Tales from the Lesloom: Episode Five “Coming Out is Hard to Do.”

Welcome to the fifth episode of the Lesbian Heirloom Tales. If you haven’t been following along with this silly little series, I’d recommend going back to the beginning to get your bearings. Enjoy the break from the more serious topics with these imaginative accounts of the wonderful highs and terrible lows of a girl growing up and the loving futon that was sent to help her.

COMING OUT IS HARD TO DO

After Emma discovered that she was lesbian, she couldn’t wait to tell Rebecca. She constructed elaborate daydreams of their excited squeals as they read over the information together, and as such daydreams do, they quickly morphed into fantasies about dates, telling parents, and beautiful weddings.

“I’m so lucky,” she whispered to the futon. “I’ve found out who I am by falling in love with my best friend! It’s so romantic!”

The futon rejoiced with Emma as she discovered her identity, but it quivered in fear at the memory of how it had been inspired with its mission in the first place. It knew from its maker’s experience that accepting yourself is not the same thing as being accepted—and how much a young heart needed both.

Take it slow, it tried to warn Emma.

But she wouldn’t listen. She was far too excited to have discovered a way to explain her disinterest in boys. The next time Rebecca came over, Emma was practically bursting from the effort to keep her mouth shut long enough to get her mother out of the room.

“You look excited,” Rebecca ventured as she pulled out some DVDs she’d rented, tossing them on the bed.

Emma peaked out her door once more to make sure her mom was really gone and turned back to her friend. “You’ll never believe what I found!” she squealed, rushing over to her computer. She popped up one of the websites she’d been reading earlier and swung the screen toward Rebecca. “It explains everything!”

Rebecca glanced at the screen, her face unreadable. “What explains everything?”

The futon groaned slightly as it felt Rebecca stiffen.

Take it slow, it tried to whisper again, but Emma was too far into her own world to notice the changes in either of her friends.

“We’re lesbians.” She pointed to a paragraph about halfway down, wondering how Rebecca hadn’t seen it as clearly as she had.

Rebecca dutifully read what Emma had pointed to.

“I don’t think that’s me,” she finally said.

“What are you talking about? Of course it is! It’s why we like each other instead of boys.”

“I’m not lesbian,” Rebecca said again, more firmly.

“But you said you thought about kissing girls!”

“Uh, no, I didn’t! I said I didn’t always think about kissing boys.”

“But what about . . .”

“Ugh!” Rebecca groaned, flopping her head onto a pillow. “Emma.” she mumbled into the fabric. Sitting back up, she pulled the pillow into her lap. “It was something we tried to see how it made us feel. It wasn’t supposed to be an engagement!”

The words stung. Emma pulled the computer back to herself, creating a wall of screen between them so Rebecca couldn’t see her face. Tears pricked the edges of her eyes, but she refused to cry.

“Why are you so afraid of this?” Emma snapped. “I thought your mom was all feminist and stuff, but you’re acting like a complete . . . homophobe.” She barely knew what the word meant, but she knew it was bad—and bad fit her feelings.

Rebecca glowered. The futon did its best to intervene, with one girl trembling in despair and the other in anger.

“I’m not a homophobe!” Rebecca tossed the pillow at Emma. “You can be whatever you want!”

“Apparently not. My best friend can’t handle it.”

“Oh, that’s rich! You’re the one trying to force a label on me that I don’t think fits.” Rebecca grabbed the DVDs off the futon and shoved them back into her bag.

“What are you doing?”

“I want to go home.”

“You’re such a traitor!” Emma screamed as Rebecca yanked open the door. “You’re . . . you’re a tramp!”

She regretted the words as soon as she said them, but the pain and confusion felt as though they would suffocate her.

They’d had fights before. The one who left always came back. It was like a rule between them to always come back, so Emma waited for Rebecca. She didn’t cry. She just sat on the edge of the futon, holding her laptop, and watching the door.

But Rebecca didn’t come back.

A half hour later, Emma’s mom came up and knocked on the already open door. “Can I come in?”

Emma closed out her browser and shrugged. “I guess.”

“Rebecca’s mom just picked her up,” her mother stated as she joined Emma on the edge of the mattress.

