"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality." --Bishop Desmond Tutu

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Final bit 'o novel

Here's the final bit I'm going to post before I get to editing. The setup: Mary is meeting with two of her friends at the busy food court of a local mall.

"I'm gay." Mary barely whispered the words.
"What?" Aimee looked at Kim who was staring at Mary. "Did she just say what I think she said?"
Kim asked Mary, "Did you just say you were... gay?"
Mary nodded. Another moment of truth had arrived.
Kim and Aimee shifted uncomfortably in their seats, not knowing how to respond. Mary continued.
"I fell in love with an Indian girl while I was there. I had to leave her behind."
Aimee and Kim looked at each other and burst out laughing. Mary just watched her friends.
"Wow, Mary, that's the best one yet. You're hilarious! God. You had me going there. Gay. Hah! I almost believed you," said Kim. Aimee was laughing too hard to talk.
Mary just sat there, not saying anything while the laughter subsided. There followed an uncomfortable silence between the three of them as Mary's eyes went back and forth between her friends. He hands were folded in front of her on the table.
Aimee and Kim grew very serious. They exchanged glances with one another and Aimee looked around the food court to see if anyone was nearby. They were alone enough.
"You're not kidding, are you?" Kim asked.
"No, I'm not."
"Holy fucking shit," said Aimee.
"Yeah," said Kim.
"What do we do now," asked Aimee.
"Don't know," said Mary.
Kim had a quizzical look on her face. "How... how do you know?"
Mary smiled. "You know how you feel when you look at a hot guy? I feel that way when I look at a hot girl."
Aimee looked very uncomfortable. She was, by all regard, the prettiest of the four girls and she didn't like where this was heading.
"That's so... gross!" said Aimee.
Mary said nothing.
"What... what does it mean? I mean, what does you being... gay... mean?" Kim was genuinely curious.
"I... I like... girls, not guys."
Aimee shook her head. This could NOT be happening. She pushed her chair away from the table.
"I'm gone."
Kim put her hand on Aimee's arm.
"Where are you going? You can't leave. Mary needs our help!"
"What help? She's a dyke, a lezzie, a twat-licking freak! I'm not going to sit here and listen to this bitch tell me how she wants to jump me and suck on my tits. Fuck that, I'm outta here."
Mary was calm. She knew this was always a possibility. She and her friends had always had a deep seated fear of homosexuality. It infected their culture, their society, like a cancer. Mary knew that she would never get support from everyone she knew, it was too much to ask some people. Aimee might one day change her mind, and Mary would be there to extend a hand. But until then, she was content to let her go. She knew that Aimee's own prejudice would prevent her from saying anything for fear that it might reflect back on her since she and Mary had been so close for so long. Mary assumed that that was what was driving this reaction now. So she focused her attention on Kim.
"Kim, it's Ok. Let her go."
Kim released Aimee's arm. Aimee turned and stalked away towards the escalator. Mary watched her go.
"Mary, I don't care about Aimee. But I can't say I understand what happened to you, either. Please, help me understand."
The girls sat there for more than an hour while Mary told her story. At the end, Kim was in tears. Mary knew that Kim understood what this all meant for Mary. And she was Ok with it.
"Thanks, Kim. Please tell Aimee that I still want to be her friend if she'll have me."
"I will, Mary. I'll try to calm her down."
"Thanks. See you in school!"
"Senior year, it's going to be great."
Mary hoped so. She really did.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

This is so - honest. Reading this, I can feel what it would be like to be Mary, to be Kim, even to be Aimee. The emotion is raw and hurtful and true. Love the little details too - like "they were alone enough." The word enough adds so much ... I am scared for Mary's senior year!