I Am They
We drove up the snowy, winding road towards a cozy A-frame cabin. It seems like we have been on the road for only a few minutes when actually we have traveled over a couple hundred miles. We have been completely engaged in stimulating conversation. The car is redolent with the aroma of Hot Cocoa and peppermint candy canes from a pit stop a few miles back and we are stimulated with the excitement of beginning a couple days devoted only to each other. Sarah is driving, which was an easy decision because Sarah loves to be behind the steering wheel of life.
For me, I prefer to be able to drop my concentration off the highway, shift about restlessly and even close my eyes to just allow my brain and body to drift freely in a semiconscious state.
Suddenly Sarah exclaims , “Oh I hope this is it, it is so beautiful”.
As we park in the designated area I see that there appears to be at one other guest here and as we begin to exit our steel steed we are both stretching and gawking. Then our greatest wish begins to come true, suddenly it has begun to snow! The dirty piles of snow will quickly become beautiful white if the gods smile on us.
We made a clatter when coming into the B&B, we were both carrying small electronics cases and we had a large suitcase on wheels which Sarah was dragging and I had an awkward wad of plastic shopping bags from the couple stops we had made on the way. Of course I caught one of the cheap plastic bags on a door handle, ripping a huge hole and unceremoniously dumping the entire contents all over the tile entryway. The mini bottles of vodka and tequila all just bounced and rolled in every direction. That also caused me to drop a second bag which I carried from a wonderful little glassware specialty store which contained a box of 6 Champaign Flutes. The flutes were history due to their design fragility.
Sarah immediately came to my aid and my response was an embarrassingly expected addition of water works from my eyes. The owners also came running with towels, mops and brooms. As soon as they were assured that I was not injured, just severely humiliated, they burst into wild laughter.
Oh my god, exclaimed the one wearing a name tag labeled Coleen, what an entrance! I love you folks already she added. Her partner was a whirling dervish of cleaning as the mess was quickly sorted and contained. After all was said and done we were thrilled to discover that we had caused no harm to the building or it’s contents.
It was then that the calming affects of the jasmine scented candles and lavender beads of soap that were generously scattered through the lobby began to do their work. Everywhere I looked I could see candles, some lit but most just waiting until they are needed along with a gently crackling fire in a well used fireplace that is engulfed in smoothly hewn stones of granite.
Sarah handles introductions as I continue to gawk about like a child by presenting me as Charm and further adds that I prefer the pronoun they. Adding that she is Sarah and prefers the pronouns she and her. What about you?
I’m Josh, then adding a bit sheepishly, he and him are just fine and this is Coleen as she chimed in, she and her. We are feeling genuinely welcome and pleasantly relaxed as we are presented with a ledger to sign.
Another couple headed our way and he was wearing a barely concealed look of insolent intolerance.
The fellow, looking to be about the same age as us, saunters up in a nice suit and forcefully thrusts his hand toward me while saying, I’m Blane and this is my wife Tessa and as we shake hands he continues by stating that they use the regular pronouns for regular folks, not the ones that are made up for fag types. He then quickly adds, as if trying to allow the use of fag to hide among other more grown up vocabulary the they are visiting from West Texas, looking for adventure and new investments.
Sarah and I discreetly make eye contact and and our silent message is ignore and walk away. And I, somewhat rudely, mumble nice to meet you. Then Tessa jumps angrily into the fracas and says that she is sorry for the way her uncouth, ignorant husband was acting. Well that floated in the air like a balloon made of stone. All the while he glared with contempt, seemingly drilling a hole through her and then he reminds her of her lot in life by waving his arm dismissively and saying “You best come with me now” and then storming away. After a brief horrific moment of indecision, she obediently followed. Then my emotional instability began to loosen but with the gentle hand of Sarah resting in the small of my back I recover.
Neither of our hosts were decided about how to even react to this display of incivility, concerned about how to not be seen as participating or even as condoning. Consciously I broke my paralysis and while they were stood mute as I quietly said that we would like to see our room now. Only then did the phycological temperature in the atmosphere attempt to return to normal. We were led up a flight of stairs to the centerpiece guest room of the B&B. Our room shown in brilliant warmth and comfort. There were flameless candles scattered about and the scent was as if there was an actual burning of waxes. While everyone pretended that nothing had happened and we were offered instruction on the operation of the adjustable bed and the Hot Tub.