“So,” Emma snarled, tossing her computer aside and flopping down on her back.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

Emma’s hands flew to cover the tears leaking onto her cheek. “No. Leave me alone, please.”

It was meant to sound defiant, but it came out as more of a whimper.

“Alright.” Her mom gently rubbed Emma’s arm. “I’ll leave you alone for a while.” She stood to leave, but hesitated. “Don’t throw your friendship away over a fight, sweetie. You don’t find many friends like Rebecca. Promise me you’ll try to work it out.”

“Okay,” Emma muttered through her hands, but inside she was screaming, I think I threw away my friendship over a kiss!

After her mother left, Emma curled into her pillows and let the tears go. She cried for all she was worth over the unfairness of love, life, and growing up. She cried in anger at Rebecca and at herself. She cried in sorrow at the loss of something in their friendship. And she cried for the sake of crying because sometimes it’s the only way to get the tension of a horrible day out.

At some point her mother brought in a cup of tea and left it. She didn’t interrupt even though the futon could see it tortured her to watch her daughter in pain like that.

Don’t worry, it assured her, I’ll stay here with her.

Although her mother hadn’t consciously heard what the futon said, she felt the assurance of the words. Nodding her head sadly, she left her daughter to cry alone as she had asked.

The futon cradled Emma as gently as it could, hugging her to its chest in the way only a good piece of furniture can. To her, it felt like the end of the world. But the futon felt sure that things would look better when they got to the other side of the night.

It didn’t say that, of course, because heartbreak cannot be cured by promises of the future, but it tried to let hope silently seep  into Emma’s tears.

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Tales from the Lesloom Episode Four: Labels and Love

If you’re following The Adventures of the Lesbian Futon, you’ll remember that last week, Emma had her first kiss and was beginning to understand that she wasn’t like all the other girls in her class, who had begun to have crushes on boys. Join me this week as Emma navigates this new love of hers.

If you’re new to the Tales of the Lesloom, find out how it all began here!

Episode 4

Emma and Rebecca didn’t really notice a change in their friendship after that night—at least not right away. When they woke up in the morning, they each gave each other a shy look and a small smile. It was tense, but it was an amicable intensity.

When Rebecca’s mom came to pick her up, Emma offered an awkward hug goodbye.

“See ya,” Rebecca mumbled as they released each other. Trotting out the door, she jumped in the car and gave a final wave from the window.

Emma felt a tiny little jump in her stomach as she watched her friend’s car disappear. The world seemed to be sparkling with happiness. The colors were brighter, the song of the birds louder. Emma herself felt like she was walking on clouds.

She spent the weekend daydreaming about the future she hadn’t really dared hope for before—a future where she and Rebecca grow up, growing closer to each other rather than apart, making a home together, living out their dreams together.

Come Monday, even school didn’t seem like such a bad idea. Emma danced around the futon as she got ready, singing to herself.

“I get to see her today!” she cooed to her little wooden friend, falling back against the mattress, the pillows popping with the force of her faux faint. “I think I’m worried . . . or maybe excited. My stomach is all jumpy!” She gripped her middle and rolled into a ball.

Maybe both, the futon offered with a laugh, pushing slightly against her limp form. It took a little more coaxing than usual to get her ready and on her way on time, but somehow it managed to get the love-sick teen heading towards the bus at a quick trot with a few minutes to spare.

The poor futon had to wait all day in torturous apprehension for what its sweet friend might encounter that Monday, but thankfully, we don’t have to wait with it. Abandoning the futon to its worried daydreams and imperfect predictions, we follow Emma to school . . .

Emma didn’t feel nearly so alone as she walked to her locker, and it added an extra bounce to her step. When she saw Janie, the friend she’d bailed on that weekend, instead of shrinking back from the interaction, she waved enthusiastically. She barely remembered to keep pretending that she had been sick during their short conversation, but Janie seemed more relieved than anything that Emma was so . . . there really wasn’t a correct word for what Emma seemed to be.

