7 min read

Out From the Shadows

Out From the Shadows
In all beginnings dwells a magic force...
- "Stages," poem from The Glass Bead Game, Herman Hesse

October 25, 2012:

This felt like the hardest thing I ever had to do.

Some months before, Sabrina had officially become an insulin-dependent diabetic. Every night, she had to have a shot, a fact which I knew only too well, as I was the one that administered her shots. This despite the fact that our doctor had put her on Lantus, which comes in pens that make it easy for one to apply one’s own shots.

Now, earlier in the week, we had received some bad news: the doctor could no longer simply keep giving us the Lantus pens. Perhaps they were physician samples he had on hand, and the supply had now run out.  Or perhaps there was some other reason, maybe related to costs that had to be controlled.  In any event, we would have to start paying for them ourselves, which would—or so I understood—come to $300 a pen, each of which would last her approximately two weeks. And that was assuming her doctor didn’t raise her dosage further.

Three hundred dollars a pen? There was no way I could afford that.  My job with IQNavigator, while keeping us reasonably comfortable, didn’t pay enough to support those kind of expenditures on top of everything else.  What little savings I had would soon be drained, at this rate. And, in her case, there was no health insurance that could help pick up the tab.  After all, the only way we could get my insurance to cover her, was if she were my actual spouse, not merely my live-in fiancee.

That led me to an uncomfortable conclusion: We would have to get married, as soon as possible.

And that meant she had to be told.

. . .

I’d been good at keeping the secret from her thus far.  Before embarking on the trip to Arkansas where I’d picked Sabrina up and brought her home with me, I’d packed up every feminine item I owned.  Every dress, every nightgown, every undergarment and pair of hose and pair of shoes, all my makeup, all of it.  It had filled three large boxes, which I’d marked with innocuous markings and shoved to the back of a recently-rented storage locker, hoping that thereby I could put the cross-dressing behind me, and we could live out our lives happily.

I’d thought the same thing when I moved my pretties out of my Isla Vista apartment before Pamela came to live with me.  And again, when I purged them so we could use the storage space they took up for some of her things.

It didn’t work then, either. And it wasn’t going to work now.

It hadn’t stopped me from sneaking a few items out of storage and hiding them in the computer room closet, so occasionally, when she was asleep or busy on one of her games, I could slip into my bathroom, lock the door, and dress myself as I wanted to once more.  It hadn’t stopped me from continuing to buy things mail-order, keeping her from seeing the packages and concealing the clothes once I’d bought them. It hadn’t stopped me from ordering my first pair of silicone breast forms, having them delivered to a UPS Store near the office.

And it hadn’t stopped me from registering myself as “AmyGaleRT” on the Crossdressers.com Web site, seeking to figure myself out.  In fact, over a year prior to this, I’d started a thread there discussing a “close call” I’d had when Sabrina noticed my nails getting longer, and said to me, “If you start growing nails long like a girl, I’ll kick your ass!” The responses I got to that thread were pretty much unanimously in favor of telling her right then and there.  I’d demurred back then, and, as a result, hadn’t posted any new threads on the site in the meantime, and had barely even bothered to read anything there. After all, I’d been given my answer, but I couldn’t be given the gumption to follow through.  Not over the Internet, anyway.

It took a greater threat for that to happen.

. . .

She knew there was something on my mind even as I climbed up on the bed beside her. No matter what else I could ever say about Sabrina, she was always very perceptive. Perceptive enough to become interested in me even when we were in avatar form, using the names “Erbo Evans” and “Enola Lunasea” against the backdrop of the Second Life Grid. She’d become attracted to the sound of my voice, narrating a DJ set being broadcast into the club we worked at. She’d believed in me enough to let me take her away from the only life she’d ever really known, and bring her here.

