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.