Her Mother’s Daughter
1. Recessional — The final week.
No. I don’t regret anything that I’ve done: why should I? She’s my daughter: I carried her for nine months; I struggled to raise her; I put up with the pitying, disapproving glances, the vicious barbed insults and the sneers. They hardened me against what she herself would hurl at me as she grew up: she was always stubborn—she gets that from me and I wouldn’t have had her any other way. But—and its what we call a big but—I have no real idea where the vicious and vindictive streak came from; that could only have been from her father’s genes (whoever he was)!
No, the older she got the nastier she became, to other people she was a perfect English rose but to me she was a little queen-bitch. When she was fourteen she found out what a ‘lesbian’ was and strangely enough, she went quiet for a few days. Then soon afterwards she worked-out that I was one. I won’t repeat any of the vitriol that she hurled at me on an almost daily basis: or at least when she didn’t want anything. When she did, she was all sweetness and light: the perfect loving daughter. Again: some of it was my fault: I tended to spoil her; often because it was the only way to get any peace and quiet. But she was my daughter and despite everything she said, I loved her unconditionally.
In my own defence I would like to say that I never consciously tried to influence her sexuality although this never stopped her from claiming that I was trying to “turn her into a dyke”. May be I should have tried: at least we would have had something in common other than the constant rows.
Things came to a head the weekend before her eighteenth birthday: it was the Saturday before she was due to ‘come of age’ on the following Friday. Like every other concerned parent; I was waiting up for her. She was supposed to be in by eleven but by midnight I was worried—I was really worried! The eleven pm deadline was one that she herself had suggested after a discussion and by en-large she had stuck to it.
As the hands on the wall clock got closer to half past midnight, my internal demons began to nag at me. Is she hurt? Has she been in an accident? Has she been kidnapped? Is she....
The front door slammed...
“Samantha?” I called out in a relieved voice.
“WHAT?” The answer might as well have been: “Get out of my face!” because that was what my daughter really meant.
She poked her head around the lounge door and glared at me and I steeled myself for the row that we were about to have. I looked at her: her long blonde hair was dishevelled and her heavy make-up smeared.
“What?” She repeated slightly less aggressively.
I smiled a conciliatory smile. “Is everything alright?”
She came into the room and flopped down in the chair opposite me. “Is this going to take long? Only I’m tired and want to go to bed!”
I repeated the question. “Is everything alright?”
“Why shouldn’t it be?” She asked shrugging off my concerns.
I swallowed and tried to get rid of the sour taste in my mouth. “I do worry about you, Sammie... I really do.”
“Yeah, well...” Her anger seemed to subside. “I’m okay, honest, mom. We were just celebrating my birthday. That’s all.”
I carefully avoided mentioning her street-wise precocious friends of whom I did not approve: what mother ever does? I sniffed: and said the wrong thing entirely. “Have you been drinking?”
I regretted it as soon as the words were out. “I’m eighteen!” She snapped.
“No you are not!” I countered. “Not till next Friday you’re not.” My voice sounded tired: she really was wearing me down.
“Linnie’s folks let her drink when she was sixteen!” My daughter snapped.
I sighed. “I’m not concerned about her: only you.” Then I made my next mistake. “Who else was there?”
She rolled her eyes theatrically. “Oh just us girls... And our boyfriends.” She really emphasised the last word.
I sighed, I had already suspected that she was sexually active to some degree or other and added. “Do be careful, Sammie.”
Was it guilt? I don’t know, but she suddenly exploded. “Oh I am! I take precautions every time. I don’t care what you say, I love it! What’s more: you can’t stop me! I love Alan and he loves me... Or would you rather I slept with Linnie?.. I know that you hate boys... So what do you know?” She shrieked, jumping to her feet and seeming to become hysterical. “I’m not gay, you know. I’m not going to become a lesbian!”
I closed my eyes, bit back on my next remark and tried to tell her the real reason that I was waiting up. “Sammie... I’ve got some good news...”
“I don’t care: I’m going to bed!” She snapped and ran out of the room.
“... we’ve won the lottery.” I announced quietly to the slamming door.
I didn’t see her before two the following afternoon: I put Sunday lunch on hold and waited for “her Ladyship” to appear. Eventually the door swung open and a sickly, hungover figure tottered into the kitchen. She looked even more pale than usual.
“Been sick!” The apparition mumbled. “Don’t want nothing!”
Lunch was off. I watched her as she folded herself onto a chair at the opposite end of the kitchen table: she looked so small and frail. “Oh, Sammie!”
“What?” She tried to snap, but her heart just wasn’t in it. “Leave me alone!”
I winced. “Try a bit of dry toast... It can help settle the stomach.” I said trying to be helpful.