I started the process of easing my way into the subject by mentioning a few days ago, when we’d heard a certain classic rock song by Lou Reed play on the radio on the car:

Holly came from Miami, F.L.A.
Hitch-hiked her way across the U.S.A.
Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her legs and then he was a she
She says, "Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side"
Said, "Hey honey, take a walk on the wild side"

I’d nearly spilled the truth then.  After all, wasn’t “he,” Eric, also a “she,” Amy?  Just like the real Holly Woodlawn was?  And hadn’t she almost guessed my secret then?

She did now.

“Are you telling me that you dress up in women’s clothing?”

I answered nervously, “Yes.”

“So what? I don’t mind.”

That was not the answer I was expecting.  I asked her a few followup questions. Her opinion didn’t change.  And I felt the great weight lift from my shoulders, to some extent.  I’d been prepared to lift a two-ton truck...and it was turning out to be little more than an illusion.

With the subject now breached between us, everything else poured out of me in a flood.  I told her where all my clothes were. I told her my femme name, the name I’d finally adopted when I knew what my mother would have named me if I’d been born a girl. I gave her the complete “frequently-asked questions” list. Throughout the process, she did everything she could to help put my mind at ease.

At last, another person knew.  And she wasn’t rejecting me for it.

Ultimately, I said to her, “About the only other thing I could do at this point is go get dressed for you.”

“If you wanna,” she said.

A day ago, I’d never have even contemplated such a step. What made me do so now? Perhaps it was just the relief of being able to bring it out in the open. Perhaps I, or my fledgling feminine spirit, hoped for some validation. Perhaps it was simply vanity.  In any event, I went to find the clothes I’d hidden and took them into the bathroom to change.

I didn’t bother to lock the door this time; there would have been no point. I stripped myself down, then started dressing as a woman from the skin out. Panties, shapewear, tights, bra. My breast forms slid into the cups of the simple full-coverage bra I wore. I chose a dress and slipped it over my head, then clipped on earrings, fastened a necklace about my neck, and stepped into a pair of heels.  I didn’t bother with makeup, but pulled the elastic band out of my hair and brushed it straight and long.

Finally came the step I never thought I would take. Amy Gale Ruth Tapie opened that bathroom door and stepped out to face her first audience.

Sabrina took one look at me and said, “I want to smack you, ‘cause I’m jealous; you look more feminine than I do!”  Her words suffused me with a feeling of joy; this was the first hint that I was making myself passable.

The evening progressed from there into an impromptu fashion show, as I returned to the bathroom a few times to change dresses, shoes, and jewelry, then stepped out again to model them for her. She rather liked some of my dresses, and remarked that she’d have to borrow my clip-on earrings on occasion, as neither of us had pierced ears at the time.

She laid down a few rules there in the beginning; she didn’t want me going out of the house dressed, and she also didn’t want me to wear my nightgowns to bed.  Neither of those rules would wind up lasting long, but I readily enough agreed.  I even went to the kitchen, put on an apron, and made her a sandwich for her to take her medicine with, so she wouldn’t get an upset stomach. And it felt good.

As she put herself to bed, I went to my computer, logged onto Crossdressers.com, and started a thread to tell my sisters about my good fortune:

Subject: Breakthrough!
I've been gone from this place awhile...partly because I was agonizing over the prospect of telling my fiancee, and the advice I got from the other girls here was "Tell her!" In no uncertain terms, of course. So I stayed away, because I figured that, until I could get over that hump, being here wouldn't do me a darn bit of good.

Well, it's happened!

[...]

Yes, I've got to be mindful of the "pink fog" striking. But she's just the kind of woman to smack me if I get out of line...and I already knew that.

I guess I'm about the luckiest gal on Earth.

- Amy

In the coming days, I would find out that the insulin wasn’t as big an issue as I’d thought; the $300 price we’d been quoted was for, not a single Lantus pen, but a box of five pens, making the expense much more manageable.  And, ultimately, I would find that my insurance would allow me to add Sabrina as a registered domestic partner, which would help to carry that cost even more.  So there wasn’t a huge rush for us to get married after all.

Nevertheless, telling her was the right thing to do.  And everything after that first step proved it.