(The Return of Johnny Barlow now Joanne Barlow…)
Joanna Barlow was a gun Enthusiast. She liked the feel of them and the way they sounded as they fired. She was a lot different than Johnny. She used to be Johnny Barlow. The Transgender boy. But with all the ridicule and the taunts. Misunderstandings and all the indifference that was coming upon him/her. The Transgender boy… who was once Johnny… now Joanna, had to make the move. Had to make the leap and decide on what to do. Either remain on the same path and stay with getting the shots turning into a full male and eventually a sexual reconfiguration… Or revert back to being a girl. Even if he/she felt that they were a guy inside a girl’s body. With the switch… The habit was gone… or was it? Joanna was into guns and horses. She still kept the motorcycle and Kept the knack for building things with her hands and even being good with her hands. Joanna was the type of person who felt as though she didn’t have a friend in the world. The biological background was still the same though.
There is a saying. That not everything is as they appeared from first seen. That when you see something… you think it is exactly as you see it. Or when you see someone… That they are exactly as they are and there aren’t any secrets. Or something more. But as for Joanna… She was something different. She was one who wanted more. Wanted to just get out and make something for herself. All her life it was a struggle. When people would look at her… they would define her as an unknown. Not sure whether she was a true female. Or… a transgender male. As for Carly Rhapsody… She was hoping that it would be the return of her boyfriend, Johnny Barlow. But by the presence of Joanna Barlow… the reality was there that Johnny… was officially gone. Forever.
Nothing about it made sense. However…
This was the start of Joanna’s return. The True Return… But it started from when Johnny Barlow left.
Metropolis General Hospital…
Sora: *Looking around* What are we doing here?
Carly: I don’t know.
Leslie: *Sighs* We’re here to visit my father. He’s been in here since yesterday morning. He had a very bad heart attack and within a few days from now… he’s scheduled for a triple bypass.
Zoey: *Gasps* What?! Your father’s had a heart attack? Wh-wh-why didn’t you say anything?
Leslie: I didn’t want to worry anyone. I was already distressed as it was over the matter. Getting you guys distressed just as well… wouldn’t have helped anything. It would have made things hard on everyone.
Blossom: Plus, it doesn’t help that Leslie and I have to deal with a total snot nosed bitch at chilton almost on a constant daily basis.
Blossom: A Walking menace on two legs. Paris Gellar.
Zoey: She doesn’t sound nice at all. Is she really that bad?
Blossom: You sire to ask such a question like that?
Sora: Not us.
Justin: hey Carly. Where’s Johnny?
Carly: Never mind where he is. He’s on a different floor… Getting a shot of something. Let’s leave it at that.
Sora: Carly, what’s really going on with him? Why won’t you just come out with it?
Carly: Because i swore to him that i wouldn’t blab about it to anyone. I’m keeping that promise. You can all ask me and keep trying to press me into saying something about it. But it’s not gonna work. I am not gonna break my promise to him. For anyone.
Sora: Come on… Just tell us. At least get us some piece of mind.
Carly: No. It isn’t my secret to tell. It’s his. It has to be up to him to decide whether he’d want to tell or not.
Blossom: Where is he though? Are you gonna be leaving with him?
Carly: No. I’m not. He and I are taking the afternoon off and spending a little time apart. He figured that it would be better if some time was had to… well… you know, Think. I love him. He loves me. But with the secret he has… some people have started to catch on and he’s startled that people will start making faces or taunt him over it. He can’t help being what he is. It’s just the way things turned out.
Zoey: *Looking at Leslie* Where’s your dad’s room, Leslie?
Leslie: It’s up ahead. Come on.
A Minute later…
Leslie: *Walking into the room with the group* Hey dad.
Carl: Hey, my dear girl. School out already?
Blossom: It’s been out for about a half hour now.
Carl: And you are here already. That’s fast.
Michelangelo: Not really.
Blossom: How’re you holding up in here?
Carl: Not bad. However… this bed does leave a person with undesirable bedsores.
Zoey: How’s the food here?
Carl: It isn’t too bad. Although… it’s not exactly an acquired taste.
Leslie: You’re lucky though. You don’t have to deal with a nightmare from school.
Sora: True. There’s someone at Chilton who’s giving Leslie and Blossom a really shitty time.
Leslie: Paris Gellar.
Justin: Not sure if i will like where this is gonna go.
Carl: Why’s that?
Sora: Because usually we would opt for fighting fire with fire.
Zoey: Fighting doesn’t usually solve anything. Unless it’s for doing what’s right.
Carl: I solely agree. But… i would suppose that if anyone would be liable to throw punches… It’d be Leslie.
Leslie: Yeah. But that was because it was to defend you and mom, dad. I don’t do it to just do it and pick fights. It’s not what i do.
Blossom: That’s more to be something i’d do. I was always seen as the typical sparky one.
Sora: That we’ve noticed, Blossom. You and Serena are both with a fierce throw to you. Always standing up hard against the world.
however… What Carly wasn’t told was that Johnny Barlow was facing a defining moment and didn’t figure to tell that he was gonna just let the process go and revert back to being a girl. It was eating him up that for all the time that he tried to fight it… It was impossible. Johnny was meant to be once and forever more as it was as life began… Joanna Barlow. But it would take a few weeks for the process to revert itself back to All Female. So… as much as he/she didn’t want to… he/she had to go on the road and hide out for a while…
Johnny had just snuck out and left the Metropolis Gen. He knew that too many people were starting to sniff out the truth about him and he knew nothing better than to throw up the flag and give up trying to hide it anymore. There were people at the school who were wise to what he really was and who he truly was all along. There was nothing he could do to ward the surrounding kids off. It was not any use in trying to get them to look the other direction. Between Johnny’s habit, his secret and the fact that he wasn’t normal to most people and had that feel where there was more to him than what was on the outside looking in… He had no option but to leave.
His only regret. The only regret that he had… was where he left the only girl he would ever love. He had to leave Carly Rhapsody. Without staying to say goodbye. He couldn’t. Because he knew that if he stayed to say goodbye to her… he’d have to look at her and see the pain and agony in her eyes. It was the hardest thing… the one hardest thing he would ever have to do.
It was the beginning of him closing the door on his being a Male. He was now on his journey to go through the reversals of the process of transforming into a complete Male. It was now the beginning of the process of returning back to a female. The process was gonna be very fast and with no breaks in sight. Some of the process would be gradual… but most would be totally abrupt and full speed ahead.
Some say that it was near impossible for a transformation process to go that quick and that fast… However, it was able to get fast as the process of becoming a Male and then soon down the road as time would have passed a Full-on complete official male… was not that far in… Not as deep as it may have seemed to most. Not even by half. So most of the process never got to take it’s footing. It was still fresh. Fresh and premature in the raw. Johnny didn’t even tell the landlord that he currently had that he was leaving and going away for a while. He was never aware that for all that time that Johnny was around that there was something more to him than just the fact that he was emancipated. The idea of the fact that Johnny was a Transgender… never truly caught on to his attention. Even if he knew that there was something more to him.
With all the attention of who Johnny really was on the front… Johnny had to take the incentive and get out of dodge before the wrong people caught on. He got on his motorcycle and with only a few days worth of clothes with him for emergencies… his pack… The money that he saved and made during his time in Metropolis and took off. He at that time… had $700 Dollars. It was more than enough to get him by for at least a couple weeks or maybe more. Even if the process reversal was gonna not take as long as a normal reversal would. Johnny knew that he had to take matters into his own hands and get something done… His only concern was… Carly Rhapsody. What was he gonna do about her and about how he were to break it to her after he officially returned to being all girl. All the way and come out as Joanna Barlow.
Johnny: *Voice-over* Oct. 15th, 2046. Late afternoon… I was on the road again and had just only barely crested the outskirts of Metropolis as i was on the road again. I knew that it was a rather rash move to take all just for the fact which i either had to make a choice and Leave while i could to avoid being totally exposed as a Gender confused life form or stay and get railroaded as a girl pretending to be a boy. I however didn’t think to realize that there couldn’t be anything worse than that… Well… Other than the fact that i had to leave without saying goodbye to the one person who befriended me and actually loved me. Not pity me and baby me. No. This girl… Carly… She was sweet and condescending and very hospitable. Acceptive. Which in one side… made her a wonderful person to me… but slammed her socially against the crew or posse of friends she had. Even with her sister and cousins.
I didn’t seem to think bad or poorly of her family. They were only being very protective of her and it wasn’t as if they revered me… they just didn’t seem to know how to figure me out. The Rhapsody clan… as they were… couldn’t decipher me. As either a troubled person… or a disturbed individual. There wasn’t any clue they had in understanding what i really was. Carly knew… but she never told them. She didn’t say anything about me and my problem as a dire promise that she’d made to me. She swore that she wouldn’t become the iceberg to the titanic. In other words… Sink me. She risked alot. A whole lot and that is by far… outstanding for one to just risk everything… all for the very sake of that one thing… Whether it be a person, place or thing.
That night was the first night of my being on the road since leaving Metropolis and i only looked behind me for a second to see the metropolis skyline which was getting smaller with every passing mile i got away from the city. By that time, i knew that it was official…
I was on the open road. The HEARTLAND of the country. I always thought about traveling the country a little bit. However, i didn’t think that it would take my leaving the city to reverse the Process of becoming a complete Male in order to make certain that it happened. Of course, it’s better late than never. Right?
