“Hey Dad, do want pancakes or waffles tonight?” Jeremy Schmidt asked his dad Nolan as he strolled into Nolan’s art studio, where the 38 year old single dad eked out a career as a freelance graphic artist.
“Waffles, and it’s awfully nice of you to pitch in son… Oops!” as Nolan dropped several pieces of paper.
“I got it… lucky it’s not smudged, you… wow, Dad… this is that comic I saw in the paper… Kimmie and Charlotte, I think it’s called. Did you… draw this?”
“Uh, no son. I mean I saw it in the paper too, and I liked ths style… so I was just doodling along and”
“Dad… is that… lipstick you’re WEARING?”
Nolan felt shame and could not look Jeremy in the eyes for a minute, but then he sighed and said, “Let’s talk.”
Nolan led Jeremy to the unused third bedroom in their house. He unlocked a cabinet and showed the 10 year old a portfolio of color and B&W sketches of Charlotte Blaine, the beautiful co-protagonist of the strip.
“I have been a cross dressed since before you were born, Jeremy. I feel like a woman inside. By dressing as my femme self, I feel free of the burdens of work, fatherhood, and manliness. I become Naomi Steiner, the creator of Kimmie and Charlotte. I life vicariously through Naomi.”
Nolan began to sob and beg for forgiveness, and Jeremy held him, and he told his dad he had nothing to be shamed of. “Dad, if you are Charlotte in the strip, who is Kimmie? Me? Do you wish I was really a little girl”
Dad faintly smiled as he wiped away his tears. “I’m so proud of you, my son, you are a fine young man. So don’t take this the wrong – but in my daydreams, I always wanted to be a mother to a pretty, happy little girl with whom I could take shopping, style her hair, and teach how to be a young woman, like Charlotte does for Kimmie.”
Jeremy laughed – rather, he giggled. He took out his cell phone and showed Nolan a picture saved on it.
“She’s very pretty – do you have a girlfriend now, son?”
“Naw, Dad. This is Jenna. You may know her mother, Naomi.” Jeremy winked.
Nolan gasped, “You’re beautiful! But how did you get yourself to look like this?”
“My friend Tara – her mom owns a beauty salon. She’s pretty good with the styling herself, and luckily her clothes fit so good. They feel good too. You know, I bet Ms. Pat could do the same for you, Mommy.”
Both of them hugged and cried again.
3 YEARS LATER: Now in syndication in over 5000 newspapers worldwide, Charlotte and Kimmie won Comic Daily of the Year from the World Press Organization. Naomi took Jenna (now 13) to the awards ceremony, and both looked awesome in their gowns.
“So do you miss having your Dad around the house, sweetheart?”
“No way Mom, but I know you enjoy being engaged to George and he’ll be a great stepdad. And I’m looking to being asked to dance at the Junior High cotillion!”