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The Ghost in The Mirror


JordanG

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“I do not claim characters from the Phantom of the Opera, (other than those from my own imagination) “

 

 

Chapter 1 

 Genevieve’s Wish

 

(Child’s POV)

 

My name is Genevieve De Changy. I am five years old, and I want to be a doctor when I grow up. Papa is off on his naval ship, again, and Mama is at the Opera rehearsing.  My Governess gave me this diary to help me with my penmanship. After this we sewed,  (which is important for doing surgery,) then we took my sketchbook to the park, Bois de Boulogne, it is so pretty there when the sun is out!  If only that rabbit would sit still for me! My Governess taps me on the shoulder,

“Time to go in.”

It is so hard to get up with my corset squeezing me, hard to get up without getting my dress dirty, it simply will not do! I take my Governess’ hand, and she helps me up, together we walk back across the street meeting Mama on the way home for tea. We play Mad Tea Party to help me remember my manners. Papa says he doesn't know how that helps, but when he’s home he is glad to be the Mad Hatter!

‘I sewed a straight line of stitches today.” I proclaimed!

“I’m very proud of you sweetie” affirms Mama

“When Is Papa coming home?” I ask.

“Your Papa comes home today,” she smiled.

“He loved getting a letter from you,” My Governess reminded me. My penmanship was illegible!

“I hope he stays,” I pout.

“I know you love him… Presents cannot make up for lost time... “ Mama sighed.

I didn't mean to make her sad!

“I- I’m sorry Mama”

Just then there’s a clattering outside. Papa’s home!

I ran to the door, “Papa!” I squeal.

/“I missed you..” Papa hugs me without looking at me, he stands up and kisses Mama.

The manservants carry his steamer trunk they grunt and groan making me believe it’s too heavy!

“There must be a pony in here!” they jest.

“Let Me see what I have here” Papa opens the trunk rummaging as if he can't find what he’s looking for… I hold my breath

“Here it is,” he announces, handing me the book of Grimms Fairy Tales“Want to hear about my /battle with the Cracken?” He picks me up and I giggle.

“Oh My…”  my Governess rolls her eyes.

He showed me during the story his heroics, swinging his sword wildly, “Can I try?” I asked.

“The sword is too heavy,” Papa said, “I love you I can’t let anything happen to you” He looked me in the eye and tore me up, I hugged him... He holds me tight. I wonder why I make him sad.

“I wish I never had to sleep!”

“Why?” Papa asks with concern.

“Because I/ hate the dark!” my lip quivers.

“It’s OK, you're safe… I’ll sleep in the chair” Papa always did… when he was home.

Mama tells me one of her Daddy’s stories, it makes her smile, She sings an old Swedish Lullaby, her voice is the most beautiful in the world.

“Misour, you need your rest, let me stay with her,” offers my Governess.

“I have slept in less comfortable places than a rocking chair as of late” He replied crispily.

My Governess and Mama go to bed.

Papa reads me The Sleeping Beauty, and afterward, I stare at the picture of the Prince fighting the dragon intensely!

 

 

***

(Papa’s POV) 

 

“She just stared at the prince until her eyes closed,” I told my wife.

“Maybe she thinks he’s handsome” Christine didn’t see how the stare was!

“I don’t think that’s right it’s only a drawing…?”

“Maybe if I took her to the Opera, women play boys there.” What on earth did that have to do with this?

“It is too dangerous!” I  barked, “I agreed to let you perform  so you didn’t have to ask for money when I didn’t have the time to give you some, but Genevieve is a child!”

I worried after Erik… After Philippe… I knew my daughter was strange.

“What if I tell her about La Sorelli before I take her? “She looks more like Philippe to me”

“You think I don’t know that? I mean It’s getting to where it makes me sad to look at her!” I exclaimed.

Genevieve had heard every word, for when I turned around, she looked half-asleep.

“I don’t belong to you?” bursting into tears she ran from the room.

Where was my real Papa? And my Mama was another Woman? Why did she not want me? I had cried all I could. I went to the music room.

“Who are you?” If you are not my Mama?

“I’m your Aunt,” said the only Mama I knew. “Genevieve, I love you” She flung her arms around me.

“My Papa?’ I asked.

“He drowned before you were born. Your Uncle Raoul felt devastated… He has something to show you “ I strolled to my Papa’s study, at least that is who I thought he was…

I knocked.

“Come in Geneieve”

I walked in. He was looking me in the eye!

“What should I call you?” I asked.

“I love being your Papa… Now You know the truth… Would You like to see a picture of him”?

I nodded.

He showed me a photograph “He has straight hair like me” I noticed.

“And you have his smile and his laugh… Your imagination must have come from your mother.”

“And Aunt Christine” I sighed.

“What is it?” Papa asked.

“I want to call you my Pa/pa” I flung myself on his lap.

“That’s okay… the important thing is we are a family”

I sighed this time with relief.

“Do you know why I call you Miricle?”

“Why?” I smile

“Because when I lost Phileppe I was devastated when we found out about you, it was like God had given me the chance to make things righ, because he died trying to save me..”

“I love you Papa” I hug him tight.

“Why do you want to be a doctor?” Papa asks.

“Because I want to,” I say.

