Thursday, November 27, 2008

Our First Lesbians (That We Know Of) - Part 4

Karen and Emily lived in the most regular looking home Starr Ann and I had ever been inside. They even had a dog, Woofer, and two cats, Ernest and Magnolia. If we'd have had to predict how we'd feel walking into a place like that, I guess we'd have said we'd probably be nervous. But it was impossible to stroll up that neat, narrow walk, up onto that comfortable porch and into that modest living room without feeling right at ease.

Emily immediately headed out to the kitchen, saying, "Dang, if we're going to get you girls back before dark, I need to get cooking."

That was the closest thing to cussin' I'd ever heard from an adult, and I remember thinking it sounded very cool.

Karen glanced at the clock on the mantelpiece and said, "Should I help you out in the kitchen, honey, or do you want me to show the girls around?"

Honey. She called her honey. Starr Ann and I traded a look that was one third a question, one third caution, and one third pure cowgirl Yee-Haa!

Emily said, "Oh, yeah, like there's any chance you're gonna come out here and cut up onions when you're dying to show Starr Ann and Margo that brand new basketball goal."

Already skipping for the back door, Karen laughed and called over her shoulder, "Well, if you run into something that needs doing, we'll be right out here. Just sayin'."

I really liked their way of talking.

Anyway, during supper, on that day already so full of amazing moments, Karen asked us, real casual, if the nuns ever let us check out of the orphanage and visit with folks for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas and stuff. Something about the way she worded it, and about the way she and Emily looked at each other when she said it, gave us the idea it was more like she was suggesting maybe Starr Ann and I come to their house on those occasions sometime.

Starr Ann got her voice under her before I got mine and she said, "The nuns already have papers you can fill out and everything!"

Then Karen changed the subject, and we could see where she and Emily would want to talk it over alone before committing to anything. But still. Just the idea was pretty exciting.

On the drive back to the orphanage, Karen cranked up a Joan Jett tape and we all sang I Love Rock 'n' Roll at the top of our lungs the whole way. You know how there are a bunch of verses that end in "So come and take your time, And dance with" and then finally comes the last one where Joan Jett stresses that "me" at the end and it goes all the way to "So come and take your time, And dance with me," and the "me" sounds so in-your-face? Well, that's where we were in the song right when we realized Sister Blissie Marie was outside weeding her flowering red altheas.

By the way Sister Blissie Marie stood and took off her gloves all slow and deliberate, never taking her eyes off Karen and Emily's car, you'd have thought we showed up dressed like Joan Jett or something.

Sister said, "You girls go inside and ask Sister Albert Fred to give you something useful to do," and then she puffed herself up and walked over to the car.

Only thing is, we didn't budge, but stood right there where we could see what was going on. Sister Blissie bent down and said some things kinda low in the passenger's window, the side where Emily was sitting. Then Karen bent forward and said something. Then Sister stood straight up and said something that sounded final. Karen gunned the engine and started backing down the driveway, but hit the brakes real fast and threw it in gear and came back our way. She drove up as close to us as she could get and yelled, "They can't cheat our daughters! You hear me, Starr Ann and Margo?"

All we had time to do was nod before Sister Blissie went all crazy and started yelling things about authorities and getting off orphanage property. Then Emily reached over and hit the volume on Joan Jett again and our potential moms cruised out of our lives on "I don't give a damn bout my bad reputation."

We were sure right about that being the last time we'd go into the fancy restroom, since we weren't allowed to go out by ourselves until way after the Churchill meet was over.

It was four whole years after that when Starr Ann and I finally ran away. As I've mentioned before, the first jobs we got were on the racetrack backside, where one morning we were bringing a horse back from a gallop and Starr Ann spotted one of our lead ponies, Dynamite, standing outside Barn 42. After work, we went over there and sure enough, he still liked chocolate breath.

As for Karen and Emily, not a Thanksgiving Day ever goes by without Starr Ann hugging me real tight and saying, "I sure hope the moms somehow know we ended up happy."

I always say I'm positive they do.