I only got a little further that night before noticing how late it was. So, i had to do the logical thing and find a spot to camp out for the night. Sure… it was a tad cold out. Maybe even windy. But it wasn’t all that bad. I rather enjoyed the open road. The scenic atmosphere. It was lonesome and i was longing for someone to talk to… although the only downside to all of it was that i was on the open road. On the open plains and the nearest town wasn’t gonna be for at least 20-25 Miles. So, there wasn’t anything i could have done. Not right then apparently.
I found a pleasing spot only a mile ahead from where i was which would be suitable for me to camp for the night. I pulled over to the side and got off the motorcycle, turned it off and started setting up camp for the night. There were a few branches and twigs to use and pile up… sufficial to build an adequate campfire. Just to keep warm throughout the night. It was a cold night and warmth was gonna be needed. It wasn’t the best thing although it was better than nothing. So it had to do. I was not close to any nearing town or city… and i was by that time 30 miles away from Metropolis. 30 long miles. I couldn’t help but think to myself at that moment: “Well… Johnny, I hope that this is what you want. Because now that you’ve ran off and didn’t go have that one shot to further the process of becoming a Complete Male… You’re gonna only see it being a matter of time before the process starts to reverse and you start undergoing the changes. This better be what you want. Once you go through with this… there is no going back.” But i had already made my mind. It was the hardest choice ever that i’d have to make. I knew that i was hurting the one girl i cared about more than anything. The thought of it got me feeling remorse and i didn’t have a phone. Nor a Cellphone. So i couldn’t call her. The only thing that i could do now was pray for her. That was all i could do.
It was Oct. 18th, when the reversal process started to kick in. It was only brief strikes as Johnny/Joanna started feeling a little dizzy, Achy and with a bit of a migraine. It was a rough day for him/her. He didn’t feel much other than that as it was only minor… at least right at that particular moment. But that was soon to change. And it was foretold that it was gonna hit hard and intense…
Johnny: *Voice-over* I was over by Wichita, Kansas when i started getting a little dizzy. I couldn’t figure out what was making me dizzy since i was with enough sleep. I was just finishing my smoke when it hit. To some people… a Dizzy spell usually spelt out the prognosis of one who was woozy, over-exhausted or weak. Or Drunk… But the blessed thing of it was that i was not Drunk. Nor woozy. Or over-exhausted. Maybe a tad weak… but i believed it most as just my still shaking the remaining sense of sleepiness off from me. So i blew it off. I didn’t want to put much nevermind to it unless it got to be more than just a slight case.
I only got to the second part of the town…when i started getting a tad famished as it’s been hours since the last that i’ve eaten anything. I don’t know if it’s because i lost track of time or because of the fact that i was feeling dizzy and a little out of sorts that all sense of time became lost on me. I found myself stopping in front of a Pancake house and walked in to grab a table and ordered something hearty. I didn’t care what the heck it was. I couldn’t care less if it were something in means of a crepe. I was hungry and at that point… anything would suffice. I do mean… anything.
It was then that i managed to come across a young preteen girl. I didn’t seem to think much of her as to me… she was just some girl. You’ve seen one… you’ve seen them all. However what stood out was that she seemed to be rather nostalgic and happened to use a decongestant of some kind. I didn’t think much about it till… I heard someone say the name Lightfoot and i turned to see a waitress walk over to the preteen and surprise be told if that girl wasn’t the one that the waitress was calling to. I turned right away from looking at her and pretended that i saw nothing. In fact… i must have been hearing things and seeing things as i might have still been a tad asleep and struggling to wake up fully. I chalked it up to it just being a convincing lucid hallucination. Or so… that’s what i wanted to think of it being. Of course… something told me that i wasn’t only dreaming.
Call me nuts… if you feel it as your perogative to do… but i suddenly was having an As told by Ginger moment. And yes… i know what you’re all gonna say when i am not there to hear. What would a transgender male who was originally a girl and in process now of returning on back to being a girl again want in thinking in terms of a animated show? I’m a guy… So naturally, i am one with all things to do with the Male persuasion… or would if i were a True Male. But i’m only a processive one. But i used to be a complete Female and am in process of returning back to being a girl… But in the hallucination… i heard the name Macie… It got me to think in my delirium of counting the minutes before i heard the footsteps of “Dodie” Bishop and Oh… Ginger Foutley. Then i made the remark…”I wonder where Miranda Killgallen and Courtney Gripling are hiding.” I am a biological girl… by blood and DNA. So… thoughts like these shouldn’t be too big of a shocker. Or should it?
Anyway, I sat by the window and Sighed calmly. Ordering up a Large coffee. And then for the main course… Ordered up a thing of the pancakes and eggs. It was a hearty breakfast as it came with the original Pancakes, Eggs, Hashbrowns and sausage. Even some toast. plus Jelly to spread on it. Not bad for a breakfast. I saw that they had the peanut butter and chocolate pancakes. with Chocolate syrup and choc. chips. Powdered Sugar. Mmm! However, i didn’t want to eat all that. So i stuck with the original. It was good enough for me.
Now as the day went on… i was surfing through the town and looking for a place to hang in secret for a while. However, as i was on the road, i started feeling a sharp pain in my abdomen. It was light at first then as it went… got more stronger of a sharp sensation. I happened to have found myself trying to blow it off and ignore it as best as i could. The problem was that the pain was making me nauseous and straining my heart. I felt my heart racing. It was beating fast and with a pounding sensation. I had to hurry and make way to find a place to hide where i wouldn’t be noticed. The problem was that in Wichita… everyone knew everybody and what they happened to do. It was not a town where secrets were hidden and kept in the back of the subconscious.
The moment that i found a place to stop and hide out for a little while, i got inside and kept in the shadows so i wouldn’t be seen. I knew that the process of reversal was happening and if it was gonna be as major as it felt… i didn’t want to embrace it and have it seen by the masses of the town. The Community of Wichita…”
Johnny was on the road again and he was then now showing more signs of him transforming back into a girl. The facial features were showing to be rather feminine. Feminine and soft. It wasn’t gonna be long before the transformation was complete. It was nearing the peak of the change. What was more tense about the change was that the insides was starting to revert on back to female organs and also hormones were dissolving back to that of a female. It was starting to change for him and he knew that now if he were still to be back in Metropolis around that time… going through the changes as he was… There was no second guessing that people would figure out and he’d be the target of ridicule. So going back to Metropolis was not an option… not till he was back to being all girl… on the inside and out. He had a little ways to go yet.
Johnny: *Voice-over* I was on the open road again. It’s been rather a fun relaxing time in Wichita… while it lasted. However i had to split. There was a risk of someone catching sight of me and noticing how much i was changing from Male…to a sporting and rambunctious girl. It was a steady process and it was gonna be still in the means for transforming. Right on back to the female gender and back to how i was since the beginning of the change.
It’s funny though… I used to think that being a girl again would be something detrimental to me as i was a boy trapped inside a girl’s body and was going through the treatments and injections in order to one day become a male through a operation. Total sexual reconfiguration. Restructuring. But now… I’m out seeking to reverse it and longing to return to what i was biologically. It’s kinda funny how a person can change their minds so sudden and just be how they were to start off with. If this were anyone else… There’d be no telling as to what they’d do. After all the taunting and ridicule and mockery. It would push them to do something that they may just find beyond their normal state of mind. It would be so unlike them. However Transgenders are like humans nonetheless even though they’re gender identity confusion… they are just as such as the rest. But are misunderstood. Very misunderstood. Only problem was that not many people saw it that way. Most people saw it as though they were science experiments. Science projects.
I was on the road and i remembered the fact that i was near Concordia, Kansas. But i happened to be on the distinct outskirts and was only a few miles or so from the populace. The City/Town limits… I was near the area when another brief flush of pain and sharp sensation struck. It this time hit in the personal area. It hurt like hell and i was twitching with wincing pain. The pain nearly caused me to go off road and i think that i did… as i don’t seem to remember much at all since that moment other than i was going through some changes. I was out cold after colliding with the tree a little ways down the road and about to officially enter the limits of Concordia, Kansas. But what i can say that the things i seen and experienced before then… i happened to remember. distinctively.
When i came to… or was starting to stir… I heard a voice. It sounded… Nostalgic. Nasally. and before i could snap out of it.., It turned out to be a reality. A certifiable fact in every way. I am not one to just talk and come to be shitting those who are in the throws of knowing… but i swear to god it was this girl. This girl that in my hallucinations was in plain vivid sight. Clear sight. She now was over by me… trying to get me to come to.
Girl: *Shaking Johnny/Joanna* Mr. Barlow… Sir, You okay?
By that time… i was now even more and more further to being back to being a full appearant girl. Actually… I was. I think that it was safe to say… now that i was now back. Back to being a girl. Johnny was now no longer around for any to see. I still had my habit… the money i still had left over… and the Motorcycle. Which of course was rather totalled.
Joanna: *Waking up and seeing the Preteen girl* You’re confused… i’d think. because i happen to be a girl. *slowly getting up* Oh man… What the heck happened? I feel like i was hit by a train. or at least a semi.
