There are at least 1541 million lesbian stories in the Sacred Lesbian files stored in the hundreds of thousands of cabinets in safe houses all over the Goddess’ lesbian world. For lesbian love stories, we know with great certainty that the majority of them can abstracted into five broad plot lines, which are coded and cross referenced thusly:
- Girl meets girl/woman meets woman. They fall in love, they live together, making it work, forever.
- Girl meets girl/Woman meets woman, one falls in love, the other one doesn’t.
- Girl meets girl/Woman meets woman. They fall in love, life intervenes and they are forced apart but through great courage and perseverance find their way back to each til the end of their days.
- Girl meets girl/Woman meets woman but can’t stop her damaged and/or self-destructive ways and drives good woman away forever.
- Girl meets girl/Woman meets the woman she’s longed for but chooses duty over love. Lives with an ache in her heart.
- Girl meets girl/woman meets woman. One is sociopath. Rough ride for someone.
- Woman is married to a man. Meets woman. Whole new life chapter.
Looking through a few cabinets, (access granted by the Goddess to all the pre-2000 stories) I took a file, read it through and mashed it into a single story.
She’s superstitious. On Mondays she has to wear a piece of clothing that’s white next to her skin: socks, underwear, shirt. Tuesdays she has to wear red, but it doesn’t have to be close to her skin. Wednesdays are relatively easy: any shade of blue and it can be anywhere, but she doesn’t much like blue except the magic shade of blue that happens with jeans that have lived an adventure and have been washed a thousand times. Thursdays are hard because that day’s colour is purple: back to underwear, or bra, or a T-shirt, or winter scarf. Friday is the colour green. Found in shirts and sweaters and watchbands. Saturday is the colour black. Sunday is, of course, yellow. She is so superstitious that she doesn’t realize she does it automatically, without thinking, without remembering why she does it.
She’d been doing this since college, since the time she spent four months with Fil and some of Fil’s friends who were older and made a comfortable living as professional psychics. She was doing it to indulge an interest in things considered occult, psychic and unexplained; dug into strange ideas and beliefs, including the power of colours. They spent every weekend together from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. deep diving aboriginal medicine wheels, Tibetan mandalas, Theosophy, energy medicine, Atlantis, Indigo kids. Cosmic consciousness. The karmic benefits of being vegan.
It was fascinating for a while, and she kept a healthy dose of scepticism. But then it got all weird. The professional psychics who talked so much about peace and raised vibrational frequencies for enlightened beings started bickering and being cranky and petty.
One of the women started to wonder out loud every time she was near about sleeping with a woman because it had to be better than sleeping with a man. Didn’t it?
Fil, short for the Portuguese name Filomena, was a friend from school and it seemed that over the course of those weekends, Fil somehow developed feelings for her and could not keep them to herself, oh no; couldn’t let those feelings run their course. Fil couldn’t see that the only thing they had in common, other than this weekend thing and going to the same college was that they both happened to be interested in women: Fil of the sports puppy tribe and she of the don’t you dare categorize or label me as anything but a woman tribe.
It wasn’t like Fil to be subtle, either. Told their mutual friends at school who turned around and said, “you know, Fil’s in love with you.”
She laughed it off. Fil was a friend. End of story.
One afternoon she and Fil met for lunch in the cafeteria, a Tuesday when their calendars aligned, after a weekend with the professional psychics, after weekend nights of dates. They stood side by side in the line for food.
Uh oh. She sensed, knew then that Fil’s feelings were bubbling up and she felt trapped.
They sat across from one another and talked about their different classes in their different programs as they ate their fries and coleslaw. Fil asked questions and listened to abridged stories of date nights and grew quiet, speaking again only when the subject changed to the weekend’s session with the professional psychics.
As they got up to put their trays away Fil said, “I need to tell you something.”
Inside her brain, red lights and sirens went off. A cold feeling of dread descended from the top of her head down to her toes as she looked at Fil, ignoring an impulse to run away.
“Okay,” she said.
“Not now. After class,” said Fil.
This time it was a flash that went off in her brain, like an old-fashioned camera bulb: blinding, but giving off the necessary light for a perfect picture. It gave her immediate clarity. She didn’t want to see or hear Fil after class or ever again. She didn’t want to see or hear Fil or the professional psychics or the past lives or the spirit guides or the Ouija board or tarot cards or runes or chakras, or crystals or auras or lightworkers or shamans or medicine woman or diviners or astrologers ever again. But she didn’t say that to Fil. Instead she said, “okay.”
They met after class and headed to the pub where they found a booth, sat down, and ordered their drinks. Fil’s shoulders were pulled up around her ears.
She said nothing. Waited for Fil to say something, hoping that the sudden clarity she felt earlier was wrong and that this wasn’t heading in the direction it seemed to be going and that it would turn out to all be okay.
“We should be girlfriends,” said Fil, looking her straight in the eye.
Any other day, she’d be flip and sarcastic and answer in a way that would deflect the statement or question or interest. It seemed wrong to do that now. Fil kept her eyes locked on her. Watching. So she didn’t say anything. She didn’t say that she didn’t feel the same way. She didn’t say anything because her heart was sinking to irretrievable depths of something that later in life she would label sadness, and she was having a hard time catching her breath. Fil continued.
“We get along and we’re interested in the same things and we have a lot of fun together with all this psychic shit and … I’m in love with you. I think we can be girlfriends.”
She sat, listening, wondering if there was anything that Fil was going to add, hoping there wasn’t because what Fil had said was bad enough. Fil stopped talking and looked down at the table. A minute passed.
“Say something,” said Fil.
“I don’t know what to say. I’m surprised. I’m flattered. I’m worried…
She took a breath. “I’m worried about saying that I’m fine with where things are with us, you and me being and staying friends.”
Fil picked at the label of her beer bottle and tore off a little strip of it.
“I guess I realized that I’m not fine just being friends with you.”
“What does that mean?”
She listened to all that Fil had to say. Listened, but did not take it in, because that would mean making space for something she just couldn’t make space for: the loss of a friend.
Wasn’t this a table turned around from where she was just a few years earlier?
There were tears in Fil’s eyes. “I kinda knew it wouldn’t go anywhere, me saying what I feel for you, but I couldn’t hold it in anymore.”
She covered Fil’s hands with her own. “Fil, I don’t want to disappoint you. I’m sorry that I am.”
“Don’t be. But I think … I think I can’t see you. I need to stay away for a while”
“Oh. Oh, of course. I understand.”
“No. Not really. I want to but I don’t know how this happened. I thought,well, I guess I thought we were friends. I thought you knew where I stood about getting involved with friends.”
“I know what you said. I thought maybe since we’d gotten close over the past while that you were having feelings for me, and that you would think about it differently now. I thought you’d figure out that I was falling for you.”
In some faraway place in her mind she heard that old song… what was it? “then I go and spoil it all by saying somethin’ stupid like I love you…”
She lowered her eyes. Fil didn’t know her at all.
“I would never have thought that, Fil.”
They both sat there, saying nothing. Feeling sad for different reasons.
She stood up to leave. Disassociated. Compartmentalized. Some unknown version of herself talking.
“Will you tell them that I’m going to take a break from the weekend workshops and I’ll call if I want to join in any more?
Fil didn’t look up.
“I will,” said Fil. Then, still not looking up, added: “I’m gonna miss you.”
“Me too, Fil.”
She left the pub. Never called to go back to the group.
Fil stayed away forever.