Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Confessions of a Fag Hag - 18

The next morning I woke up and decided to try something different
for church. I'd been attending the Presbyterian Church in town and
enjoying it very much, but I wanted something different, something a little
more liberal. Not that my church wasn't liberal, but in general, they were
a church made up of middle to upper class white folks who were either
retired grandparents or the typical couple with two point five children and
an SUV. I wanted to go where there were folks who lived slightly different
lifestyles. I wanted to walk on the "wild side" for at least one Sunday.
I wanted to go where there were openly gay and lesbian couples, people of
different races and ethnicities, and people who came from all economic
situations. So, knowing that St. Christopher's Episcopal was a very open
church in those regards, I decided to try it for a change. I wasn't too
secure going alone, especially after my experience last night, but had
badly wanted to try it, so I decided now was as good a time as any.

I drove up, arriving about fifteen minutes early so I could get a
good look around and find a good pew, and parked in the lot out back. As
soon as I strolled in, the architectural beauty of the place and it's
definite "high church" almost Catholic feel. The Presbyterian Church is
kind of "hoity toity" feel but not like this. This was, to the
Presbyterian Church, and especially to the small charismatic, evangelical,
and quite fundamental country churches in which I grew up, like a
cathedral. Not quite Notre Dame, but close to Westminster Abbey. As I was
ogling up at the scrollwork and paintings on the ceiling I heard my name
and saw David approaching out of the corner of my eye. I stopped my
awe-inspired gazing, we didn't have such artwork and design in the
Presbyterian church, and the one I grew up in was just a one room place
with unfinished wooden pews and a basement Sunday School area partitioned
off for a class for the kids and one for the adults. Folding metal chairs
and cement floors were its decorations. I reached out and shook David's
hand, greeting him.

"I'm so glad you came, Diana. How late did you stay last night? I
was tired so didn't stick around too long," he welcomed me.

"Actually, I was there until about 2. I was tired by the time I
went home, but I did have a lot of fun. J and Jenna suggested I come here,
so here I am. I wanted a little something different this morning," I
smiled back in return.

"Well come on, I'll show you where we normally sit. And introduce
you to the pastor. She's great." With that, David led me into the
sanctuary, and my mouth dropped. The pulpit seemed 500 miles away, the
place was so huge, and it was ornate, surrounded by gilded statues and
artwork that I felt could be displayed in the Louvre. "Diana, this is
Mother Joy. Mother Joy, this is Diana Wimples, she's a friend and fellow
student with Jennifer and I at the seminary," Dale introduced me.

Mother Joy, wow, that feels weird to say, as it makes me think of
the Mother Superior in "Sister Act" and other movies portraying Catholic
nuns, strict and fun ones both, but anyway, Mother Joy reached out her hand
to shake mine. Her handshake was nice and firm, and her smile was warm and
welcoming. "Nice to meet you, Diana. Welcome to St. Christopher's. I
hope you enjoy worshipping with us this morning."

I smiled and nodded and mumbled something to the effect of "I'm
sure I will," yadda yadda yadda, then David was leading me to a pew about
halfway back from the pulpit, which was elevated over the floor and pews by
about 10 feet, and I slid in about 3/4ths of the way. It was empty at the
moment except for the two of us, but there were people in the pews behind
and in front of us. Some I recognized as former students and knew them to
be gay and lesbian men and women, or at least strong supporters of the
community. Ones that weren't currently meditating or conversing with
others quickly turned around, also welcoming me. Was it just me, or was
everyone this morning smiling just a little too warmly at me? As if they
thought, "Yeah, she's finally exploring her sexuality! Yeah, Diana Wimples
is finally coming out as a lesbian!" No, it had to be my imagination . . .

Just then, J and Jenna slid in beside me, also welcoming me and
glad to see me and all that jazz you hear when you show up to a new church
the first time. I smiled and responded I was glad to be there and such.
Then, the prelude started and we all sat quietly, meditating or reading our
bulletins while the service began.

