Archive | July, 2011

Get Another One

31 Jul

Yesterday I took a hike up to Baldpate Mountain on the western side of Trenton, New Jersey with my dogs, Gem and Hank. On the way up to the first durable footing of this not very big mountain, but in the heat and with suffering humidity, that mountain is big enough. On the first level Gem meets two women and eagerly sends them a good hello with a wagging tail. The first woman calls out, “What a beautiful dog!” I hear this from ten paces below, and then she sees my face as I traverse the jagged rocks, mindful to let my walking stick help me as I push my weight up to where they’re standing. “Yes, thanks, and this is Hank, he’s a white lab,” I tell her in a relaxed manner, knowing that it’s important to be even more polite on a mountain where three people and two dogs are sharing  a six-foot expanse of rock.

The second woman, tagging behind the first, says “I used to have an Australian Sheppard. What is your dog?”

“Border Collie.”

“Really? Well, she’s beautiful.”

“She’s a good girl. Loves to climb and she’s good at it, too.”

“I loved my Aussie, I had him for years.”

We started shifting, them going down, us going up, Gem, leading the way.  “Get another one!” I said, “Dogs are great!”

In thinking of this exchange, as I walked, the walk taking nearly ninety minutes in the heat, where I had to stop twice to wipe the sweat now pouring onto my back, a sleeveless tee-short now soaked with sweat; the dogs were panting hard and we broke for a watery deliverance. My voice parched and I could barely call for Hank who had wandered off into the tall grass. I looked to see a big cast of blue sky with the sun high, I knew it was too early to bring out the dogs and should have waited for the sun to relax and instead, hiked closer to 4 o’clock, but I’d endure it with a head bandana, and a piece of fruit, and lots of water and try to find a running stream for the dogs to wet their pads.


You can’t do that with people you love. They don’t come back. People die and you don’t see them for a long time. They say you will see the ones you love when you die. I don’t know that. Maybe I’ll know it when I die. They say death is a mystery. I believe that. My own death is a dragon I must slay by facing it with bravery. In some ways I’m afraid of what I’ll find. What will I see? Will I go through a tunnel, a field, a valley, a gravesite? Will I see the devil? Is there a devil? Will I go to hell?

My friend leaves her job as a nurse to become a caretaker to her terminally ill mother. It all happened very fast. Illness breeds superficially and then it manifests itself becoming a fire-eating dragon, breaking out loose, and you watch it without preparation because it’s stunning and it catches you off guard, until you grasp the tools and make them your own – for you must play offense so that you don’t get swallowed by the dragon.

So she faces death, it’s looming over her, its coming for her; the daughter plays a significant role in her life: feeding, preparing, comforting, she does this for her mother, putting her life on hold. She barely sleeps, finding only fractured sleep. But this is your mother and you do what you have to. You lose your mother, you lose your womb. Your life goes oddly empty when your mother leaves. She knows this, so keeps her close for however long she can, for however long her mother’s heart can beat.

The aftermath is the hardest, it’s when others stop calling, people disperse, their advice doesn’t come, and they leave you alone to get along. A scattered card, lost in the mail, is delivered several weeks after the death of your loved one and you read it, but you put it back in the envelope and don’t display it. You are not needed, so you sit and you wonder and then you begin to cry. You cry from the bowels of your stomach, your heart is broken, shattered in a million pieces, and you catch your breath, and you hold back the tears and you wash your face and you look in the mirror and you say, “I miss you mom!”  You gulp at Mother’s Day, and you face it somehow. And then you visit the cemetery and you see your mother’s name engraved and the dates she lived, and you kneel down, talking to the headstone and you cry. You cry without pretense, not caring if anyone sees you when they drive by.

This is the aftermath. No one can tell you how long it will take; no one should tell you that “It’s time you got over it.” You take however long you want to heal the empty feeling, having lost your mother’s womb.

I think of my calling out to the woman, “Get another one!”  Referring that dogs are great, but you can’t replace the ones who leave you; you can only find survival strategies to live without them.

