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Taste of Freedom

Derrick stared at the glamorous picture that graced the front page of the London daily Metro. For all appearances, it was a beautifully made young woman. In fact, it was one of the top rated cage fighters cross-dressing as his famous girlfriend model. He sighed as he stealthily peaked over the edge of his paper at the dozens of other commuters filling the Tube train to capacity and beyond. For a moment, he allowed his mind to ponder how many of the other men might hide the same secret...a desire to dress as a woman.

For as long as he could remember, Derrick had secretly longed to try on his mother's and older sisters' clothes. One of his earliest memories was watching his sister Doris, who was just two years older than him, play dress up with her friends. Even at the tender age of five, something told him that he must not voice his desire to join in their games. So instead he contented himself to sitting in the corner with his big, yellow dump truck and banging it into things even though everything within him screamed out to fulfil his childish fantasy and feel the soft silk of his mother's best Sunday blouse against his skin.

As he entered his teen years, his curiosity did not lessen. He would stand for endless moments in his oldest sister Nadine's room staring longingly at the array of magical potions and powders that she used each morning to transform her plain brown face into one befitting the great Queen Cleopatra. He longed to grow his short hair long and for a brief time when the Afro was a rage he could actually fulfil that small portion of his dreams.

As an adult black man, he would never for a single moment reveal this hidden fetish to even his closest friend or latest lover. Society as a whole still held too many misconceptions about cross-dressers: they were gay, they could not perform sexually, they were not 'real' men, they secretly wanted to be women. Over the past decade, he had used the Internet to learn more about the secret that haunted him. He, himself, had learned the truth about his fetish and to an extent it brought him freedom and a measure of self-acceptance.

But in all his forty-six years, he never for a moment thought he would see this: a manly man dressed in drag and unashamed to adorn the front page of a newspaper. H e envied too the acceptance and unconditional love that seemed to centre with the model girlfriend. It seemed she had actually encouraged her boyfriend to dress as an impersonator and accompany her to a public event. It was something that he feared his lovely wife of twenty-two years would never consider.

He could not count the times he had lovingly run his calloused hands across the shimmering softness of her brightly coloured dresses or blouses. How he envied her and other women the freedom and joy of adorning their faces, body and hair with colours and potions that could transform even the ugliest duckling into a magnificent swan...well at least make them passable. Instead, society forced him each morning to adorn thick leather boots, a drab grey cotton shirt and stiffly starched dark trousers. At times, it seemed a burden to heavy to bear. He longed for even a small and fleeting taste of freedom to be his true self; the beautiful person he knew he was inside.

He shook his shaved and shiny head as they announced that his was the next station. He rose slowly from his seat and made his way towards the doors; joining the throng to push forward even before they fully opened. His mind could think of little else as he pushed his way through the crowd towards the station doors. But he only dropped his head in defeat as he noted the drizzly rain that fell from London's autumn skies. Grey; it seemed everything in his world was grey. His shirt. The sky. Even his tortured soul.

How he longed for a single moment to break through it all with a dash of colour on his dark skin and eyes. He knew exactly what he would choose too; the deep red-brown lipstick that his wife had bought that weekend at the mall. He would with flourish and patience purse his lips in the long mirror in their bathroom. He would slowly, as if the moment might never come again, apply the thick cream to his full lips. He knew exactly how it would taste, because he took every chance he got to kiss its colour from his wife's lips. It was as close to freedom as he had come.

As he trudged home along the packed north London high street, he dreamt of how he might even be tempted to add a dash of colour to his dark chocolate cheek bones. Or perhaps he would instead use the deep, rich browns in his wife's make-up case to highlight his expressive, dark brown eyes. He considered how her creamy foundation might feel against his skin as he used it to even out the splotchy tones of his face and neck.

He had to stop himself there, because he felt his arousal growing in the restricting boxer- briefs; the only semblance of softness between his skin and the rough brush of denim against the course hairs on his legs. He dare not consider shaving the offensive hair from his legs and underarms as he did from his face. He certainly did not dare think of the feel of the softest of silk knickers encasing his hard black cock. He knew that thought alone would be enough; it always was, to bring him to a shattering orgasm. It was a trick he learned through the long years of monogamous marriage; anytime he needed or wanted to hasten his orgasm as they made love he only had to imagine her soft unmentionables wrapped about him.

As he opened the grey door to the three bedroom flat that he shared with his wife and teen daughters, he called out. It seemed ironic to him that he had only daughters as if it were a further taunt to his hidden desires. Hearing no response, he looked around downstairs before dragging his tired and drooping body up the stairs. Opening the girls' room he saw that they had not yet arrived home from school. So he crossed the hall and entered the room he shared with his wife. He looked for a moment at the bright red, silky robe that lay across the foot of their bed. As he unbuttoned the white buttons on his grey cotton shirt, he could not resist a quick caress of it beckoning brightness.

With a sigh that spoke volumes of the weight this decades old secret bore on his soul, he tossed his shirt in the hamper and crossed the hall to the bathroom. Turning the shower on hot, he sought to ease the tense muscles in his broad shoulder and back. He stood for a long time beneath its comforting spray. He did not even realise that scalding tears were coursing down his dark face to mingle with the water and fall unnoticed down the drain. He stepped slowly from the tub and grabbed the grey bath towel; wrapping it about his still slim waist.

Reaching for the cabinet door for his deodorant, his dark eyes were drawn forlornly to that tube of lipstick. Thinking of the courage of that beautiful face gracing the cover of the newspaper he had tossed on the table as he entered his home, he found the courage to reach for it.
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