Holiday short stories, p.5
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       Holiday Short Stories, p.5

           Jayne Amanda Maynes
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mommy this time.”

  Could it be that Jake wasn't a boy? Everything about him said he wasn't, but God doesn't make mistakes, or he stops being God, and Jake was a boy.

  There was another tap on the window. “Pete I wish I had better news for you.” I opened the door and walk to the other side where the body lay covered with the blanket.

  He pulled the blanket aside and started laughing asking me what kind of joke I was trying to pull. I looked down and there instead of the body of a child lay the biggest goose I had ever seen. I reached in my pocket looking for the bracelet I had taken off the right wrist and found my pocket empty. I looked through all my pockets and then started looking on the ground around the car, I opened the car looking there and couldn't find the bracelet. I knew what I had seen, but nothing was as it should have been. I looked in to the passenger side of the car knowing Hank would be sitting there and he could explain, there wasn't anyone there. I looked at the goose laying there on the ground and wondered what was happening.

  I apologized to Pete for dragging him out there not knowing what else I could do and asked if he wanted to join my family for Christmas dinner. He declined the offer and said he and his family were spending Christmas at the homeless shelter. He looked at the bird laying there and said something about how many it would feed.

  I looked at the bird again and asked him to see it fed as many as possible, our family was going to be starting a new tradition, and goose wasn't going to be part of it, I was done hunting. I helped him get the bird in his car and saw him off. I turned to the car and there stood Hank asking me again if it was a boy or girl. I smiled and said a girl her name is Jackie and I miss her terribly.

  I got in the car and drove home, not fully aware what it was I said, but knowing I just needed to be home with my family.

  I never told Gwen or Liz about what happened I never told anyone how God opened my eyes and heart. How I learned what is outside isn't always what we think it is.

  Christmas morning the doorbell rang and Liz answered with a squeal. Gwen and I both went to see, and standing there was the answer to my prayer, I looked at her and invited her into the house asking how she was.

  “Jackie I...” I couldn't say anything more the tears had me chocked up so much I pulled her into my arms kissing her cheek never wanting to let go.

  I opened my arms and let her step back and smiled knowing here was my family together again, complete with all of us together for the first time in four years.

  “Dad I missed you so much. I didn't know if you would accept me, but I had to try.”

  Tears ran down her cheeks as she looked over at her mother who took her in her arms and thanked her for coming home safe.

  She then turned to Liz and hugged her saying how much she missed her, how if it was ok with me she wouldn't leave again. They both turned to me as though daring me to object.

  “Jackie this is your home as much as anyone's, you are always welcome here and I promise I can accept you for who you are not who I think you should be.”

  I hugged her again and said if she was a girl, I just wanted her to be the best girl she could. We closed the door and went in to the presents sitting under the tree. So many and I didn't remember having wrapped them. I started going through them handing the kids the presents with their names on them, wondering just how it was all of them for Jackie had her name, not Jake's name on them. As the presents were unwrapped reveling what was inside I found they held things appropriate to those receiving the gift. Everyone asked about the goose and I said I wanted to start a new tradition one where if we got to have goose it was because there was some left after those less fortunate were done eating their Christmas dinner. We all got in the car and headed for the homeless shelter to offer whatever help we could to insure everyone had a wonderful Christmas.

  I don't remember a better Christmas then that year, and have enjoyed many since with both my children and their children. How happy Jackie was when she finally realized I accepted her as she was not as I wanted her to be. How wonderful and Blessed our family is for each of its members and the freedom we have to be who we are, not who others would make us be. It wasn't easy for me to watch as Jackie shed the shell I constructed for her. As her life became what it should have been, but I hadn't allowed because I was afraid of what others might say. Because I was afraid her being a girl, made God a liar.

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  The Christmas Wish!

  I always heard if you were good, you would get one wish for Christmas, one wish that would come true if you believed enough. I believed, but I couldn't be good enough to ever get that wish, either that, or what I wished for was out of the realm of what a Christmas wish should be, I never was sure which it was.

