I’ve gone out of my way in the past few weeks to keep in touch with my nephew, to go out when he is home and hang out with him–even if I’m just sitting there watching him play the latest Call of Duty or something–and I did that as recently as Saturday morning. He wanted me to take my PC out there, too, and I did try–it just wasn’t feasible though. The simplest way to explain that would be to say that my PC is pretty much wired into my house. Given that I have speakers implanted in the ceiling that are fed from a receiver that is fed by my PC, that’s not terribly off the mark. So I told him that he could come out some time.
He texted me yesterday (obviously, I removed where he said his name):
He knew the reason I asked if everything was okay. His parents fight a lot (almost daily, in fact), and he knows that I hate him being around that, especially when they yell. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me. My ex-wife and I fought, sure, but the majority of our arguments were civil, and they never came anywhere close to violence. When we did yell at one another, it was an occurrence that didn’t last long and didn’t happen more than once every six months or so. I think in the 6-7 years we were together, we yelled at each other maybe three times.
Anyway. He knows that the very moment he says that everything isn’t okay, I’ll be on my way out there to pick him up. And one of the main points of this is the heart-breaking second text that he sent me–I’m going to come back to that.
He also wrote this note and gave it to me:
Again, I just removed his name.
That deals with Minecraft and something he saw in a Youtube video. I have no idea what he’s talking about, but apparently you need sand, dirt, and a bucket of lava three blocks of sand, dirt, and buckets of lava. He said this will let you walk on walls and stuff, and I pretended like it was really useful information, despite not really having any idea what he was talking about, because he took the time to write me a note about it. He even had his mom put it in an envelope and seal it for him, and he gave it to me today.
I don’t have any kids, and I don’t envy people who do. I spend enough time worrying about my nephew and just relishing little moments like that, where all I can do is tear up and think “Oh my god, I love this little dude.” Parents undoubtedly become desensitized to that sort of thing. They forget what it’s like to have a kid do something like that, because for the first few years it happens all the time. Mothers take notes like that and put them away the mundanity that accompanies routine, and they think no more about it. But that note to me is an indisputable sign that my nephew loves me.
Well, of course he does! you might be replying. He’s your nephew, so… duh.
I hope you’re not saying that, because I don’t want to live in the world of a jaded, where the love of a six year old is so taken for granted that it should be considered trivial.
Even my cats aren’t afraid of my nephew. He’s one of the few people they aren’t afraid of; they love him to death, too, because he’s also spent time with them. It says a lot to me that my cats like him. They barely tolerate me.
That’s not true. My cats are deeply fond of me.
There are two reasons that I’ve made more of an effort recently to spend more time with my nephew. The first is pragmatic. It’s my hope that my sister (who is increasingly impossible to predict about me being transgender) will accept the reality that it’s not going to affect him one bit when the time comes. As it is, there is the unspoken rule that I can only spend time with my nephew if I’m a male. In fact, I can’t go anywhere near any of my family as a female, but that’s not really the issue I want to get into.
If you remember, her main response about me being transgender is that it will destroy my nephew’s innocence. It took me more than three months to come up with the resolve and fortitude to offer a rebuttal to that, but at the moment it’s somewhere between an elephant in the room and an unspoken agreement. But around the time I’m sporting C cups, that unspoken agreement is going to fall apart.
If she does go through with her plan to keep me away from my nephew, in spite of how much he clearly loves me and vice versa, then I want him to be able to remember, in ten years, all the great times we had. While I don’t think she would attempt to poison his mind against me, it’s quite possible that too many replies of “I’ll explain it when you’re older” will leave his imagination twisting me into some sort of gnarled bogeyman that his mother had to protect him from. If he can remember these great memories, then he can look back one day and say, “No… There’s nothing wrong with my uncle. Or Aunt. Or whoever the hell she is–she’s fine. It was my mom’s prejudice and turning away from her sibling that was the problem.”
Not that he should turn away from his mother by any means… I don’t mean that, and I’d never want that. But I don’t want him turning from me, either.
Let’s return for a moment to the fact that she’s worried that knowing I’m transgender will affect his innocence, his carefree childhood life. And then look back up to his second text:
Ok but we don’t have gas to go there
Why–Dear fucking YAHWEH, will someone tell me WHY–does this six year old child have any knowledge whatsoever about money, gas, and the reality of not having those?
I remember being a kid and having my mom tell me, “No, we don’t have the money for you to get that.” “No, we don’t have the gas for us to go there.” “No, we don’t have the money to do that.” And I remember having my dad tell me the very same things. 99% of the reasons my mother ever gave about why she couldn’t come see my sister and me… were gas. From the age of 7 to about the age of 14, I hated the idea of gas. I didn’t really even understand what it was. I just knew that people needed it for cars to work, and for some reason neither of my parents ever seemed to have any.