*Standing* I don’t seem to know who you are… but i will state that i’m thankful that someone came to my aide here. You don’t even know me. But yet… you still came to my aide. We never met. But you’re here now. Standing before me. Why? Where did you come from anyway?
Girl: I’m on my way back with the school band back to Topeka. (Was she trying to cover up that she was really from Connecticutt) Or was. I missed the bus. and i don’t have a way back. *Nasally* The band had a competition up in Utah. And we were on our way back… when we happened to stop for some food since we were getting hungry. But i didn’t get to the bus in time and they happened to leave without me.
Joanna: Where did you guys stop for food?
Girl: At a Pancake house.
Joanna: Where at?
Joanna: *Voice-over* That’s when it hit me. This girl was the same one i saw in my delusion. My hallucination… i saw this girl and now she was here in Concordia… by my side. I then got a rather sense of mystique. how was she able to just follow me? I could have been in a different state. And she could have been in danger if it was someone else she was coming to aide and not me. I immediately started to get defensive and apprehensive on what she was doing around me. Not that i didn’t want her around… The issue was that how did she know i would be here? She didn’t even notice me before when i was in wichita while i was Johnny. So… why now?
Anyway i was to look at it, She was gonna be one that would become my travel companion. The part which
would get me is that this girl was insanely lost and had no way back. I didn’t even ask her about whether she was with parents or if she were like emancipated… like i was. i didn’t have the heart to ask. So, i did the only thing i knew could be done. I took her along.
Joanna: I don’t know who you are… or what your name is. But, i can’t just leave you here stranded without a way back. I’m pretty sure that your parents’re gonna be pissed or if nothing more worried sick if you don’t return back to where your place of residence is. So, why not come along with me. We’ll get through this bull together.
Girl: Okay. *Sneezing* Sorry. Clogged nose.
Joanna: It’s okay. You probably just caught some dust particles and it went up your nose. Probably an allergen or something. You’ll be okay. Come on. We gotta find ourselves a means of transportation. I gotta get back to Metropolis where some remnant form of my life can be found or for a chance to maybe create a new one… if by chance. I would suppose that you’ll need a better life as well. Least till you get back with your folks.
Girl: If that might be likely. But i wouldn’t count on it as they live in connecticut. I’m several states away from where they are.
Joanna: I’ll tell you what. Till that day comes where you can be reunited with your parents or by chance that they happen to come to Metropolis and likely move to there and live in Metropolis… You’ll be my right hand wheel. You just stick by me. I’ll protect you. I might be a girl… but don’t think that i can’t produce some kind of fight if i gotta. *Curious* What are you supposed to be anyway? A Band Geek? Just curious.
Girl: I guess so. I am in the local school band, you know. I am one of the band members in the school band.
Joanna: Don’t tell me. Sheltered Shrubs, right?
Girl: Yeah. Although it’s Lucky High School. But how did you know?
Joanna: Lucky guess, i’d suppose. *grins*
Girl: Wow! Good guess.
Joanna: *Voice-over* It then dawned on me that she was a byproduct of that animated show that was once on air: “As told by Ginger”. It had to be the one show that stuck out. I mean… What other show could it have been where a place known as Sheltered shrubs could ever be uttered. Even from a Preteen or a Teen of such a magnitude like that. I was then waiting for the very second where she’d talk of people like Ginger Foutley, Deirdre Hortense “Dodie” Bishop, Carl Foutley, Robert Joseph “Hoodsey” Bishop, Blake Gripling, Courtney Gripling, Miranda Killgallen, Lois Foutley, Winston, Claire Gripling, Joann Bishop, Mrs. Zorski, Darren Patterson, Will Patterson, Brandon Higsby, Mrs. Gordon. Chet Zipper. Yeah… That would have made my day and i am a girl who’d soon be fantasizing about the feel of a gun and seeking to become a cleaner.
I couldn’t think on asking about the hometown she originally came from. I couldn’t even muster the concept of it. Nothing of the kind. However, the thought crossed my mind. Besides that… all i cared about was getting back now to Metropolis. To get back with Carly. I had to tell her the truth. Tell her that Johnny was gone. The only thing stopping me was the part that now i was not only worried that it’d break Carly’s heart deeply… but i now had to handle the responsibility of the girl who was now with me. I didn’t know her name… but i was already with sympathetic care to her. She was just so alone now. She was stranded and many states distance from her family and friends. I didn’t know how to get her over to where her family and friends were… where her life was. Now that it was a fact of protection and survival… I had to do what it was that i knew to do in order to see that she was not only safe… but cared for. Myself included.
A Few days later… We were barely by the outskirts of Metropolis when we stopped and since the past few days… I managed to find a rather decent and an actual ride. A Motor Scooter. a 6 speed Motor Scooter. It got 88 miles per gallon. It wasn’t a bad investment either. It worked well and it got us far. Very far. It was then that i soon had to ask her for her name and damn me and the very existence i have if she weren’t to say that her name was the same name i heard be called a few days or so prior… even if i were under a typical Hallucination. Actually Johnny… had the delusion. But we all know that Johnny and I were one and the same. So… there wasn’t any shortage of stating the complete obvious there.
Joanna: *Driving the Motor Scooter* What’s your name? I can’t keep calling you Preteen girl. Unless you happen to sort of like that.
Girl: *Nasally* Macie. Macie Lightfoot.
Joanna: Hmm… That’s a unique name if i’ve ever heard one in my life. That’s a nice name. Well… It’s nice to meet you, Macie. I’m Joanna. Joanna M. Barlow. M for Matilda.
Macie: Joanna… That’s a good name.
Joanna: Thanks, Macie. Good knowing that you think so. I like the name too…but sometimes i wonder if it would be possible to have my name changed. Well… at least my first name. Of course… It’s not bad. I had this name since i was born and it was the name i was given. But… What about you? *Curious* Do you even like your name even if it is a rather nice one for all intents and purposes?
Macie: I don’t know. *Nasally* I don’t think that i’ve really thought about it like that before. I kinda wonder about the name. First and last name… but no middle. My parents never told me what it was and it was never put on any of the legal forms nor was it ever discussed.
Joanna: Perhaps we can come up with one. Everyone’s entitled to having a middle name. I’m thinking of something that fits what you are like. The core. Something that highlights you. *Thinking* How about Melody. Macie Melody Lightfoot. It rather is fitting.
Macie: I like the sound of that. *Giggles* Melody.
Joanna: It suits you. You should bring this up with your folks though and see what it is that they think about it. It would be a nice change in things. A nice change in name. Not much of a change… Just that there now would be a middle name lodged into it.
Macie: Right. *Nods*
Joanna: *Voice-over* By time the 27th of October came in to ring it’s bell… I managed to reach the rim of Metropolis. I rode past the part of Metropolis that was known as the Abandoned Quarry. Condemned. Which was before riding past the section that was known as the Ranch Villa part of Metropolis. It was nice seeing farmers out working the land and planting seeds and seedlings. Watering and tending to the animals and the like. Everyone pulling their load and pitching in. Manual labor at its finest. Caring for the land one lives on always did seem to rather grab me right between the heart and the soul. I was a transgender… sure. But it didn’t mean for one moment that i would just be uncaring of the very land that i live on. I care about the planet and the world. That’s just one of the things about me that i don’t see privy to be lying about.
It was not long before i looked at the city as it was close. I was back in Metropolis. The city that i was accustomed to… Or was as Johnny. But i still admired it. Loved it for the way it looked. The presense that it let out. I took it all in and felt like i was home again. Or seemed to be. I now had a dilemma. Finding a place to reside in. A place to stay. Not only for me… But for my right wing companion at the moment, Macie. I am no good living on the streets. Never was and i don’t ever figure on it being a reality. I would never make it. Because now that i was a girl… it was not exactly as safe out on the streets as it would be privy on being considered as much if it were boys who lived on the streets.
You seem to come with the reality that this whole world… Society in most places… go by stereotyping one another. For either their race, the color of their skin, Their lifestyles, Their Religions, The company they keep… the whole enchilada. and Platter. It was a dangerous place for girls to be on the streets. Alone… with no place to be safe and expect that nothing was gonna hurt you. Come and inflict harm upon you. You see… When your a girl… you’re more opened to getting attacked by sick people. Sick men. Sex fiends. People don’t seem to ever realize that girls… they got it more rougher than the normal. Alot more rougher. I am the type of person who lets it not get to me. I don’t happen to scare easily. Unless it really does seem to be more of a issue. A concern that is far from my understanding.
I don’t like being on the streets. Not unless i had no alternative option. It wasn’t long before i managed to come across an apartment complex. A complex of livable quarters. It wasn’t all that big… But it was a lot better than hanging on the streets. But it was the Metropolis Getaway Arms. Which was at the address of 45116. Lucky me… And also… Lucky Macie. Neither her or I would be on the streets. Which is what we both felt relieved. I felt safe from that. I looked right at the apartment complex and sighed and started to gather my intuition as it was either go in and see on getting an apartment… or back out and risk the chance of ever finding a place that would ensure that the living upon the streets would be not part of our lives. Part of my life. Macie had a home… in Connecticutt… But problem #1: How could she get back to that? With what? She didn’t seem to possess any cash. Any money at all. So… This was where… she could be residing for quite a while. What was she to do?
