Author's note: This is the third installment of a series of pieces that reflect on the year that I first discovered that I like women. I celebrated my "Bi-versary" on Oct. 5, 2010, and felt amazed by all the growth, changes, realizations and events that had occurred in the past year. I went from not knowing I am attracted to women to embracing it, discovering polyamory, and all the adventures that then ensued. The first part of the series begins here. The second part can be found here.
Evening of Friday, March 12, 2010, N's birthday
I don't understand. Where is she? Why won't she respond to any of our calls or texts or IMs? She knows it's N's birthday today. I've been trying for a few days now to nail down whether she'd come over for both the party with our tribe of friends tonight and also tomorrow for time together just the three of us, or just tomorrow. But she won't get back to us. I haven't been able to get a hold of her for the past few days, in fact. I don't understand. Last weekend was so amazing and we were intensely flirting all up through Wednesday. Then the last few days? Nothing. Nothing at all. Where could she be?
I made N the best birthday cake yet in honor of the three of us. It's a threesome cake. I thought it would be funny. Our friends loved it. I had hoped T would be here for the party so we could all have some together. Luckily, I made cupcakes, too, from the extra batter, so we had those tonight, and hopefully she'll come over tomorrow and we can have the cake. Earlier today I tried IMing her several times, finally trying to make her laugh while still making my point, saying, "Look at me! I'm invisible! Wheeee!!" But nothing.
Finally, she texts back.
T: "Sorry you felt invisible"
A moment later: "I think you and N need some time alone."
Commence a frantic phone call to her. Nothing. It goes right to voicemail.
I text. One of my long, epic texts that get divided into several upon delivery. And then another.
Finally, she calls.
"I had a bad day," she says.
"Okay," I begin, as the synapses in my brain fire rapidly, trying to put together what that possibly could mean. I search for any kind of possibility that would make sense, but I come up with nothing, and she isn't elaborating. But now that's the least of my concerns, as she again says that she thinks that N and I should be alone for a while. I protest in every way I know how.
"It was a bad day, and I don't want the day to end with losing my best friends," she said. "I love you, you know. I love you."
I'm stunned. It's the first time she's both called me "best friend" and said that she loves me. I love her too, I say, and try to bring her back to me.
Soon she's talking about how she wants to be a better person and all the things she wished she could do. I speak soothingly and encouragingly now, with confidence that she is that person and can be all those things if she wants to be. Finally, I convince her to come over the next day to take a walk at Honeymoon Island, have birthday cake and then spend the night. She sounds happy now, tells me she loves me again and tells me to tell N the same. Instead, I put him on the phone so she can tell him herself. I beam as he melts a little when he hears those words. He loves her too, he says. It's going to be a better day tomorrow.
Saturday afternoon, March 13
It's now well past the time we were planning to meet T for our walk and she once again isn't answering any of our texts or calls. She'd promised. She'd said that she loves us. She'd said she wants to be a better person. So what the hell is going on? We're so angry and hurt and confused and sad that we feel completely helpless. Still, we don't want her to win, so finally we give up, pull on our shoes and get in my car to go on our hike.
One of the CDs of music T had made for us is still in the player. N takes it out and chucks it into the back seat. I snap.
"Don't you dare do that to my things," I yell. "They aren't yours to break."
"I didn't break it," he retorts.
"Well it could have. I know you're angry but I still want you to respect my things."
N explodes and hits my car door so hard that it scares me. Any kind of violence is not like him at all. I shout at him, furious. He could have broken part of my car, which we certainly don't have the money to fix, and I wish he'd quit taking out his anger on my things. By that point we're at the Island. He demands for me to take him home. I refuse. He storms off into the woods as I drag along behind him and cry.
The edges of our moods grind down slightly on our walk, though not even the spectacular displays of wildlife can make us really feel better. Finally, we give up and go home. As we're driving over the causeway, N says, "I just want to drive off the bridge and end it all." I pull over as soon as I can and flip out. I hate it when he gets this way. Yes, this has been two of the worst days in our recollection, but there's no need for this and he knows how much I hate it when he talks like that. What would be just regular bad days for me or the next person are always magnified for him through his depression and anxiety, which leads to him to feeling suicidal. I put my head on the steering wheel and cry. Finally, we both calm down enough to continue home.
More angry texts to T. No responses until finally, around 11 p.m., she writes, "I'm sorry I'm such an asshole." Another phone call, much like the one last night. She's "bad with birthdays," she says. Whatever that means. I specifically remember her going to one of her bar friends' birthdays a month or two ago with no problem whatsoever. I finally hang up calmer, but still hurt and confused. Why is she doing this to us?
Tuesday, March 16
After much persisting, I convince T to let me meet her at her favorite bar after work to talk. Measured conversation and shy awkwardness finally leads to us cautiously holding hands.
"I don't apologize for things, but this is me apologizing," T says, eyes softening into one of those looks she reserves just for me. My face forms into a lopsided smile and I thank her. I only hope she can say these words to N, but I don't know if I should hold my breath.
