For perhaps the sixth time that morning, Jackie Esposito reread the bulletin board classified on her computer screen. As she had the previous five times, she slowly shook her head. What had ever possessed her to write such an ad? Silently, she read it again.
"Married White Female - 20. Brooklyn, NY Bi-curious. Looking for an understanding lesbian or bi-woman to help me explore the world of female sexuality. Not looking for a relationship as of yet, just a little fun."
When she had posted that add on the BBS last week, she really didn't expect to get any serious answers. In fact, most if the hundred or so answers had been from men. The latest one, still in her in box, was typical of the lot. "Yo sexy lady. You don't need all that dyke crap. If you need a little entertainment, I've got 8" of pure delight."
But none of the crude responses bothered her as much as the response she had received yesterday morning. With a trembling hand, Jackie punched it up again and began to slowly take in the words once again.
"Dearest Jackie, I saw your Ad, and while I normally don't respond to such things, something told me I should take a chance and answer yours. My name is Colleen and I'm a 34 year old Lesbian. If you would like to get together and talk, perhaps have lunch, please give me a call. If anything develops, fine. If not, well then that's also fine. If nothing else, it may just give you the chance to get a few things off your chest. My office number is 555-1782. I make no secret of my sexuality, so you don't have to worry about calling my office. I hope to hear from you. Colleen"
Taking a deep breath, the bathrobe clad woman reached over and switched off the computer. Walking back to the bedroom, Jackie reviewed the events that had led her to this morning.
Had it really only been two weeks ago that she'd been to brunch with her friends at Kelly Michaels house. It was a get together they had twice a month, dating back to their high school days. Each member of their little circle took a turn at hosting it. How could she have known that afternoon would cause long buried desires to erupt to new life. It was your typical brunch, a few snacks, tea and coffee - and of course gossip. That was the real reason they all got together. Nothing was as much fun as getting together with your girlfriends and hearing all the latest dirt - at least that was what Jackie had believed up to that point. The usual people were there. Kelly Michaels, the oldest of the group at 21. Tall, blonde and blue eyed, she had been Prom Queen at graduation. Still single out of choice, she was already a rising star at the firm she had joined right out of high school. Of course it didn't hurt that daddy owned the firm.
Next came Janet Innis. Almost as tall as Kelly, she had a short curly hair as black as her skin. Already a junior at State, she was the brightest of the group. At the rate she was going, she'd have her degree six months before anyone else in her class.
Rhonda Jo Chambers was next. The second blonde of the bunch, she gave truth to the stereotype of the dumb, beautiful blonde. If it wasn't for the help of the others, she'd have still been in high school. The flip side was that the bombshell had married Carl Chambers, the son of Jimmy Chambers. Jimmy Chambers had opened his first hardware store in 1979. Last week he had opened his tenth.
The baby of the group was Karen Scott. Still 19, the redhead was a student at City University and engaged to be married next year. She also worked nights as a waitress.
The last of the group present was Maria Santiago. The shortest of the group, only 5'2", Maria never the less possessed the best body of any of them. A fact that was never lost on the long string of boyfriends she'd had over the last few years.
Three girls were missing from their original clique. Donna Sullivan, who had moved to California to attend UCLA. Beverly Clark, who was nine months pregnant and not really in the mood for brunch. And the third missing sister was Mary Catherine Murphy. The reason for her absence was the main topic of discussion. "Can you believe that Mary Catherine left Roger?" Karen said as she sipped her tea. "Who would've guessed that they'd wind up in divorce court?"
"They've been together since freshman year of high school." Kelly commented, twirling her long red locks - a habit she'd had since high school.
"I heard that Roger was bedding one of the women in his office." Maria interjected, a secret smile on her face. It was her secret vice - seducing married men. "And that Mary Catherine walked in on them."
"Oh God!" Rhonda Jo Chambers gasped. "If that happened to me, I'd be reaching for my daddy's shotgun."
"You'd shoot yourself?" Jackie asked unbelievingly.