Suddenly she made a gagging noise, clamped her hand over her mouth and ran out of the room. I heard something splash onto the hall floor and went to get the mop and bucket.
That evening, I left her watching television and drove across town to the club where I was a member. It was a lady’s club: I had been going there for years and it was a sort of second home to me. As you will realise, “Lady’s” is a euphemism for “Lesbian’s” and yes, there still are a few of those clubs left in the UK, although The Fish on a Bicycle was probably the only one left in the whole of the Midlands. It had a shabby gentility about it, which suited me. It’s still there and is much the same even now, so I’m not complaining.
I sat in the lounge at the club: I was deep in thought and nursing a cup of coffee. The lounge was rather like a large sitting room, but without a TV. I was there for one reason and one reason only—to give myself somewhere to think. I had a homophobic daughter who was beyond my control and was, I feared, going to get herself pregnant by one of the spotty morons that she hung around with. I needed to do something: but what? Had I actually any right to interfere? Oh, sure; I was her mother, but in less than a week she would be an adult and I would lose her completely.
No I was not a “clingy” parent but I was HER parent: her only one: I felt responsibility: but was that all? I know that I am stubborn: that’s where Sammie gets it from. She’d backed me into a corner with her torrent of abuse and assorted insults: but she hadn’t worn me down. I felt that I had a parental responsibility to make sure that my daughter grew up into a well-balanced woman and not an obnoxious brat. In my own way I had taken that responsibility seriously.
I signalled to the young Asian woman who was hovering over in the corner of the lounge. She came trotting over to me and addressed me with a cheerful. “Yes, Ma’am?”
She was tall and leggy, a fact emphasised by her ultra-short waitress’s costume and little white pinafore. “Ah, Wendy...”—Not a very ‘Indian’ name—“...is there any more coffee please?”
She smiled and answered in a surprisingly deep voice. “I’ll just get you another cup.”
A familiar voice behind me added. “Make that two!”
I didn’t need to turn. “Hallo, Maud, what brings you here on a Sunday?”
She sank untidily into the armchair opposite as the click-clack-click of Wendy’s heels vanished towards the kitchen. She sighed. “Oh you know; same old, same old..”
Which I translated from middle-aged-lesbian-speak into English and got: “I was lonely!” Maud was perhaps twenty years older than me and of the faction that described its self as ‘butch’. Me? I’m a woman... I’ve never thought I needed a sub-gender.
Wendy reappeared with a silver tray on which she balanced our coffee, the cream jug and the sugar basin. She had not quite mastered the art of balancing on 4″ heels and carrying a tray of drinks, so she apologised for the spillage.
“Don’t worry about it.” Maud reassured her. “How you feeling?”
Wendy grimaced. “Still a bit sore: but its worth it. Can’t wait to go all the way. Dr Kaur says that she can fiddle the whole ‘living as a woman’ bit and I can start surgery as soon as she can sort out the paper work.”
I felt as if I’d been slapped: this beautiful, tall and willowy creature was actually transgender?
My bump of curiosity was niggling at me when she walked away after serving the coffee. “She’s never a transwoman?”
Maud chuckled. “Give her a chance: she only got castrated a fortnight ago—she’s still transitioning!” She smiled wistfully. “Personally, I can’t wait for her to finish her, er, upgrades.”
“Maud!” I snapped in surprise.
“What?” She laughed as she poured cream into her coffee. “If she wants to be a beautiful woman and work at this club then she can expect us all to be queuing up to get into her panties and pop her cherries.”
“I didn’t know that we allowed pre-op TG’s as members: or employees.” I said in an attempt to cover my surprise.
She sipped her coffee genteelly, which was at odds with her appearance. “We have to move with the times, old thing.” She said in her public school voice. (Yes, she had been expelled from Roedean, one of the best girls’ schools in the country.) “Besides she’s one of Milly’s converts.”
“Ah. That Milly!” Milly, the former stress councillor whose hobby seemed to be turning men into women.
I was about to tell her about my latest run-in with my “sweet” daughter when there was... Well not a disturbance, exactly... Madam Anna Volkova arrived.
Anna was a wealthy woman: a fixer who could arrange for almost anything to happen: an oligarch, if you like. It was rumoured that she owned a whole Caribbean Island amongst other things. She was a slim, blonde, ageless woman with perfect pale skin and long ash-blonde hair... Don’t you just hate her already?
She undulated in accompanied by a taller dark-haired woman who had the word ‘lawyer’ running through her: just like the town name in a stick of sea-side rock.
“Oh, God!” Maud spluttered. “Something’s going down.” She gestured towards the entrance. I followed her gaze and watched several other women enter. The first was a middle aged Indian woman with long, straight shiny, black hair: so obviously not a wig like Wendy’s. Like the Russian, she was immaculately dressed and was trailed by another lawyer.
