The steaks I'd brought from Sunflower turned out to be perfect and my sister had seasoned and charbroiled them to perfection. We rarely ate steak, but tonight my sister wanted to celebrate. Celebrate what I have no idea, I did know she been working around the clock this week. Some crops where coming in on the farm and that required the hiring of extra field hands. Those crops where in now and had already been sold and a check for them deposited into the farm account. That much I knew from the small bits and pieces from over hearing my sister talking to some of her friends.
"So." She said as she peered up from her meal. "You and I need to talk,"
I blinked and blinked again as I cleaned my mouth and put down my knife and fork. There was something about her tone of voice that put me on edge. Normally the only time we ever needed to talk was when I broke some kind of rule or I found myself in trouble.
"First, your not in trouble. Second I need to know.. Are you going to keep being 'Madeline' through the school year or are you going to go back to being 'Mark'." She said that in a matter of fact tone of voice. No emotions, no hitting at one or the other. Just a straight forward question from a straight forward city girl who had gone country.
I looked down and peered started to play with my food. I kind of knew this talk was coming. My sister had hinted at us crossing this bridge at one point or another. I just thought I'll have more time. More time to decided, more time to prepare myself, mentally and spiritually.
"Because I need to know. School's about to start and right now your records are still the same from the last school year. If your going to stay as 'Madeline' I need to get those updated. If your going to stay on as 'Madeline' we need to start making headway. If your going to stay as 'Madeline' I need to get you some decent clothing to wearing, You'll need some skirts, some blouses, more than just the odd bits and pieces I've outgrown." She said pushing the plate that held her few remaining scraps to the side.
I took a deep breath and nodded my head, it all made sense. My sister being a farmer always looked ahead and planned for the future. She was a long term thinker, while I was a short term thinker. I swallowed hard and in a scared tone of voice said.
"Would it be better if I go back to being Mark?" I said shuttering at the very thought. I looked up and notice my sister peering toward me, her eyes had gone cold as ice and she showed total control over her body. You could have heard a pen drop in the kitchen.
"Listen kiddo and I'm being real with you. I want you to be happy. If being 'Madeline' makes you happy then I'm cool with it. I will support you in any way possible. There over a million dollars in the farm account I can dip into and plus the money we collect monthly for the rent of that house in Jackson, plus the child support money being paid to you. We can find. Its not a matter or resources, it's a question of will."
I kept looking down. Being Madeline did make me happy. And I enjoyed it, Madeline was so different from Mark, Mark had been a scared brooding boy. Madeline had so far been a shy girl who was starting to come out of her shell. Mark would never in a million years have the courage or the guts to go up and do the dunking booth. Madeline had though and she enjoyed it.
"I want to be Madeline." I said taking a deep breath as I peered toward my sister.
"You know that mighty brave of you. And you know there going to be a long, hard road ahead. We'll let me take that back, Some parts might be long and hard. Other parts might be smooth and soft. There going to be people who hate 'Madeline' because of who she is. People who will hate her, because they don't understand her. You understand that right?"
I nodded my head and swallowed hard. This was a lot to think about. And a lot to take in. But I felt this was a conversation that needed to take place.
I opened my mouth and my sister shook her head and smiled.
"And one more thing. I want you to know something, before we get to deep into this talk, I want you to hear it straight from the ol' horses mouth. I love you, I loved you when you where Mark, I'll love you as Madeline. If your going to be my littler sister then, I gotta lot to teach you. Mom is gone okay, she not coming back." She paused and reached over and took a near by wine glass she raised the glass and took a long sip of dark red wine.
"And there a lot a young lady needs to know. There how to apply make-up, there how to dress for formal events. And also, you need to know how to carry yourself. I'll be honest with you, I don't know much about being all prime and proper. I was always a tomboy." She paused and reached over and took the bottle of wine by its neck and started to pour some more in.
She stopped and smiled and stood up and walked over and took down a wine glass from the kitchen cabinet, winking toward me she cradled the wine glass in her hand and poured a good bit into the glass. Smiling she handed me the wine and then reached over and picked her glass up.
"A toast to my new baby sister." She said smiling as she raised her glass up in the air. "A toast to Madeline Diana Brewer. May she become the girl she dreams to be and the women she meant to be." She said with a big smile on her face. She then lifted up the glass and drained it.
I did the same, the wine tasted fruity, kind of tart at first but then a little sweet. It was chilled too and that made it smooth as silk. A deep blush formed upon my face as I peered toward my sister who was peering back at me. There where so many things I wanted to say, so many questions I wanted to ask, so many things that puzzled me. So many minor and major things where floating around my head. But those could wait, yes they would have to wait till another day. Right now, I just need to enjoy this evening with my model and role model.