Emma jogged over to Rebecca as soon as she saw her arrive at her locker. The reunion wasn’t quite as romantic as Emma had imagined, but then again, it would be hard for them to have the kind of movie-moment Emma had conjured up in her mind. Emma gave Rebecca a goofy grin, bouncing on the balls of her feet in an effort to restrain herself from hugging her.

“Wow,” Rebecca laughed. “Did you have coffee or something?”

“No!” Emma lowered her feet firmly to the floor. “I’m just really happy. It’s nice . . .” she cocked her head, biting her lower lip, “you know, having someone who understands.”

She didn’t see the initial look of pained confusion that fleeted over Rebecca’s face. She only saw the warm and very genuine smile that followed. “You can always tell me anything, you know.”

Rebecca meant what she said with all her heart, and Emma clung to the words of hope with her own desperate need. “Yeah, I guess you figure it all out on your own anyway.”

They laughed, the last little bits of visible awkwardness melting away.

“We better get to class.” Rebecca motioned towards their room.

Emma nodded, falling into step beside her friend. As they walked, their hands brushed lightly against each other, sending a chill up Emma’s arm and setting the butterflies in her stomach into full flight. Rebecca suddenly threw her arm over Emma’s shoulder, hugging her neck as they entered the classroom.

The day went by like any normal school day, but every time Emma caught Rebecca’s eye, she felt that they were sharing a secret language that the others couldn’t enter into. Every touch, no matter how innocuous it would have seemed last week, now felt laden with meaning. When Emma finally came home from school and related her day to the futon, they both sighed—one out of sheer happiness, the other out of relief. The futon didn’t admit to Emma that it had actually worried that Rebecca would withdraw from her.

“I think I’m in love with a girl,” Emma finally whispered, as much to herself as to the futon. “Is this what the crushes they’re always talking about feel like?”

The futon, having never experienced first love itself, shrugged. Probably, it said, but it secretly thought that Emma might be experiencing a deeper feeling than the other girls had known up to that point. Forbidden crushes are always a little bit stronger than general puppy love.

“What does it mean?” Emma asked.

You’re lesbian, the futon tried to explain. But it’s hard enough to understand the language of furniture as it is, and Emma had never heard that term before.

“Do you think there’s something wrong with me?”

No! the futon chuckled. There’s nothing wrong with you! There are many people who feel the same way. The futon knew that it wasn’t enough for it to whisper that to Emma, but it wasn’t quite sure how to help her see that she was normal. Suddenly, thought of a solution. You could look it up!

“I could look it up,” Emma mused to herself as if she had come up with the idea. Grabbing her laptop, she opened up a web browser. It didn’t take too long for her to discover a site that answered all of her questions. Together, she and the futon sat there and read what it meant for her to be attracted to girls instead of boys.

Emma hadn’t thought her heart could get any fuller than it already was. It was wonderful enough to have a friend who understood how she felt, but finding out that other people felt that way too and that there were words to describe that—even websites dedicated to helping teens like her—it was almost too much for her to handle. The only  thing that kept her grounded was the slight fear over how others might react, for in her reading she also discovered that not everyone was so kind to people like this. But that fear was far easier to bear than the one that she’d been carrying before—the one that feared her difference and feared understanding why she was different. Armed with self-knowledge and young love, she felt she could face anything her classmates might say about her.

Tales from the Lesloom Episode 3: The Awakening

Something lighter for this week because the last two weeks have had extremely heavy topics . If you haven’t read any of the Lesloom stories, I suggest starting with the first and second episodes to get a background of what the lesbian futon is and how its adventures began. For those who are up to date on these short little fairy tales, I present episode 3 “The Awakening.”

The futon settled into its new home and routine easily. Living with Emma felt so right that an outsider would think the two had been together for years rather than just a few months. Emma felt an instant trust with her new bed, opening up her soul to the futon and revealing her secrets. It became a ritual of sorts for Emma to tell the futon about her day as she prepared for sleep. And the futon did exactly what it was born to do—it listened.

Though Emma had not become aware of her orientation yet, the futon could sense that her sexual awakening was not far off. A futon, though you may not suspect it, has a keen sense of smell. And the hormones that gently arrived to tip Emma’s world upside down were unmistakable even to this inexperienced futon.

