Dear Bernard

Dear Bernard,
I trust you are well, dear brother, and looking forward to meeting up with us once more in a few weeks’ time. However, although your visit is now imminent, I felt I had to write to you beforehand to make you aware of a few developments which have taken place over here in Adelaide since we last saw you.
The last time you came over, I felt that you bonded really well with Otis, who was still only five at the time, moreso than with Poppy, who was then seven (you were always a man’s man). However, since that time we gradually became aware that Otis had become a little subdued and withdrawn, far more than was normal for him; he had always been a very sociable and outgoing little boy, as you know. We also noticed that he began to play with Poppy’s dolls quite a lot, instead of his own football or Lego. And even more lately, he has really taken an interest in clothes and dressing up, particularly in wigs.
Anyway, last year, it became apparent to us that Otis was not very happy being Otis and, when we talked to him about it, this became quite obvious. In fact, some days he would actually plead with us to please let him wear a dress today. Having been through this experience some time once before, Bernard, I think you know what’s coming.
Yes; Otis is now Lily. He looks like a girl, talks like a girl and I think it will be obvious when you see him again, loves being a girl. The school have been extremely supportive in this and he has many friends there, albeit mainly girls. But he is now a much happier child and we must all try to be thankful for that, and so I hope you will be able to think of us now as a family with two girls, and not a boy and a girl.
As you might imagine, there has been a grieving process involved here, as Helen and I both felt we had lost our beloved little boy. But we believe we ourselves are slowly coming to terms with this and, of course, still love him, whatever he is. Helen, Poppy and I all now refer to him as ‘she’ and I hope that you will be able to do this too when we meet again on the 28th.
I know this will come as a shock to you both and I am writing to you, rather than ‘phoning, because I did not want to have a heated debate on a long distance call. But also in the hope that you will have time to digest this and accept it eventually, as we have, though I know it will be difficult, for you, in particular, Bernard.
I am sending you a photograph with this letter, just to give you an idea of what to expect. Lily has stopped wearing wigs now and has grown her hair which I think really suits her. And the clothes she chooses (yes, she chooses her own clothes!) are very feminine; I think she has good taste for a child of less than seven.
Anyway, Bernard, I must close now. We are very much looking forward to your visit and I sincerely trust you will be able to keep your opinions to yourself, particularly in front of the child, though, again, I know how difficult this will be for you.
Until we meet again then, take care and have a safe journey.
Your loving brother,

Harriet

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