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What Goes Around Comes Around
"It's true, Mom. I'm a lesbian. You can be mad at me now, but that won't change a thing."
She wanted to ask the most obvious question, Why would she be mad at all? but all she could do was stare at her daughter, blindsided beyond imagination.
"Okay," she said, because she had to say something. Her mind was still battling contrasting impulses. She wanted to hug her and tell her everything was going to be alright. And she wanted to shake her, because all of a sudden, nothing really was alright anymore, confusion threatening to give way to unsettling fears and memories. Not that they had ever gone away. She just had mastered the art of denial.
So was it her fault after all? A hereditary component or something people just sensed when they took a closer look? These thoughts were crazy, but she had a hard time stopping them.
"Just like that, 'okay'?" came the predictable suspicious answer.
She studied her sixteen-year-old daughter, tall and slender, hands on her slim hips and a defiant look on her pretty face. The youngest. Her baby. The challenge. "Oh well, did you expect me to disown you?"
"I kinda hoped you wouldn't. Look, that's what I've got siblings for, right? You still get a shot at becoming Grandma."
That cracked both of them up, the shared laughter dissolving some of the tension that had settled between them since the beginning of this conversation. "Thank you very much, you know. I don't feel like a grandmother yet."
"Right. So you're not going to freak out on me?"
Somehow it hurt that she seemed to have expected that. Then again, didn't she have reason?
"I love you," she said. "I want you to make your own choices even if they're different from your old mother's."
"Oh come on. You're not old."
But she felt that way, and very jealous of her child who had the courage to hold another girl's hand and kiss her. "Wait..." The thought had sprung to mind out of nowhere. "Do we have to talk... about...?"
"Mom, no offense, but I think I can get more off the 'net than from you."
"Oh God. Too much information," she moaned. "I don't even want to think about it."
"I love you too, Mom," her daughter said seriously. She finally embraced her, tightly, feeling all choked up. Feeling like the liar she'd been all these years. Not just now; every word she'd just said was true.
Her deceptions had happened long ago, on a larger scale. Her daughter's revelation had blown her own house of cards to pieces.
She was still thinking of her.
Finally, she had been able to do the 'right' thing and ended the relationship. She had a good marriage, wonderful children, a fulfilling job. You didn't gamble all of that for an illusion.
Only that it felt all too real when she lay awake at night, recalling those crazy nights together, keeping secrets, making love, the never-ending craving.
Even after sixteen years...
If she just picked up the phone and called her... the thought alone was enough to make her heart beat wildly.
Once upon a time, maybe, they'd had a chance at being in love, together.
She'd been too scared, too comfortable in her pre-designed life to take that chance, but she had to face the truth. She'd never stopped wanting to.
She'd never stopped wanting her.
She remained sitting in her spacious living room, trying to imagine a life far from this, a life away from everything she knew. It was turning all the plans she'd ever had upside down. No one would understand, probably not even her daughter who'd just so bravely come out to her.
Responsibilities. She had a few of those. She could just make that call in the hope that the number had been changed long ago. And what would she say anyway?
Damn you for making me feel that way. I tried prayer and meditation and everything I could think of, but nothing helped. I can't forget the way you touched me, the sound of your voice when you whispered my name. Your smile...
Oh God. She said it aloud, but there was no instant divine intervention except for the certainty. "I can't."
I can't lie anymore.
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