When I Met Her
by U. A. Nigro
It was two months into my husband’s transition. We were sitting at the kitchen counter and writing out yet another college tuition check. Usually, this was a miserable task. Robbing Peter to pay Paul. Scrimping and saving from fall to spring semesters, cutting back on outings, clothes shopping, and eating out. However this time was different. This was our last and final payment. Our oldest was graduating in the spring (with honors.) We couldn’t be happier! It was time to celebrate!
“LIFE, AS WE KNEW IT WAS CHANGING AND WE WERE A FAMILY IN TRANSITION.”
Life, as we knew it was changing and we were a family in transition. My husband started weekly sessions with a therapist who specialized in gender dysphoria. I started reading everything I could about being transgender and anything I could find about being married to someone who was trans. We even sat the girls down and told them about my husband’s self discovery so they were informed about what the future had in store. I was working almost fifty hours a week and ready to fall on my face. We needed a timeout. I made a phone call to a family friend who worked at a five star hotel only an hour drive from our house. She pulled some strings and got us a fantastic deal.
A weekend getaway for just the two of us with many things to celebrate. Our oldest preparing for graduation and immersion into the real world, Valentine’s Day and my husband’s birthday, a little early. I felt like a kid at Christmas, too excited to even sleep. I called up some friends who lived by the hotel and made plans to meet up for dinner one night. I counted down the next three weeks on my calendar by crossing out the days. We packed a few things, kissed the girls, then we were off. It had been so long since the two of us had any real time alone. It was before super storm Sandy had hit, and we lost almost everything. I missed him and a part of me couldn’t wait to meet her.
We were all alone and away from the world. I was so excited to give him his birthday presents. These were not the usual presents he could expect such as work shirts, gift cards, and tickets to the ball game. This year was different. This year he was on a journey to self discovery. To find the women hiding inside of him for all these years. One bag was full of makeup. Everything from foundation to eyeliner, eyeshadow, and even some shades of lipstick. One bag was full of hair clips, hair ties, and girly earrings. In the other bag, there was a sexy nighty, new panties, and stockings. The smile on his face was contagious. I knew my gift made him happy.
This would be the first of many makeup lessons, and I enjoyed being the teacher. It was like we were teenagers having a sleepover party, playing dress-up and getting into my mother’s makeup. I was having fun, and I was feeling strange at the same time. The room was full of laughter, something he didn’t do very often, but it was music to my ears. I was nervous. I didn’t want to do anything that would trigger a dysphoria episode, so I proceeded with caution. He went into the bathroom to try on the new nightie. I dimmed the lights, lit some candles, and waited.
“SHE DID NOT HAVE A NAME, SO I CALLED HER BEAUTIFUL.”
Then, she emerged from the bathroom with a veil of serenity over her and a sense of tranquility that wrapped around her. She was a little shy and apprehensive, but happy to be alive. I knew then that I had been married to a woman all these years. The sadness in his eyes was replaced by the joy in hers. I was witness to a rebirth, and it was amazing. This woman who had been suppressed for years was finally free. I was secure in the fact that I had a close relationship with my spouse, but suddenly we were closer. My heart melted. She did not have a name, so I called her beautiful.
The next day we spent four hours in the hair salon getting a cut and color. We had never done anything like that before. It was fun, but listening to the women in the salon referring to her as he made me angry. I felt an unexpected protectiveness over her that I had never felt before. It is something that I am still getting used to. Back at the hotel, I watched the pure joy ooze out of her as she put on "his" clothes. It was making her sad, and it made me feel like someone was shoving me into a closet. Watching someone live through transition is proving to be a painful affair, but we can’t stop living I told myself. We met our friends in the hotel restaurant and enjoyed a delicious meal.
I was happy to have met her. I was thankful she let me into her world. I was scared, confused, overwhelmed, and elated all at the same time. Two things I knew for sure, I loved her with all my heart and I knew she loved me.