Pages Navigation Menu

After All These Years (2012)

After All These Years (2012)

© 2012 by Dallas Denny
Source: Dallas Denny. (2012, 25 June). After all these years. TG Forum.


TG Forum Post



After All These Years

By Dallas Denny


I met her for the first time on a grassy hillside. She was building a fountain, using textures she had made from her mother’s stained glass. I flew close and said, from ten meters in the air, “I’m looking for land to buy. I hope I’m not intruding.”

“Of course not,” she said. I landed beside her and told her I admired her fountain and we became friends.

Xubi's Fountain_001

One month later I was wanting us to be more than just friends. I told her how I felt and, because it was the right thing to do, came out to her.

“What does that mean?” she asked. “Transsexual?” I told her.

“But you’re such a girl!” she said.

“That’s the point,” I said.

It took her a few minutes to process what I had told her. She decided I was a woman, and, more importantly, that I couldn’t be anything but a woman. That made me more than happy.

And so we became a couple.

Things weren’t easy at first. Because we were avatars, pixels on a screen, each of us could have been anyone—male, female, or in between, of any age, race, and marital status, anywhere in the world. But we told each other who we were when we weren’t logged into our virtual world, and exchanged pictures. The photos could have been of anyone, but we were honest.

Hug in the Flowers, Pele Gardens

Neither of us had been looking for a relationship. I had been on my own for more than a decade and she had come off a horrible marriage that had damaged her psychologically. But the attraction was undeniable. Our avatars were connecting in a physical way on the screen, but more importantly, we were having brain sex. We worked and played and laughed together and with friends, exploring the wonders and absurdity of our electronic environment and making up alternative lyrics to almost every song in existence. “Is that a swarm of flying hippopotami?” I would ask. “Yes, it seems to be,” she would reply, “and good use of the proper plural, but I think you got the collective noun wrong.” “Behold the hippopotamus!” I would say. “We laugh at how he looks to us / and yet in moments dank and grim / I wonder how we look to him. Ogden Nash.” “Thank god for Wikipedia,” she would say. “It’s a bloat of hippos.” “No way!” I would say. “Let’s build a volcano,” she would say, and we would.

The Epic Voyage of the Blind Babe 009

I was soon so head-over-heels that I couldn’t stand it. I wanted to meet the typist behind her avatar. She wasn’t quite so eager, but despite our difference in age (20 years), the distance (850 miles) and my transsexualism, we eventually did meet. We began to talk to one another in Skype and on the phone. It was awkward at first, but soon we were spending hours together in voice.

We met for the first time the second time in a hotel lobby in Philadelphia. I had flown there from Atlanta to attend the annual conference of The International Foundation for Gender Education. She drove down from New York. We were each exactly what the other had been expecting. We had the most wonderful dinner of my life.

That was nearly six years ago. Since that night in Philly we’ve increasingly spent time together. For the past several years I’ve been dividing my time between Atlanta and New York. It’s easy for me to stay with her for a month or more at a time, since I’m now retired.

We’re looking for a home we can afford, which at first seemed impossible due to high real estates prices and property taxes, but increasingly seems within reach. I’ve been getting my house in Georgia ready for sale, or possibly for rent. It makes more sense for me to move, since she’s now a vice-president at her place of employment and I can be retired anywhere. I’m proud of her.

It’s not a perfect relationship. We both worry about the age difference, and about our health, and about finances. We idolize one another, and we resolve our occasional differences of style and opinion amicably. At worst we sulk and think about casting ourselves off cliffs, but soon all is forgiven. We have never exchanged harsh words. And of course we still have brain sex.

Reflecting By the Pool

I’m not a person who has to be in a relationship. I’m content on my own, but life is so much better when shared. I had given up on finding a partner—not that I was looking—but I recognize providence when it hits me in the face.

Transsexualism is hell on relationships: on the front end, when you transition and parents, siblings, friends, and community abandon you, and afterward. After transition you can rebuild community and make new friends, and sometimes your family will get over themselves, but relationships are difficult. Most of us spend our lives alone.

When I transitioned I lost everyone who was important to me. I made new friends and learned to be independent. I had no expectations of ever again falling in love, or, if I did, having that love reciprocated. And then magic happened.

I’m astonished and grateful I’ve found a partner who loves me and admires me for my accomplishments. I’m extraordinarily lucky.

So if you’re alone as you read this, be patient. Perhaps one day it will happen to you.