If we want to talk about things destroying a carefree childhood, money and gas have to be at the top of the list. And if those don’t make the Number One spot, then parents fighting all the fucking time will.
It breaks my heart to think that one day he’s going to ask, “Can I go to <Uncle MyName’s>?” and that she’s going to answer, “No. You can’t hang out with him anymore.” And why? Well, it’s not because she thinks all LGBT people are rapists and child molesters–she at least knows better than that. In fact, she snapped on someone for making that accusation not too long ago.
Someone she knows fairly well became convinced that someone had “touched” her son. And this person immediately pointed the finger at me with no justification other than “Isn’t your brother kinda… you know?” Happily, my sister lost her cool on this jackass, because there were so many things wrong with the idea that it was hard to even know where to start. How about the fact that I’d never been alone with the kid? How about the fact that transgender doesn’t mean child molester? How about the fact that the majority of child molesters openly identify as straight–even the men who rape little boys call themselves straight. How about the fact that I’m an extremely principled and moral person and have always stood against all forms of child abuse?
So I can at least say that for my sister. But why, then? Because she thinks my nephew will care? Because he won’t, and we all know that’s true. He’s six. He’s at the exact age where he would say, “Okay. Can I play Smash Bros.?” He has seen pictures of me in female clothing and it’s never struck him as odd or even something worth noting. He’s before that age where such things can even affect him. But I’ve pointed out this already. I don’t want to do it again.
It just frustrates me, because I know my sister isn’t going to change her mind. At least I’ll have these memories to get me through the next 50 years while I become that one family member that everyone forgets about and never mentions because they’re too afraid to face their own inner demons and my presence and mere mention would force them to.
Oh, and what about my dad? He texted me yesterday and said:
I kno u miss ur mom but u could tell ur gma happy mothersday
I didn’t reply. How could I reply? What could I possibly say to that? He had basically just said:
I know your mom was murdered, but mine is still alive.
Obviously, he didn’t mean it in such ridiculous terms, but that doesn’t change what he said. It’s still a fucked up thing to say. My mother is dead, dude. Probably. I say “probably” because no one knows where my mother is. No one has ever recovered her body, and no one has ever been charged with a crime. It’s pretty much indisputable that my aunt’s ex-husband (someone who you might call an uncle) murdered her, since he has been to prison for another murder, but without a corpse it’s worse than speculation. It’s baseless speculation.
All I want is my mother’s body. I would love nothing more than to be able to strike the deal with this man “You tell me where my mother’s body is, and I will remove the knife from your throat, and I will let you walk away and will never press charges.” But the justice system won’t let me do that. Rightfully–in regard to the knife but I’m not a violent person anyway and wouldn’t try to handle it like that in the first place. But I couldn’t even peacefully make this agreement with him, because the justice system denies me the right to forego pressing charges in regard to murder. You can’t kill someone and then have someone not press charges; murder doesn’t work that way.
Would he even do it? I think probably, if he knew there wouldn’t be any consequences. And why would there be? My mother has been dead (allegedly) since I was 12 years old. For more than half of my life, she’s been dead. There is no conceivable way for her to be brought justice at this point, and revenge is something I long ago released the desire for. It’s a simple matter of closure for me. I want to know that she’s dead, and not screaming in some basement somewhere…
That’s undoubtedly the worst part. Because I don’t know that she’s dead. There are plenty of places in the Ozarks to hide a body that will never be discovered, but even so–how possible is it to hide a body and it not be found in the modern world? It’s entirely possible that he is telling the truth, that she did vanish with a truck driver named Tim, and that she has spent the last 17 years trapped in a basement with a broken psyche and battered body, tortured and mutilated and barely clinging to life. Who the fuck knows? No one. And humans have done worse than that to one another.
I would be more than willing to face obstruction of justice charges for refusing to say how I got the information. I’d attribute it to fucking psychic visions; I don’t give a fuck. No jury in the world would convict me for doing whatever I had to do in order to recover my mother’s body after nearly two decades, and I doubt a competent DA would even try. Besides, after two decades even with a confession the killer wouldn’t serve any time–even with a prior under his belt.
But it will never happen. Eventually I’ll be able to rest assured that she’s dead. And, realistically, I can do so now. She’d be sixty years old now. Far too old for someone to be interested in raping, and far too old to still have any will to live after nearly two decades of imprisonment and torture; her spirit would have given up by now. That is the only solace I can find on the matter. “Even if she was tortured in a basement, she would have given up on life and died by now.”
That’s my mother, man. That’s the woman who gave birth to me that we’re talking about. The woman who I loved so deeply and in whom I found such beauty that it more or less made me transgender. And the only definitive thing I can say about her is that “Even if she was tortured in a basement, it has been two decades and she’d be sixty by now, so she would certainly be dead by this point. She’s no longer alone and screaming now.”
To end this with something that will make you laugh: