Departure Anxiety

It was sleeting as we walked down the stairs to the metro. “Ugh, thank God!” Rachael slipped her hood down and shook the ice off her sweatshirt. “It’s getting ugly out.”

“Yeah,” I agreed. “Can’t wait to get back to school where it’s warm.”

“Totally.” She playfully hit my arm. “And you still have to show me your dorm room!” she added. She was visiting me from back home and had insisted all afternoon that I had to give her a tour of the campus.

“I will! I will,” I reassured her as the train pulled into the station. We boarded and took our seats. “So, what’s new back home?”

As she chatters on about our old high school classmates and friends, the tiny knot that had been in my stomach all day grew bigger. Rachael and I had been best friends since second grade. We’d gone to the same Lutheran day school and, with her dad being a pastor, we’d spent our summers running around the church sanctuary. As long as I could remember, we’d had those Christian family values drilled into our heads.

Oh God, I thought, what if she never wants to talk to me again? All day I’d been trying from our conversation to gauge what her reaction might be. I figured my best case scenario would be disappointment; the worst case, the end of our friendship.

In my mind, I flip-flopped in between telling her and not telling her. Was it really worth having a possible ally? What if she told her parents or worse, my parents, my secret?

“University Square, isn’t that our stop?” Rachael interrupted my thoughts.

“What? Oh, yeah!” I jumped up and we scurried onto the platform just in time for the doors to close behind us.

“Good thing I said something!” she laughed. “We would’ve been in big trouble if we missed our stop!”

“Nah,” I told her. “It wouldn’t have been that bad. We’d just get off at the next stop and have to walk a little farther.”

“But it’s so cold!” she moaned. We both laughed as we reached the street once again.

As she put her hood back up, she asked, “Hey, how come you were all zoned out back there?”

“Oh, uh.” I cleared my throat. Here goes nothing, I guess. “Can I — Can I tell you a secret?”


Breath in, breath out. “I’m bi,” I blurted out.

“Oh.” Oh shit oh shit oh shit — “Is that why when I asked you if you were seeing anyone, you said not really?” she asked me with a sly grin.

“Y-Yeah,” I said with a tight smile.

She nudged me in the ribs. “Do I get to meet her?” she giggled.

I laughed in relief. “Of course you do.”


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