 When my birthday arrived three months later, I rushed down our spiral staircase, my tights made that more manageable, even if my high heels did not. I’m wearing a hoop skirt like Cinderella in the book of Fairy Tales Papa reads me. That is why my legs are hurting. I don’t care. It’s my Birthday!

“Happy Birthday Angel!” Papa picks me up and trails me around.

“Happy Birthday Darling” Mama kissed my cheek.

“May I please open my presents now?” I asked.

Mama and Papa laughed, “Of Course!”

My new sketchbook was covered in red leather and engraved “To My Little Miricle, Love Papa” I read it all by myself!  We had a six-layer almond cake with vanilla butter-cream frosting, I was not tall enough to blow out the candles without Papa lifting me! When the doorbell rang, the maid went with Mama to the door….  And my real Mama came in!

I wanted to run over and hug her and shout “I love you!” but I waved instead.

“Geneive gets her shyness from Raoul” My Aunt patted my real Mama on the shoulder.

“She gets a lot from Raoul,” My real Mama said, cooly.

“That’s why we invited you here, you can give Geneive something we can’t,” assured my Aunt.

“Sor-Sorelli how nice to see you,” I could tell from the way my Papa blushed that he did not invite her.

“Hello Geneive” my real Mama almost whispered.

“Hello” I could not help smiling, she was so beautiful! Her long blonde hair was straight like mine, her eyes a lighter blue, then I noticed the small box tied with a ribbon she was trying to hand me.

“Oh-for me?” I said trying to be polite.

“Go ahead open it,” said Papa.

After pulling at the knot holding the gold bow together and finally getting it loose, I pulled off the top of the flat burgundy box… Inside was a pair of ballet slippers!

“Go ahead honey try them om” coaxed Mama.

I slipped the slippers onto my tiny feet and my new Mama tied the ribbons.

I twirl and leap gracefully around the room.

“She’s a natural,” says my other Mama.

“You are performing in Swan Lake aren't you? Little Jammes is performing  the role of Price Siegfried, I hear she is wonderful,” said Mama.

“Christine I forbid you to take her! Is to Dangours!,” Papa exclaimed.

As Mama puts me to bed, she whispers I bought tickets. The next time Papa goes away with the navy we’re going!” 

Can a girl be a Prince? My most secret birthday wish had come true!


 

Chapter 2 

The Magic of Box Five



 

As the maid dresses me in my best mauve, lacy silk gown, I can hardly stand still! Mama comes in, polishing her opera glasses. Papa is on another Navy mission.

“You will be sitting right above the stage, Genevieve so you have to remember to be very quiet.” 

The carriage seemed to fly us to the Opera. A black-cloaked man met us at the door.

“Hello my name is Erik, do you like chocolate?” He hands me a box. It takes me a minute to notice fairies like the ones I catch with Papa glowing where his eyes should be. 

“Are you a fairy?” I ask breathlessly.

He bows “I am King of the Fairies.” he proclaims.

Mama laughs “If Raoul knew what you just said…”

“So he can play with her and I can’t?” Erik pouted. “I arranged this for you Geniveve, Benno, Prince Siegfried’s servant is traditionally the Travesty role, but since you love princes so much…. I hope you enjoy your birthday present from me!”

“You really are a fairy!” I say.

All too soon it was time for the ballet. Mama’s friend led us into his box, the plush red seats made the ache from my corset disappear!

My soul seemed to float on the music, I could feel myself spinning with every pirate, and leaping with every grande jatte!  Seeing Prince Siegfried gave me a lightness, a burst of energy, and most of all happiness! “I never knew I could be a boy until I saw you! I want to be like you!” I squealed the moment I saw Little James.

“You are old enough to be trained as a dancer en travesty, your mama says you have a gift” She smiled at my first Mama.

“I will talk it over with my husband” smiled Mama.

I didn’t like that Siegfried and Odette died at the end though! When I got home, I told Paapa how sad it was!

/“When you love somebody you do everything you can to be with them. Heaven is a lovely place to be. Let me get my telescope and I’ll show you,” said Raoul. 

We walked outside, to the park, where Papa said we could see the stars.  He held the heavy telescope while I looked inside.

“Which one do you think is your Papa?”

I looked swaying the telescope back and forth.

“That one! It is twinkling as if to say I love you.”

My Papa smiled “that’s the one I picked too, he looks so happy to see us.” Papa’s smile was gentle but bright.

 

***

 

(Mama’s POV)


 

“I would like Genevieve to come to rehearsals with me today,” I said.

“But why?” asked my husband.

“The Ballet Master would like to meet her, He says dancing is in her blood.”

“But- she’s shy like me” Raoul objected.

“You should have seen her at the Opera last night talking to Little James, about getting to be a boy… I know you love her, she needs this.”

Raoul thought and he sighed.

“Only if I’m her patron,” He declared.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way” I assured him.



 

Chapter 3 

A Very Talented Travesty


 

(Child’s POV) 

 

As we walked into the rehearsal room, Mama was mobbed by a bunch of little girls. She handed each of them a piece of candy and then gave one to me! 

“Everyone, this is my daughter Genevieve,” I waved slightly.

A tall man walked up. “I am Missour Bernard, you will call me Missour is that understood?”

“Yes Missour,” I said, gulping.

“Now lets see how well you dance!”