I began to think of what to do for her… Not that she was the only issue taking active status at the current time. But one of the vital. I most of all had to find out a way to get a hold of Carly. I had to tell her the honest truth. It was gonna be a matter of time before i came back into the social scene and touch base again with the whole gang. I just hoped that i’d be able to reconnect with her again. The only condition was… Macie would have to come along. What the dilemma was that… She’d have to be in school and if so… she’d need a guardian. I couldn’t be it. I was only 15. And it would have had to be a legal guardian. She’d have to have her school records transferred and faxed from her current school from her hometown and sent to the local school in Metropolis. Who’d do it though? We didn’t know anyone… Not yet.
Once we were inside the apartments… I lead the way and asked for where the Landlord would be. It was said that the landlord would be on the 4th floor. So, we made way up the stairs to the 4th floor. Down to the end of the hall and knocked on the door. It was only a minute later when the door opened up to reveal a tall man with a rugged chin and Thin black hair. Not too thin, but not all that thick and long. He had to be in his late 20’s early 30’s… Maybe mid 30’s. He looked at us with anticipation as to him… we looked rather young to be in the apartments alone like we were. But that was when he asked us who we were…”
Joanna: Uh, Hi… My name’s Joanna. Joanna Barlow. We were told that you were the Apartment’s landlord.
???: Yes. That’d be correct. I am. But why are you here?
Joanna: I’m actually looking for a place to live and don’t have any money. However i am willing to work for it. I’ll work for it. The thing is that it’s rather needed as i happen to have some extra baggage with me.
???: *Noticing there standing a second teenage girl* Who’re you?
Macie: *Nasally* I’m uh… Macie Lightfoot, sir.
???: Hmm. Okay. I do insist to ask… What would a couple of teenage girls want with an apartment? You’ve no money.
Joanna: We know. But it’ll be worked for. I can work for it. there are things that i can do, you know.
???: I suppose that it’d have to do as i can’t just insist on sending you off to live on the streets. I’ll see what i can do about it and get you two an apartment.
Macie: Thank you, Sir.
???: It’s no problem. And the Name’s Frank. Frank Holden.
Joanna: *Voice-over* It was an hour later when we had an apartment for ourselves. I had to work for it and that wasn’t a problem as i was more then willing to work for it. Doing small odd jobs and things. Anything to make ends meet. I couldn’t have her with me as i went to do odd jobs. There was certain things that i had to do to get things going. As it was… I was suiting up to get back with Carly Rhapsody. I had to find a way to get back again with her. I already knew that she was gonna ask about Johnny and even though i was dreadding that possibility, I had to take that risk.
I before long after things were settled in and set up, I asked Macie if she’d be okay here minding the apartment. I didn’t want to just up and leave her by herself inside the Apartment… But there were things that i had to do that i couldn’t bring her in. There were things to get done. She didn’t pick up on my habit yet and i couldn’t tell her. It was not for her to know. So as much as i felt guilty for just leaving her in the apartment alone… I told her that i would return in only a couple hours and wouldn’t be long. But that i would come back and that she and I would figure out what to do from there on.
She agreed and started to think on what to do to pass the time and keep occupied for the time being. It was then that i departed from the apartment, figuring that Macie would be okay. I locked the Apartment door from the outside so nobody could barge in on her while i wasn’t there and try anything as i said before… Being girls and alone… wasn’t exactly safe at all. For the reason being that there were a lot of sick people out there in the world and this was most definitely not her neck of the woods. Where things made sense and that she’d be safe as a tightly guarded safe or room. This was Metropolis. Crime was indeed at a threshold of evidential presense. It was around. Any city would have either more… or very limited. Or crime crawling from every pore that were known to a city dweller. I lived in a city all my life. Born in Long Beach… and then emancipated and now living here… in Metropolis. Yeah… I knew about crime. Knew it too well. And yet, i was in the thoughts of being a Cleaner.
While i was out, i came across a Merchant who was standing outside of a store fixing a sign. Putting it up in position. I didn’t know who he was and felt curious. So i went on over and asked him for some help. What i didn’t know was that this guy was the same one i saw on the 14th of the month. But again… that was back when i was Johnny. However that now since i am now Joanna… It was something else. Or… was it?
Joanna: Hey there. You’re O’aka. right?
O’aka: Aye’ Lass. That be me. *Turning to see Joanna* Although, this swift Merchant finds unfamiliar seeing you. Who might ye be?
Joanna: My name’s Joanna Barlow. 15. I used to be Johnny Barlow. But that was when i was in the appearance of a male. I’m a Transgender. But slowly coming out of that and am back to what i biologically was born as. A girl.
O’aka: Ah! So you’re the one i saw with one of the Clan members of the Rhapsody Dynasty. You were… with Carly, weren’t you?
Joanna: *Nods* Yeah. I was. Why? You know them?
O’aka: Know’em? You kidding? Of course i know of them, lass. I know about them as i met them many times. They kept crossin’ the path of good ole’ O’aka numerous times. Several times while they were in a distant place. Known as Spira. I came from there originally. Then when they departed and left for this city… i then hitched me a ride and came here too. I barely started this business early on this year. This outlet is all mine. Earned and worked fer’.
Joanna: Wow… So, They’re like really close to you, huh?
O’aka: That they be, Young lady. That they be. I happen to think very fondly of them. Doing what they do. Out fighting the good fight. It makes a merchant such as I proud,
Joanna: Have you heard from Carly lately?
O’aka: Ay… i can’t say that i have. Lately, they all be too swamped with school and the Local Stadium. Plus… in a couple days… there’s to be this secret wedding being held for one of them. A couple of gals are seeking to be hitched.
Joanna: Really? Who?
O’aka: Blossom Rhapsody Aka. Electrogal and Leslie Burke Aka. The New Rita the Hammer. Elemental Rita. That be who are getting hitched.
Joanna: They must be really happy. *Smiles* … *Sighs* Say… listen, I don’t want to be persistant in anything… But i’m looking for any odd jobs. Odd work. Doing things.
O’aka: What fer…? You in trouble, Lass?
Joanna: No. Just trying to make some money in order to make it in the city. Plus, It’s not just for me. It’s for a companion friend of mine. I kinda met her while i was out on the road for a while.
O’aka: Really? Who be this friend of ye’ there, lass? What’s her name?
Joanna: Macie. Macie M. Lightfoot. M for Melody.
O’aka: What a name for a girl. Where might she be?
Joanna: Back at the apartment that she and I found. It’s been struck by a deal.
O’aka: Must’ve been a real bargain.
Joanna: It felt as one. *Looking to the sides* Any idea as to where i can find me some work to get me and Macie by?
O’aka: I sadly have no means of work for ye’. But… *Thinking* Hmm… maybe there is something you could maybe do… Just for a little while till you get a footing and are stable.
Joanna: Really? What? Whatever it is… i’ll do it. I just got to get something going so i can find some stability.
O’aka: Indeed. I actually was with some deliveries having to be made to some clients. But i just got way too many customers to deal with here today to do them. So… how would you like to take care of them deliveries? I’ll see that you get paid quite well… That be a promise. An Honest promise from O’aka.
Joanna: I’ll do it. You can count on me. *Nods*
O’aka: Aye. Now that’s a teen with spirit and certification. The first Delivery is to the Burke Mansion. Custom made Armbands with a picture of Leslie and Blossom together as a married couple. There’s about 500 of them within that bag. The second one is a delivery going to Emily Gilmore. Although i can’t for the very life of me figure on what a woman like her would want from a Merchant like me. I don’t seem to have much that suits her fancy in merchandise and souvenirs. But that one goes to her. The third one goes to Alice Cross/Rhapsody. She’s gonna be in need of this Delivery. It’s got items needed for her business. She’s a Psychic. Goes under the Psychic Name “Mrs. Divine Light” The fourth one Belongs to Heinz Fruedenberger. He’s a Muscle man with a knack for Gems. He’s looking for Gems to use solely for something to count a fashion trend. His sons Adolf and Bernie are with fascination of Jewelry. The fifth one which is the last one… Goes to the Blitzball Stadium. Attn: Wakka. It’s the Blitzball uniforms that Wakka was thinking on creating and came up with the design. Blossom and Leslie helped with the Brainstorm for a good design and the colors for it… They sent the design to me and took it from there and got the photos to Pearl and Star and they got the material for it. They were here for a couple of days or so and the two of them and I got to putting together these snazzy looking beauties.
Joanna: I can do them. I’ll get them there. Somehow. I will get them to their needed locations. *Nods*
A couple hours later…
Joanna: *Voice-over* By then, there was this arrangement made between this Merchant and me… It was a rather custom thing as i was in need of help and it was also to help my friend Macie. I didn’t know what else to do and i felt rather guarded for her. Wanting to protect her from things. Because given that she may have been able to stand out and be full of confidence… This was not her neck of the woods. I handed him a piece of paper with some details…
Joanna: *Handing the paper to the Merchant* Here you go. I hope that this will be okay.
