- 4:22 p.m.
“Bill” and “Sue” (not their real names)-- The Neighbors.
If you didn’t read the initial “Bill” and “Sue” entry, go back and read "Bill and Sue" Part One in the ARCHIVES.
Okay, now that we’re all up to speed—(Pause while I gather my thoughts and shake my head in disbelief, then sip from the 240z “sportpak”-sized bottle of arrowhead water on my desk. It’s well chilled and covered with those sweaty waves that cover a well-chilled bottle of water as it begins to assimilate into the room temperature atmosphere after it’s exit from the confines and safety of the fridge.
(Note: I’m soooooooo NOT fooling myself that it’s as refreshing as an ICE COLD DIET COKE would be right now, but, of course I can’t have THAT.. so, yes… sexy, fulfilling, refreshing and life-affirming water—welcome to my lips.)
Back to the SHOCKING UPDATE on Bill and Sue.
Monday… Memorial Day.
Flags flying up and down the block.
The smell of backyard BBQ’s filling the hills.
The sound of dogs being thrown the ball by their owners…
(okay, you get it).
Suddenly our phone rings.
It’s neighbor “SUE”.
GIRLFRIEND/SAME-SEX PARTNER/LADY-LOVER/MEAL-TICKET/PHONE ANSWERER: Oh, uh… hi Sue… blah/blah…..
NEIGHBOR SUE: I need to talk to you girls… as soon as possible. It’s very important.
(Pause: Now, let me stop RIGHT HERE and remind or inform you for the very first time again that Neighbors “Bill” and “Sue”, though they are lovely folk (cats, miniatures), are just our neighbors. We don’t hang out; We don’t swap recipes for Cats (or miniatures); We don’t really say that much more than “Hi Bill and Sue” or “Hi Bill” or “Hey Sue” during the course of a week. No Harm done, just not much in common.)
Suddenly, on the very cordial holiday of Memorial Day (shout outs to our troops), Sue calls and HAS to talk to us. It’s very important.
We schedule to see “Sue” the next day, after “Bill” leaves for work at blah-blah doing blah-blah-blah that he’s done for over blah years. As soon as “Bill’s” car has left the street, Sue is on the phone to us.
Again, my girlfriend/same-sex partner/lady-lover/meal-ticket/phone-answerer was the lucky one to retrieve the call.
GIRLFRIEND/SAME-SEX PARTNER/LADY-LOVER/MEAL-TICKET/PHONE ANSWERER: Oh, hi Sue. Sure. Okay, can you give us…. 5 minutes is fine.
4 minutes and 52 seconds (ish) later, “Sue” is at our door.
What could it be?? Something wrong with the Cats? The miniatures?? Bill??
She walks in and we direct her to our living room to sit on our couch which runs the expanse of 2 walls and leaves LOTS OF PERSONAL SPACE betweenst all of us… we’re spread out for Sue’s news.
SUE: (big breath/big sigh/big breath). Girls, listen…. It’s just that… well, I… Bill and I… we… well… I’m not happy. With Bill. I’m going to be asking him for a divorce.
(Pause: Oh no, poor Bill. Poor VERY GENERICveryboring Bill.
What will he do?
How will they divide the Cats and Miniatures?
They’ll have to sell the house…
WHO CAN WE GET TO BUY THE HOUSE??
MUST get lesbians to buy that house.
Must call around now.
OH, but back to poor Sue and Bill.)
So Sue sits across from us and we tell her how sorry we are… and if there is anything we can do, and with our words still hanging in the air (…. Anything we can do….) she continues:
SUE: Oh, that’s not all of it. Girls, all my life… since I was a young woman… I was attracted to…
(Pause: Yes, it IS what you’re thinking… oh no).
SUE: … I was attracted to WOMEN.
(Pause: suddenly I hear a really loud high-pitched noise and I think either the world is ending or I’m having an aneurism or both or neither… and then I realize I’m imagining it, as If I’m trying to CENSOR Sue’s words as they are coming out (no pun intended). I can see her mouth moving, but I’m in total shock.
SUE: ….then I left the convent… and met Bill and we’ve been married for 35 years…but for all those 35 years I’ve been ATTRACTED TO WOMEN.
(Pause: and I’m guessing that ALL OF OUR LESBIAN COMINGS AND GOINGS for the last year have not helped THAT at all. Notice how I’m trying to take responsibility for the end of Bill and Sue’s marriage and her finally caving in to her ATTRACTION TO WOMEN due to us living across the street from them? Notice that, did you?)
ME: Oh… Sue, wow. Wow. That’s so… Wow. This must be so hard for you.
GIRLFRIEND/SAME-SEX PARTNER/LADY-LOVER/MEAL-TICKET/FELLOW-SHOCKEE: Wow.
SUE: Yeah, so I was hoping you girls could tell me… do you think it will be hard for me to, well, you know, meet people? Women?
(Pause: Wow. She IS ready.)
SUE: I mean, not for SEX or anything like that…
SUE: I just mean, maybe Women to talk to… closer to my age…
I immediately tell her:
ME: Sue, there are so many support groups in the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender/once-in-college community, that I’m sure that right this very minute there’s some sort of meeting of 62 year old ex-nuns/ex-school teachers who are married and are attracted to their same sex.
SUE: Oh, good. I hoped so. Well, it just feels so much better now that I’ve told you girls.
I appreciate your help so much. I’m going to tell Bill tonight when he comes home.
(Pause: Oh no. Does Bill own a gun?)
ME: Well Sue, I’m sure this is going to be very hard and a shock to Bill… we’re just hoping for the best for both of you… and the cats and the miniatures.
SUE: Thanks. Both of you.
We get up and Sue hugs us both (my girlfriend/same-sex partner/lady-lover/meal-ticket/fellow shock-ee is still in full SHOCK.
We walk Sue to the door and wish her well again.
We walk all the way to the back of the house in silence. We go into our bathroom together in silence. We sit down in the bathtub, in unison, in silence. We look at each other and SCREAM: Sue just came out to us!!! Oh. My. God.
In shock, we continued sitting in the tub (which, since that’s the place to go in a hurricane/twister/whatever, seemed like the logical place for us to go after what Sue hit us with). We sat for a few minutes. I , of course, worried about Bill’s reaction. Worried that he’d hurt Sue in some way… Worried that we’d have BREAKING NEWS on our street and the other neighbors would be interviewed and nobody would know what had happened “He’s such a quiet guy”.
The night passed and NO BREAKING NEWS. “Thanks God”, as my people say. And now, 2 days have passed and no police/ambulences/news vans. "Thanks God".
Sue and Bill. Keep them in your thoughts.