  I tried so hard to be good enough, but so many things kept getting in the way. My brothers got their wishes, even my sisters got their wishes, but I still waited for the wish I had to come true. Why didn't I get my wishes? I asked mom and dad once and they asked what my wish was. If I told them what it was I wished for the chances of it ever coming true were slim. You never told what your wish was until it came true, that way it was just between you and God, and he might grant it if he felt you deserved it. I didn't deserve what my wish was, if I did why had I been born the way I was? I didn't want to go through the things it seemed I was destined to go through, but unless God intervened there wasn't much I could do to stop it.

  Hi! My name is Erin French, oldest of nine children, four boys and five girls. Growing up I didn't always spell my name the way I do now, mom and dad named me Aaron because they were sure I was a boy. So many mistakes made and needing fixed. What was the wish I had that was never granted me you ask. Well it's a story all its own, a story that begins when Devin my oldest brother was born, maybe even before, but I don't remember back past when Devin was born, so that's where this story will start.

  “Mommy can I see the new baby?”

  “Just be careful Aaron, he isn't able to do much, but before long you'll be able to help him learn to climb trees and play ball.”

  I cringed at the thought of doing those things, but knew already they were the kind of things I was expected to do and find enjoyment in. Mom thought I was out doing those things most every day, because I would disappear for hours without her knowing just were I was. She thought I was playing with the other boys in the neighborhood doing the things boys did. Oh I did hang out with some of the boys, but I didn't participate in the activities with them. Rosy was the sister of the boy mom was sure was my best friend when in fact it was Rosy who was my best friend. I always spent most of my time at their house. While Tim was outside playing, Rosy and I were inside playing with her dolls. The first time I went over I saw the dolls and started crying because they were so pretty and I didn't have any. Rosy offered to let me play if I didn't cry and if I was willing to dress like a girl. I agreed and she found one of her dresses that she thought would fit me and helped me get dressed. As the dress fell over my head and came to my knees I asked if it would be ok with her family for me to come over and play more so I could be a girl more.

  Mom had been teaching me to write my name by then, and I hated making the double a at the start.

  Once Rosy had me dressed she insisted her mom had to see how pretty I was.

  “Mom this is Erin is it ok if she comes over to play more often.”

  Rosy's mom didn't have a problem with me coming over until about two years later when I was invited to a sleepover and mom came to pick me up before we got up. Then everything changed, when I got home I got a spanking and told quite plainly that sleeping in a girls bed and wearing girls clothes, was something that wouldn't be tolerated, and I better never do anything of the like again. I cried not from the spanking, though it did hurt, but from being told I was a boy and couldn't do anything to change it. I didn't want to be a boy, I wanted to be a girl! I was a girl! Couldn't anyone but me see it? Didn't anyone care?

  When I started school I always put Erin on my papers, and got told by my
teachers if I didn't start putting my right name on them I wouldn't get credit for doing the work. I started reading books and found I could be me in them. I started living through the books and the characters in them. They became my life because they were the only way I could be me, a girl who liked girl things.

  In middle school the kids all picked on me calling me names like sissy-boy, fagot, queer... I found I could ignore them most of the time, but the names still hurt, they still demeaned not only me, but those I loved. The name calling got worse and worse, then became shoving and hitting. One day close to the end of my time in middle school it got much worse, three of the bigger boys decided they needed to teach me a lesson and beat me up and raped me.

  I spent most of the summer in the hospital recovering from the beating and spent the next two years in therapy with a therapist that said it was my fault I got beat up and raped. If I would learn to be a man, like God made me, things like that wouldn't happen. My teachers when I got back to school said I would have to do twice the work to make up for the time I missed because I was in the hospital. I did the work and still failed, they said it was because I couldn't even spell my name. Again I put Erin on all the papers and this time received no credit because of it.

  Dad decided I
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