A true story by Paulette Parfois
Having lived on this planet for 70+ years I continue to marvel over how life teaches us lessons when we least expect it. One of the most life changing moments in my life occurred several years ago when my wife and I were waiting to board an overnight flight (a ‘red eye’ to us Road Warriors) from Denver to Miami.
We were sitting in the embarkation area waiting to board our flight. A young woman came and sat across from us. It was readily apparent she was either a crossdresser or transsexual and she was not ‘passing’ very well.
At the time, I was a senior executive for a major US cable television company and to be honest I was ‘full of myself’. To make matters worse, I was in a particular ‘snarky’ mood that night and began texting unflattering comments about her to my wife. I was impressed by my ‘witty’ and acerbic commentary and was quietly chuckling to myself.
The time came to board and since we had early boarding we were some of the first to get on the plane. We sat down across the isle from one another (my wife and I both prefer aisle seats). Shortly thereafter general boarding began, and I noticed the young woman coming down the aisle. I texted to my wife “just my luck she sits next to me”. Just as I hit the ‘send’ button a masculine sounding voice said, “Pardon me I think I have the seat next to you”. Yes, it was her!
As she settled into her seat we exchanged polite pleasantries as airline passengers tend to do. She told me her name was Anna. Since I was looking forward to some sleep and was more than slightly annoyed she was sitting next to me, I tried my best to keep my replies short. However, she was so pleasant and engaging I could not help but to respond.
She told me she was an archaeologist and taught at one the universities in the Denver area. My wife, who has a passion for archaeology, heard her and perked up from her light dozing. After some discussion about archeology, and my wife’s experiences as an amateur archaeologist, the subject changed to Anna’s transition.
Anna told us how she had only recently completed transitioning and that she was returning to her hometown for her twentieth high school reunion. She said she was from Belle Glade, a small town on the southern shore of Lake Okeechobee. Having lived in Florida about the time Anna was in high school I recalled Belle Glade had a reputation of being kind of a ‘deep-in-the-swamp’ town and not too receptive to those different from them.
Anna told us she had not been back home for several years and that her family had not seen her since her transition. She was more than a little apprehensive about the welcome she was going to receive. As she told her story about her struggles and with coming to terms with her gender identity I found myself enthralled by her courage and determination. I also was thinking about what kind of reception she was going to receive back in Belle Glade.
To make a long story short, the three of us talked and laughed the whole flight (I am sure much to the annoyance of fellow passengers trying to get some sleep).
When the plane arrived in Miami I found myself wishing the flight would be longer. As we started to embark I reached over and hugged Anna and told her she would be in our prayers in the coming days. She sweetly smiled and gave me a kiss on the cheek. I almost broke down and cried. We promised to ‘keep in touch’, (as passengers on long flights tend to do) but we never did. However, she has remained in my thoughts for all these years. I hope it worked out for her and she is comfortable with her new life. I have silently thanked her many times over the years for bringing me from being opinioned and bigoted to becoming compassionate and understanding.
As I said life has a way of teaching us lessons we never expected to learn. When I began my adventure crossdressing as Paulette Anna’s example of fortitude and courage allowed me to fully appreciate the diversity and beauty in people. So, thank you Anna from the bottom of my heart. You are and will always be a bright beacon in my journey as Paulette. Life is good and its lessons are lasting!
Thank you girls for taking the time to read my article. Feel free to respond to my article or one of more of the questions I’ve posed to you below:
- Have you ever had a preconceived opinion of someone appearing very different from you on the outside later to find out what a wonderful person he/she was after you got to know he/she better in short order?
- Do you plan on transitioning further in the near future and if so, how far will you go with your transition?
- What percent of all cross dressers do you think appear as 100% passable as a girl while out in public?
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to you all,
With much love, Paulette