I have been sick since the weekend. Had an upper respiratory infection which is never fun and tends to linger. Of course I only got one day off for this, so I had to work during the worst of it. The fun of being the only IT person in the branch cannot be overstated. Since I am here at work and miserable, coughing and wanting to sleep, I am going tell you a story. This is about knowing who you are, but not what you are.
I moved from California to Memphis, TN about a year after I had left the military. I was still kind of trying to reconcile my civilian life and the different freedoms and constraints it afforded. My family lived in and around the Memphis area so it seemed like a good idea. I found a job or two; I was young and not looking for careers just paychecks. I made a few friends in the area and one of them, Don, was looking for a place and I needed a place. We got a pretty decent but cheap 2br townhouse in the Raleigh area, which at that time was a pretty nice area. The mall was very close and at the time was still thriving; you could walk at night and not be afraid. We both worked as cooks in a local restaurant, so our hours were the same, no issues with sleeping and loud roommates. It was a pretty good arrangement, despite my secret.
About two months into living there, I got a call from an old military buddy, Tom. We worked in the same unit for a couple of years and I knew him pretty well, I thought. He was roaming and wanted to know if he could live with us to get his crap together. I was all for it and my roommate had no problems with it, he could get a job, chip in a bit of rent/food money and then when he got ready move into his own place. Of course it never works that way; he was there for months and never got a job more than a few days. During that time I was hiding my female-oriented clothing in the back of my closet and my panties weren’t hidden at all, just in a drawer of my dresser in my bedroom. I started noticing that my panty drawer was messy, I don’t fold them or anything, but like every woman I have ones I wear through the week and I have those for special nights and then I have those that are when it’s been a long time before I did laundry, granny panties. So, when I started seeing these mixed in the drawer I knew someone had been in there.
I knew Don hadn’t because he wasn’t curious and it had never happened before. So, I knew it was Tom who was going through my things. It took me a bit to realize that he was only really going through my panties. At first I didn’t say anything because nothing was missing and I didn’t want to actually come out to anyone, as I was still trying to figure out what I was coming out as, transgender? (didn’t really know about that), transvestite? (that seemed like the best definition at the time, but I had it wrong). A few days later, I started missing panties. That pissed me off! It took me long hours of courage to buy them in the store, claiming they were for my non-existent wife or gf. Or I had to order them and worry over how they would come in the mail and if Don would get to the mail before me. Every article of clothing was an endeavor, a chore and a worry. I couldn’t let this thievery stand, but I still didn’t want to come out. So, I did what every fraidy-cat does, I wrote a note and placed it atop my panties inside the drawer. It said simply, “please stop stealing my panties. If you need clothing, let me know and I can help you get them.” A day later, the note was gone, and my panties were back, cleanly laundered in a stack, but I put them in a bag and brought them downstairs.
Tom was sitting on the couch, and since Don wasn’t there at the time, I decided to acknowledge what was going on. I tossed him the bag and said something like, “keep them”, well that was probably exactly what I said. Then I sat down and he told me he was a transvestite. I told him I think I am too, but I didn’t know much about what that meant. He told me and I tried to explain to him why it was different for me. For him it was about feeling sexy, about experiencing sexual feelings while dressed in lingerie or woman’s clothing, but he was still “him” he didn’t use a different name and didn’t even want to use makeup. I told him that while I do feel sexy sometimes when I wear certain clothing, I always felt female. But we decided that “transvestite” was probably close for both of us, regardless of the differences, it was all we knew. That was my first coming out, fraught with mistakes and errors.
Tom didn’t stay much longer after that. He ended up stealing actual things, cameras, money, etc. So we couldn’t let him continue staying with us. I was also probably a lot uncomfortable with his sexuality aimed at my panty drawer.
There you go, short story done and I think I can leave work now and be sick in the comfort of home.