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The Courage To Love
By Demeter


"It's unnatural!"

She stares at her older daughter, the defiant, self-righteous posture, and she realizes she can't recognize her. What's worse, she's recognizing herself, a younger, cockier version at a time when she thought she'd have the answers to everything.

"I never said that," she whispers, still shocked, frantically searching for and hoping not to find a memory that would make her a liar. "Your sister, you think what she feels is unnatural too?"

"She's sixteen. She's confused."

She flashes back on the conversation with her baby girl, the one that had made all her protective walls come down. Confused is not a word that comes to mind.

"You don't have that excuse, Mom. When the hell did you decide you were just going to throw your life away – and everyone in it? For that woman?"

"I love you. I'm not throwing you or anyone away." The guilt cuts deep though. How could this happen? She was supposed to make this all calm and logical. She wishes she could place the blame on someone other than herself, but she was the one who broke the silence after sixteen years. "I have no excuse," she says, flinching at the anger on her daughter's face. "You can't choose who you love."

"Maybe. But you can choose who you have sex with. Who you betray." Each word is a slap to the face, effectively killing the hope that this could be done with the least possible damage for everyone. "If you don't tell Dad, I will."

Protest rises somewhere in the back of her mind; she can't let herself be blackmailed by the person she gave life to, can she? Then again, these are the seeds she's sown when all she wanted for her family, her children, was to draw strength from their beliefs. Simple rules for a fulfilled life, only that they don't seem so simple now.

The younger daughter who is in love with another girl had thought she'd freak over it. Now, neither is trusting her. What has she done?

This would be the moment to backpedal and claim it was all some big misunderstanding. These are her choices now – abandon the person she loves so much that the thought of letting go is hurting her physically – or abandon the man who's stood by her for all these years, and the children they've done a pretty good job raising. How can she even make that decision when she hardly knows herself anymore?

"I'm sorry," she says, her voice still barely above a whisper, too precious and fragile and dangerous are those truths. "I love her. I can't undo that."

"No, you can't. You can't undo any of this. You know, Mom, I won't be telling on you, but I think it's better if you don't call or come by anymore."

"What?" She's on her feet in a heartbeat, cold fear making her chest tighten painfully. "You don't mean--"

"You heard me. You deal with this your way, don't mind me mine. Are you happy now? Is this what you wanted?"

"Wait. I'm going to--"

She steps back, just barely in time to avoid the door slamming in her face. Now, there's another conversation she's dreading waiting for her when she's still teetering with the impact of this one.

When all she wants is the woman's arms around her and her saying the magic words, that it's going to be alright.

She once believed her and she would believe her again, even if she knows in her heart that it isn't true.

The End

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