Emma could already tell that she wasn’t the same as some of her friends. Although she’d hung a few pictures of boy bands on her wall, she didn’t feel what they felt. She didn’t gush over the boys in school or fret about dating. She kept her difference to herself, only telling the futon, “I just don’t get what they see in them.”

The futon sighed, I know. Give it time.

“But I just don’t want to get married,” she whispered back. “Why does everything have to change? Why can’t we just stay the same?”

The futon knew that the “we” Emma was referring to was her best friend who, up until recently, hadn’t shown any more interest in boys than Emma. But as Rebecca too started to change, Emma had withdrawn more into herself.

Slowly, Emma stopped hanging out with the most of the girls in her class. She felt awkward when they talked about boys and found it easier to be alone, but Rebecca didn’t let her pull away.

One night Emma begged her mom to let her stay home from a classmate’s birthday slumber party. “I don’t feel well!” she complained. It was becoming her go-to excuse since she’d discovered that it caused the fewest question in her quest for solitude.

“Do you want the heating pad?” her mother cooed sympathetically.

Letting her mom think it was cramps, Emma shook her head and buried her face in her pillow.

“Okay, I’ll let Janie’s mom know you won’t be coming.” With a gentle pat on Emma’s head, her mother left to spread the convenient lie.

Emma had been snuggling into the safety of the futon, watching a movie and trying desperately not to think about her lack of attraction to boys, when Rebecca suddenly strolled through the door.

“My mom sends her special menstrual relief salve,” she said with a sarcastic smile.

Emma jolted upright. “What are you doing here?”

The futon perked up at the tension that suddenly emanated from its ward. It fluffed itself protectively around Emma’s small form and sent out a silent warning to Rebecca. Don’t hurt her.

“I came to keep you company.” Rebecca flopped down next to Emma, her dark hair cascading to cover the computer screen. Reaching over, she tapped the space bar, pausing the movie. “I didn’t feel much like hanging out with a bunch of twittering idiots either. Are you really on your period?”

Emma grimaced at Rebecca’s frankness. “No,” she admitted.

“Didn’t think so.” Rebecca laughed and pushed the computer out of the way. “So what do you want to do?”

“I dunno.” Emma had never been so tense around Rebecca. The futon did what it could to purr out some comfort, but Emma wasn’t listening to her furniture friend. She was too busy trying to hide her discomfort from her human friend.

“This puberty thing sucks, doesn’t it?” Rebecca continued after a moment.

Emma flinched again. “Why do you have to be so . . .”

“Because why should I be afraid to talk about what’s happening to me? I’ll never understand it if I don’t try.” The words were harsh, and Rebecca seemed to regret them as soon as they were out. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be mean. I just . . . don’t understand why it’s so tough to talk about this stuff.”

Emma chose not to respond but rolled over and grabbed a deck of cards off her nightstand. “Wanna play?”

Rebecca nodded and folded herself into a cross-legged position. Emma shuffled and dealt out a simple game of rummy, and the two of them settled into the familiar comfort of the cards. Emma was thankful for the distance the card pile between them created, but deep inside she was aching with a longing that she didn’t know what to do with.

“Have you ever . . .” she began the question, but didn’t know how to continue it.

Rebecca looked up from her hand. “Have I ever what?”

“I don’t know.” Emma stared fixedly at her cards, nervously arranging them before finally discarding one. “Sometimes I feel like I’m doing the whole puberty thing wrong.”

Rebecca picked up the discarded card, adding it to her own hand and throwing out another. “How do you mean?”

Emma blushed and hastily drew a new card. “Sometimes . . . I just wish boys would stay out of the picture.” She looked sheepishly at Rebecca to see if she was picking up on her meaning. “It’s not that I don’t like the idea of kissing. I just don’t like the idea of kissing boys.”

The futon’s heart was racing by now to match Emma’s and, surprisingly, Rebecca’s—though she looked perfectly calm to Emma.

“Well, I don’t think I’d dislike kissing boys,” Rebecca began.

Emma sagged into the cushions just slightly, playing her cards without a word.

“Of course, I’m not like the others . . . I don’t always think about kissing boys.”

