Well it is back to work and back to the daily grind, I suppose that to some degree a bit of normalcy is a good thing. We had an awesome trip to Chicago, it’s always nice to see old friends. Beyond that this trip ended up meaning so much more to me it’s hard not to be emotional.
From the time we got off the plane it was assumed we would hang out with our friends, nothing would be different it would just be like the last time we saw each other. To say I had no expectations would be an understatement but I was up for a good shock.
Once we got off in Midway I text messaged our friends to let them know we were on the ground and I got some replies stating Todd was still at home and Kristi was waiting in the baggage terminal. We came down the escalator to see her smiling face and a warm greeting, gathered our bags and off we went.
As the conversation started to ramp up I noticed I was being referred to as Karyn and She right from the start. It was certainly something I hadn’t planned on or worked myself up for from them. As we entered the first train depot (The "L") to head out Kristi was not only referring to me as she directly but out loud in a public manner. This was certainly different for me and as I stated something I wasn’t prepared for.
With every she, her and out loud Karyn I would look around the train trying to see if there were any reactions and I hadn’t noticed anything. We got back to the house to get settled and head out for deep dish pizza I suddenly noticed my friend Todd was doing the same thing. I remember thinking this was going to be an interesting trip. Again Todd without missing a beat went with all the female pronouns and name. It was quite a jolt to my system on the upper levels but was so nice internally.
Friday our plans were to walk around Chicago and then meet Kristi for lunch at one of their favorite delis "Perry’s" As we were walking over to Perry’s I could feel my stomach in knots figuring this was a place where people knew him and I would surely be introduced. I thought about it on the way over and was considering asking him not to do that but I figured I would just let it happen. Sure enough I was introduced.. These are my friends from NH Diane and Karyn! Not a bat of an eye or a loss of words let loose.
As the weekend moved on I became more comfortable with their open nature and more validated with every new experience. I have to admit it was quite exhilarating. After we got home Diane told me she could see the happiness in my face and she loved the fact that they had done this for me.
Saturday brought on more walking Chicago seeing Millennium park and something that Sully refers too as the bean. Saturday being our Anniversary Kristi made reservations for all of us at an upscale steak and seafood house called Hugo’s Frog Bar. After a lot of Rum and Cokes, a good meal we headed back out to walk around Chicago downtown at night. We had hoped to find something for my grand daughter
Sunday is usually football day, Todd and Kristi love their Chicago bears. The idea for the afternoon was to walk over to a club they hang at call McGees have a bunch of appetizers, drinks and have an all around good time. Entering McGee’s would be an interesting experience to say the least. The door man was asking for ID, both Kristi and Todd entered before I did.
When I got to the door man I handed him my NH license and hoped he would say anything. He looked at the license, looked at me, back at the license until I finally blurted out ..it’s me. He responded to me with "I have no doubt you are over 21 but your name is KEVIN?" Yep I nodded that’s me and again he asked but KEVIN? At this point he just handed me back my ID and told me to go in. Guess I was passing again without knowing it.
After the football game I would have an experience that I not only didn’t expect, but it freaked me out severely. As I put on my jacket and headed for the front of the bar I noticed a guy with dirty blond hair walking directly towards me. As he got near me his hand went around my waist to my lower back and asked me "What’s up?" I just said "Hey" and tried to head for the door. That was when the jerk slid his hand down and grabbed my ass. I was totally freaked out by it. After I’ve had time to process it I have tried to take at least one positive from a crappy situation. That is that I guess I passed.as female. It doesn’t lessen or discount what he did but it is something positive.
Monday morning we needed to get off early to catch a 9am flight. With the train and such we decided to leave around 5:30 so we could have a 2 hour check in window. Kristi got up to say her good byes, gave us our hugs and said goodbye. Todd escorted us to the airport helped get us to the gates gave us our good-byes and headed off. It was a sad feeling for me to say good bye to two people who were so accepting. I later told Diane it was almost as though I’d left Karyn in Chicago having to come back home.
As we check in through security I got stopped again for my license. She didn’t want to let me through because she didn’t believe it was me. I finally protested enough for her to just sign it off … and home we came.
It was the best weekend I’ve had in a long time. I got the validation that I really needed. It almost makes me want to relocate just to start fresh as Karyn. For now I’ll just have to cherish the gift my friends gave me …