O’aka: Aye’ Lass. I do quire that it is all good now. Not to worry. O’aka’s gonna keep the arrangement in the dark. There so no one be finding out or catching whiff of a rat in the works.
Joanna: *Voice-over* From that… I made 100 dollars. 5 deliveries… 20 bucks a pop. That was a rather sweet deal. Best one yet. It was then that i made way back to the apartment and back to Macie. On my way there i snuck to the side and where no one could see me… I had a light. I needed to think for a minute on what to do for Macie and how to protect her. I was her only ally right now and we barely really knew one another. But now that she was here… Away from her home and tagging with me… I was responsible for her. I was gonna need help. Fast. Once done… I got back on my way over to the apartment. I knew that Macie was there and i had some sort of feeling that she’d be wondering where i was for so long… what happened to me. I knew that she was also gonna be rather famished. It has been rather a few hours since the last time any food was consumed and had.
I barely got back to the Apartment when i suddenly heard something play. Coming from inside. It was coming from inside the Apartment that Macie was left inside in. Inside my apartment. I had to stop and listen in closely and see that i was hearing right. But it wasn’t just my hearing things… It was Macie. It was Macie and she was singing. I stopped then to think to myself: “What on earth is she singing?” It sounded so odd but so pleasant all at the same time. However, the real part that really got me was that it wasn’t her. It was the T.V. She was just listening to some of the Music Videoes that were playing. But at first… from the way it sounded as from outside the door, it sounded like a voice. I didn’t figure that it’d be the Television. I looked at Macie who was just keeping rather calm and patient. It was almost as if she was conditioned to being very quiet and waiting patiently. To me, i thought of it as being a tad weird. However she was very docile. Too docile…
I realized that she was hungry as she happened to feel rather queasy with hunger. I didn’t know where to go for food. Not really. But that was when suddenly the recollections of what i experienced in this city while i was Johnny kicked in… I remembered being told that there was this diner. Called Sid’s. I looked at Macie and Volunteered to take her out to get something to eat. I didn’t seem to think that there were some things that she couldn’t eat. Things that she were allergic to. But i had to ask. I couldn’t think not to ask. She told me of the things that she were allergic to. The sort of food products that she couldn’t have as there’d result a reaction to them. It was not a long list… but they were very serious and profoundly vital.
This point here was where i finally realized that things were not as normal as they were before and something was telling me that they never would be again. I locked up the apartment and made sure that i hid my pack so Macie wouldn’t catch sight of them and find out about them. I haven’t had one around her and of course… there was no intention of doing so. Macie and I walked our way over to Sid’s Diner for something to eat. It wasn’t that far of a walk. It was if any distance… a 4 block walk. It was quick too.
The weather was rather brisk. A little warm. Which wasn’t too bad and felt pleasing. Bad news was that it was showing a sticky reaction to Macie. She was starting to break out in hives. Not bad… but it was more of prickly heat. It wasn’t all that warm but it turned out that she was sensitive and also there was something else. She didn’t have her decongestant with her. I had to think of something fast and quick. Problem was…i was completely in the dark on what to do. But something then came to me and i started to think that maybe there was something that could be done.
There was luckily a pharmacy close by on our way to the Diner and it was a lucky break. We went there first and found a passable working decongestant. It worked and it got Macie to have some way to fight back. I was with luck. Luck that the alternative worked. We made way from there over to the diner for something to eat. It was a nice evening. Because with all that… I had it figured that after dinner… for that night… Perhaps i’d see if there was a movie theatre nearby and present her with a movie. It was gonna be some time before any chance of her returning back to her hometown that turned out to be within the state of Connecticutt was to become a reality. Not that i wanted her to go. However what kind of person would i be if i were to just keep her from her friends and family back home… where things made the most familiar sense to her? She had a round of friends and family back up in her hometown. Back where to her… Things were with a realm of familiarity and nothing seemed too foreign to her.
At the Diner, We both grabbed a seat by the window and sat down. We didn’t know anyone or recognize anyone. Of course… what i didn’t realize was that a couple people who taunted me while i was Johnny… were on the other side of the Diner and for a miraculous reason or just sheer luck… Totally didn’t recognize me. I knew who they were. Aurora Grantham and Ben Angels. They were playing as nice and sweet… but were the ones who found out who i really was and were gonna expose the truth about me. Pushing me to change back to being what i am again… A girl. I didn’t care about seeing them and didn’t want a thing to do with them. As soon as the food came; Macie and i ate and took in all the nourishment. Macie however even though she didn’t know the whole detail behind what i went though… asked me what was wrong. As if it were for her to know. It probably was something that she was curious about. I could not just be defensive around her and not tell her. She could have left me there where i was and i just remain where she found me… Left for dead. So… i at least… if nothing else… owed her that. So… I told her. Started explaining the situation…
Joanna: *Looking at Macie* Macie, I don’t really want to tell you this as this isn’t something friends tell one another. At least when the friend is rather new and a tad behind on things. You’re like a friend to me. So… i’m gonna tell you something that i will beg and pray that it goes no further than you and I. You can’t even spill it to the crew back home where your familiarity resides. Not a word of it goes to Ginger and Dodie. I know that they’re your friends and BFF’s always confide. It’s like credo. But this is something you can not tell them. It’s taboo.
Macie: *Gasps with shock* Sweet mother of Dramatization… Calm down, Joanna. I won’t tell them anything about it. I know how to keep things a secret. Alot better than Dodie does. She’s so obsessed with trying to seek for ways to become popular… she would sell secrets to the highest bidder just to get ahead.
Joanna: Okay. *Sighs* Sorry. It’s just the fact that i am a little tense when speaking about things like the mess i had to go through. However… I will tell you this. I was born a girl who felt like a boy trapped within a girls body. It sounds gut-wrenching to you…i am sure that it really must sound as such to you as it’s not something you usually hear. But it’s true. I am a transgender… or was. When i was 6… i had this thing where i thought of things that boys think of. Young boys. I was with the intention of playing like one of the boys. Playing sports like one of them. The whole enchilada. It was just as simple as that. nothing more. Of course i never really got into playing sports. I took the approach of building with my hands. I constructed a motorcycle all on my own. With only me… working on it.
Macie: Wow! Crafty.
Joanna: Yeah. I sure was. But it was not much for me to go on. The thing that really got me with a gender identity crisis… was when i looked at myself in the mirror and there looking at this boy. In the mirror. A reflection of me… that was in appearance of a boy. I looked at him and he looked at me. I couldn’t think of it being just my eyes playing with my mind and that i was seeing just a illusion. It was then that i realized that i was a boy. A Boy trapped within a girl’s body. So i started dressing like one. Playing with boy things and acting like an actual normal everyday boy. However by age 10… It was there that i started getting set to get shots of this stuff called Androgen. Every other month at first… then as it went… every month and a half… to every month… to every two weeks. You get the idea. It was constant. ongoing. i grew tired of my family. I was faced with indifference and felt completely alienated from them. It got to where i just had to go. I had to leave them. So i went to find papers for Emancipation and had them filled out. Once done… i went out to do things that made money. Either by helping around the house or helping neighbors with some things for some side change. Money on hand as i was looking to shoot for a new life.
Macie: You were only 10? *Gasps* Oh… Sweet mother of disbelief! What did you do then, Joanna? *Nasally* Did you have some plan or idea of what to do?
Joanna: Yeah. I did… somewhat.
Joanna: Well… it was a plan nonetheless. It was a plan. I was emancipated and that meant freedom. Or so it could have seemed. I had my motorcycle… the one that you happened to see wrecked and totaled. I couldn’t repair if i were near a place that had things that i could use to rebuild it. I couldn’t think of anything to do but to just leave it there… Anyway… I had the motorcycle and the money that i managed to still have. Which was 100. I took that and made my way out on the open road. I happened to remember coming through the Hoover Dam.
It was the most marvelous sight ever. You would never believe how beautiful it was unless you were there to see it as it was like a majestic view. But just be sure that you didn’t look down from the top of the Dam. You’d be wanting to faint. It was a sight no one can forget. But here… as Johnny. This is what A couple years ago… I was barely making it and i just left my parents as i reached my fill dealing with them. I had emancipated from them and was on the road riding my motorcycle. I didn’t know where i was gonna go. But i knew that i had to get away. Live a new life. Any life. But that night… On the day after the actual day that i’ve left my parents and Emancipated intentionally from them… I was strolling or cruising along Phoenix, Arizona. It was a rather hot day and in the desert… even though it’s night time. It doesn’t exactly get all that cool. But i was in Phoenix that night. Cruising around the city and only stopping at the corner of S. 40th street and E. University Dr. to recharge on Gas and grab something to eat. I at that time… had like only 100 Dollars on hand as it was all i had to spend. What i had to live on during that time. I used a piece of it on gas for the Motorcycle and something to hold me over till i found a decent pull-up spot to just crash for a little bit and catch some sleep. I had only just barely finished getting gas for my Motorcycle when suddenly this guy… I don’t even know who he was. but he was indeed persuasive. came over towards me and saw that i was… well alone and with nowhere to go. Of course… a 14 year old guy on the road doesn’t really speak innocent in first impressions. But i was. till that night. He asked me if i was goin’ somewhere and i shrugged. I didn’t know what to tell him. He asked where my parents were and i told him plainly that they left me and disowned me. But the truth was that… i left them. Emancipated from them and i even hinted or referred that to him. Not that it was for him to know as he didn’t know me and i didn’t even know him. I told him about how i left my family. Why i left. I didn’t have the need to lie. Because there was nothing to lie about. I told him about it and we just got to talking a bit. The guy however was a starving artist. But happened to have a decent living. He figured that i might have been a little hungry and in need of food. It was not as if it was something he had to do. But couldn’t bare to just depart without at least offering a chance to allow for me to grab something filling. This guy was apparently Italian. Had a hankering for Pizza. That was when he just lead me to this pizza place that was just down the road from where i was at that moment. The Pizza there is just phenomenal. The Chicago deep dish that they have is just outstanding. I had 4 slices of it and wound up so stuffed that i swore that i’d pop.