© of Terry Rachel, 2011

The New Jersey Girl Clique

23 Jul

The New Jersey Girl Clique

IN the summer of 2010, Libra Chilton attends a party in Eatontown, New Jersey by a woman named Dinn, a cherub-faced woman with a quick smile and bright eyes, she’s new to the gay scene – a late bloomer, with children now grown and a marriage coming to an end, it’s Dinn’s time to celebrate as a woman with a new-found freedom, she’s looking to have some fun, dating here and there, and now a party – a party to validate her coming out.  Like Dinn, Libra Chilton, has returned to school to follow her undergrad degree – “better late than never” she would say, having postponed her education to raise a family, she too, has a new-found freedom, and when the open invitation on a local community board for Dinn’s party hits Libra’s email, she decides to go. And even though she goes by herself, she is affable and more than willing to meet everyone in attendance.

At the party, Dinn greets her guests with a warm smile, making her guests feel comfortable.  Libra speaks to a few women she’s never met before and they exchange numbers and Facebook handles. A couple of other women Libra recognizes and joins their table to make small talk.  But Libra really doesn’t speak more than a few sentences to Dinn or anyone else in Dinn’s group, because Dinn has centered on her circle, her safety zone, and Libra’s not part of that circle.

In Dinn’s circle there’s  one big dragon head of a young woman by the name of Flavia  Mannia, brutish and awkward in motion, she’s not quite thirty-five, and she tends to drape herself around the necks of women much older than herself – a real “mommy problem” that one, she spies you with a jealous glean.  Dinn defers to her often – and later this will be to Dinn’s detriment, but for now Dinn doesn’t know how dangerous Flavia is.  Flavia is subtle, smiling to your face; she’ll cut you broadside when you turn.  An endless well of cruel and unfounded gossip, speaking as if she knows all one could possibly know about your background and character, basing her lies on untruths and on things she’s not privy to, she will perpetuate her stories, snowballing them recklessly so that everyone in her group will be castrated if they don’t agree with her opinion of the person she’s victimizing, so everyone else bases their opinion on the opinion of what Flavia deems as truth.  Flavia, with the gap between her teeth and her broad shoulders rubbing against Dinn, overpowering Dinn like a standing bull, she’s aloof to everyone including Libra.

Also in this circle is Chastain, a puppet on a string who plays second-banana for Flavia. If Chastain had any sense she would realize that Flavia’s presence is boorish and tiring.  They look idiotic standing there together, as Flavia goes “Whooop, whoop!” her hands ringing a circle in the air, and then a fist pump –  she’s just on when “her song” comes on, while Chastain follows her like a bad dress.  Onto Mary. Mary, oh, Mary, with the elephant ears and the nose the size of a coffee cup, another wet noodle embracing the opinion of Flavia, the brute. Mary doesn’t go outside the group either, as she cries at one point in the night, sobbing, looking ridiculous, clamoring over a woman who use to be her lover. The ex-lover tries to settle her down, “Stop, get a grip, we’re at a party,” she says, but Mary cries on. Flavia rolls her eyes, unsympathetic, because she’s gotta’ dance, gotta’ groove, she’s on.

As Flavia begs for attention, Chastain follows, and Mary cries, and Dinn smiles, in comes Tracy – always late, bouncy, racy, Tracy. Tracy knows everything – she’s about as reliable as a paper plate, and Flavia is her cheerleader. Tracy says “Oprah!” and Flavia says “Oprah!”  When Tracy says “Dr. Phil!” Flavia says “Dr. Phil!” and then behind them comes Dinn, Mary and Chastain licking their behinds. They all look alike – shaped like thumbs on stubby fingers, they think alike, too and they laugh at the same things.

Poor Dinn, always ruled by a husband who protected her and told her how to do things, will go everywhere  with these four other women, never giving anyone else a chance. At the party she doesn’t say goodbye to Libra.

“This is the clique,”  Libra says, when she sees the dynamics, and shakes her head in disillusionment.

Libra walks into the kitchen – there’s plenty of food, food that’s been untouched, but she only nibbles at the cheese and crackers on the counter. She opens the cooler and see that the bottle of wine she brought sits in the same position she placed it in two hours before. She takes one last look around and smiles at a couple making out on the living room couch. On the ride home she takes a detour, stopping at McDonald’s to pick up a chocolate parfait. While eating it she realizes she must have missed when the dessert was served.

© of Terry Rachel, 2011

My Insouciant Companion – Part IV

17 Jul

Have you ever known a lesbian who considered herself a model citizen, a standing member of the community, a solid woman by all standards – good job, established home owner, nice car, a tidy savings – all the established prerequisites. And then you come to find that she is, in fact, clearly out of her mind.

This is about a story of one such woman.

My Insouciant CompanionPart IV

Inside Girl Bar lights and music filled the air and smoke billowed out a duct from the dance floor ceiling. I always got freaked when the smoke started, but it was somehow fitting:  the place was burning like a “burning inferno” – hot music, hot girls, hot place to be – Girl Bar was everything it boasted.

Deb found me and Randee on the floor and bumped me purposely, she cupped her hand to her mouth, “Hey!” she said, “I made it!” I smiled, surprised to see my friend. “Where’s Linda?!” I replied, and without missing a beat, Deb went into a full spin, wiggling her hips, and shaking out her hair, “Sleeping!” she laughed, and then swept Randee up in her hands, spinning her around. I was surprised to see Randee so sure-footed, and smiled at her in recognition of this.

It was nearing two o’clock and the bar was packed with women mostly in their 20’s and 30’s; what a scene. I was thinking “How good it was to be alive”, and hearing the B52’s song Rock Lobster cast us all in the pose of a crustacean. It was great fun to be flailing your arms, squirming on the dance floor like a lobster. The lights were all in reds and then a chorus came together where we gargled out what could have sounded like a lobster cry where everyone was inching down, down, down, down. Randee was gyrating into my groin and then her hands found my belt buckle and this invitation was enough for me to kiss Randee on the dance floor without regard for anyone as I calibrated my kiss purposefully and strong, but not too strong or too long, just enough to let her know I wasn’t leaving her alone.


Linda woke in a fuzzy state in an unfamiliar bed, but managed to descend the stairs of Marcia and Pam’s house with cat-like silence, without waking her hostesses, and into the kitchen where she had done damage to herself only hours before. The clock in the kitchen read half-past two; she had slept two hours. She found it strange that she should be awake, but something kept rolling in her mind and after much needling thought, arrived at exactly it was that was bothering her: she didn’t trust Deb with Terry, not on a Saturday night and not after drinking so much.

It’s funny how in their short relationship of just six weeks, Linda had become possessive of Deb, calling her daily, sometimes from work, during lunch, leaving messages on Terry’s answering machine – this she felt stupid about, but she left messages for Deb anyway, never saying hello to Terry. She didn’t like Terry and to Linda’s way of thinking Terry was secretly after Deb, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth if you were to ask Terry.

“Damned if I stay here,” she said, taking a long swallow from a cranberry juice container, and a smack from her lip with the palm of her hand she wiped her mouth, and  somehow sealed a decision she would never live down, “I’m going to Girl Bar.”


Before I could turn around to see where my friend went, I spied Deb talking to a new woman, one I’d never seen before. On the dance floor Deb was dripping with sensation. At one point she smiled at me and her face touched mine with her sweat. She looked liked madness – like she had walked on a bed of hot coals, her eyes were flashing, and she had dressed down to her bra and Capri’s. The mirrored glass flashed different colored lights etching into her eyes and hair. I needed clarity. “Who’s the girl?” I pulled her arm, it was wet and sticky. Deb said, “You’re always yelling!” And then she started laughing again. “ Isn’t she gorgeous? I’m in love!”

The girl Deb was dancing with was gorgeous in that rugged way and any femme in their right mind would have easily gone for. The woman, Joann, had a ruddy, pock-marked face with good, creased lines of laughter on the corners of her mouth, and  a thick crest of dark brown hair, with eyes the color of aquamarine, so blue and watery, it struck me that I never seen such beautiful eyes. Apparently Deb thought so, too. Deb went back to bumping Joann sticking her behind in Joann’s crotch, shifting her weight up and down.

I took Randee by the hand and led her to the bar seeing Deb was in hood hands. Randee said, “We’ve got another hour-“I stopped her with an index finger to her mouth, “Aaah, we have more time than you think.”

She lowered her eyes to my mouth and we kissed. Her tongue was tart and new, thick; when she traveled to the ridges of my teeth she darted her tongue deep into my mouth and I pulled her waist into my hip, cupping my left hand through her belt loop, pressing on her lower back. I heard her moan, “Mmmm,” and a wet flash glistened hot down my thigh. “I want to sleep with you tonight,” I said. But she broke away, her eyes darting toward the door, and then she whispered, “Oh, my god, is that Linda?”


Linda sat at the other end of the bar and on the other side of the silver nickel cash register. But she spotted me, and I could feel the weight of her angry eyes as she threw back what looked like a seltzer with lemon. I was praying she wouldn’t approach us; I didn’t want to talk with her at all – I didn’t know why, as I’m usually friendly, but with her, I just didn’t know why. “Kiss me, Randee,” I said. She didn’t hesitate, and resumed the kiss with more bravado. “Let’s take a walk.” And I followed her out, passing Linda, acknowledging her with one eye.


 After making out for fifteen or twenty minutes in an alleyway lined with wooden skids and heat pumps lined like soldiers, Randee was as alert as she was when she traversed her way around the broken wine glass, and gracefully picking up that dance move with Deb said, “The music went off. Are they closing?”

“I don’t know, let’s go see.”

When we returned we saw two women pushing each other on the dance floor and the DJ stopped completely spinning the music when the lights came on. A siren from the DJ booth was louder than I’d ever heard it.

“Ladies! Ladies! Please! Take it outside now!” The DJ’s voice boomed into the microphone. “Bouncer please, bouncer please!”

To my amazement it was Deb being pulled by Linda in one direction, while the new girl, Joann, with the dazzling blue eyes, was pulling Deb in the other direction. Linda and Joann were being hustled out and I caught Deb’s eyes, “What’s happening?!” Deb shook her head in disbelief, and pointed toward the door, as a queue to meet her outside.

I pulled Randee along and once outside I said to Deb, “What’s going on? You alright? What happened? I stepped outside for a walk with Randee.” And then to Linda I said,

“What the fuck did you do to her, huh? Are you fucking out of your mind, starting in like that? You’re a grown women – look at you. We’re in our mid-thirties – all of us – and we are better mannered than you! You should be ashamed of yourself, a woman of your age should know better. You’re pushing fifty and here you are causing a scene like this!”

I thought I was seeing things because without hesitation, Linda’s hand came across my chest, pulling at my tee, her fingernail cutting a slice of skin from my neck, but Deb grabbed her hand mid-air before she could take another swipe at me and said, “Don’t Linda.”

Linda took a deep breath, but she wasn’t lying down, “And you!”  She yelled, her anger toward me, “You’re the biggest instigator of all! Bringing her here, trying to mock me at the party, moving her in! Taking her away from me!”

I had not heard Deb scream in forever, she didn’t even scream when her photography studio went up in flames. ”I left you sleeping! You are probably still drunk! And you were probably driving drunk!” she screamed and with this everyone fell silent, like she had woken us all back to our senses.

Except Linda. Linda said in answer to Deb’s insult, “Who’s this?!

Joann had been quiet up till now; I suspected that was a sign of good manners. Deb moved closer to her and Joann held Deb’s waist. Apparently what had happened on the dance floor in an hour’s worth of time cemented them  “thick as thieves.”

Joann said, “I don’t normally get introductions like this,” she had a drawl; she was up from Kentucky, working the track at Saratoga as a groom, in for the summer racing, “and I don’t think I want to shake your hand.” she told Linda. I smirked at this somehow sweet insult and winked at Randee.


 Well, I can tell you this story in a long, drawn out way and maybe, just maybe if you’re lucky, one day I will.