After doing portabras and pleas a million times I am tired and hungry. My first Mama, La Sorelli, walks me to the cafeteria. She tells Mama, “She knows not to show she’s tired”

“I think that’s because she’s excited,” said Mama.

I eat the steak and potatoes as quickly as I can. Mama talks about her day.

“La Carlotta no longer seems jealous of me, she said she wouldn’t want to be burdened with a child; I told her Genevieve is the joy of my life!”

I grinned.

“This season the next ballet to be performed will be Geselle.” announced Missour Bernard. “And they want a few children for the first act, the eldst girls will audition first.”  

I watched the older girls, quietly moving my feet along with theirs. When it was finally my turn I let the music take me away from the staring eyes. After the music stops,  Missour Bernard can’t hide his shock! 

“Your Aunt and Mama told me you are more comfortable as a boy. May I call you Georges?” I nodded gratefully. “You learn fast,” he continued. “You can dance onstage in the back” 

I wanted my Papa to be able to see me, but just not everyone so I was happy! When we got home I told Papa “The music makes me feel wonderful, and I get to be a village boy!”

“That’s wonderful-” he said. He gave Mama a ‘we need to talk look.

“I better go practice,” I excused myself

***

(Mama’s Perspective)

 

“Christine, what did Erik do?”

“Nothing out of the ordinary… He thinks she wouldn’t have to rely on the foyer de la danse if she starts making money early.”

“She relies on me!” my husband seemed jealous.

“Think of Erik as an extra pair of eyes watching over her.”

“Yes your Angel of Music is good at spying…. We wouldn’t have gotten custody if he hadn’t admitted to killing Philippe at my trial. But what was his intention?”

“Same as you, to protect her” I answered.

 

***

(Child’s Perspective)

 

As I practiced my scampering, jumping mischievous little boy role, I got distracted looking at my first Mama. Missour Bernard snaps “Clumsy!” I stood up, I tripped only a little. “Focus on yourself boy!” he said more gently, but crisply.  I focus. I must not disappoint him! I glissade and ciseaux, and feel the joy of movement outside my corset, in my tan shirt, brown trousers, and vest, with a cap to accent, for the first time I am free to be myself!

On the night of the performance, I was in the dressing room of my first Mama, the (Prima Ballerina had her own!) and I asked her about my Papa.

“What was he like?”

“He was tall, handsome, very gentle with me, he loved me… I tried to teach him ballet once, but he was too stiff!” she laughed with tears in her eyes.

“Would he have wanted me?”

“Absolutely!” she swooped me into a hug.

I take my position at the back of the stage when the curtain goes up I look for Papa… he’s in Box Five, phew! Then the music takes over and I dance! I’m the only child on stage.

 When I return to my Mama’s dressing room Papa is there waiting.

“Did you see me, Papa?  I was perfect!”

“You were so easy to find because you are so tiny!” he said “No matter where you go I will always find you!”

As Erik walks Mama and me home that night he asks her in a sincere tone “How do you know Raoul hasn’t cheated on you? He is a count after all”

“Erik don’t say such things in front of Geniveve!”

I look into his laughing eyes. “Mama he’s just teasing,” I say laughing.

 

***

(Erik’s POV)

I want to help Georges like I helped his Mama, I have to remember that the Managers don’t know a thing about music.

(Firmin Richard’s POV) 

I Missour Firmin Richard found a blasted letter on my desk, from that annoying ghost;

Gentlemen,

Young Geniveve’s seventh birthday comes in March, and her Papa likes to give her dolls, it would be advised that the children perform the performance of Coppélia for her parents as a gift for the little girl. She will be cast as Franz, I do believe that was the tradition, and some traditions should never die. Franz is a damsel in distress! A pretty feminine role for a little girl don’t you think? No need to worry about where to get Animatronic dolls, Gentlemen, I am a ghost of many talents.

                                                                                                     Your Obedient Servant,

                                                                                                                                 O.G

(Child’s POV)

 

“We are putting on Coppélia for it will soon be Georges's birthday, and as a present to you all, it is little girls only!” announced Misspur Bernard.  The girls cheered. “Now who would like to audition for Swanhilda?” Everyone raises her hand, but me. “Then Georges will be Franz and I will be Dr Coppélius since I’m old!”  We all laugh.

This is my first time dancing with a partner, an extremely talented and beautiful 10-year-old girl named Priscilla, I hope to be just like her, as a boy!  We battement and pas de cheval and triple pirouette; I can barely keep up! Priscila is kind and slows down. When I finally get it, we move on to act two. Missour Bernard and I relevé and tendu sneaking up on eachother. Then he makes me fall asleep like  Snow White, except with a fake drink.  Priscilla comes to my rescue and I am in her debt forever! I can’t understand how to stage kiss so we kiss for real in the wedding scene, which I like a lot! 

Papa says “Did you kiss Priscilla?” She’s so beautiful and talented I don’t know why he’s surprised!  We make our way to the foyer de la danse.

In the foyer de la danse I meet Papa’s friend the daroga.

“So you’re the little mutarajjila I’ve heard so much about,” he smiles.

“What did you just call her?” Papa looked startled.

Mutarajjula means a girl who is like a boy”

“That's because she’s still in costume,” Papa explained.

What difference did a costume make? The daroga did not seem to think it made any difference I felt.

“Let us go to dinner,” said Papa hurrying Mama and me out of the foyer.

