It was much darker when Mike came to this time. The room was all but dark, save the instrument lights by her bedside.
I’m a girl.
The thought registered in her mind for a moment. It was a simple declarative statement that was absolutely undeniable in any way. Yet, it represented an infinitely complex situation that she struggled to comprehend. SHE… He would have to think of himself as a she now.
It’s so confusing. How did this happen?
Again, she felt hot tears form at the side of her face. She felt the movement of his mother’s hand as she stroked away the tears in silence and patted her head.
“The boys aren’t here right now, sweetie… I know this is hard for you and the sight of everything might have been too much, but they’re all close by. I can get them if you want.”
Mike slowly opened her eyes again. Her mother’s face was warm and serene, and she felt safe and protected. She had so many questions.
“We didn’t have time to mull this over when it happened. Believe me, your father and brothers have agonized over this after it began. We didn’t know until just a few weeks ago if you were going to wake up, so this is like the first breath for all of us. I hope you can come to understand that.”
“Oh, Mom…” She stammered. “My life is—”
“It’s different… that’s all. It’s going to be a little messy for a long time. But it’s still only just beginning, sweetheart. You have to remember that. You were just fourteen and a half when this happened. But thanks to your father, you’ve still got a full life ahead of you.”
But as a girl.
“What about Paris? Is he ok?”
“Paris is ok. He took things pretty hard and things were touch and go the first few weeks. He doesn’t know about this.”
She gulped hard, choking back more tears. “They just won’t stop, Mom….”
“That’s just part of being a woman that you’re just going to have to get used to. We’re always easy to cry…”
Michael embraced her mother, hugging hard and for a long time. She noticed that there wasn’t any difficulty in moving or speaking. When she let go, she felt an intense need to get up and see herself. Her mother understood without anything needing to be said. She reached down to the night table by her bed, turned on the lamp and handed her a mirror.
The eyes seemed like hers, but that was the only thing that she recognized. They were medium light brown and almond shaped, with thick dark lashes and very heavy black eyebrows. Her ears were covered by thick, lustrous black hair that fell to the small of her back. Her skin was golden tan—perhaps slightly lighter than her complexion had been before the accident. She formed a crooked half smile with very feminine full lips. A strand of her hair dropped into her view and she huffed a few times before brushing it out of her face with her hands.
“I’ll let your dad explain the mechanics of it in more detail. Suffice to say, this isn’t like one of your comic books. There’s no spell to change you back, or you won’t turn into a guy if splashed with water or anything like that. You’re not superhuman outside of being a perfectly formed, fifteen year old girl, Mike.”
“No incept date?”
“No incept date… As near as we can tell, you’ll live a long and healthy life as long as you don’t go traipsing in front of any more trucks.”
She put her hand to her face again, remembering the triangle scar that had been just under her hairline.
“At least I’m not ugly.” Mike chuckled.
Her mother looked at her with bewilderment, her eyes widening in disbelief.
Mike shrugged. “What?”
She laughed and hugged her again. “I just can’t believe how little you’ve changed, other than your appearance.”