Randee and Terry slept together that night, as did Deb and Joann at Terry’s apartment. We presumed Linda went home by herself – but we had a strong suspicion she didn’t stay there.

Sometime in the middle of the night, Linda returned to Terry’s downtown Albany apartment, on a street lined with row houses and found Deb’s car where she proceeded to smash in all her car windows (except the windshield) and flattened her tires.

Sunday afternoon was later than expected when Deb walked out to her car to get her smokes, and when she came back screaming and crying on Joann’s shoulder, “I am so sorry to put you through this. I am so sorry to put you through this…” I knew Linda had done something to do with it.

I surveyed the damages with grief and an overwhelming sense of rage for a woman I hardly knew but knew better to stay away from, boiled up in me. She got Deb instead, knowing full-well Deb was in a vulnerable place – away from her home, in limbo, waiting for her home to be repaired, and now her car.


After the incident Linda harassed Deb day after day, week after week, calling with her concern, calling with her advice, leaving messages. At one point she offered to buy Deb a car. It took months for Linda to understand – that is, if she ever did – that she had become persona non grata. Deb had put her down to the lowest point of the social hierarchy and there she remained.

Randee and Terry dated after that for a while until Randee met a guy and wound up getting married. Terry was invited to the wedding. They remain friends till this day.

In the end Deb settled her estate, returning to Kinderhook just in time for Thanksgiving, and put on a big feast. She and Joann would enjoy a relationship that was companionable, filled with joy and love for a good long while. They took many pictures together.

The End

© of Terry Rachel, 2011

My Insouciant Companion Part III

9 Jul

Have you ever known a lesbian who considered herself a model citizen, a standing member of the community, a solid woman by all standards – good job, established home owner, nice car, a tidy savings – all the established prerequisites. And then you  come to find that she is, in fact, clearly out of her mind.

This is about a story of one such woman.

My Insouciant Companion

Part III

On the ride to downtown Albany, Deb was driving her four-seated teal blue Acura that she had turned into a truck. Figuratively, of course, as all of her photography equipment was in the back two seats and with the seats folded down, the equipment infringed to the passenger side. It wouldn’t have been bad with just two, but now we were squished in.

“It’s a good thing I’m thin, huh?” said the petite blonde sitting on my lap. “Ouch!” she said when Deb took a turn too fast and swerved out of the middle lane traffic and into the left lane to beat the light.

Deb yelled over the music, “Well then, move that thin butt so I can shift!”

The petite blonde whose name was as fitting as her personality, “Randee,” she said, “and not with an ‘I’ but with a double ‘E’” was more than happy to leave the party and join me at Girl Bar.

I smiled agreeably at Randee, “Hey, you didn’t cut your foot on that glass” I told her, “and I didn’t see anybody by your side at the party. Or, is it possible you’re with one of the Century 21 agents and just decided to leave her behind?”

Randee shifted again and put her arms around my neck, “Do you mind?” And then back to the question with a snap of her gum, “Who’s the Century 21 agents?”

Deb shot back, “It’s a long story, Randee.” Unlike Deb, whose playfulness with me was well-known, she didn’t understand the standing joke. “Don’t listen to her,” said Deb, “Just fuck her or laugh with her. If you listen to her she’ll drive you crazy.”

Eager to top this, I said, “Randee, the gum you’re chewing…please put it on Deb’s nose.” Randee was not an easily confused woman, but I was beginning to wonder. “Why would I want to put my gum on her nose?”

“I’m playing, Randee.” This was lost on her, I knew, so I would have to keep my sarcasm in check.

“Deb, do you want a piece of gum?” Randee asked, “I have some. Where’s my purse.”

Randee was trying to move and the grip she had around my neck grew tighter as Deb’s driving made it impossible to be comfortable. “Your purse is here,” I told her, “don’t worry. I think it’s on the floor, it’s under my foot.”

“You have no idea where her purse is. Don’t listen to her, Randee. I have your purse,” Deb said reassuringly, “it’s in the back of my seat.”

