She heard voices outside her room again. They were kindly enough, the male’s, “daddy” he called himself, was gentle, almost crooning as it spoke. She felt pressure applied to the wall of her room and instinctually reached out her hand to touch the place where hand met hand through skin.
She was used to the voices by now. For three months she’d been aware of them through the soft walls of her room. The male one especially seemed to be talking of a life outside this space. She could hear the words of love and hope, and heard in his voice the hope this “daddy”, this her creator, held for her.
“We’ll go fishing,” it said. “I’ll show you the best places for trout and pike. The places I used to fish when I was a boy.” The voice became muffled but she heard the words. “And one day son you’ll have a son of your own and we’ll teach him to fish too.”
There was a long pause and the sound of sniffing. Then there was a pressure against the wall and very, very quietly the wall moved in response to a pair of lips.
“I wish your granddad was still here. You would have made him so proud son. But you’ll carry his name and it’s one you can be proud of.” There was a snort of laughter from outside her room. “You might even become a train driver like he was. The railways are a good life. Just don’t do what I did and try to become something like a musician. There’s no money in it and when you have a son you’ll want him to have the best he can too.”
The pressure on the wall faded gently as though the lips on the other side didn’t really want to leave her.
She sat in silence pondering the things she was told. Sometimes the voice was male when it came, sometimes instead of coming from outside it came from all round her. God spoke and she spoke of her own hopes and fears.
“Oh why did I have to get pregnant now?” God would ask. “We can’t afford to raise a child.”
What God meant by afford she didn’t know, but deep inside her growing body she felt it couldn’t be good. This thought was confirmed by the rush of nastiness which came through the chord she was fed through. Her tether to God normally providing good things suddenly seemed to flood her with things that made her feel anxious, worried , angry. She felt fear at having upset God. She didn’t like it when God did this and she knew, somehow, that she was being punished for something she didn’t understand. The chemicals that poured through the chord made her kick out and punch involuntarily and this caused God to become angrier still.
So became the pattern. The male voice whispering to her through the wall and telling her all the hopes he had. All the while God some from above about the futility of it all, the hopelessness, the inconvenience. All she could do was listen to God and daddy arguing and kick out in protest to her forced diet through her chord.
And then one day it happened. She had been dreaming of God and daddy and the promise of another land where fish were caught. Fish had a silvery tone to the word and so she imagined them flashing through the amniotic fluid and in her sleep she reached out to catch them. A hand was placed against the wall in response and waking she reached out to touch it. Foetus and God touched through the thin elastic of the wall.
“I hope you are a boy”, God said and gently move her hand across the wall. In response the fortis reached out to trace where God’s hand had travelled. God continued. “It would kill your father if you turned out to be a girl.”
With that God became silent. In the warmth of her room she sat listening to the drumbeat from above and thinking of what God had warned. How could she be responsible for killing someone whom she had never met?
She awoke. God was sleeping and so she decided to follow God’s instruction. She would become the son that was wanted and not kill the voice of daddy. Within the framework of her being she chose willingly to change. She wanted the kind voice of daddy to keep talking to her through the wall, and one day, when her time in her room was over she would be born again into the promised world of fish and river.
So ovaries became testes, she willed her cells to follow new paths from the ones that they had started on. As cells received new instructions as what they must become infinite possibilities spread out through the DNA. New muscles would develop. Hair would grow thick where none should be. She would become he, willed herself to become so, and God would be happy with him. And one day there would be be the promised land of fish and river with daddy.