The boys and I return to a loving Seda, fat cats, and a very happy dog. Seda has readied the garden and, within three days, the boys and I planted tomatoes, brassicas, lettuce, winter and summer squash, garlic, and beans.

I work for a second summer at the NVC Family Camp on Vashon Island. Seda joins us this year and, with Seda actively engaged in looking out for the boys, I feel some of the same joy and ease that I felt in my first month at Key West. 

Ben returns to Oregon and buys Trinidad’s third of the sky blue sailboat.He generously donates $1,000 to Seda’s surgery fund then takes a trip to Peru for three weeks.

Ben wants to teach abroad in January of 2014, and I am unwilling to leave since Seda will have her gender confirmation surgery only five months before. I offer to join him later and continue our relationship long distance, but Ben is not interested. He sees this initially as a choice for Seda over him. 

Trinidad and Sam enroll in our neighborhood schools, and I resume assistant teaching at the school for children diagnosed with autism. I am also given a new position as Social Groups Coordinator, where I can utilize my skillset in Compassionate Communication. I love my work and quickly settle in to this full time job outside the home.

Ben and I part ways claiming divergent paths in terms of where we want to be in 2014, but a month later he writes to tell me that although he loves me dearly, he never really wanted to settle down and have a committed relationship and family.He just needs to chart his own course for a while now as part of his bucket list before dying. I am relieved to see Ben’s clarity, and it makes perfect sense as to why I felt confused about his intentions for four years.I change his ringtone to the default Strum, but he does not call again.

The City of Eugene removes the exclusion clause and transpeople finally receive insurance for needed treatment. Seda’s surgery will be covered at 80 percent.She reads the letter at the picnic table then sets it beside her, staring out into the garden without a smile on her face. “Is it over?” she asks me, and she begins to cry.