“Oh! Put this song up!” Randee squealed, “I love this song!”

And there we were, Deb blowing smoke out her window, Randee snapping gum, and me with my face pressed against Randee breasts, singing the lesbian national anthem,

There’s more than one answer to these questions pointing me in a crooked line  …the less I seek my source for some definitive …The closer I am to fiiii….ineYeah!”

I rolled out the door and gave Randee a hand to lift her up. I lowered my head down to say goodbye to Deb from the passenger side. “Come back if you can. Besides we’re both going to need a ride.” I turned to Randee, “Where do you live? I didn’t even ask you.”

“Slingerlands, it’s kinda’ far.”

Deb overhearing this said, “This isn’t going to work, my dear friend.”

Knowing what she meant I said, “Why, Deb,” and then in earnest, “please. I like her.”

Deb rolled her eyes, “You better bring her back to the apartment ‘cause I’m not driving to Slingerlands.”

My eyes creased with laughter, “See you later. Be safe!”


Deb took a different route to return to the party, as she preferred this time to drive slow, taking in the lush, deeply wooded bends so familiar to her having grown up in the small town of Aurora, New York, near to Cayuga Lake, one of New York’s Finger Lakes.  Deb’s business was in Kinderhook, a sleepy bucolic region of New York’s mid-Hudson where antique dealers flocked for the weekend.  This brought in much business for the town during the summer, but in the winter months it fell quiet, and the stores returned to closing early and the wildlife that oddly disappeared when the tourists came, returned with the frost, home to burrow, much like the year-round residents. Some secretly despised that their town turned into a sort of tourist trap during the summer, but Deb didn’t mind the tourist’s one bit. For her it was a way to get her business card out there and she took full advantage of it last summer and the summer before that. But not this summer. This summer she was frustrated.

She thought about Linda and how they came to meet. The fire to Deb’s Kinderhook home took out her photography studio and a part of the kitchen, and she was forced to leave, at least until the place was repaired. But it seemed the insurance company was taking too damn long, and she wasn’t getting the results she needed fast enough, and never mind the countless phone calls she had made, only to be put in a holding pattern, where she wasn’t making much gain.  ‘I would have been better off if the whole place burned,’ she told herself. But she didn’t mean it; she resented having to depend on others now especially since she was close to breaking six figures. The fire had certainly hampered her progress, so she passed the days dining and drinking.

That’s how she came to meet Linda. Linda was in Kinderhook picking up an antique desk, and was one of the onlookers at the fire that early evening in May. Deb remembered how kind Linda was, how concerned, taking her out to dinner and then drinks, and soon after, Deb would fall comfortably into Linda’s bed for a straight two full weeks, that is, until Terry made the offer to have her stay in the second bedroom of her Albany apartment.

Now she was driving back and forth from Albany to Kinderhook as her client base was there, but it was a nearly 50 mile round-trip – she quickly excused this thought as ungrateful, as she realized Terry’s place was uncluttered and clean, and she would be able to think and sort things out as she waited on the insurance adjuster to settle the damage.  She would remain hopeful, positive. If only she had paid more attention to what she was doing that busy morning, when she placed that still burning cigarette to an unbalanced ashtray and lit up a flammable roll of film that burst into flames, lapping up the ceiling so fast, that even in minutes of the fire department getting there, there was nothing in the studio she could take away except what she had already stowed away in her car.


When Deb arrived back to the party it was winding down with just a few stragglers left having some time between drinks. Deb searched for Linda, walking through the side entrance and through the kitchen, out through the large back patio, down a step and then last to the citronella tiki torches and to the chaise lounge, where Deb pulled up a chair and set it by Linda’s side. She kissed Linda on the mouth and Linda smiled.  And to that Deb said, “Let’s have a drink.”

Linda gave her a warm smile, “I’m glad you returned. I think there’s some booze still out. What do you want?”

When it came to a drink, Deb could hold her own and a Saturday night party to her mind shouldn’t be ending at 11 o’clock, this was no time to be winding down. “What do I want?” she replied in a casual, carefree way, knowing full-well what she wanted. Her eyes twinkled, “Ah, what the hell. Let’s get a Jack on the rocks.”

