I was trying to remember who was first. I know that I was very young, seven or eight. I know that we were a sexually precocious bunch of kids; and there are all sorts of reasons why that might have been. Maybe we all had criminal parents, maybe dropping ten kids off at an unlicensed Lord of the Flies style daycare in a single-wide would always have yielded these results.
We shared a bed, she and I. Both for naps and for overnights. We were about the same age; the age of tangled curls and overalls without shirts, before brushes and breasts. We pooled our money for penny candy and walked the banks of the creek where rolls of rusted barbed wire waited beneath to cut us up when we grew too bold. With a degree of privacy that teenagers would have killed for, we introduced one another to the black-hearted childhood simulacrum of lust, holding one another full frontal and kissing, stretching our bodies in bare, delicious friction in tandem like cats. Close my eyes and I absolutely remember that first thrill of desire branching through my body. I connected it to every version of Frankenstein I had seen; cartoon parodies and at least one movie by then. I was dead flesh brought to life by that flash of lightning. I was wrong and I shouldn’t exist. I would surely rise to destroy the village.
She knew we were wrong, too. I don’t remember anyone telling us we were wrong or even how I knew the word for what we were. I remember her looking with smug satisfaction into my eyes out in the living room in front of everyone, telling me “I’m not gay no more.”
I don’t know what alchemy she had applied to change herself from lead into straight gold. Her name has the syllable “gay” right in the middle of it. Even then I knew that was funny.
It’s an unusual name. She’s the only one with it that I ever met. I found her on Facebook within a minute. Thirty years and she still lives in that same trailer park. I recognize it in her pictures. Her full details aren’t public, but a few years ago she changed her profile pic to a rainbow-washed version of that familiar face. Some tragedy: Pulse or a bit of hateful legislation made an occasion. I could see the changed avatar and the comments on it.
Below her rainbow and her gay name, one of her friends piped up with surprise. “Oh, I didn’t know you eat pie at the Y!”
And the girl who wasn’t gay no more replied, “No, I’m just an ally.”