Macie: It didn’t have any Anchovies on it… did it?
Joanna: No. It didn’t. Anyway… But it was definitely a peaceful and serene moment. However as they would always say… With the sweet soon came the not so sweet and delighted. I was soon about to depart from the place and i must have gotten as far as Albuquerque, New Mexico when i stopped somewhere to find a place to grab something to eat as yet again… it’s been like several hours since the last that i’ve eaten anything. Namely something like that Chicago deep dish pizza. It was another 7 hour ride. Which wasn’t so bad as there wasn’t any traffic much. Just some stop-up. But i barely stopped in front of this food mart when suddenly i got grabbed by a couple of men. I didn’t know who the hell they were. They were kinda troublesome and seemed to have a lot to prove as they were considered as the bad seeds. I didn’t want to hang around them. However they got me where i had to stick around them a little. They came off as just misunderstood. However… It didn’t turn out that way as they were also smoking. Smoking and had a dark secret all their own. Apparently… what was said… after it was all done… was that they were into taking pictures of young kids. X-rated porn-the illegal and sickening kind. But it never got that far. Not with me… All they did was encourage me to let loose and embrace my bad teen side. I didn’t. Even with them insisting that i tried on smoking. I tried it. Only one time as it seemed like something teens with that James Dean personality would do. It was only one. Just one and i didn’t even finish it. I got away from there as fast as i could once i had a clear shot to make a run for it. I ran off and got onto my Motorcycle and Sped off. Thinking as though for every inch away on the road… was another few feet away from them. I made it to this city… about a week later… Been here in this city since that time. But i have been on the road for 4 years. Or Emancipated for 4 years and been here for a year. But till only recently… kept it low key and taught myself. Reading books and doing Math problems on my own. Feeding the brain knowledge as much as i could.With anything i could get my hands on.
Macie: You left your parents? What made you just want to leave them?
Joanna: The fact that they were treating me differently. Seeing me as just some bastard born in sin. They didn’t see any good in me. The minute i choose to start going for the treatments to one day turn myself into a full on Male… which as you can see… never happened. The very instant that i got that sort of thought running around… they regarded me as just some stranger. Before i actually officially emancipated from them… i was treated as if i weren’t even there among them. So… the fact that i left them… it was the best thing i could have ever done. The right thing.
Macie: *Gasps* …
Joanna: What? You’re looking at me like i just confessed to a capital crime. You really don’t think that there are those who happen to be only 10 or 11 years of age breaking loose and Emancipating themselves from their own parents… their own families over having to suffer terrible conditions or doing so just because? *Chuckles* Geez! I guess when you say sheltered shrubs… You really mean being inside a viscous bubble of Obscurity and obliviosity. No one there knows the hard realities of the world… do they? Macie, I think that it might actually be a wiser idea if you stayed here. In Metropolis. I see great things coming from you. But as long as you cling to Sheltered Shrubs… Those great things that could be on the verge of busting out into the open… They’re gonna remain locked up inside and never seeing the light.
Joanna: We’ll get into that later. First we have to get a hold of Carly. Somehow… But enough of that…There is more to my plight here… More than what i’ve let out.
Macie: What do you mean?
Joanna: Just this… While i was Johnny… I got my hands on things. Taught myself some tricks of the trade. Like picking locks. It worked well… when i wanted to try and get in someplace. I didn’t always do it… i just only did it when it was needed. That was about all. Besides i don’t go for prying into where i shouldn’t necessarily be. Now as Johnny… I later down the road attended the local high school here. Where i made a few friends or so i had thought. But it turned out that the only actual solid friend i made was this girl named Carly Rhapsody. She risked everything for Johnny. She was there for him when no one else wanted to know him or have anything to do with him/me. It was sad, yes. But it wasn’t a secret. I knew that i was different. Plus i had a habit too. Smoking which didn’t help the matter. I happened to still do it. but won’t show off that around you. I already exposed enough to you as it is… Now… As i would be saying, I only had one close real friend. Carly was that friend. But it was not long before i had to flee. Because on the 15th of this month which just happens to be almost over… i reached the defining moment where i had to leave this city. to see that the process of the journey to being all male found itself being undone.Which soon led me to being as you see now. But that’s all of it. I left from this city because some people were wise to who i really was. I couldn’t have that. I couldn’t have it. And the two who were itching to expose the truth about me… the truth about what i really was… are those two boys over on the other side. Aurora Grantham and Ben Angels. I know it’s them as they’re like these gossipers who just enjoy fresh info on people… anything to gossip about.
Macie: Oh… I know what you mean… My friend Dodie from back home in Sheltered Shrubs… She’s like a gossiper too. She loves to gossip. Trying to be part of the popular crowd like Courtney Gripling. But the thing is… she never will be because she just happens to want it too much. Way too much and works too hard for it. She’s obsessed with wanting to be popular.
Joanna: Sounds like an attention whore. One who comes off as being so needy. a person who behaves in a provocative, outrageous, or reprehensible manner in order to attract attention.
Macie: I never really had thought of it like that. But you know, Joanna? You happen to be right.
Joanna: Not really. It could be that she wants to just find her place in the world and wants more out of life and feels that being part of the In-Crowd… Part of the Popular Posse’… that social high crowd… feels that being part of that part of the school or mass crowd… will make her a someone. A noticeable individual. It doesn’t work that way. Never did. She should know that.
Macie: I’m sure she does… but the urge of wanting to be popular… seems to cloud her better judgement.
Joanna: I’ll say.
Joanna: *Voice-over* As we were talking… we didn’t happen to notice that the two boys i caught sight of were walking over to the table. They happened to notice me and i couldn’t see as to how because i came into the Diner to just get something to eat. As well as the fact that i wasn’t even doing anything to make them notice me. However… Something told me that they were seeking to torment me. But… why? Why me? What reason could they have to feel as if they should constantly try to poke fun at me? That’s what i thought at first. Of course it could have been anything. There could have been a bunch of possibilities on why they were coming to me just suddenly. Macie and I looked at each other and felt a bit confused as to what the two approaching boys could want.
By time that they reached over to where we were… we were already set to head off as we’ve paid for our dinner and had planned on making off towards seeing a movie. So what ever it was that they may have wanted would have to wait. Or would it? The two boys looked at me and suspected something coming from me. Whatever it could have been had to be just something for them to use against me. They weren’t being very pleasant either.
Joanna: *Looking at the boys* What do you two want now? You’ve already caused my life to change up quite a bit. I had to go and take some time to heal. And just so you know… I’m Joanna. Not Johnny. Not anymore as clearly… you two were seeking to expose him as me… and humiliate me. I can’t see why… as to the fact that there was no reason behind it as he never did anything to make you want to humiliate him. Other than the fact that you guys just wanted to gossip. Ruin my life.
Aurora: What the heck are you talking about, Joanna? We didn’t know about Johnny being really you… not in the way that you are assuming. We just knew because we had this sort of impression. However we never were gonna go around and tell the others and expose you.
Ben: besides… So what? So you’re a transgender… And? That’s not exactly world news. We never had a problem with it. We just didn’t seem to understand it… but we never had a issue about it. Transgenders are not a big deal in Metropolis. They’re people. Gender confused perhaps… but they’re people.
Joanna: Sure they are. You say that now… But if you didn’t happen to seek on telling others about it… who did?
Aurora: You might want to look at that Korean girl Lane Kim. She’s the one that would… She’s constantly gossiping to people.
Ben: Yeah. She never shuts up.
Joanna: *Feeling suspicious* Hmm…
Joanna: *Voice-over* That was when i figured out that there was a liable cover-up. It had to be since i knew that the two boys were not one to just throw up the hands and just say that they were guilty of the reason behind what i had to go through. I know it was them… But now… i couldn’t prove it. There wasn’t any proof. No proof at all. People usually know that in any case or when trying to get to the bottom of something and you know that something is wrong… or if someone is trying to hide something that they don’t want anyone to see or know about… or if there tends to be a cover-up. If there is not viable proof. No circumstantial evidence of foul play or tampering… or evidence of unmistakenable wrongdoing and or misconduct… if there was not that proof. there was nothing anyone could do to expose it or get the guilty party to confess.
Now that since it was not getting anywhere… It was considered just a dead horse. Macie and I made off to do what we were planning to do and yet bid the two guys farewell… That maybe we’d see them later or in a day or two. Of course chances were that they’d go spreading the word that i was in the city now. I couldn’t let anyone know that. Not at the moment even though i wanted to find Carly and tell her what should be told. She had that right to be told the truth.