This would be the beginning of heavy drinking for Deb and Linda. Linda started banging gin and tonic and Deb continued with the Jack Daniels. They finished the party on bended-knee with Linda dancing her way into the barbecue grill, and tripping off the giant Hostas planted near the pavers and between the retaining wall. Deb reached for Linda just in time before she tripped again.

The hostesses, Marcia and her partner, Pam, seeing this, cheerily went over to them before they got too close to the outdoor pool. If they were to fall into the pool in their drunken state who knew then what could have happened.  It seemed no one knew each other that long, because if they had, they would have known that Deb was a summer lifeguard through her teenage years in Cayuga Lake Park and was still a powerful swimmer.

Marcia said, “Come inside you, two. Let’s get you some coffee. No more drinking!”

But Linda wasn’t having it and waved her off, “We are fine! Well – I think she’s better than me.” Pointing to Deb with her glass, she said, “Are you fine?”

Marcia laughed to her partner, “Help me, let’s get them inside.”

Linda balked, “No! Deb’s going home with me! Let me go!”

Pushing Linda up the stairs for her much-needed destination — the spare bedroom — was no easy task, and she proved difficult throughout the exercise, “I’m fine! I’m fine!”

When they finally reached the landing and down through the foyer, Deb had grown impatient, “Lay down, Linda, and shut up,” she told her, “Go to sleep, you can’t drive.” And with this covered Linda with a light fabric bedspread, and fluffed up the pillow she would lay her head upon. By the time Deb clicked off the light and closed the door, Linda was asleep.

Shortly after that, Deb was standing on the landing of the front stoop, under the huge overhead chandelier, of Marcia and Pam’s colonial home. “I can’t thank you enough,” she told them, extending her hand, “I had so much fun.”

Happily Marcia said, “Oh, it was a pleasure to have you. I’m sure Linda will be fine in the morning. I’m sure she’ll call you.”

Deb blew it off, “I’m sorry about that. Thanks a lot. We’re bad guests. Next time you can stay at my house – if it’s every gonna’ be ready!”

They shared a laugh, and then Deb yelled out, “Thanks again!” without turning around and headed back to her car.

One’s ability to party with the best of them has always been a part of what defines the ages, and there was no one who could drink Deb under the table. Surely Linda had tried, and wound up in a spare bedroom and with Deb nearly 12 years younger than Linda, that didn’t help Linda’s playing field. With this knowledge, Deb stepped into the clutch, and pulled the shift in reverse, and maneuvered down the long drive, passing the well-manicured lawn with its bordering solar lamps and headed for Girl Bar.

To Be Continued

© of Terry Rachel, 2011

My Insouciant Companion Part II

2 Jul

Have you ever known a lesbian who considered herself a model citizen, a standing member of the community, a solid woman by all standards – good job, established home owner, nice car, a tidy savings – all the established prerequisites. And then you  come to find that she is, in fact, clearly out of her mind.

This is about a story of one such woman.

My Insouciant Companion

Part II

At last sight Linda was in the chaise lounge, but she must have been tucked inside the house long enough to overhear my conversation with Deb. She stood between the hallway entrance, slighted right, standing askew on one foot, with one hand on the wall.

“You look like you’re holding up the wall,” I told her.

Deb suppressed a laugh as we watched Linda fix a menacing gaze at me. She took in big gulps of air, it almost seemed like she was trying to catch her breath, but then she winced, knitting her eyebrows against us, and then a smirk came over her. Then she shifted her feet in a stance that reminded me of the courtyard bullies I used to know when I was growing up; I could always tell when someone was readying themselves for a fight. “I’m not holding up the wall…” and then to Deb she said,

“How long have you two known each other? You seem like you’re old friends.” And of course we were, and because we were, we didn’t  jump to answer her question thinking there was more to it.  “A lot of lesbians remain friends with their lovers,” she continued, “I don’t understand how. They always seem to be in the way of any future relationship.” And then she paused and asked what she wanted to know in the first place.  “Are you two ex-lovers, or are you lovers now?”

