Do you know the feeling? The sudden, horrible realization of panic? The metallic taste of adrenaline on your tongue just before a cold sweat washes over you. I have an experience to tell of. I was walking in the forest one day. I had parked the car beside a small road in the forest, gone a few yards into the forest and quickly stripped off my trousers and donned a skirt instead (I was already underdressed). I stuffed my trousers into my coat pocket. Of course I wasn't passable, that wasn't the point either. But I walked in the forest, feeling the wind blowing my skirt against my stockinged legs. I felt the cool air of the forest caress me, feeling the scent of moss and ferns, of spruce trees and freshness, and I walked deeper and deeper into the forest. I was in heaven!


And then I felt the coat pocket where I had stuffed my trousers. Empty!


The adrenaline hit on the tip of my tongue like a sledgehammer. My trousers! I was here, stuck in a forest, dressed in a woman's skirt, and I had lost my trousers somewhere along the path I had walked! Where? I had walked quite a distance. I hadn't walked in a straight line, either. I remembered that green knoll over there, and that rock, but to retrace all my steps! I had an idea of the general direction, but to find the exact path I had taken would be a hopeless task. A horrible thought struck me: my car keys! They were in my trouser pocket! I checked my coat pockets, but of course, nothing. So here I was, stuck in a forest, with no car keys to be able to drive away, and with no trousers! How would I get home?


I would have to walk to the main road,  and try to hitch a lift with someone. A truck driver perhaps? Dressed as a girl, but with no hope of passing? I could imagine the kind of truck driver who might be willing to give me a lift - or more! My chances of a discreet return home were fading rapidly. I would be outed. Utterly and totally. A truck driver would never drive into our residential area, and if he did, for the attention he would draw, he might as well be blowing his horn and calling out all the neighbours to see the sissy getting a lift home. The hopelessness began to sink in. I envisaged the scandal. Divorce. Losing my job. Having to start a new life. I was almost crying by now.


What could I do? Was my life finished? Would I have to jettison everything and start afresh? If I did have to start a new life, I suppose there would be no reason to do so as Peter. Peter was gone. It would have to be Anna. That way, this accident would at least have served some kind of purpose. I tried to imagine myself picking up the pieces of my life, starting living full-time, finally getting hormone therapy, and moving inexorably in the direction of permanence.


Just as I was beginning to picture how this would be the turning point to a completely new and open life as a woman (I had already lost everything, I had nothing more to lose) I saw a dark bundle lying in the moss at the foot of a tree. It was my trousers! And my car keys were still in the pocket! A tidal wave of relief washed over me, leaving just an ever so slight, nagging feeling of regret.