In 2006 someone I had known at school proposed a reunion. I had found Catherine through Friends Reunited, and said I might go. Oh, by the way, I have made a few changes in my life-
The news raced up the loch 24 miles to Inveraray. I had left Argyll in 1988, and only returned once after that, seeing almost no-one; but this was the most shocking gossip available. It reached the ears of my sister’s motherinlaw. Inez phoned my sister, my sister phoned my father, and my father phoned me to pass on the message that if I attended the reunion my sister would never speak to me again.
Well, a 600 mile round trip is a long way for a weekend, and I had something else to do then. I understand not many people went, and it was not a success. Catherine heard of my changes and had no bigoted reaction; why should it matter to Inez? Why should my sister support her mother in law and not me?
This year we have spoken on the phone once, when she called me about raising court action. I have called a couple of times, and got the answering machine. When we speak, we are polite, even friendly, and she has put me up in Edinburgh when I visit to see my father. We fought as children, of course, but we have that childhood in common-
I suppose I have sort of accepted it. That is good, right- Denial Anger Bargaining Depression Acceptance, the end of the sequence? At the time, I was moving from Oldham to Newport because the local kids were scratching my car- every panel of it- and because the funders of my job role refused to make a decision on it, carrying on funding month to month (it has since ceased).
I don’t think I have done the anger stage properly. It was just one more ghastly thing to sort of live with. So I sort of lived with it, and if I get the thought out now- for example with T, driving home from Meeting this morning- I still have distress. And I feel that there could be a relationship, me and my sister, we are both reasonable adults, we have this blood tie, we could have a relationship, loyalty, love, telling each other things, relying or confiding or joking or-
I don’t know how to achieve that. And there are things she may resent, separately from my transition- her discomfort with my transition just made it all more poisonous and intractable. This possibility I would like, and I have not a clue how to achieve it.
I will see her at my father’s funeral, if I hear about it in time to go.