As soon as we were alone I dropped on my back into the middle of the bed exclaiming, what did we do to him! Geez, we just want to be ourselves and enjoy life.
Sarah, agrees emphatically, yes, but you remember when we first started talking about admitting out feelings about ourselves to the world. We knew that ignorance would exist. What really destroys me is that he thinks that the whole gender identity preference is based on sexual preference. I just wonder if we will ever see a day when folks don’t think like that.
Sarah decided that she wanted a soothing few minutes in the Hot Tub to help her calm as I am busily arranging little things in our room and as I am full of energy that needs an outlet.
Finally, I tell her to enjoy the hot bubbles while I go on a tension relieving walk in the woods! She knows that a walk is in my nature as I know the hot tub is part of her, so we separate for a while to reset our equilibrium.
She reminds me that it is getting cold out there and I say that am I wearing the North Face coat the she got me for Christmas last year. I accept her feeble attempt to dissuade me as she simply says be careful. Then we both are just dumbfounded as we realize that we don’t even know if we have any cell service. Sarah grabs her phone and checks, letting me know that we are probably just fine, she has 4 bars and we are only on the second floor of the house.
I promised once again to be careful and ask her to ping my cell after she is warm, relaxed and ready to find dinner. Before she could think of another way to object I am out the door.
When I left Sarah alone and climbing into the hot tub, for some reason I felt little uneasy and a little like I was deserting her. I have so much love for Sarah and our lives together are strong so I stuck by my decision to go. It seems to me that sometimes couples do not allow enough space for each other. I firmly believe that in order for us to keep love strong then we need to know and understand with all of our being that we are 2 people, we don’t always agree, we don’t like all the same things and we never try to change each other in a misguided attempt to make things better.
I almost bump into Tessa as I step from the staircase, what followed was a brief, awkward silence as we both became fully aware that we were alone together and both dressed for an excursion outside. Quickly Tessa recovers and comments that it seems obvious that I am planning to leave the warmth of the beautiful lodge for a spell and then adds that she likes to just walk in unfamiliar areas to take in all the sights, sounds and smells that the world has to offer. My philosophy of life had always included making as many friends as I can, so it was a natural thing for me to ask if she would object to my company while wandering about?
Just then Coleen walked in and I explained what Tessa and I were planning to ask. She volunteered that we should stay on marked trails and then said that there is a trail that goes straight north from the cabin, it is an easy trek and in about a half mile you will get a great view of the valley below. She went on to say that if we continue on that trail it winds back to the east and will bring us back to the driveway close to where all the cars were parked. Just as we both agreed that the trail sounded perfect Coleen added that the weather service was calling for rough weather not long from now, so keep in mind that a blizzard is no fun to navigate. Also, because of the inclement weather expected she and Josh had decided to prepare a few things from their kitchen to share in case you did not want to drive down the mountain to a restaurant.
Coleen led us through the kitchen where Josh was chopping some veggies and when he saw how we were dressed he quickly ascertained our destination and added for us to enjoy the serenity in the feelings of the mountain with the approaching storm. Lastly Josh added that the path to the overlook was easier than the return route with a little wink.
As we wave goodby we are greeted by the falling temps and the rising wind. When we reached the edge of the forest the wind was mitigated and we began to talk as we walked. Naturally the conversion turned to the arrival altercation with Blane. As Tessa tried to apologize once more I interrupted to say that it was completely unnecessary, she had no reason to apologize herself and unfortunately we run into ignorance, fear and even hatred on a fairly regular basis when we venture outside of our regular friends and family.
Let me tell you about when my Grandpa first heard about my decision to accept that I was non binary. He is a computer guy, has been all his life and he roared with laughter believing that we were leading into a joke. He said of course you are, hell, even computers are becoming non-binary as more and more development is done on quantum computing and humans are far from simple yes or no thinking. We then had a long discussion, I explained to my whole family, who had all gathered round, that sometimes I felt exactly like a woman wanting to do the things that other women or girls do but often I feel exactly the same way about things masculine. Grandpa then interjected that lots of girls are tomboys.