Emma opened her mouth to retort, but Rebecca cut her off. “Sometimes I think about kissing girls too.”

“Is that . . . is that normal?” Emma couldn’t hide the hope in her voice at hearing someone say what she’d been feeling for so long.

Rebecca shrugged.

“Me too.” The admission was made more to the futon than to Rebecca.

The futon sighed visibly with the relief of the truth, startling both girls.

Emma giggled nervously. “I forgot where we were in the game.”

“Me too,” Rebecca echoed, throwing her cards into the center and gathering the deck together. She began shuffling aimlessly. “We could, uh—” The cards scattered on a failed riffle. “We could try.”

“What do you mean?”

“We could test out how we like kissing—girls.” Rebecca shrugged. “Each other.”

The poor futon trembled for Emma. As much as it wanted her to find herself and find love, it could foresee the beginning of the painful road of awakening that would accompany the end of this time of blissful ignorance.

Emma’s first kiss was awkward, she and her best friend leaning towards each other over a mess of cards. It started with a peck.

“What did you think?” Emma asked, her voice unsteady.

After a moment, Rebecca replied, “I don’t know. It was too short.”

So back together they went, lingering this time on each other’s lips in as sweet a second kiss as you would ever see. Emma’s heart soared with the perfection of the moment, finally understanding a little bit about what all her friends had been gushing about. This—this feeling! This moment! This contact!

Over too soon as Rebecca pulled away again. She rubbed the back of her hand over her lips. “It’s nice.”

Emma withdrew to her side of the futon, wondering what “nice” meant. “Yeah . . .”

“I won’t tell anyone,” Rebecca said in what she seemed to think was an encouraging promise.

Emma shook her head. “Me either.”

There was so much other stuff she wanted to say though and didn’t. The rest of the night passed in the same way that their sleepovers usually passed, with movies, games, and snacks. The kiss wasn’t mentioned again. No other kisses followed.

Emma had entered into that torturous stage of first love when nothing is certain and no one knows how to move forward or backward. She went to bed with a bittersweet memory lingering on her skin. Unsure of whether to be elated or devastated, she lay still until she thought Rebecca was sleeping then whispered to the futon, “But I liked it a lot.”

“Me too,” came the soft whisper next to her.

The futon hugged the two girls to itself, proud of their honesty with each other, apprehensive of their hearts, and wishing with all its might that it could tell the future. But it was just a futon and had to settle with doling out lots of loving energy to the girls in the hopes that it would make their dreams happy and their sleep restful.

 

Tales from the Lesloom: Speed Dating Furniture Style

After an intense October, I think something a little more lighthearted is called for. In honor of Nanowrimo, I present to you (drum roll please) another installment in the Adventures of the Lesloom. In this episode, (cue dramatic music and deep narrator’s voice) the lesbian futon searches for a companion. Will it be able to find the girl it’s looking for? Or will its destiny fail before it was even begun? Duh duh duuuuuuuuuh. (Or however you would spell out those suspenseful sounds) Anyways, have fun with this slightly melodramatic means of distracting myself from the 1500+ words I’m supposed to be adding to my book.

SPEED DATING FURNITURE STYLE

The lesbian futon sat on display in the store for months, quietly observing then rejecting all those that came to propose a union. It would puff the cushion out too hard or soften it too much or twist its slatted back just enough to throw a person off, whatever was needed to let the seekers know it was not what they were seeking. The salespeople grew irritated with the futon and tried to make it more enticing by lowering the tag they had attached to it shortly after its arrival. But the futon held out. It knew that at some point, the right girl would come along.

And she did.

As soon as the girl and her family came through the front doors, the futon knew that she had arrived even though it couldn’t see her yet. It was like the other end of a string had been picked up. The futon fluffed itself up to its best and waited for the girl to come.

After a half hour, the browsing family finally came within sight of the futon. The girl was still somewhat young, just entering her teens. Her bouncing pony tail and bright laugh caused the futon to shiver. This was its girl—the girl that it would guard and protect in her journey to understanding her sexuality, for the futon could tell that she did not yet know that she was a lesbian. It could be there for her coming out!

It shouted its silent language, “Come here! I’m over here!”