I’m in my blue dress and tights and corset again, this time I’m aching and sad!

“I love Daroga! He didn't call me a girl!” I say enthusiastically!

“Sweetheart you know the ballet is just pretending don’t you?” asks Papa

I nod and quietly eat my herb-encrusted lamb.

 

***

(Mama’s POV) 

 

“You know? mutarajjila does fit Genevieve.” I said to Raoul after my niece went to bed.

“It’s too long to fit her,” he joked./

“The ballet master called her Georges. I asked him why, he said she should stay in character.”

Child’s POV ***

Plié, port de bras, plié, port de bras, plié, port de bras, plié, port de bras, plié, port de bras…” My legs feel like jelly I’m glad to sit down. It had been two years since my role in Gisselle. I longed to be on stage, out of this scratchy tutu, and in pants again! Missour Bernard announces “This season the ballet will perform Sleeping Beauty and I  will be playing The evil fairy!” The other girls started laughing!

“Shut up!” I exclaimed, “If I can be a boy why can’t he be a lady?” The girls were stunned and quiet.

“Thank you, Georges, very insightful” smiled Missou Barrand.  (Georges is what Missour Bernard calls me en travesty) “Would you like to play the prince since you are such a polite boy?”

“I’m playing the princess, won’t that be scandalous?” My first Mama, La Sorelli pointed out.

“Random boy at the Princess's birthday then.”  Missour Barnard declared.“As for the rest of you you can practice through lunch for laughing at me!” the girls moaned. I grinned.

I Pas de Chat across the stage on opening night with a basket of violets for the baby Princess hanging over my arm, (which unlike thousands of times in rehearsal the basket doesn’t fall off), and then I watch the other dancers do their entertainment for the baby princess. Then, Missour Barnard as the Evil Fairy bursts in causing all sorts of havoc before cursing the baby! I don’t think I’ve ever seen him happier! After the end of the performance, I asked him why he wanted to be the Evil Fairy.

“Because she’s the one with the power, who causes the whole plot to happen.” he answered.

 

***

 

(Mama’s POV)

 

“Why would the management allow Missour Barnard to play a woman?’ asked my husband.

“Because the man who choreographed it in Russia did,” I answered.

“But why would he want to do it?” asked Raoul, petulant. 

“Why don’t you ask Missour Bernard?” I suggest.

“Nevermind” My husband crinkled his newspaper in a frustrated manner.



 

Chapter Four

My Magnum Opus

 

(Child’s POV)

 

Two years later, Missour Bernard announces We are doing a new Children’s Ballet called The Nutcracker and they want us! All the girls cheer! I will have to compete with everyone it seemed, but they all wanted Marie, not the Nutcracker, I got the role then! 

 

I burst into Papa’s study excitedly, “can you teach me to sword fight, Papa? I need to fight the Rat King!” 

 

“I guess you’re going on eleven… Yes of course darling!”  He pulls a sword and a dagger off the wall.

 

Lunging, swishing, blocking, swords clanking as we play, it’s exhilarating! We finally fall, exhausted and laughing!

 

“You’re very strong!” My cheeks glow with his praise.


 

***


 

In rehearsals, however, things don’t go so well. “Georges stop being so rough! This isn’t a battlefield! These are your friends!” Missour  Bernard scolded.

 

I stop, looking down at my feet.

 

“It’s ok Georges we do stage fighting differently your Papa doesn’t know that.”

He pulls me out into the hall and shows me prime, seconde, tierce, quarte, quinte, and sixte.

 

Prime, sixte, quarte, tierce, and quinte” Missour Bernard directs us. This is the best day of my life! 

 

Missour Bernard plays Herr Drosselmier Pirsilla plays Marie. It’s nice to dance with her again! We spend most of the performance just sitting there holding hands, and watching other dancers, but I don’t mind, I feel more like a boy than ever in my soldier's uniform! 

 

Mama and Papa are there for our December 23rd performance.  On Christmas Eve I go to church in my blue velvet fur-lined dress.  On Christmas day, we take fruit and vegetable preserves to the Hospice des Orphelins where I was left as a baby and have our Christmas feast of ham, rolls, potatoes, and asparagus for supper. We have hot cacao and fruit cake for dessert, the hot cocoa is my favorite. The next day Papa reads a review of my performance in Le Matin.

“The young Nutcracker appears to be a sexless little sprite named Genevieve, who performs as if she were a boy.”

Papa looks at me. “Do you understand what Lerox is saying?”

I just smile.

 

Papa’s POV ***

“Her position in the Bourgeoisie has been brought into question!” I try to keep my voice down.

“What do you mean dear?” asks Christine.

“How is she going to get married?” I ask

“She’s ten I don’t think we should even worry about that yet” My wife is oblivious!

“Gaston Leroux called her “sexless” like she isn’t even human!” I exclaim.

“Genevieve didn’t mind, in fact, she loved that” Christine was calm.

“You and Erik encouraged it- this- thing- I don’t know what-”

“Behavir” my wife finished for me.

“Erik still has a hold on you doesn't he?” 

“No this was my Idea! I was the one who invited La Sorrelli, and she told me about Little James being Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake!” Christine was asserting herself!

“It was fine when it was understood she was a “She!” She can’t be a ballerina anymore!” I asserted back.

“I’ll be the one to tell her My poor wife looked defeated.

