shudder with fear.“Of course we can talk—you know that. What is it?” Sara was hoping for nothing serious, but Robin’s eyes expressed differently.“I need to do something about my face—I can’t look like this,” was Robin’s short, scared reply.“What do you mean, what’s wrong now?”With scared eyes and tears building up, Robin pointed first at her big Adam’s apple and then at her big nose.
– 005:006/15 –
“I can’t have these, I just can’t,” Robin silently moaned as tears let loose.It was the moan and shortness of breath that made Sara shudder even more as she began to understand what was under way.“I have problems with my face and it’s getting worse. Seriously, I have to do something; I feel it like I can’t manage much longer.”Robin had tried for everything she was worth to make her transition as easy as possible for Sara, so as to support her and not to scare her, such as not dressing up some evenings to give her space to breathe. But she had reached the wall and this just had to come out.Sara looked at Robin, as there was more to come.“I know I’ve said that it’s not that important to me, and I have tried to be happy and to live without those things, but I just can’t anymore.”“Have you started taking hormones?” Sara was quick to ask.“No I haven’t, I promise, I haven’t. I wouldn’t do something big like that without telling you. But I need to talk; we need to talk about this.”
– 005:006/16 –
“Okay,” was Sara’s short, remote reply.Robin explained that she had been searching the internet to see what options were out there. For fun, they once had visited a private plastic surgery office in a city near their farm to learn what kind of work those doctors were doing. Both Sara and Robin had asked about themselves—what plastic surgery could do for them—and Sara had been dismissed with their honest opinion: “There’s nothing we can do to improve your looks really; you look good as is.” And they were right. Robin had been dressed as a man then, but even so had been asked if she wanted to schedule surgery in the next two months for her large nose. When Robin had asked about her Adam’s apple, they just had asked her back, “What for?” Now, on the internet, Robin showed Sara some websites about female facial surgery, called FFS for short. Sara wasn’t amused; this was extensive surgery. The before-and-after pictures on the website she didn’t like at all. Some men after the surgery looked very female, almost hard to believe. Sara looked through the site politely with Robin, not saying much, but
– 005:006/17 –
Robin felt her dislike.“I just need to do something, and if I’m going to do it, I better do it well. There is a lot of talk on the internet about what can happen if things go wrong. I need to go to the best doctors out there.”“Who are they?” Sara asked.Robin had prepared herself for this question because she knew Sara wouldn’t like to hear the answers.“There is a doctor in San Francisco.”“San Francisco?!? And what do you think that will cost?” Sara burst out.“A lot, I guess, but I,” Robin paused for breath, “we need to consult him first.”Sara’s fears and other unnamed emotions went through the roof after Robin’s last words. She was mired in unhappiness up to the neck, and now money would be a problem too? “I need to see him in order to know what my options are and what it all will cost. I mean, I don’t believe I could ever look like that,” Robin said pointing to a very beautiful face on the screen, trying to calm Sara down a bit. “I do
– 005:006/18 –
need to do something about my Adam’s apple and my nose, and I won’t get any help from Swedish national healthcare. Even if they classify me as a transsexual they never pay for that kind of surgery. And, anyway, there are no doctors performing that kind of surgery here,” Robin added, with a sigh of resignation.She now tried to tell Sara what else she had in mind as a way of shifting focus to make this not sound so bad after all.“I know I still have to try to get in directly to that city TS office to make things work for me here. You know I have serious problems with this, and we need to talk about hormones too.”Sara knew Robin wasn’t feeling well and had problems, but where would it all end? “Can we just take a break, please?” she asked.“Sure we can,” Robin answered.Sara rose from her chair in front of the computer screen. Robin closed all the opened windows on the screen and shut down the computer. As she too rose from her chair, Sara was there hugging her hard. Sara did understand the seriousness in what they had discussed, but at the time she had just had
– 005:006/19 –
enough, and with the emotional turmoil building up within her she needed to get a grip again. For both of them this emotional rollercoaster ride took its toll even though they had prepared for it.They agreed to continue the discussion when they felt better prepared. A couple of days later, Sara gave Robin a silent “yes” to do what she had to do. They had come so far together that Sara felt secure with whatever Robin did, and she was sure she was not going to be left behind or deceived in any way. That part of Peter she had always felt safe with was still there.Later that month Robin arranged for a consultation with the plastic surgeon in San Francisco using money from her savings account, and the appointment was set for early July, just a couple of months away. She’d worked hard to get to where she was so far, but she couldn’t prepare for anything beyond this meeting. Somehow thinking what the surgery would be like and what it would mean for her just wasn’t possible—her mind was totally blank.