The girl’s parents were too busy looking at a bunk bed to hear the calling of destiny, but the girl looked around, scanning the various pieces of furniture surrounding her. When her eyes fell on the futon, they lit up.

She ran over for a closer look.

The futon desperately hoped it wasn’t dusty from the many months of sitting there.

The girl examined its bright red upholstery and the creamy blond wood of its frame. The trace of her fingers made the futon glow, and it sent a soft “hello” back to her.

Suddenly she flopped on top of the cushion, rolling over onto her back to look up at the ceiling. “Mom! Come look at this!”

“What is it, Emma?”

Emma, the futon whispered the name to itself.

“I think this is it!”

Emma’s mother came over to look. “But it’s a couch.”

“But isn’t that kind of the same as a daybed? It’s super comfy, and it would look great in my room!”

“Honey,” her father interjected, “We came to buy you a bunk bed. This isn’t the time to look at accessories for your room.”

Emma’s parents began walking back towards the bunk beds.

The futon cried out, Emma!

Emma turned once more to look at the futon, but she continued to follow her parents. It was going to lose her!

The futon began crying out for a one of the salespeople working nearby. It shivered its legs are hard as it could, trying anything to move and get someone’s attention. But by the time someone came by, Emma and her family had disappeared into another part of the store.

She wanted me, the futon sighed. She was perfect.

The salesperson, somehow sensing the futon’s desolation, hung around to primp it a bit. At first he just intended to fluff the cushion a bit and dust the arms. A piece like this that hadn’t sold for so long wasn’t worth wasting too much time on. But for some reason, he felt compelled to help the futon lie down. The poor thing seemed too heavy to sit up straight anymore.

Although the futon desperately wanted to just lie down on the floor, it was too sad to help the man rearrange it. The mattress was heavy, and the salesman found himself still straining several minutes later.

Just as he was finishing lying the mattress out flat, Emma and her parents came back around the corner.  “Wait! Wasn’t this that couch?” Emma asked the salesman excitedly.

Emma?  The futon perked up. You’re back!

“It is! It’s a futon!” The salesman was overly enthusiastic, thrilled that someone would take an interest immediately after his impromptu redecoration.

“What’s a futon?” Emma asked.

The salesperson explained how the futon could be both a couch and a bed, that this particular one had three major positions, and a little bit about the history of futons in general . . . though he himself didn’t quite know if the history he was giving was accurate or not.

“Oh, please, can I get it?” Emma begged.

Yes, please! The futon begged.

“Don’t you want a bunk bed?” her mother replied skeptically.

“No, I want this. This is so cool!”

The salesman smiled at Emma’s parents and made one last pitch. “It just so happens that this futon is currently on sale. It’s a great deal right now!”

The poor futon felt like it might jump out of its nails it was so nervous. After Emma’s parents deliberated the purchase for a torturous amount of time, they finally answered.

“Alright, we’ll get you the futon. But you can’t come back asking for a bunk bed later. If you have a friend stay over, they’ll have to share the futon instead of sleeping on the other bunk. But if you can live with that, we’ll get it for you.”

“Yes! Oh, thank you!” Emma jumped delightedly onto her new futon, and the futon did its best to hug her back.

“Great, will you be taking it with you today?” The salesman asked, leading the family towards his station, ecstatic himself at having sold the most hopeless piece in the store.

After the salesman had arranged all the purchase details with Emma’s parents, he came by for a final goodbye to the futon. “Good luck, my friend. Glad you found a home,” he whispered to it before it was disassembled and loaded into their van.

As the futon road down the highway on the way to its new home, it tried to imagine all the adventures it would have with its special girl, but it knew that even the best of imaginations couldn’t imagine the beauty of real life.

 

Tales from the Lesloom: The Birth of the Lesbian Futon

I recently became the guardian of a sacred piece of furniture–the lesbian futon. This is a futon that is about as old as I am, and in it’s lifetime, it has only been in the keeping of lesbian or bisexual women. As part of the responsibility as its new guardian, I am entrusted with its safekeeping and of ensuring that it gets passed on to a lesbian or bisexual woman when I can no longer care for it.

