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(Author’s note, for clarity:  This is fiction, not an experience. I’ve wondered in the wake of the paedophile scandals what the result would have been had my dad brought me to our parish priests, where two who served subsequently faced legal action for preying on children.  I’ve a novel extant on paper what tells this story, and while this invokes those characters, this is not a segment of the story, it is a new creation tonight.)

Low light provided desired cover for intense conversation, the diffuse illumination produced by ceiling-suspended low-wattage bulbs muted by cheap Tiffany shade replicas.  The speaker felt less scrutinised here and more in charge of details shared.  She needed courage wherever it mustered.

Details regurgitated with reluctance, a pressurised, foul tasting upchuck of events a half-century past, nested in her body through time like a dormant STD, ready to activate and destroy with little regard for her present or future well-being.

Nerfie sat rooted.  Her ass objected to too long in one position, yet her body wouldn’t adjust to compensate.  The story Erica shared now after five years of friendship, came with nary a hint of forewarning.  She wished to offer Erica a mentholated embrace, one capable of washing away pain, harm, and the incidents, but in her harried rummage, Nerfie found only empathy in her depleted toolbox.  She raised her fourth Pale Ale, silent encouragement to someone evolving into more than a friend.  Nerfie considered it lubrication for throat and mind, a primer for the actual words of confirmation, because background information, while somewhat revelatory, still passed with an ease unavailable for hard truth.

A child known as transgendered faced hazards beyond the usual existential threats of youth.  A child in the 1960s who objected to assigned gender, predisposed to explore a universe of identity to find her place, dealt with discovery by a Catholic parent frantic over the implication.  Harm can nest in refuge and recourse, hidden and deceptive in passivity, couched in a false guise of wisdom glossed over by the aloof, unchallenged symbolism of a white collar.

“No one in 1963 understood.  It tormented my father.  After two weeks, he contacted one of our parish priests.”

Ales raised in pause, reciprocating eyes watched tears overspill into face-streaking streams.