– 005:006/20 –
The consequences of this surgery were severe. It was one thing to wear women’s clothes and to act like a woman, but to permanently change your face through surgery? Would Sara be able to look at Robin afterwards? Would Sara still be there at Robin’s side after whatever surgical outcome? And how would Robin herself react to a new face? These were great concerns for Robin, but as the pain inside increased every time she looked in a mirror, she couldn’t see any other way out. But would it work?There had also been another plan building up in her head. If this surgery did work and she came through okay looking like a woman, could this Swedish TS office still reject her? She still needed her birth certificate and other official documents changed for final acceptance by society. But if they wouldn’t pay for the gender reassignment surgery, could she? For Robin the days before her facial feminization surgery consultation went by slowly, but for Sara it was all too fast. The trip almost halfway around the globe to San Francisco was something you usually did for holiday and for fun, but this looming deadline
– 005:006/21 –
felt quite different. Even so, the joy Robin expressed, in spite of the pain she increasingly felt, made Sara feel better about it day by day. One Friday evening, just a couple of weeks to departure, Robin was preparing a late dinner for the two of them. It was indoors this time as the weather outside was raining, windy and cool. Daisy, as so many times before, had placed herself in the middle of the kitchen floor, enjoying Robin cooking. It didn’t matter how long it took, the smell and the activity about Robin’s cooking made her day.That night’s dinner was going to be lamb steak and, special for Daisy, lamb ribs. Robin cooked in the old wood stove, and the smell of the meat mixed with the flavor of burning wood filled the room. You could tell from Daisy’s expression when the lamb ribs were ready, as she rose from the floor looking expectantly at Robin. It was time, so Robin took the ribs out of the oven; the steak had about an hour left so it stayed in. Robin had cooked a whole side of lamb ribs, and as she took it out it looked delicious and was very hot. She cut the ribs along their length and put them on a big plate for Daisy to choose from among them.
– 005:006/22 –
Daisy, being the old lady that she was, took her time to choose. With care she took one rib by its very end with her front teeth so she wouldn’t burn herself on the hot meat. Proud and in style she then went over to the kitchen door where Robin stood waiting to let her out. Once outside she walked over to her favorite spot on the lawn, placed herself delicately on the ground, and carefully started to eat.Robin continued her cooking, and in about five minutes there was a soft scratching at the door. Daisy came in, carefully chose yet another rib from her plate, and then took it outside again to eat. Throughout the evening she repeated her process until all the ribs on her plate were gone and a completely satisfied Daisy stayed outside. One more hour passed before Robin and Sara could start their meal at nine o’clock that evening. The table was neatly set in the living room and a bottle of good red wine was opened and waiting for them. Their open fireplace had been lit beforehand and was now gently burning. So during their meal it was only the fire from the fireplace and two candles on the table that shed light on the room.They spent two hours enjoying their dinner,
– 005:006/23 –
and afterwards Robin and Sara settled themselves on the sofa in front of the fireplace, with coffee and cognacs.“I’ll put on some music,” Robin said.Sara nodded while sipping a bit of her hot coffee. She smiled when she heard the sound coming from the speakers. The Shadows it was, sounds from the sixties. Robin smiled as she walked back to the sofa, swinging her hips a bit, shaking loose a little in front of Sara before she sat down again beside her. They sipped some more coffee and cognac, and the now soft, dark-red charcoal in the fireplace spread a pleasant heat in the room.“Shall we?” Robin asked.“Yes, we shall,” Sara answered.Even though Robin was already dressed female, it was time for them both to dress up for dancing, so Robin and Sara put on high heels and their favorite swingy dresses.As they danced together by the light of the dying fire for a long while, Sara saw that this was no man she was dancing with anymore. Robin had felt that night a tremendous joy from moving to music as a woman, and it was
– 005:006/24 –
this happiness that helped Sara find joy in dancing with Robin, too.On the first Saturday of July they landed at the San Francisco international airport. They were going to stay one week for the facial surgery consultation, with Robin having her skull x-rayed first. Robin had booked a hotel room right in the center of San Francisco, and in this city, unlike most cities in America, you could walk or take good public transportation to most places. Even so, they rented a car for some small excursions, and driving across the Golden Gate Bridge was of course a must. But mostly they stayed in the city center, and eating lunch out became their favorite daytime activity, with so many interesting restaurants around.That Tuesday Robin’s skull x-rays were taken. Then on Friday she and Sara walked to the doctor’s office at the hospital. Two friendly ladies, the receptionist and the office manager, greeted them and confirmed that the one-hour consultation they had scheduled would be long enough.
– 005:006/25 –
As they waited for the doctor, Robin reflected on the fact that she had no expectations for this meeting; she felt like her mind was empty. But for Sara this meeting, with all its possible outcomes, was more like a nightmare.The doctor was talking to other people in the corridor, but from even this first glimpse he seemed to be a nice gentleman. Next he showed Robin and Sara into a small room, with just an examining chair and two regular chairs, and politely introduced himself. He turned out to be a very nice man indeed.Like with lots of complicated specialties, even if you think you understand what it’s about, once you speak with a real expert you discover you actually have no idea. In almost an instant it was clear that this doctor knew what he was talking about. This surgery of his was very personal, and it relied on his skill and experience—he had worked in the field for a long time. After they chatted for about half an hour, with