“I don’t get why we’re here.” Danny stated with absolute disdain.
Dr. Ellenore Rigby sighed gently into her clipboard, not bothering to look up when she gave her response. She brushed and errant lock of her thick, wavy hair away from her face while she looked at her notes. In her younger days, it might have been dark blond, but now most of it was brittle and bleached nearly white from too much time under the Merciless California sun. Her skin took on a dark tanned appearance, like fine leather. Were any of them able to see beneath her clothing, they would see the severe tan lines that only a dedicated surfer would have.
Her Piercing green eyes contented themselves to remain affixed to the paper rather than show her irritation. One of the worst things about being a Psychiatrist was the constant second guessing she had to endure.
“If you’re not wearing a doctor’s coat, they won’t treat you like a Doctor.” She thought to herself.
“Are you good at what you do, Petty Officer Anderson?” she asked, finally looking up from her clipboard.
“Pretty good, why?” Daniel scratched the back of his head while he puzzled over her line of thinking.
Despite his occupation, he took after his mother in appearance, with smooth Asian features, a compact slender nose and dark almond shaped eyes. Short cropped spiky, black hair crowned his head, longer on top and closely cut at the base of his neck. Despite his features, he had more of his father’s build, standing almost six feet tall. He had a lean, compact physique, and carried himself in a comfortable, easy manner. Dr. Rigby noted that his demeanor was disarming in a deliberate way. Daniel played the fool openly so that others would underestimate him –a tool that served him well in his work.
“So you wouldn’t take too kindly to a civilian like me telling you how a Navy Seal should think and act, right? …Why do you think it would be any different for me?”
Danny didn’t respond. He frowned, nodding approvingly as he acknowledged her point. She imagined in his mind he wanted to gage her mettle by being resistant. Once she established her presence, he contented himself to back off.
“You’re here because just as Mike has some major adjustments to undergo in her new life, you all have some adjusting to do as well. We’re meeting without Mike right now because you all have a very important role to play from here on out. You are her support system, and right now more than anyone else, she needs to feel accepted by you –all of you.”
“Of course we accept Mike. He’s our brother.” Jim answered.
The second oldest brother had a much stockier build, which served him well as a patrol officer for the San Diego Harbor Police. He was a few inches shorter than Danny, but seemed to carry himself with a much greater stature. Like his brother, he kept a short cropped hairstyle, but the hair on the top of his head was thicker and curlier. Jim had piercing dark eyes with bushy eyebrows and much more angular features. He seemed to glare constantly, even though that may not have been his intent.
She looked over the rim of her spectacles at Jim as soon as he finished speaking, allowing her exasperation to show for a moment. “You see… That’s what I’m talking about right there. “Mike” is not a “He” anymore. No matter how much Mike might or might not feel it, she is a young woman, with a young woman’s life ahead of her. The only problem with this is that she has no image of herself. That is a danger right now. Even though she might not be aware of it, the simple fact is that she’s got an image of herself as a young man and that can be dangerous.”
“How?” Grace frowned, her eyebrows scrunched with concern.
As soon as Dr. Rigby mentioned danger, the mood shifted. The brothers stopped looking exasperated and stopped looking out the window, turning his attention completely to the conversation. Jim and Daniel perked up as well as Marcus. Peter remained attentive as usual –but seemed more clinically detached then his older brothers. Grace and David held each other’s hands and remained silent, waiting for her to speak.
“A human being’s gender identity is something you normally form when growing up. You have years to learn your limitations. Boys for the most part are explorers –they test their physicality against each other and the environment at large. Women spend their formative years learning to protect themselves because of their limitations. We’re not physically as strong or as fast as men on the whole, so we have to learn how to avoid situations and how to protect ourselves. We travel together, avoiding places when alone –we seek out security as a natural instinct because we are not as physically powerful as our male counterparts.
Mike thinks like a nearly fifteen year old boy who was five foot eight and nearly a hundred and fifty pounds. Now she’s in the body of a five foot tall, sixteen year old girl, who weighs a little more than a hundred pounds. In addition to the gender shock—there’s a crucial missing portion of her development. She’s a bright girl, and I’m sure that she’ll adapt, but she has none of those instincts right now, but she has all the common frailties of a girl her age. Do you see now what I’m trying to get at?”
Jim clenched his jaw unconsciously. Grace frowned, too. Of all of their children, Jim was the meanest on the surface. He was tough and smart and grounded –all of which made him a good policeman and an even better older brother. But she guessed right now, that he knew better than any of them what that meant, having seen the worst side of life on a daily basis. Even in a small town like this one, the ugliness of crime was unrelenting.
“Mike is vulnerable right now. No matter how much she might think, she doesn’t have the mental tools yet to be a woman. It might have been easier on her if there were more girls in her immediate family, but that can’t be helped. The best thing we’ve got going for us in a situation like this, is that she’s young and still in the formative stages of her personality as a child. We’re in totally new territory here. This isn’t a sex change operation where someone has years to prepare. No matter how she reacts, you guys are going to have to understand that normal --left town. She’s come into being a woman at a time where her hormones are going to come into direct conflict of her self-image.”
“Clinically speaking,” their father added, “Mike is a woman in every way –even down to her reproductive systems. They’re all functional. Mike is going to menstruate, get cramps, and experience all the emotional highs and lows of a young girl. Her body is unforgiving in this fashion and she’s got to learn how to deal with this.”
Dr. Rigby intervened. “We all need to talk about things like this away from her –at least until she gets her feet under her. You all are her family, and while she’s facing this, you need to present a united front. That’s the safest way for her to develop now.”