So because of yesterday’s prompt and because it’s Pride month, I wrote this story. It’s dedicated to everyone who needs to know they are perfect and they are valid. And especially to my friends who I know are struggling right now with identifying bi.
Christine had been carrying around a secret for years. She had once tried to tell her secret and been met with such scorn that she had never tried to share that part of herself again.
Maybe it was because it was Pride month, maybe it was because she had a new best friend at work who seemed to get her so perfectly. Maybe it was because she was three raspberry and lime ciders into the evening. Maybe it was the alignment of the stars but Christine wanted to tell someone one of her secrets.
“So, I might be bisexual.”
“But you’ve got a husband and kids.”
And here it came. It was going to be the same comments.
“So, what, that doesn’t mean that I can’t be attracted to women. But it’s more than just a physical thing. I…I’ve fallen in love with women before.”
“What, you’ve dated chicks? I didn’t know that.”
“I didn’t say I’d dated them, but I’ve fallen in love with them. And before I was married I made out with girls.”
“That just sounds like you were experimenting, like you straight girls do in movies. You’re married, Christine. You can’t be bisexual if you’ve chosen to be with a guy.”
And just like that, Christine clammed up and had no desire to talk about it. Within a half an hour Christine had left and somehow, she wasn’t sure this new work bestie situation was going to work out.
Christine walked towards the train station, the main street was taken over by vendors and stalls, Friday Night Madness. The early summer evening was pleasant. She stopped when she came to a small table filled to overflowing with the most amazing jewellery. Christine picked up a bracelet from one of the bowls. It had immediately drawn her to it. It had a small silver bird pendant alongside a heart and on the other side an infinity symbol. Purple and blue leather was plaited together with large silver beads at regular intervals. It was perfect.
“How much for this?” Christine said looking up at the stall holder. Christine almost stared, the woman was beautiful, almost radiant.
“For you, it’s free.”
“Free.” The woman smiled. “I knew it was meant for someone who needed it and I think it’s you. I’m Lily, Lily Rowan.”
“Christine McFarlane,” Christine replied. “I can’t let you give it to me. How will you make any money?”
“Okay, well how about you buy some earrings or a necklace to go with it and you keep that as your free gift.”
Christina smiled. “I think that sounds like a plan.”
She started looking over the other items on display on the table. She found a necklace with the same silver bird pendant on it and then some blue, purple and silver beaded earrings. It seemed like the perfect set. “I shall take these two, too.”
“Those will be perfect for you. Can I help you put the necklace on?”
Lily came around the table and helped with the necklace. “You know, not everyone will understand but the right people will. Any label you give yourself requires only your own definition and understanding. And there are more people out there like you than you know.”
Christine turned slowly to face Lily. “Why did you say that?”
“Because it was what you needed to hear. You were drawn to these items today for a reason and I can tell a lot about you because of it.”
“What can you tell about me?” Christine asked. She was honestly terrified of what insights this stranger might have about her. Not because of the woman but because right now, Christine felt like she did not want anyone to know the truth about herself because, beyond her husband, no one seemed to understand what she was. That had been reinforced tonight.
“I can tell that you are swirling in emotions and one of the biggest is fear. Fear of what others will think, how they will judge because we live in a world where all too many judge and you have been judged harshly and violently.”
“How could you possibly know that?”
Lily smiled. “Because you are not the only one with special parts of herself hidden. Do you want to come and sit behind the table and share my hot chocolate while I keep selling?”
“I…” Christina thought about it for a moment. “That would be nice.”
They took a seat behind the table and began to chat.
“Someone upset you tonight, didn’t they?”
Christine nodded. “I tried to open up about one part of me. One of my secret sides but it was the usual stuff. People either don’t understand or they don’t want to. I thought she might because she’s a lesbian but nope.”
Lily looked her over. “And you, you are bisexual. You have been attracted to women, and it’s been deeper than that too.”
“Are you a witch?” Christine asked, blurting out the question as she blushed. This woman seemed to be able to just look at her and know her secrets.
“I’ve been called that before,” Lily replied and smiled. “I would have been burned as one, I’m sure. As would you.”
Christine blushed more and looked down at her hands. This was scary and yet, at the same time, it was wonderful because here was someone who seemed to see her for who she was and there was not a hint of judgement, or hate, or anything.
“People don’t seem to think that it’s possible to be anything other than straight if you’re happily married and in love with a man. Like me falling in love with him negated anything else inside me. Being married doesn’t make one impervious to attraction to others. It’s part of me to want to keep faithful, to not want to explore any attraction. To guys or girls. And they also see everything has to be all about the sex too…”
“Who you are, who you can love and do love doesn’t need to be about anyone else or what they think. It is for you and you alone. That’s something that this time has made people believe, that they have rights to the souls of other people.”
“I think I needed to hear that tonight. Sometimes, well, sometimes it feels like everyone else has a huge voice in my life. Not just my life but everyones. The comments sections are great for showing how entitled everyone feels to have an opinion.”
“My mother always said opinions are like buttholes, we all have them but we shouldn’t be shoving them in everyone’s face.”
Christine let out an embarrassingly loud laugh. “True story.”
Christine felt better about herself right now. She was exactly who she was and no one else had to accept her but herself. That was the most important person, herself. She had to love all parts of herself or she could never be happy and find the inner peace she wanted.
The bird on her necklace and her bracelet was indistinct, it didn’t look like any exact bird but Christine decided it was a dove. A dove for inner peace. Christine rubbed the pad of her thumb over the pendant. “I knew I was different when I realised I was in love with my best friend, as cliched as it seemed. I knew what I felt for her went deeper than simple friendship. I wasn’t deep in lust with her, though there was some attraction but it was something deeper. And that’s something with me. There’s always something deeper to an attraction…”
It was so strange to be opening up to this woman but maybe it was easier to strangers. And Lily had something about her that just made Christine feel like opening up.
“Did you tell your friend how you felt?”
Christine shook her head and sighed. She had thought about it a number of times but she also doubted that her best friend felt even half as strongly for her. And there was the fear and the worry, so she had kept her mouth completely shut about it. “No, it wasn’t worth it.”
“What if she had felt the same?”
“I don’t think she did and even if she had. I don’t think I was ready to pursue anything like that.”
“That’s fair enough, and don’t ever think you were a coward. While in some areas we must push ourselves beyond our limits and comfort zones, other things must be evolved into.” Lily said and reached over and hugged Christine. “You are perfect the way you are, and you are valid.”
“Thank you,” Christine replied. Her eyes were filled with tears. “I think I really needed to hear that tonight.”