Deb laughed the hearty laugh we needed and then threw me off guard when she honked my left breast, “Owa! You sonabitch!” I said, retaliating with a push to Deb’s left shoulder, knocking her off balance  just so I could grab hold of her ponytail. She belted out, “Don’t fuck with my hair, pecker! Let go of the ponytail, peckerhead!”

While I was recovering from my sore breast, Deb laughed, “See,” she said to Linda, “we love each other, but we’re only friends. “ And with that Deb tried grabbing hold of my other breast but I jumped back, giving her a look that told her, “Better not!”

“Why the question,” I said to Linda? “Do we look like lovers?”

“We don’t act it!” and giving me a wink, Deb said, “I wouldn’t go out with you anyway even though you are pretty cute.”

I laughed, “What makes you think I’d go out with you? You sleep too long, you snore, and you party way too much for me.”

“Yeah, but you love me and you know it, and besides, you want to secretly go to bed with me.”

I choked back a sip of wine, “Oh, yeah, baby, turn over right now. Against the sink!”

We realized we had both ignored Linda with our always present, quick and rapid-fire verbal slings that Deb and I enjoyed and often engaged in. So I said, half-heartedly to Linda, “Why do you want to know if we’re lovers?”  I waited for her to answer but instead  she rolled her plump body into a kitchen bar stool and began doing half-circles while simultaneously staring at the ceiling fan.  This went on for several seconds and I just looked at Deb. I  silently mouthed words in the air, “What the fuck is she doing?” Deb shrugged.

“So you girls are going out, huh?”

Linda had the kind of voice that was neither remarkable nor distinct, there were no highs, no lows, it was just a voice that sounded as if it had never sighed. I couldn’t imagine she ever said  “Wow!” in pure excitement like happy people do, or spoke with sincerity or concern to ask, “Are you okay?” like when a friend really wants to get to the truth. There was none of it in her voice.  To me Linda might as well have been a lamp in the corner, an indistinct and unremarkable object that was just there.

I couldn’t believe what Deb had told me in the car ride over.  “Wow!” I said to Deb in hopes of liking Linda for Deb’s sake, “That’s quite a big responsibility, quite a job, fat salary, a leadership position, for sure!” I  stared at Linda still sitting in the bar stool, still doing half-circles, and I couldn’t believe she was head of the Albany Teacher’s Union.  With as much good-nature as I could muster for a woman who I wasn’t warming up to, and sensing she didn’t like my shenanigans with Deb, I said to Linda, “I’m trying to get out of here, Linda, but I need a lift because I came with this one!” and tapped Deb’s shoulder.

Deb, leaning  against the stove, wide-eyed and smiling, blew one final puff from her cigarette into the kitchen fan, “Linda, I’m going to drop off Terry at Girl Bar, she’s begging me to go.”

“But you came to the party with me, Debra,” said Linda.

Deb, always careful of her appearance and, in particular, her long strawberry-blonde hair that was thick and rich with curl, tucked away any loose hairs, by swimming a hand over the sides and top, “Linda, I met you here, silly, I came with Terry! I’m going to drive her to the bar and then I’ll be back.”

“Please don’t call me, ‘silly.’”

“What?!” Deb was incredulous, “Linda, please, it’s just an expression!”

“I don’t care, I don’t like it. I don’t know you long enough to use expressions like that with me.”

Just then a petite blonde woman stumbled through the kitchen, “Excuse me, excuse me, make way.” She carried a tray of wine glasses and was just about near the kitchen counter when one glass toppled off hitting the tile floor, shattering into fragments.

“Oh, oh, oh!” She screamed, “Oh! I’m so sorry!”

Both Deb and I went to the floor picking up as much glass as we could, but the petite blonde wore sandals and Deb said to her, shooing her back, “We just need a dust pan. Give me a wet paper towel, too. Move back. The last thing I want is for you to cut your foot,” she said to the sandaled blonde, “I don’t do good with blood.”

To Be Continued

© Terry Rachel, 2011