Friday morning I woke up pumped and ready for the day to begin. I have to admit that I was looking forward to spending the weekend with my first girlfriend, Faith. I was also trying to convince myself that her visit was going to be pleasant and drama free. That was inconceivable. Faith is to drama what Dali is to art, and both are equally surreal.
I'd been bouncing around the office like I’d had a caffeine transfusion. My cheerful mood must have been obvious. At one point, my boss, Elston, slapped me on the back and commented, “Glad to see you’re your old self again.”
My coworkers and former roommates, Jackie and Maureen, were not so easily fooled. Like any good lesbians, they smelled gossip, and they wanted the 411. They cornered me in the doorway to the supply room, where I had bounced in to get a box of paperclips.
“OK, who is she?” Mo demanded.
I tried to play it off. “Who do you mean?”
“Sissy, we’ve seen you in dating mode too many times not to know when you’re seeing someone,” Jackie explained.
“That’s right,” Mo continued. “It’s tea time, Sissy, so spill it.”
I didn't really want to deal with my friends’ inevitable aghast looks and OMGs, so I plead the Fifth.
“Sorry, women. I don’t want to get into it right now. I’ll tell you all about it on Monday.”
This answer was unsatisfactory, and they continued to prevent me from bouncing out the door.
“It isn’t Autumn again, is it?”
I shook my head.
“Well, is it anyone we know?”
I could honestly answer “No” to the question, since they only knew Faith by (very bad) reputation.
“Come on, give us a hint,” Jackie pleaded.
“I’ll just say that a friend from California has come to visit.”
“Not Trixie!” They said simultaneously, which surprised me, since they only knew Trixie by (very bad) reputation as well.
I said a final, “No,” pushed my way past the dyke inquisition, and took the box of paperclips back to my desk.
In spite of my perky mood, I didn't get much work done. My mind kept going back and forth between the coming weekend with Faith and the first, and last, weekend we'd spent together.
It had been the weekend right after finals, just before graduation. Faith and I had decided to rent a cabin up in Russian River together. She'd told her parents she was going on an “outing” with her drama class. I'd told my parents the truth. Well, I told my mother anyway. By that time my father had been living in Virginia, where he’d been stationed, and where my mother had refused to join him (another long story). I’d told my mother where I was going, with whom, and gave her the phone number to the hotel. She gave me an extra $50 bucks, the keys to my dad’s Jeep, and told me to have a good time. I could tell she wasn't pleased, particularly about the “with whom” part, but most of all I could tell that she loved and trusted me.
That had been the most wonderful weekend I’d ever had before or since. Faith and I had had sex together dozens of times, but that was the longest, uninterrupted time we had ever spent in each other's company. We thought it would be the first weekend of the rest of our lives together.
We had both been accepted into UC Santa Cruz. We’d even discussed what program and courses we would be taking together. Yet, on the way driving back to Oakland, I had a premonition that things were about to go terribly wrong.
“Whaddya say we just keep on driving, straight down to Santa Cruz, and say our goodbyes later?” I suggested.
“But, Darling, I have to go to graduation,” Faith replied, squeezing my hand. “My family is having a huge party for me. The invitations have already been sent out. Plus…,”she winked, “I think they’re planning to give me a car for graduation!”
I reluctantly agreed with her that our “getaway vehicle,” may as well be the shiny new Toyota she’d been dropping hints about instead of the rusty old Jeep my father was planning to turn over to me upon graduation.
That’s about as far as our common dreams ever got. When I dropped Faith off at her house and went to help her carry her bags inside, we were met at the door by an intervention.
A dark suited man had blocked my path and told me, “Come no further, young lady. We’ll take it from here.”
I had never seen the man before, but the stiffness of his body, the hatred in his eyes, and the bible in his hand made it perfectly clear that he must be the pastor of her family's church.
Then with the preacher on her one side, her parents on the other, and several church members praying in the background, they’d led Faith into the house. She’d gone without protest. In spite of her feints toward rebellion, and her sincere desire to be her own person, it turned out she was her parent's daughter after all. Or, so it had seemed to me at the time.
At 2:30 Faith sent me a text that read, “On the bus. CU soon!” I replied back with a smiley face, but only because my phone did not have a smiley sufficiently complex to sum up all my conflicting emotions.
A little while later, Elston walked by my desk and startled me out of my reverie. He gave me a funny look and asked, “You are your old self again, aren’t you?”
“Sure,” I replied. “Why do you ask?”
He pointed down at my desk, where I had absentmindedly strung the entire box of paperclips together into a long, tangled chain.