Child’s POV ***

Mama comes into my room with the breakfast tray. “Darling… Papa wants you to quit the Ballet.”

“Why?” I ask

“He wants his little girl back. What that review said confused him… He just doesn’t come from the world I do.”

“What is so confusing? I’m not a girl” I say.

“The Opera Is just pretend dear,” explains Mama.

“What-Why?” now I’m confused.

I don’t know” Mama Puts her arm around my shoulder. 

I have to be a boy for real! If Travesty is only pretending to Papa…But how?

 

Chapter 5 

My Assimilation


 

My Governess smiles at me from across the table. “Remember what you wanted to be when you grew up?”

“A Doctor!” I’m enthusiastic now.

“Your Papa agrees women can have careers because he met your mother during hers.” she paused, “Madeleine Alexandrine Brès was the first woman to be a doctor in France, she could take care of women better because she is a woman because women are different from men.”

“If a girl can be a boy at the Opera, then men and women aren’t different!” I retort

Would you rather be a wife? My Governess threatens.

Definitely not, because “Wife” is not what you would call a boy! I keep this thought to myself, however.  

My Governess teaches me Biology, Chemistry, and Math. Biology is gross! Blood, broken bones, where babies come from…. Chemistry is fun, particularly the Bunson burner big flames make me feel excited! Math equations go in patterns and when you memorize the pattern, you can get it right every time!

As I try to fall asleep that night, my rag doll, Victoria, says “How are you doing Georges?”

I answer “I don’t want to be a doctor! I want to be a boy!”

“Well, many boys are doctors, but your being a girl would be important. Have you thought about maybe a doctor could turn girls into boys?”

“You mean perform magic?” I ask

“Science and magic aren’t that different stick with it and you’ll see..”

I must be dreaming! So I close my eyes…

 

(Papa’s POV)

My Sister bought her tattered copy of Little Women over as a gift for Geneive.

“When you told me about her wanting to be a boy I thought of Jo… Hopefully, this wil h/elp”

“Doesn't the father die in that book?? I don’t need her asking more questions!”

“It's the sister Beth who dies,” she answered

“Would you like to see Genevieve?” I asked.

“I’m sorry I don’t have time to visit,” she just left!

I knew the fact that Philippe and Sorelli were not married was a disgrace… If either of my sisters took the time to get to know Geneive…

(Child’s POV)

Papa had a new story for me. It was the biggest book I had ever seen! He read ‘

Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” grumbled Jo lying on the rug...

We had to stop when Meg and Jo got home from the New Year’s party.

“Do you know why Jo felt uncomfortable at the party?” Papa asked.

“Well corsets hurt and her hairpins hurt…but Laurie was nice and no one had to see her dress” I answered

“Laurie did,” Papa said.

“But Laurie talked to her like she was a boy,” I clarified. “Papa…  Girls being boys in plays is normal!”

“Yes, I suppose so. Let’s see how the rest of the story goes.”

When we finish, Jo is Married! This is what the word “Woman” means. “If you love someone it’s not a burden,” says Mama.

“I love Priscilla!” I declare.

“Women don’t marry eachother.” Papa tries to explain.

“Why?” I of course ask.

“Because only a man and a woman can have babies, so it’s not practical.”

“Yuck!” I declare.

Now I know I don’t need to be a boy, but I just want to be a boy! 

The next night Mama tells me of Bradamate the woman who was a knight.

“I love  that she rescued Ruggreio, just like a boy would.” I said,

“She’s like me I had to rescue Daroga and your Papa from Erik’s torture chamber, because he wanted to marry me.”

“I thought Erik was your friend,” I said dismayed.

“I knew him a long time before that happened, he pretended to be the Angel of Music, my father had said he would send me, but he didn’t understand that he was a second father to me. The Angel was meant to look after me when my father could not.  Once he understood I loved him, because I kissed him he let me marry Papa.!

“I love both Erik and Papa too,” I say “Mama if a girl can be a knight, Why can’t a girl be a boy?”

“If magic existed there wouldn’t be a reason,” Mama answered. “We just need something that doesn't require magic” 

Like Science!

Chapter Six

The Trunk’s Key

(Child’s POV)

As is tradition, Mama, Papa, and I have a picnic in the attic on the anniversary of Daddy Daaé’s death so that we can tell his stories. My favorite is the Angel of Music. After our picnic, I explore the relics of the attic.  At last, I come across Papa’s old trunk, and in it his old suits, I find a dark blue one that’s about my size, I change into it and go to the park After climbing trees, I go for a walk and run into Police Commissioner Mifriod.

“Excuse me, miss, do you have a permit to be dressed like a boy!” Drat my long hair!

“No, why?”

“It’s the law,” says Mifriod, “What’s your name?”

“Geniveve De Changy,” I say because I’m not at the Opera anymore! It hurts to lie to him.

“That explains this,” He rolls his eyes  “I’m going to take you home, this time.” he takes my hand and walks me home. Of course, Papa opens the door

“Genieve I was so worried where- I’m so sorry she is… imaginative. This won’t happen again”

“I knew you are eccentric De Changy, but this…  Mifriod walks away shaking his head.

  By that time Mama has come to see what’s going on. “Geniveve why would you leave without telling anyone?”

“I’m sorry Mama... Missour Mifriod said I could get a permit, How?”