The night was in fact peaceful throughout the remainder of the night. Macie and I saw a very entertaining movie which had put our minds at ease. It was a musical that was playing. Something called Grease. We watched it and allowed for everything else to just escape our minds. Not putting much thought about what we dealt with not too long ago. Macie happened to forget all about Sheltered shrubs. Which was both a good thing but yet a bad thing as it was as though she was letting go a gigantic part of her. Everything she knew. All that she came to hold close to her heart. What she didn’t know though was something would soon come and take place. Something in her life would change. Whether it be big or small.
It was only a couple days later when there was told to be a Secret Wedding going on and it wasn’t anything for me to attend. No one knew that i was in the city. No one even caught word that there was also someone new to the city. Macie was the most newest visitor. I didn’t realize that there was something called an Airship. Not only that… It was then said to be an Al-Bhed Airship. However i didn’t know of it being one… let alone an airship till days later when i’d be likely with Carly and she’d tell me. That was if i’d get the chance to be with her again. Of course, i couldn’t just leave Macie in the cold dust. I had to get things set for her. Now that she was in Metropolis… It was all gonna be different for her. Different lifestyle all the same.
I went to the Landlord’s apartment and knocked on the door. I had to get something done for Macie. She was stuck in Metropolis… There was absolutely no idea or any telling what would happen for her. But i had to do something and fast. She needed a life here. And without much delay. The door opened only seconds later and there stood Frank. He looked at me with a expression of puzzlement. He couldn’t figure on what it was that i wanted. But that was when i let it out to him. Brought it out to the open.
Joanna: Frank, Can we talk? I need some help for Macie.
Frank: What kind of help might you need?
Joanna: We need to get Macie into a school here. She’s got no school here and she’s from Connecticutt originally. But she’s many miles away from the state she’s from. She doen’t have a way to get there and there’s no way for her to get there.
Frank: What would you expect that i do?
Joanna: See on calling the Metropolis High School and ask if they could make a call over to Lucky High school in Sheltered Shrubs, Connecticutt. Having them transfer all school files and records for Macie Lightfoot to Metropolis High, Kansas. Macie can’t go without school and there isn’t any way that she can just go back to her home town. There’s no way for her to get there. She’s got no way to get there.
Frank: Who am I to her?
Joanna: A volunteered and hired respected Guardian. And also one for me. a bit more calls and such will be required for me as they have me as a Johnny Barlow. They don’t know of a Joanna Barlow.
Frank: Very well… It’ll take a few hours… But i shall see what i can do. I’ll come by to your apartment when i have the information and have it all set up.
Joanna: Thank you. I’ll see on getting Macie some clothes to wear so she at least has something. And School supplies.
Frank: How’re you gonna do that? You don’t have any money. But i know where you can get some. Head over to the secret pad. A gentleman’s club. Exclusive. There’s a girl named Royale Partridge. She goes by the nickname Sparkly Jenny. She holds all the money i make doing the types of work that i happen to do. I have 600,000 dollars saved up. Go to her and tell her that you need about 1500. If she asks… Let her know that it’s for me. That i have to Pay a Maintenance man for hectic work on the air ducts and the vents for the building. The guy wanted cash. It’ll be okay. I’ll produce a cover story upon her later…
Joanna: Okay. *Nods*… *Smiles* Thank you.
Joanna: *Voice-over* And so… I made way to the location that Frank gave me. I knew that i was taking a risk in doing this… but this wasn’t for me. This was for Macie. She was in need. So… i did what it was that i knew i had to do. I was this transgender girl. Who tried to go through the motions of being turned into a boy and then because of the possible wrong people figuring out what i truly was… A girl… i fled and allowed for the process to undo itself and became what i started as. I was a transgender going through all these channels to ensure that someone would have a shot in the city. It was to be all about me. All of it for me and only me. However, when i came across Macie… that all changed. I know what everyone will be thinking… I am slipping into a “As told By” Mindset in a Rhapsody world. The Rhapsody fighters were close by somewhere. I knew and felt it. I didn’t know how… I didn’t know why… but for some mystical reason or another… I felt them. And i knew that Carly would more than likely sense me. Some people sense when certain people… are near. Kinda like a sixth sense.
I sensed them and yet… they were not that close to where i was. As soon as i reached the gentleman’s club, i posed as someone who’d been there before and made as if i were like one of the common patrons. it was a long shot but i knew that with being only 15 years old… coming into an adult establishment was borderline of stepping into uncharted territory. I couldn’t have a light in here. That was gonna make like i was a wannabe. And it would screw up my cover. I went to the counter closeby and asked for Sparkly Jenny. Surprise being that the lady i spoke to first was her. She looked at me with such a curious eye. Not sure what to make of me or the reason why i’d be in a gentleman’s club. But i couldn’t just back down now… I came this far and i knew that it was either do it or watch Macie having to struggle in a new city many miles away from her family and friends back where she originally came from where things made the most sense.
I sat there and relayed the details of what was going on and then relayed the very message that Frank had me relay. I felt as though my guts were being twisted and turned into multiple directions as i was relaying the whole thing to the woman. I didn’t know what to expect. Here i was just sitting here telling her everything and the whole time i was with that uncertain sense that i was gonna be tossed out. Not that i’d be taken by surprise and off my guard as i didn’t even belong in there. I knew that i didn’t have a place in there. The place was nothing for a young girl to be walking in just freely. What was i gonna do? I had to see this through… i had to do this… It was not just for me… It was also for Macie. Macie was gonna need this most of all. She had nothing here. Everything she was and everything that she owned… her life was completely back in Connecticutt. There was nothing here. And if something wasn’t done… She’d be for certain one who was stripped of all that she was and left with nothing. It was bad enough that she was away from home… But to be going through life with nothing… It was gonna damage her. I didn’t even know her. I had no idea or clue about what she was really about. Nothing. Yet, Here i was trying to do things to see that there was some sort of life for her in Metropolis. Likely a new life. A better life.
Suppose that it was a good fortune as the lady believed me and believed that Frank would say something such as what i had just told her. She gave me the 1500 and told me to tell Frank to stop by the gentleman’s club in a little bit. She clearly had something to discuss with him. No clue whatsoever on what that could have been… but it might have been something rather personal. Confidential. With the money on hand, i made on over to my apartment. Where Macie was just getting up after clearly having a rather slow morning. A very slow day. But it was gonna get better as i showed her the Money and had her get ready to go. We were going shopping and from the very look of things… it was gonna be a rather fast day as the stores were not gonna be as swamped as they usually would be on any other day. It seemed that with some sort of secret wedding or gathering going on… there was to be no heavy congestion within the stores. Which made it all the more pleasing.
At the stores… Macie and I went right for the clothing. I got her some nice shirts and yes… i had her pick them as she was the one who’d be wearing them. So… they had to look good on her. She had to feel as though she felt rather nice wearing them. We got her some skirts and Blouses. I however got myself some shirts, Pants and also skirts for myself. Panties. For both Macie… and myself. With all that in total… that rounded up to a estimate of $250.77. After that… it was off to get her school supplies. And Supplies for myself as well. that rounded up to a total of another 200.00 easily. Next was getting her some decongestants. A box of them. I however snuck off for a few minutes while she was looking at the shirts that she wanted and did something. Bought myself another pack. Yeah. That habit again. Look, It isn’t something i’m proud of… but from everything i went through… going through so many changes upon changes all within a solid year… It was enough to rattle me. I went girl… to process of becoming a all out boy… then undoing it. Letting it reverse and going back to being a girl again. With all that change… it eventually takes a toll on a person. Quaking up their nerves quite a bit. I’ll quit the habit someday… but right now… it was just gonna be as it was.
Anyway, i was only gone for a short while. Like a few minutes and when i came back… She was just finishing up with making sure that she got what it was that she was gonna want to wear. Macie was still holding true to who she was. But now she was gonna have a new look to her. The best one. I even then took her to the doctor’s to get a check up. I had to ensure that her wellbeing was the absolute top consideration. She had a shot. A prescriptioned order of decongestant. It was for her to get by. Not bad. I even took her to a beauty salon to get a brand new hairdo. Dyed it a new color. She was now with red hair. Macie looked really sweet. I couldn’t help but shed a tear for how nice and lovely she was. I got myself a new look too. By time all was said and done… we went through a grand. Nearly a grand. Only shy 100 dollars under the mark.
This was where the waiting had to begin. Things were set in motion and yet even though i was only 15… i felt like i was taking on the world of responsibility and feeling as if i were in my late 20’s to early 30’s. Call it totally a mindset of thinking that i was older than my time. Older than i was right then… But i felt as if i was indeed responsible for her. Truly responsible for her. As like a mother. But that was totally frickin’ nuts. Nuts and completely insane. How was i supposed to be like a mother figure to someone who appeared out to be about the same age as i was? I couldn’t even fathom the likely possible idea of being this mother figure to her. Even though i felt protective of her. Seeing that she was safe. This city was not quaint and safe as it tried to pose as being.