I turned to Maud. “Who’s that?”
“Only the Queen Bitch, herself: the richest woman in Birmingham—that’s who! Don’t tell me that you’ve never heard of Padma Patel?”
When I admitted that I hadn’t, my friend just snorted.
The two powerful women sat down at one of the small coffee tables while the two lawyers remained standing and eyed each other with professional suspicion. Suddenly they were joined by another woman, a younger one who was casually dressed: she folded into the other armchair that was by the table. “Well?” We heard her ask rather sharply.
Padma Patel looked at her as if she was making an appraisal while the Russian blonde smiled thinly. “I think that we can do business... A lot of business. After all, biotech is the future: how much do you want for 40% of company?” She asked in a rather clipped accent.
At this point the conversation became muted and I went back to telling Maud all about my troubles.
We moved to the cocktail bar shortly afterwards and I cuddled up to my old friend for comfort as we nursed a couple of weak Bucks Fizzes: we were both driving and I, for one, did not want to lose my licence.
I ignored Maud’s ulterior motives: I knew that she wanted to get me into her “dungeon” as she called her bedroom-cum-playroom. She had a liking for bondage, which was not my scene... Hell, I didn’t even know what the letters BDSM stood for at that time!
She slipped a comforting arm around me and gave me a quick squeeze. “Poor Caitlyn, she really is putting you through it, isn’t she?” Maud purred... She was up to something, I could tell. Maud was a psychiatrist and knew exactly which buttons to push to get the result that she wanted. Although, sitting there in the club that night, I didn’t much care.
“Oh, Maud, what am I going to do?” I asked rhetorically... I didn’t expect an answer, mainly because I knew that there wasn’t one. I was locked in a battle that most parents are familiar with: it begins at puberty and goes on until the spots fade.
She kissed me on top of my head and chuckled and pushed a button. “She’s eighteen on Friday—then your job is done: you can throw her out; change the locks, sell the place and move in with me!” She purred.
I smiled weakly. “The first part sounds attractive but I don’t fancy being your sub, or slave or whatever.”
I leaned forward and picked up my glass: as I sat up again her hand ‘slipped’ onto my breast quite by accident—not! I didn’t object: I’d known Maud a long time: she could take liberties if she wanted too, in fact I welcomed the attention.
“Maud, what can I do? I don’t want to lose her: she’s the only family that I’ve got. She’s everything to me.”
There was a dry chuckle and another button was pushed. “Poor Caitlyn: at her age you should be getting so much pleasure out of her, shouldn’t you? You should be doing all of the mother-daughter girly things together that you dreamed about, you know: shopping, sharing secrets, going out together: things like that.”
I sighed wistfully. “Oh I’ve tried, God knows how I’ve tried but she seems to throw everything back into my face.”
“Only because she is allowed too.”—A third button went click. “Have you ever thought about...” She let her voice tail off. (Click!).
“What?” I sat up half turned and faced her, the fondling hand fell away.
Maud smiled. “No, it wouldn’t work for you. She’s not your type.” (Click!—click!—click!)
I frowned. “Are you suggesting that I should have an affair with my own daughter?” I asked incredulously.
She gave me a wide, beaming smile. “Or would you rather she climb into bed with a series of spotty juvenile males until you end up as a grandmother?
I felt my mouth fall open as I stared at my oldest friend. “Yes!” I snapped. This was followed by. “No!” And then “Oh, I don’t know what I mean!” In quick succession. (Click!—click!—click!) I was pushing my own buttons now.
“But, Maud, it’s wrong: it’s gross.” I tried to counter attack.
The smile became exasperatingly wide. “Well, if Sammie’s not attractive: if she’s repulsive too you, okay, it would be unpleasant for you. But she’s not, is she?”
My head seemed to spin and I heard a tiny voice say. “No.” Ever so quietly.
Then another question. “So you do fancy her, don’t you?” She purred.
“’Ess.” Someone answered, so quietly that I almost missed it. By now my head was light. Do I fancy my own daughter? Do I? Do I? The words tumbled through my echoing skull. There was only one honest answer.
Maud leaned closer and whispered. “She’s eighteen on Friday: why don’t you give yourself a birthday present?” She frowned prettily. “It won’t be cheap or easy, mind...”
“Oh that’s okay.” The strange voice seemed to shout. “I’ve just won the lottery.”
Maud stood up. “Okay, my darling, I’ll make some preliminary enquiries. Phone me tomorrow morning with your answer!” Then with a pleased smile, she pivoted on her heel and walked purposefully out of the cocktail bar. What had I agreed to? I left shortly after: I don’t need to say just how confused I felt.