I met her on my first day of college. She was clever, smart, and infinitely interesting. We bonded over our love of Skyrim, science, and alpha-female attitudes. We did everything together, from hanging out on the weekends getting drunk off of cheap vodka to spotting each other during bench presses in the gym. We would sit up late at night, musing about philosophy and laughing hysterically at SNL reruns. Some Sundays we went to church together. Most we didn’t. She taught me about comic books and console gaming and Catholic saints.
While I struggled with loneliness after a nasty breakup, she meanwhile turned down interested guy after interested guy, each nicer and better looking than the last. She told me of how frustrated she was that no man would just be her friend. I was terrified of outing her. I saw the damage that her conservative, Catholic parents had done to her soul, and I just wanted her to know she was loved. On her 19th birthday, I made her cupcakes with rainbow icing. She finally came out at the year’s end and I cheered, hugging and hi-fiving her. Everything was wonderful.
But the next few years weren’t. She began dating the president of the LGBT club, while I went with a guy who led the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. We both felt a call on our hearts. Her, to be understood and accepted for who she was. Me, to return to the Jesus of my childhood. Our paths were leading us different ways. The more deeply enmeshed we became within our separate communities, the less we could talk about. Her friends hated the Church for how it had ostracized them. My friends hated the Marriage Equality movement for misrepresenting their God.
She broke up with her girlfriend, but my boyfriend and I decided to get engaged. We fought. “You’re different now,” she’d tell me, “stop changing for him.” No, this is who I’ve always been. I was running from it before, but now I’ve found who I was created to be. When the the Supreme Court ruled on Marriage Equality, she was at Pride while I was at a Gospel conference.
“Stand with me for my wedding,” I pleaded. She was there, at the end of the aisle, next to my sisters and my husband-to-be. She knew loyalty. She stood silently as we spoke of wives submitting, of husbands sacrificing, of heterosexual marriage imaging Christ and his Church. Little did I realize that I left no place for her. When my husband and I departed our reception for a long-awaited consummation, she slipped out of my life. We never met again.