Approximately an hour later, after a few episodes of standing,
kneeling, singing, speaking in chorus, and listening to a good sermon about
not making divisions in the church in I Corinthians, and how all were
welcome in God's house, we shook hands and gave hugs in the passing of the
peace at the end of the service and began filing out to the postlude. As
we gathered in the narthex, the room between the sanctuary and outside,
before we left, David, J, and Jenna started making plans for lunch. I
decided to tag along, especially because they invited me, and ended up
enjoying myself thoroughly. But, by the time I got home, I was exhausted
and ready for a nap. Alex had left me a message, saying he was beginning
to feel a little better and he wanted to see me soon, Drew had left me a
message saying Evan had given him exciting news, and Julia had left me a
text message saying she needed a study break and that I should come play
with the cats. Damn, I've never been this popular before, I thought to
myself as I drifted off to sleep, how on earth am I supposed to fit it all
in and find time to study.

An hour or so later I called Alex back and he asked if we could meet for
dinner. We planned on meeting at Shenanigans, the local Irish pub, around
6. I then called Drew, who didn't answer his phone, and left him a message
saying, "Phone tag, you're it!" Finally, I called Julia, and ended up
heading to her house before I was to meet Alex for our dinner. We spent a
few hours catching up, playing with kittens, and talking about the party
and church experiences. She had spent the weekend studying, gearing up for
exams before it all came crashing down around us at the end of the term, so
she enjoyed hearing about what had been going on in the outside world. I
told her the things Jenna and J had asked me, and she pondered them in her
mind. She didn't really have a response, but I could see the wheels

"I know you're attracted to men. I know. But, Diana, I don't know what I
want," she began. "You're the first person I've ever actually acted on my
feelings with. And that confuses me even more."

"Are you attracted to men? Are you attracted to me?" I asked.

"I'm not sure," she responded, "I can't really think of anyone whom I've
really felt an attraction for, at least more than a 'He's handsome,' kind
of way. Like movie stars and such. Never really anyone that I've wanted
to wake up to find in my bed in the morning, though. And yes, I find you
exceedingly attractive, Diana. That's why I like waking up next to you in
the morning, or at least the idea of it."

I sighed. I didn't know what to think of Julia. I knew that I was
attracted to her, and that she made me feel loved and secure. I knew she
was someone who would hold me if I was crying, or laugh with me when I was
full of joie de vivre. But could I spend the rest of my life with her? It
wasn't an easy row to hoe. Some might think that choosing, if it could be
called a choice, the gay or lesbian lifestyle was the "easy way out" but
knowing what Drew had been through when he chose to come out, I knew

As it was, it was getting close to time to go meet Alex for dinner. I gave
Julia a big hug, holding her close, patted the cats one last time, and said
my goodbyes. Running out into the blustery cold, I sat in my car hoping
for it to warm up as quickly as possible. Soon, I was headed down the road
to Shenanigans.

After dinner, I had some exciting news. I wanted to share it with
someone. I couldn't just hold it in. So, I called the person who would be
most likely to either be excited with me, or tell me I was crazy and that I
needed to get a grasp on reality. Yep, I called Drew, and this time he

"Oh, Diana! You have to come over. I've got the most exciting thing
to tell you!" He started in right away.

"Drew! I'm so glad I caught you. I've got something exciting to
share with you too. Wow. A big day for both of us," I responded
breathlessly, excited and nervous at the same time.

"Wait," we both responded together, "You haven't gotten engaged and
aren't running off to Maui on your honeymoon without me as your witness?" I
asked. He asked something pretty much the same, except changing Maui to
Vegas in my case.

I quickly hopped in the car and was at Drew's in no time flat. As
soon as I walked in the door, he assaulted me with his excitement. Not
physically, but you could feel the energy.

"Guess what!" We both shouted out, "I'm going to Canada for

"Wait," We looked at each other, "You're going to Canada too?"

"Yeah, Evan invited me home with him for his break. It's shorter
than ours, but he has a good two weeks," Drew explained.

"And I'm going to Thunder Bay with Alex. He asked me tonight at
dinner. How weird," I added.

"You mean, I'll have to put up with you?" Drew joked.

"No siree. I'll be with Alex. And you should be with Evan, you
won't be worrying about me being around, believe you me."

"True," he allowed. "Oh what fun! But damn, it will be cold."

"Ah, but we'll have boys to keep us warm. We can all cuddle up
like Eskimo's," I smiled. Wow, this was going to be hard, focusing on
exams while waiting for the Christmas break. I couldn't wait to see Canada
and spend the time with some of my favorite people. Now, how to break it
to Jess so she wouldn't feel left out. If I could, I'd invite her, but it
wasn't my place. Maybe Michael and she would run off to Missoula, Montana
and elope or something. Just kidding (about the eloping part)!

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