“From a doctor, I asked our family Lawyer, Missouri Ozanne, because I feared this would happen,” sighed Papa.  “I’ll go get the Doctor”  Papa left

When the doctor comes he asks “Do you still find corsets uncomfortable?”

“Yes, it hurts my sides,” I answer.

“How about the tutus at the Opera?’ the doctor asks.

“They’re too scratchy,” I say

“Can you wear high-heeled shoes?” the Doctor asks/ 

“They pinch my toes, which hurts,” I explain.

“How about feather boas?

“They itch,” I said.

“Well there does appear to be a medical reason, she's sensitive.” proclaims the Doctor Papa sighed, this time with relief. 

***

(Papa’s POV)

I go to the police station with the Authorization Letter for  Police Commissioner Mifriod.

“Why didn’t you just tell her it was illegal? You didn't have to allude to there being a permit!”

“I saw the review in  Le Matin, since you are eccentric, being that stunt you and your friend pilled at your trial, I figured your niece was as well.”

“So you're saying this is my fault?” I rebuked.

“Yes,” said  Mifriod, “Now here’s her permit, get out of my office!”

I gladly did so.

***

(Child’s POV)

“Your Mama insisted I take you to the tailor’s since I’ve worn a suit before,” explained Papa. as we sit in the carriage.

I fidget in my seat in anticipation. When we get to the tailor shop, I run in. A rainbow of muted colors hits my eyes.  The Tailor smiled at me, “Welcome, my little friend, Your Papa told me all about you”

He measures me carefully, measuring my chest, my waist, and the length of my leg. “Pick the colors you like,” says the Tailor.

I pick dark blues and greens, and browns, and then dark reds and white for the shirt that goes under the jacket. As it will take time to sew the suits we, unfortunately, have to leave the shop.

“When will my suits be ready?” I ask Paoa.

“They will all be ready in a few months,” answers Papa.

“I approved of you wearing pants,” says My Governess, “Women should be allowed to wear what they want.”

“Like  Missour Bernard wanted ti to wear a dress as the Evil  Fairy in Sleeping Beauty” I analogized.

The look of shock on my Governess’s face says it all.

 

(Papa’s POV)

“Mifriod still thinks I made the crimes Erik committed up,” I tell Christine.

“Erik wore his mask in court,” reminded my wife. “He couldn’t tell who he was and wrongfully assumed he was a friend of ours”

“He thinks I made Genevieve act that way that’s why he let her go,” I said.

“I don’t think that makes sense,” comforted Christine, “I think God gave us a miracle”

“He certainly did,” I said.

***

(Child’s POV)

One day, the boxes from the Tailor Shop arrive!  The servants carry the boxes up and put them to the side of the full-length mirror in my room. I pull the pants on first on the right leg then the left leg, pulling them up until the cuffs are just above my feet.  Then after my maid takes off my dress and corset, I turn the shirt so I can see the inside, reaching my left arm to the hole that looks like it is on the tight sling my arm back, turning my arm in a circle, to get the sleeve over my shoulder, and push my arm through the sleeve, doing the same thing with my tight. I bring the buttons to the hole and push each one through the hole starting from the top. I put the jacket on the doing the same thing with my arms as I did with the shirt. I don’t know what to do with the tie and ask Papa for help.

“Make the color of your shirt stand up, then put the tie around it unevenly.  Make an X then wrap the thick end of the tie around the thin end, then push through the loop around your neck to form a knot, then push the thick end of the tie down through the knot.” 

I look in the mirror and feel light, bouncy, and free!

“Do you know You are my Miricle, Dressed like that you look almost like…”

My first Papa, Does that make you sad?” noticing the tears in his eyes.

“No, I feel complete again” Papa smiles “Are you comfortable?”

I would like short hair “A lot more comfortable than I felt in a long time,” I say truthfully.

 

Chapter Seven

Deus Ex Machina

Over the years, my breasts have grown, and I try not to look in mirrors anymore. So of course, my Governess decides to tell me all about them. 

“They produce milk to feed your baby, the danger is they can get cancer and have to be cut off”

“How do you get cancer?” I ask intrigued.

“I don’t know,” She shows me a letter from Frances Burney written in 1811 explaining the removal of a breast. When Daroga comes to dinner he asks “Genivive were you only pretending to be a boy at the Opera?” 

“Missiur Barnard let me be a boy!” I replied

“Did you like that?” he asks.

“Yes, because I am a boy”

“Isam says al-khilqī, or pretending to be another gender is wrong,r, but you say you weren’t?”

“I was not pretending!” I exclaim.

“You were in costume Geniveve! That’s pretending!” exclaims Papa horrified.

“That was the only way I could be a boy! I want to be one for real”

“It would bring you peace then?” asked Daroga

“Yes,” I said

“Then you must let him,” Daroga told Papa

“Is that even possible?...” Papa drugs off.

I give Frances Burney’s letter to Daroga. He knows who to give it to.

“Geniveve get back in bed!” My Governess demands that night.

“I’m going to be a boy, I am going back to the Opera and you can’t stop me!”  I scream at my Governess.

“At least let me take you,” said Erik, who was standing on my balcony. 

 He propels us down the side of the mansion We walk through the streets to the Opera, we go through Mama’s dressing room mirror then down to the lake, rowing across it. 