Friday, March 26
Instant messaging during the work day, T invited us to her place tonight. Her neighbors are throwing a party, and she thought it would be adorable to watch all the college freshmen and high school kids get wasted. Parties have never been either N's or my thing -- in fact, the only "party" I have ever been to was the Campus Democrats' election night party the night Bush was re-elected for a second term as president. I had never been drunk, even though I was legal, and even though I didn't have a drop to drink that night, it was the first time I had wanted to get plastered.
Still, party virgins aside, I wanted to see T, and I wanted N to come and be okay, too. First, he wanted an apology. Oi. I really didn't think that was going to happen, but finally I gently asked T if maybe she could just say she's sorry to smooth things over a bit.
T exploded, went on a rant, then signed out of Messenger and turned off her phone, so texts went unanswered and calls went straight to voicemail. We bent over backwards apologizing, even though we recognized the irony in that. Whatever. I am stubborn and am not to be deterred. I stopped at a liquor store on the way home to buy a bottle of Grey Goose vodka -- the good stuff that I know she likes -- and made up my mind to show up even if we're no longer invited. I knew she has a 5K race tonight, so hopefully running would put her in a better mood.
Amazingly, I got a phone call after her race, and she said she's not mad anymore and that we're still invited to come over. Good, I said, because I was going to show up anyway. She laughed and said she'd figured.
Now we're sitting awkwardly on fold-up lawn chairs in the back yard.
We allow her to make us some appletinis, which are so strong that in the time it takes us the time to drink one, she has downed at least two or three.
I walk the tightrope of tension between N and T. I know that N is still seething about all that has happened and wants an apology and an explanation. But I also know that that's not how this game has to be played. T is not like that. If we can just let it go and move on for now, probably one day we will find out what happened. It was a peace offering by inviting us over tonight. Like with anything with T, you have to read between the lines and take pleasure in the little things. All I want to do is put this behind us and move on.
Both N and L go into the house for a minute. I reach over and hook one of her fingers with my index finger and smile shyly at her. She takes my hand in her own and squeezes it in that way of hers that melts me every time. A surge of emotion overtakes me that I can't even explain. It just feels so good to touch her again. It's like all my love for her is scrambling through my body, clamoring to rush through my left arm, through my hand and into hers, filling her with it.
N and L come back outside and she drops my hand.
The evening presses on and I begin to shiver. T says to come with her and she'll get me a sweatshirt. As soon as we've closed the back door behind us, she grabs my face with both hands and presses her lips hard against mine in the most passionate kiss filled with time's desperation that I have ever experienced. We kiss ravenously, and every cell in my body swells with passion for her. In the coming months, I will relive this kiss thousands of times behind closed eyelids, but I don't know any better right now.
Tension grows between N and T, even while it melts all away between she and I. N's anger is palpable, and I am torn between the part of me that feels I should be a loyal wife, taking take my husband's side, and the part of me -- the stronger part of me -- that wants to revel in every moment with T. The part that wants to just move on from the past and live life for the present.
Finally, the tension explodes. N can't shake his anger and says it's late, we should go home. I protest, feeling helpless and trapped and point out that far too many appletinis proves it impossible for us to drive back up to Clearwater safely. T seems offended by N's move to leave.
"If I invite you over, you can always stay over. Always," she snaps.
Now the fight is in full gear, N and T yelling at each other, N wanting her to give an explanation or apologize or anything for his birthday, T refusing. I curl up into a helpless ball on the futon between them, my refereeing attempts futile.
"Don't you even care about me?" N yells.
"Well, I'm walking away now, so there's your answer," T barks.
She storms out the back door to rejoin the neighbors in the yard. I look helplessly at N. I want to go after her and talk about the situation. "Whatever," Nick says. Nonetheless, he promises not to leave.
My stomach clenches. I have no idea what to expect when I step outside. She was really angry. I approach the picnic table where she's giving the "kids" advice about women and relationships. Ha. That's ironic. One of the boys thinks his girlfriend is sleeping with someone else, and he is angry that she hasn't told him.
"No," T says. "You have to ask. No one is just going to offer up that information."
A light switches on and I snatch up this important file of information and store it in a safe folder in my brain.
I stand quietly, patiently next to T. Without prompting, she tells the boys she's going to go talk to her girl. As always, just the words "my girl" sends electricity whirling through my body. We join hands and go sit down in the back bedroom of her apartment. Gentle voices, connection, honesty, long conversation. She never apologizes, she says. Not with words, at least. Inviting us over was a peace offering. I tell her I know, but that isn't going to satisfy N. He's still really hurt. But she doesn't want to apologize, so she's not going to.
N bursts in with tears in his eyes and wraps us both in a tight embrace. She's so special, he says. What we all have together is special. He doesn't want to lose that. He apologizes for his emotion and leaves again for the other room.
I deserve better than her, she says. Maybe, I say, but I don't want anyone else. I love her. I see through her to the real her. The good, kind, amazing person underneath all these shields and thorns. Our words and arms melt into each other. Eyelids droop. I call N back in and the three of us fall asleep, fully clothed, folded together in the spare bedroom. N is at my back, and I'm curled around T's small frame. My arms envelop her and I never want to let go. If only I had known this would be the last time we would lie together like that.