Girl Afraid is a blog about living my life openly as a transgender woman. I hope to discover more about who I am by writing and sharing my story. The thoughts and opinions are my own, experienced from a unique point of view. All I'm offering is my version of the truth, nothing more. Thanks for reading. ♥Gia
Sunday, December 28, 2014
Closer to the Heart
During the summer before 7th grade I spent three
weeks in Florida with my friend Jason. We stayed at his grandparents’ house in
Winter Park, just outside Orlando.
It was July, and very hot and very humid, well it least it was for
someone who grew up in New England, and who spent her summers on the beaches of
Cape Cod and Maine. Fortunately Jason’s
grandparents had a pool and a really cute neighbor, I forget her name, but they
both kept me distracted. Our daylong excursions with Jason’s grandfather (I
think his name was Saul) brought us to Disney, Sea World, and Cape Canaveral. And
even though Jason and his grandparents weren’t very religious, I was still
expected to go to Mass. My parents must have said something. I remember getting dressed for church and latching my new shark tooth gold chain around my neck. It dangled between
the v-cut of my brown and tan velour collared shirt as I sang along to Christopher Cross...sail-ing, take me away... Being a good friend, Jason accompanied me each Sunday. We rode our bikes across town trying to stay in the shade of the
palm and oak trees. The church was air-conditioned.
I returned to Florida last week and spent seven days in
Miami helping out a friend. I had
been planning on taking a little time off work before Christmas. I had started my new job nearly a year
ago and had only used a few of my vacation days thus far. In fact, most of them
were erased as I recovered from my heart procedure in August. With winter coming early to Maine this
year and daylight in short supply, I hoped to find warmth and some sun to
recharge my fading batteries and fight off my reoccurring depression. At first it looked like Southern California would be my
destination, but just as I was about to book a hotel room and flight, I saw a post
on Facebook, a friend was looking for help.
from Mt. Sinai Medical Center
You see, my friend, well we were barely acquaintances until
last week, was looking for someone, female, trans if possible, to be with her
at the hospital and at the motel as she had and recovered from her gender
confirming surgery. So I scrapped
my plans for California, and quickly found a flight to Florida instead. On
Tuesday, December 16th, I drove her from our motel in North Miami to Mt. Sinai
Medical Center in a rented white Chevy at 7am to check-in. By the time I paid
the parking lot attendant the full price at the end of the day, my friend was
recovering in her hospital room.
Me and Marissa
I cannot express how fortunate I feel having been invited to
share in such a personal event and earning the trust of a virtual stranger. Don’t
get me wrong, as I told my new friend, I was doing this to help her out, yes,
but also to experience as close as possible the procedure I too hope to have in
the very near future. As I spent
time with my friend, we discovered we had several things in common beyond our
trans identity. In addition to our fondness for potato chips, our paths nearly crossed 48 years earlier at another
hospital. We both were born at St. Elizabeth’s in Boston, just 28 days apart. Her
birthday is February 1, 1967 and mine March 1, 1967. We grew up just 5 miles
from each other.
The night before leaving Florida, I drove north on Route 1
towards Fort Lauderdale to meet another friend for a drink at the Diplomat Hotel
in Hollywood. I had known she was somewhere Florida after reconnecting via email recently, but we hadn't seen each other since soon after our college graduation, 25 years ago. I sent a message earlier in the week, and wouldn't you know it, she was only 10 miles away from our Motel. With a big smile and a warm hug we joyfully picked
up from where we left off.
While I don’t believe in the maxim, “things happen for a
reason”, I sometimes notice the unexpected intersections and patterns that
occur in life and nature, like the Fibonacci sequence found on the palm tree rings
I first saw in Florida in 1979 and realization that my new friend and I were
also at the same RUSH concert at the Boston Garden 35 years ago on
December 6th 1982, trying to sing like Geddy Lee.