That night after things started to wind down for the day’s end. I seemed to feel as if there was something that we didn’t get done. However… we were out all day and took care of the school shopping. Getting some clothes and a mess load of school supplies. We also saw to it that we had Macie up to date on her health. Getting a check up. Got her some Decongestants. I didn’t hear from Frank yet on the setting up of the schooling. Seeing that everything was in order. It was only a few minutes later from then that there was a knock on the door. I opened it and it revealed Frank. He was there to discuss the details and what was going on. He clearly had a lot to say. So… i had to let him in. This was gonna take some tall glasses of something cold and refreshing. Maybe something carbonated. I didn’t necessarily have much in the apartment in beverage wise. That was when it hit me… I forgot to go grocery shopping. I had everything else done… All the vital things that needed to be done… done. However… The one thing that i forgot which was for sake of survival and to ensure that there’d be nourishment and things to eat…. i didn’t get to doing. Ugh! Talk about air-head. I felt like hell just then… Because that was one of the things that i should have thought of to do and see that it had been done. I had to think fast and quick. But problem was… I couldn’t get a hold of anyone. No one knew that i was back in the city yet. Other than O’aka. He was about the only one. besides those two boys. Aurora and Ben. This was one of those moments where i felt like a total moron. What was i gonna do? I had to think of something and i knew it would be a very big risk. A huge risk all the more and better. I was gonna have to get up very early… and be in front of the store’s doors when it first opened. This was gonna be a long night. A Long night and it was only starting.
The Landlord… Frank was inside the apartment. And it was then that we got to talking. He started off with asking how our day was before getting right to it. He started with the details…
Frank: *Sitting down and with the papers; the faxes and documents* I made the calls. It took a bit of tape to cut through in order to ensure that it would happen. But I made a call to the School and Explained to them the situation. It’s been set for Macie to attend school tomorrow for her first day. She’ll have to go over to the attendance office and then to the counselor’s office to pick up her class schedule. But she’ll need an escort to show her where her classes are and how to get to them. I also called and had it all set for you too, Joanna. However there’s no escort for you. They only assigned one for Macie. Not really sure as to why that is. But it’s all been set. I stood in and claimed the role of being the sole guardian of You and Macie. Had to make or fabricate a story that would be convincing and legit.
Joanna: Sometimes you have to go out on a limb. They understood the circumstances… didn’t they?
Joanna: it’s almost like facing the press. Sometimes… you gotta face them.
Macie: Otherwise they’ll hound you till you crack. Then they’ll misquote you.
Frank: Is that so?
Joanna: I never came across any of them. But…surely they can’t all be bad. Can they?
Macie: No. But Denial can be a great healer.
Joanna: You sound as though you’ve got the jitters, Macie. You okay?
Macie: Yeah. I’m good.
Frank: Don’t worry about tomorrow. You’ll be okay. It’s a far distance from Connecticutt. It’s far from there. But it’s a better start for a new life. Your new life might be a little lonesome as it’s without the crowd you are familiar with. However, you got Joanna to guard you. She won’t allow for anyone to try and hurt you.
Macie: *Nasally* Thank you, Mr. H.
Frank: You’re welcome. But please… just call me Frank. Frank will do well. *Grins*
Joanna: It’s one of her gimmicks. She’ll be better in time. It’s okay.
Frank: I see… I’ll have to try and get used to that.
Joanna: *Voice-over* It was during that night… that same night when Macie and i got to talking. She was talking about her life back home in Connecticutt. How long of a friendship she had with the crew she knew back in her hometown. She spoke of her parents and spoke of how they were a pair of psychiatrists. Psychologists. It was strange to me as to how she could speak of them all as if she were still in her hometown. But she remembered them. All of them. It was not as if she was aware that she was coming out as being one who had passed off the vibe of being homesick. What it was… was that she seemed to feel a sense of familiarity when she would just speak of her posse of companions back home. The times she’d have with Ginger. Dodie. Courtney, Darren. Among the others that come around. Lois too… As it was… hearing her speak about them so valiantly. To her it was just as if it were her way of seeking a reason for why she was away from her hometown. A reason to be able to say: “This is my life. It’s not the same as the one i know and grown familiar to. But it’s a opportunity to start anew. To start a new life and become better than what i was before.”
I couldn’t help but admire her. I was still all about Carly Rhapsody. That wasn’t a secret. But i tell you, when i happened to just sit and listen to her… It was like i was there… seeing the very exact thing that she was seeing. Experiencing. Enduring. It was that intense of a feeling because how Macie was telling it… I don’t know. It was as if my body was still and my soul was floating freely… floating into her and through her eyes… seeing the very things… the very things that she had to have been seeing. I had to have been under anesthesia or something as i couldn’t remember even floating off into a trans. A trippy one where i felt that maybe i was in fact dreaming. Thing about that was… i wasn’t dreaming. Neither was she. I seem to notice that we spent at least a couple hours talking. Speaking about our lives. About where Macie’s hometown was and was no longer.
This was my beginning of officially embracing my life as what i biologically was. A Girl… Soon… Carly would be back into my life, but now things were gonna be different. She and I would never be a couple. Only very close friends and nothing more. Unless i changed my Preferences. And that was gonna be without a doubt… tough to do. Especially with the fact behind what i once was… Macie was also in my life. In my circle of friends. She was far from Connecticutt. Sheltered Shrubs. Away from the very life she once knew.
But here is something that i didn’t think about till just that moment. I remembered dreaming. And while dreaming… i recalled looking back to when i was 6 years old. I didn’t think about really telling my friend Macie any extra details as i believed that she’s been briefed enough about it. I saw myself in the dream… while in my sub-conscious mind… sitting on her bed and looking out the window thinking about going for treatments and getting the shots that would have gradually turned me into a guy. I was thinking. Thinking hard and deep about it and considering all the options. Thinking strongly over all options that there were. what i was gonna do to get it done. I didn’t know who to go to as i couldn’t confide in anyone there. My parents were no help as they were high and dry against the whole thing. Against it from the word jump. Thinking it to be a complete travesty. A serious crime against the natural order of the human body. I however had my Aunt… Aunt Lara. No… Not Lara from the Superman Lore. But just as it sounded. Aunt Lara. I spoke to her and got her to grant it. She was open to me being who i was feeling inside. Inside. This was in my dreams… so it wasn’t really going on… Not as it may have sounded. But implications of it… were real enough that the actual events really took place. It took place as it was told. I would call her on the phone and get her impressions over it. Get her knowhow on it all. Advice.
Joanna: *On the phone* Aunt Lara, i don’t know what i am supposed to feel. I don’t understand. I am a girl but when i look at myself in the mirror… i see this guy looking right at me. I make a move… he makes it. I move my head and or arms… he moves them as if matching my moves to an exact accurate science. I’m scared. Is that me i look at when i look at the mirror? Am i really a boy trapped inside a girl’s body?
Aunt Lara: I can’t say sweetie. But i would honestly suggest that you follow your heart. What is it telling you? If you happen to feel like you want to go for these treatments… these hormone shots to get turned into a male and it progress as it goes on… You should. But it’s gotta be what you want. it has to be what you wish to do.
Joanna: I know. I’m just unsure about what it’ll do. What if it hurts my insides and or damages me?
Aunt Lara: You won’t know unless you try. But what do your parents think? Are they okay with it?
Joanna: No. They’re already placing their foot down on it. They don’t want it to happen. They’re already against it.
Aunt Lara: So they’re against it. Do it anyway. It’s your body. Your choice. You might still be a child. A Minor… but if it’s something that you really want. Go and do it. I’ll go with you and sanction it. Grant it.
(Still in the dream)
Joanna: *Voice-over* That was when the process started. I was like 10… When it was going on… When it started. But i couldn’t help feeling that i was this guy inside a girl’s body. I mean… yeah… i could have been just this tomboy or a surviving twin and that could have told off all that i needed to express… That i must have been a surviving twin and I felt as if i was outta step because i was not really this girl… but a guy posing as one. You see… I was just really outta step. On alot of things because of it. Going through the mood swings. The changes as i was growing. But… i also was experiencing the reality of being a gender confused person. With a Gender identity crisis. One that i could not understand. I had no understanding of it but i felt it inside. Inside me and it was to the point where it would just burst if i didn’t handle it. My Aunt was the only one who happened to be willing to assist me in the process. She understood me more than my parents did and i was like my parents most. I had my mother’s ambitious attitude where if something came to me and it was something i sought out to do… i went and found some way… Any possible way i could to see that it was done. Even if i happened to get stuck with doing it all on my own. Well… anything except going for the shots. The shots of Hormones. Estrogen. Or Androgen. The testosterone shots. Which would have done something… But haven’t done a thing at all. Although i had the ambition. My father’s temper and determination. My mother’s Courage and agility.
This was how i got to where i was. However even though i had no contact with my parents… i still had my Aunt even while and still that i had emancipated from my mom and dad. I never looked back and didn’t plan to. But i remembered the things that my sweet aunt told me. The things that would make all the sense. But i could tell her that i changed my mind about the procedure and decided to let it undo what all was done. It didn’t take much as the injections were indeed not strong as though it was deemed as though it had the strongest feeling. But it was done all the same.
This was where Joanna’s official grand return would begin. Exactly where it begins…