"Ya know, I can kind of see it now," Mark says, refilling my wine glass as I dig into my pad thai.
"Can see what now?"
I snort so hard a beansprout almost comes out of my nose."What?"
"It's okay. I get it now." He places his hand on my wrist and nods--a gesture that would have been more than a little disturbing if I couldn't see the smile creeping up on his lips or the laughter in his eyes. We both start chuckling, and he takes a sip of wine to stop himself.
"Thank you for your support," I kid. Though, somehow, it feels more right than if Marc had said it seriously. I know he understands.
I've never thought about it before now--being gay, or lesbian, or bisexual, or, I guess, even straight for that matter. The last time I remember thinking on it at all is when Brian had asked me about my reading material. "She wouldn’t happen to be a lesbian, would she?" he'd asked, referring to the woman who had suggested the novel. It felt dirty.
I don't know if it was the clinicalness of it--'lesbian' having that same doctor-like sound as 'vagina' or 'cesarian. "I'm sorry miss, but we're going to have to perform the lesbian procedure on you just now. Try to lay back and relax. The nurse is coming with something for the pain."--or if it was the idea, the female on female sin that my mother's priest could probably be found preaching about, or, most likely, if it was more about a sin of action rather than one of sexuality. The fact that, as far as I was concerned, lesbian wasn't who I am, but an affair I'm having. Lesbian didn't make me think of Leighlah--that relationship is something I can't even imagine labeling--but of my unfaithfullness to my husband.
"Really, I should have figured as much. Look at you. In your little band t-shirt and jeans, gettin your butch on."
"Excuse you?" I wipe away the sweet Reisling that just came dribbling out my nose. It was bound to happen eventually. "Today was dress down Friday, and I wasn't expecting to be analyzed by the gay police."
"The gaystopo," he jokes, with a little too much flair.
I glance at him sideways. "You're an ass." But I can't stop smiling. This is what I needed. The big brother who doesn't want to talk about all of the things I'm doing wrong or ask stupid questions, but only wants to tease me and ask how hot my girlfriend is.
"You know, Leighlah got me this shirt." The admission brings a dorky, embarrassed smile to my face. The one that means you really love someone, my mother told me once.
"Aww, isn't that sweet? You wouldn't happen to have a pic of this woman would you."
I show him a snapshot I took of her the morning we made love in her beach house. The morning she told me all of her secrets. Her white robe drapes loosely over her full breasts. She's smiling. Laughing actually, which you can tell if you look closely at the way her head is tilting up and her blue eyes are sparkling.
Marc grabs the phone from me and stares at the picture for a long time. I know why he's staring. He thinks she's beautiful. Yeah, I think. I think she's beautiful too.
<3 Gina Blechman