When we get to the house Erik says “I know you don’t want people to notice you have breasts…  You gave a letter from Frances Burney explaining how to remove them, I can do that if I follow her instructions-”

“You can do that?” I interrupt excitedly.

Papa bursts through the door Mama behind him, “You give her back to me!” My Governess must have told them 

“He is not here against his will, he ran away, but I’m glad you are here, I was just going to start the surgery.”

“WHAT SURGERY! Why?”Papa seemed scared.

“Because some girls who are like boys, but then there are girls who are boys” explained Daroga, who had brought Erik the letter.

“I don’t want my breasts!” I exclaim!

“How will you take  care of your children?” Papa asked as if that was at all important at the moment!

“I will figure it out,” I say

“Erik’s not a doctor! Papa says.

“He's a Genius it’s the same thing!” I argue back.

“He doesn't have a medical degree, is what Papa means,“ says Mama “Erik are you sure you can do this?”

“Yes, it’s not too different from what I used to do as the Royal Executioner of Persia. Except he’ll be alive at the end!’

” HOW DO I KNOW THAT? THEY ARE ABOVE HER HEART AND LUNGS!  And all you’ve done is kill people!” Papa was panicking. “And she’s A beautiful young woman!”

“I’m a man Papa!” Didn’t you know that from the way I stared at the picture of the Prince when I was little? 

Papa looked at me “Why didn’t  I think of that?”

“Because you’re not me,” I said.

“I knew,” said Mama “I’ve known for a long time.”

“I knew from the way Christine described him,” said Daroga.

“I think God made you this way If an actual doctor does this I’ll let you but first I will cut your hair,” Papa said

Mama takes. her sewing scissors out of her pocket, and Papa carefully cut my hair.

Long story short Erik did the surgery because no doctor would.

 