Yes, that is part of it but what do you call a kid with male genitalia and loves playing dress up, wearing makeup and dolls? He immediately said “sissy”. So, should youngsters who have those feelings be ostracized if it was commonly known? And what if those feelings are deep and sincere, not a passing fad of youth? Grandpa became quiet and contemplative.
So, essentially because the gender identification conundrum was explained without any reference to sex or sexual feelings Grandpa figured it out. The biggest problem that people seem to have is always wanting to make sexual preference assumptions.
We were so absorbed in our conversation that we failed to notice that the snow had become very heavy and we still had not even reached the valley overlook.
Not long after Charm and Tessa left on their walk the wind began to howl and then the lights flickered and finally went out.
Sarah, of course, noticed that the lights were off even though there was still candle light from the artificial candles in the room. Deciding that staying in the hot tub was not going to be practical for long she popped out, dried off and dressed warmly. By the time she was downstairs there was activity in both directions. Coleen was explaining to Blain the safety of the trail that we had decided to traverse. Josh was headed to the back door carrying a small load of tools that I would guess had come from the garage, stating that he was going to kick the generator into action.
As Josh reached for the door, it exploded inward accompanied with frantic laughter. The snow person forms of Tessa and Charm filled the doorway as the snow that was covering us began to quickly cover the floor. The rest stood frozen in surprise and relief that those who we love were safe and unharmed.
As we shake off the snow and blow warmth into their hands the rest of the group gathers closely to hear about the adventure. All, that is, except for Josh, who has quietly slipped out of the door on a bee line to his recalcitrant generator.
We all migrated slowly to the dining room and exchanged tales of high winds and whiteouts. Tessa told the group that we never did find the lookout and Coleen was shocked. Coleen was simply mystified as to how it was missed, even in the vigorous storm.
After a knowing look was exchanged between me and Tessa , I said, we were pretty absorbed in conversation. The only person who had not caught on was Blane. Finally, Sarah said to Blane, I am almost 100% sure that they were discussing Gender identity and possibly a little bit of sexual preferences.
Now before we make angry, or make you feel insulted allow me give you the short version.
We are talking about 2 entirely different but somewhat related subjects. First let’s talk about the easiest to describe and the most familiar. Sexual Preference is commonly divided into a small number of categories. Straight, Gay or BiSexual. I am 100% sure that I don’t need to explain any of those 3 categories. Regardless of what your preferences are you can accept someone having different preferences than you. Even if a person experiments with both straight and gay the fact that they experimented does not determine their preference. Preference is the key word!
Gender awareness is a much more complicated discussion and has several categories. For simplicity we will only explore Trans Gender and Non Binary. When a person’s thoughts and feelings do not match their genitals then sometimes they will choose to be Trans Gender. To grossly oversimplify, if you were born with a boy’s equipment but you prefer to play with Barbie Dolls and play dress up and then later in life, if those feeling don’t change you may find it better for your life to consider yourself feminine. That is the base for Trans Gender.
But what if you equally love playing dolls on one day and football on the next. Dress up today and digging for worms tomorrow. On the surface it does not seem much different than a candidate for Trans Gender but perhaps the person does not prefer one over the over? Notice that I said prefer, as in preference. In this case there may not be a preference. Why shouldn’t someone enjoy the process of dress shopping and trying on different looks as much as they love sipping a couple cold brews at the ball park? What I am saying is that the preference is so close that it may change every day and the person may not be willing to be one or the other. Then we enter the world of non-binary, 2 choices simply won’t get the job done.
In summary, it really is “What ever floats your boat”. This is what Tessa and I were discussing, so I would ask you to consider these ideas and discuss it with Tessa, you don’t have to be a participant, all we ask is that you give us a chance to explore how we can be happy.
Our discussions went on for a bit longer, we snacked on wonderful biscuits and toppings, vegatables and dips, along with several cheeses and wines.
Eventually we ended our respective days and retired to our rooms.
The following morning we partook of an excellent breakfast and then went our separate ways after exchanging phone numbers and email addresses.
I always love to make new friends.
About the Creator
My first lifetime, I wrote in the language of computers. Now, in my "Retirement" I want to express my thoughts and feelings to other humans.
Please join me in this new adventure while I explore what I have been hiding in my subconscious.
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