Right now, it sits in my living room in a place of honor. I feel that this futon has many stories to tell, and I’ve decided I should record the adventures it whispers to me. Since my friends are as dorky as I am (I love you all!) and have been waiting eagerly for the thrilling tales of this honorable heirloom, or “lesloom” as it was christened, I’ve decided to add a subcategory to my blog that will allow them and anyone else interested in the life an inanimate object might have to follow along. This is the tale of the futon’s birth, as whispered to me in a dream 😉

Once upon a time, there was an old man who worked at a furniture factory. He had a single child—a daughter, and she was his pride and joy. He and his wife raised their little girl with as much love as a child could desire.

She grew up into a beautiful woman and went off to college, the first in her family. The old factory worker was so proud. He would brag about her every chance he got, even telling of his pride to the furniture for which he assembled parts if there was no one else to listen. He liked to think that expressing his deep love for her to the wooden parts that came through left a lifelong impression of love on them as they went out into the world.

A year passed, and it was time for the treasured daughter to come home for the summer.

And how her family prepared! Her mother bought all her favorite foods. Her father bought her flowers and took off a few days from work to be with her. Nothing was spared for her homecoming.

But when the daughter came, she wasn’t alone.

After her hand-me-down car had come to a stop outside the modest house of this happy family, a young woman got out of the passenger seat.

The parents didn’t have time to speculate before their daughter jumped out as well, running towards them. “Mom! Dad!”

They embraced in tearful ecstasy.

“I’ve missed you so much!” she cried.

“You’ve no idea how much we’ve missed you!” her father replied, feeling as if his heart might explode in sheer happiness.

After a long while of hugging, during which the new girl stood off to the side, forgotten but watching, the daughter finally pulled away.

“I’ve got someone to introduce you to,” she said, motioning her companion forward. “This is Nicole, my girlfriend.”

Had she left it at that, her parents probably would have missed her true meaning and welcomed Nicole as a dear friend.

But the daughter was so sure in her parents’ love for her, it never occurred to her to hold anything back. With absolute confidence that her joy would be shared, she took Nicole’s hand and said, “I love her—so much.”

Nicole, a bit wiser than her dear love, smiled hesitantly and offered her hand to the old man and woman.

The smile on the father’s face faltered and fell as his wife recoiled into his chest. He wanted to ask his beloved daughter to repeat what she’d said. Surely he’d misheard!

But he knew he had not.

Suddenly a deep bitterness took over his heart. “No,” he growled.

“I don’t understand.” His daughter’s glowing eyes now filled with pain and disbelief.

“No!” This time it was a roll of thunder. “You are not that. This will not happen to my daughter.”

“But, daddy—“

“No!” He waved his fists in anger, his love forgotten in his rage. “NO! This is an abomination! You are not welcome in this house in such a perverted state!”

The daughter looked to her mother, searching for a sign of compassion. But her mother wept with her eyes averted. She would not look at her daughter.

Nicole stepped gently forward and began pulling her love away as the girl’s father continued to rage. They got back in the car and drove away.

“We’ve lost her,” the mother whimpered. “We’ve lost our baby girl.”

“She’ll be back,” the old factory worker said as his anger cooled. “She’ll come to her senses, and she’ll come back.”

But she didn’t.

Late that night, the old man and his wife were awakened by a call. When they answered, they discovered that their daughter had been brought to the emergency room, but that she had died on the way.

The old man was overcome with grief. Such loss he could not bear—and such guilt! He felt certain that he had been responsible. He could not bring himself to go to the hospital to claim the body of his child. The shame was too great even for him to attend the funeral.

Whispers circulated that he hated her and disowned her even in death. He became known as a heart-hearted man.

He did not contradict. He was too buried in remorse to think of defending himself.

But at work, as he assembled the furniture parts, he sobbed and told the truth—of his love, of his hate, of his loss and the acceptance that came too late.

And as he wept, the wood indeed listened.

One piece of furniture in particular was touched—a futon. Now any other week, this futon would have been like all the others. But the grief of the old man shook the futon to its very nails, and it vowed to do everything it could to help women and girls like this poor man’s daughter.

Thus it became the lesbian futon.