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    • VickySGV
      This was from my May 2018 Face Book post and a friend of mine IRL asked to use it on a blog spot for the Personal Stories Project which is an effort of love for he and his husband.   From Diversity To Sameness, A PRIDE Meditation    May 21, 2018   It is Pride season again, and on Saturday I was at the Pride event in Long Beach CA to help out the San Gabriel Valley LGBTQ Center which I volunteer at these days. This was the first of several events I will be going to over the next few weeks, and others stretching over the next month or two. One of the people I was with made the comment that “We really are a diverse group here!!” The comment got me thinking, and re-opened my eyes to something that has amazed me in the relatively few years I have recognized that I am part of the LGBTQIA**** (the letters keep adding on) alphabet soup of life that does and will exist. My friend was right about the scope of the diversity that does exist and is on display at Pride events without shame and yes, with PRIDE in what and who each individual really is. To many people Diversity is one of those concepts that ranks up with blasphemy against a deity and the most horrendous of demons the Evil One (human imagination) has ever created. A person who is different is to be hated, feared, shamed and made valueless. The fear of diversity fuels minds to pull away from others, and to protect themselves by taking on feelings of superiority and exclusiveness above the different person. For the most part people with those feelings are good people in many many ways, but the fear and false god of superiority they have created masks that goodness terribly. At Pride events such as the one I was at, the diversity is so intense and so visible that after a moment or two the differences become the sameness of those who participate in them. We celebrate our differences to achieve our sameness and oneness by mentally stripping off the visual differences that at first overload us and can be dizzying to the point of a feeling of sickness for some who fit the pattern I described above. With the sameness we become even more aware of the other person’s humanity, and begin to look for the good elements that we share and find them more readily. Our conversations become how to help each other and take that helpfulness beyond those immediately with us. We reassure ourselves of our value, and explore new ways to add to that value in all ways, not just for ourselves, but those of our fellow humans who fear us and thus hide themselves deeper and deeper from the good that we could share fully. The LGBTQIA**** margin is not the only place where this can be present. The reason for other Pride events such as cultural gatherings of people “othered” and devalued, or even those of persons with what are declared to be disabilities, or mental diversity do the same thing, and people of different margins, as well as those who consider themselves “mainstream” are invited to submerge themselves in those groups by the same process of celebrating the diversity that will create the sameness of humanity. One group though who has suggested that it hold massive “Pride” events does not suggest their pride to be a celebration of diversity within that group, but rather enforced rigidity of an imagined sameness for only that group. Where that has been tried in recent months, there has been universal tragedy in many ways, the least of which has been murder. A celebration of false arrogance and even more false superiority is a hell on earth, and not a thing of pride, only of tears that they are afraid to show. I could have been in this last group believing it’s agenda and set of beliefs, but I was not allowed to be there because of something strange and wonderful in me that I did not accept about my life for over 50 years until it was to celebrate or die with my Gender Dysphoria. Today it is so “ordinary” for me to see inside of the differences in the outsides of people that I forget the lesson I relearned this past week.   Pride and Peace be in your lives.
    • VickySGV
      I for one am actually pleased with how this one played out.  Local issues need to remain local and I am not on the States Rights bandwagon for all cases.  The facts of the matter did not constitute a case or controversy since the plaintiffs did not show actual or immediately impending harm to their children.  Now if the parents can show that the child had developed some type of sleep and eating disorder because they were in a bathroom with a Trans child or are involved in self harm over the idea (which is probably the parent's doing and not the school) then there might be something of a case or controversy for the court to take up.   I have six text books on U.S. Constitutional Law grinning down evilly at me that all say the SCOTUS should avoid this type of case, and shows where they have done it consistently for a couple of centuries. 
    • Ladypcnj
      When I was a kid growing up, I was considered the baby sibling of the family. I was often the last to know of everything, and since I wasn't old enough just yet to stay home by myself, I had to tagged along with my family members who drove their cars, this included going to church. I never knew other religions existed; all I knew was about the teachings of Christianity. It's easy to join a church, but what if things aren't what it appears to be than what is preached? Strange things began going on at the church in which group leaders didn't want the news media to know about it, such as an almost drowning during a baptizing among other things. The preacher/minister began to sense I wanted out of the cult. Followers that was nice to me in the beginning, was now talking behind my back, not encouraging me to find another church that I would feel more spiritually connected to.     
    • Ivy
      An option to opt out is one thing, but removing the content entirely (for everyone) is something different.  I don't think it's beneficial to isolate one's kids from the broader culture since they are going to have to live in it eventually.  If something about it bothers you, you need to explain why.  Pretending it doesn't exist is a disservice to them.   In my (and my ex's) more conservative past, we considered homeschooling.  But we also realized our kids had to live in the broader culture and needed the socialization. Two of my adult children do homeschool now.  I have mixed feelings about that. Another of them is a public school teacher.   I personally would prefer that scarce resources not be diverted from public education.  The current move against public education bothers me.  For many kids it's all they have. 
    • April Marie
      Looking in the mirror brings joy.   The woman smiles back at me.
    • Charlize
      Perhaps a bit of light might exist if i look at this as a further verification that simply disliking the existence of a school's policy is not a reason to sue.  The rights of these parents or their children are not harmed.  They simply cannot dictate policy because of dubious beliefs.   Hugs,   Charlize
    • Mmindy
      Life has its twist, and who knows what the future holds. She may only want to know your family and medical history’s long term chronic health history. Then again she may become your biggest supporter in your current life situation.   I am an optimist. So much so that if you put me in a room full of puppy poo, I’m going to look for the puppies.    Hugs and best wishes,   Mindy🌈🐛🏳️‍⚧️🦋
    • Charlize
      Managing a support group takes a great deal of work.  When i found this site there were ,to my knowledge, only 2 sites that supported anyone whose gender was out of the "norm".  I had searched before and only found porn.  i'd almost given up. I hope that you are finding what you need here.   Hugs,   Charlize
    • RaineOnYourParade
      This also isn't necessarily trans-positive in itself. They're just saying the case doesn't have strong enough ground to sue because the plaintiff didn't bring enough evidence to court. Basically, that could mean that, rather than not wanting to do the case, they feel that there is insufficient information given to do so. By leaving the suit be, it also leaves no precedent for future cases to be built off of. This just leaves holes for court to get messier in the future. Precedent is essential in all types of cases. Giving a ruling, one way or another, would be pretty essential to building cases of the same nature in the future. By letting this go, they aren't really supporting trans people -- they're just dismissing the issue all together, which, in reality, doesn't help either side of it. 
    • RaineOnYourParade
      I don't personally agree with people opting out of LGBT education, but I suppose it would depend on the context it was taught in. Parents do have the right to opt their children out of sex ed and such for various reasons, so if it was taught in line with sex ed (which would make sense, as those classes also cover puberty as well as sometimes relationship health, so it would be about in-line with how heterosexual students are taught about their own types of relationships), I would understand them then being able to opt out. Similarly, parents often have options to opt their child out of reading books with "disturbing" content, so if the novels chosen for LGBT discussion have a large focus on homophobia/etc., an opt-out option might be made available due to the intensity of the content rather than the content itself. I've seen these for books like To Kill a Mockingbird and All-American Boys that discuss racism in-depth, as some parents might not be comfortable with their child/teenager reading intense content. I disagree with the choices to opt-out of reading these books since I think they're important, but I do understand why they're provided.   So, I think whether an opt-out option would be provided for these topics would depend on the way that they were presented. I didn't see anything in the article saying where the topics were being presented (though correct me if I'm wrong). Are they being talked about in sex ed or in content that may be considered disturbing? In that case, it wouldn't necessarily be LGBT-phobic legislation, per se -- It's about in line with what is in line for dozens of topics. 
    • Birdie
      I feel much better after a nice nap, breakfast, and a cup of tea.    I go to see a specialist today at the hospital, so I won't be at the day-centre till this afternoon. ☺️
    • RaineOnYourParade
      G'morning! Green tea for my morning beverage. My mom made me eat breakfast so I could take a pill... and now I feel sick, thanks to my weird stomach .-.   Stomach issues aside, I signed up for a story gift exchange a little while ago and just got in the story with four minutes to spare! Liiiiittle close for comfort, but, hey, it's in!   We're at that point in the school year where we aren't doing much. AP testing is done for my history class, so we're watching a WWII film rn (Dunkirk). My college course is already over as well (the semester ends earlier), so I've really only got two classes to worry about, and one of those is an art class. Lowest stress I've had all year.
    • Heather Shay
      Another Hidden Treasure I heard for the first time today. Well written, wonderful vocals and nice instrumental work throughot and even covered two Dalton and Dubarri songs.  
    • Ladypcnj
      I noticed that there is not too many online intersex support groups?  
    • Lydia_R
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