"No, silly." Rhonda Jo laughed. "Them!"
All the other girl laughed as well. "Isn't that just like a man." Kelly said. "Here he has a beautiful and loving woman at home and he feels the need to go looking for someone else."
"How true." chorused a few of the girls as their laughter rose in volume and went on for the longest time. "Actually, that's not true." Janet said in a quiet tone.
"What's not true, Jan?" Kelly asked. "That men aren't like that?"
"No." the tall black woman said. "That Mary Catherine walked in on Roger and a honey." The last remnants of laughter faded right away as all eyes turned to Janet. A wide smile filed her face. That kind of all knowing look that said 'I know a secret that you don't', "Actually, it was Roger who walked in on Mary Catherine." Janet said, every woman there hanging on her every word.
"You mean Mary Catherine was getting it from someone else?" Susan asked. "I can't believe that."
"She never seemed the type." Kelly said. "I mean I never even saw her look at another guy."
"That's right." Rhonda Jo agreed. "Remember how we used to joke that if she didn't marry Roger, she'd become a nun. She even had the perfect name already."
Jackie hadn't said a word, she was too busy looking at Janet. She still had that same knowing smile, there had to be more to the story.
"Are you sure about this?" Karen asked. "My husband heard the story from Roger himself."
"Well, I think that maybe Roger would rather people think he'd got caught screwing around than let them know about Mary Catherine's affair." Janet responded, her grin now spread from ear to ear. Varied looks of confusion filled the faces of the four women. This was the best gossip Janet had heard all year, and she wanted to really enjoy telling it. She let a few more moments pass before letting out her secret. "I never said that it was a guy that Roger found her in bed with." she said. "Omigod." was the collective response.
From that afternoon on, Jackie couldn't get the image of Mary Catherine in bed with another woman out of her mind. Mary Catherine had been one of her best friends since high school. Back then she'd been Mary Catherine Lewis. She and Roger used to double date with Jack and her. It fact it was Mary Catherine she'd turned to that night when she'd discovered that she was pregnant during the last month of senior year.
Now to discover she was into women. While the other women in their little social circle were very loud in their expressions of disgust, Jackie felt herself filled with a very different emotion — that of envy.
It'd been quite of few years since Jackie had entertained the idea of sex with another woman. All through high school, she had found herself with the desire to touch another girl - and to have them touch her. Many a night she had laid in bed, remembering what the other girls had looked like in the shower -and had masturbated to those images.
What she lacked in those days was the courage to act on those feelings. So Jackie had buried her feeling and followed the role everyone thought she should be. Honor student, cheerleader, girlfriend of a football star. She remembered all too well the scorn and isolation heaped on poor Dotty Myers who all the other girls assumed was a dyke. Dotty was somewhat plain and highly athletic, a real tomboy. Since she also wasn't what you would call socially active - the other girls had automatically hung the "lesbian" label on her.
Dotty proved them all wrong when she married Clarence Oswald. Clarence was a male version of Dotty - the stereotype nerd. He was also the founder of Startech - now one of the fastest growing software companies in the southeast. The last Jackie had heard, they already had three kids, a girl and twin sons. Jackie's marriage to Billy Espositio on the other hand had been far from ideal. Married at 18 in a race with the stork to the altar, it had degenerated into two strangers sharing an apartment. Jackie had suffered a miscarriage a month after the wedding. She had never forgotten the look of relief that had appeared on Bill's face when the doctor told them that she'd lost the baby. Or the way he'd so casually accepted the later verdict that she probably wouldn't have kids at all. Despite that, they had been married and she tried so hard to make it work.
But it took two to make a marriage work and for the longest time, Jackie knew she was in this fight alone. They still lived in the basement apartment of his parent's Bensonhurst house. Billy still spent his days at his family's lumber yard and his nights at the local bar. Or the bowling alley, or the pool hall. Those few nights he did spend at home, were spent glued to the front of the television.
.... There is more of this story ...