For other blog posts this month, go here.
When one of my college roommates came out to me in 1988, I knew I had to include her story in my Arbor University series. I've taken some flack from my parents, who objected to the topic, and a good friend who objected to my original blurb, plus some of my personal views on the topic. But, this is a bi-curious, coming-of-age story, set in the late 1980's, when the GLBT community was not yet widely accepted, at least not in my state. I've tried to portray a balanced view of both sides of the argument, and hope it helps with anyone struggling with the decision.
Searching For Love:
Stephanie Ridgeman is sick and tired of watching her best friends go through heartache and question their goals, all in the name of love. When she meets a young woman who introduces her to another lifestyle, Steph’s curiosity overwhelms her. She discovers there are different ways of expressing love, although society shuns her new views. When she learns her parents disapprove, will it affect her choice?
Jodie Armstrong lost a partner to AIDS the previous year, and is intrigued by the young woman whose friends’ antics rival those of a soap opera. She patiently answers Steph’s hesitant questions concerning her lifestyle choices and encourages Stephanie to follow her heart. Will Steph ever figure out which world she belongs in, and will her friends accept her decisions?
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“One of the people I work with was telling another person about their weekend. They had gone to a gay bar, and she specifically mentioned you.”
Stephanie felt the color drain from her face. “No,” she whispered. “Oh, my God, no...no...this can’t be happening...” She closed her eyes and curled into a ball.
“It’s okay, Steph. Talk to me. I’m not going to judge you or anyone. What’s going on?” Stephanie flinched when she felt a hand on her shoulder and pulled away. “Steph?”
“Go away. Please, Aim. Just go away!” Steph buried her head in her pillow.
“I’m not going anywhere. Sit up and talk to me.” The bed frame squeaked, and she knew Amy took up residence beside her.
Steph sighed, rolled over, and reached for the Kleenex. “I guess if I have to tell somebody, it might as well be you.” She blew her nose.
“Okay, but you have to keep this between you and me. Swear?”
Amy nodded, crossing her heart. Stephanie told her about Jodie, how their relationship began, and lately, her confusion over the whole issue.
“I promised Jo I’d attempt to come out of the closet, but it’s harder than I thought. My parents will disown me. I don’t dare tell Caitlyn because of her holier-than-thou attitude, and I’m not sure about the others.”
Amy’s tone was neutral. “I’m surprised at you...we’re your friends. We love you, no matter what happens. Yeah, this is a shock, but it doesn’t change anything between us, does it? I mean, you aren’t attracted to any of us, are you?”
“No, Aim, I know you’re straight.” Stephanie began crying again. “Part of my problem is I see all of you going through your bad times—you and Matt, Caty and Bryan, and I just want to scream at all of you to get your heads out of your asses and dump the s.o.b.’s. You can do so much better than that. At least Gretchen finally wised up.” She grabbed one of her pillows and hugged it to her chest.
Amy laughed. “I guess she did.” She looked at her watch. “Well, the others should be arriving soon. Why don’t you wash your face and compose yourself?” She got up and held a hand out to Stephanie. “Unless you want them asking questions...”
“No way.” Steph slid off the bed and hugged Amy before going into the bathroom and shutting the door. Whew! I knew Amy would be the one to tell first, but I didn’t think the conversation would take place this soon. It’s just as well...they’re going to start finding out, sooner or later. Maybe she can help me with how to tell the others.
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