Kimberly Gould’s Picture Choice: Both
“I’m going to miss you,” Angela told Lori. “I know I probably won’t see you again.”
Lori sniffed back tears. “I know, and I hate that. I hate my Mom. Why did she have to take that job?”
Angela put her hand on Lori’s shoulder. “It’s not her fault. It’s a good job. You’ll see. It’ll be better in a big city.”
“I don’t want a big city. I want to stay here, with you.” Lori wiped at her eyes with her sleeve. She felt silly and childish crying so much, but Angela had been her best friend since kindergarten.
“Here, I brought something for you.” Angela reached into the bag behind her.
“I brought something for you, too,” Lori said, digging in her pocket.
Angela held out her carousel music box. She wound it and held it out in her two hands. “When it plays, you can remember me.
Lori took the gift and set it carefully in the grass beside her before hugging Angela tightly. “Thank you so much. It’s perfect.” It would remind her of Angela’s room and all the time they’d spent there. Lori backed up enough to rub her nose alongside Angela’s. Then she kissed her, tasting the salt of her own tears.
“Stop crying, Lori. I love you and I’ll always love you.”
Lori sniffled, nodding. “I know. I just can’t seem to stop. Here, this is for you.”
The gold plated bracelet sparkled in the bright sunlight, showing Angela’s name on one side and Lori’s on the other. Beside Lori’s name was “I ❤ U.”
“It’s beautiful,” Angela gushed. “Help me put it on.”
Lori’s fingers trembled and another tear fell from her nose onto the back of Angela’s hand.
Lori sighed and stopped to pick a rock out of her shoe. Everything was paved, where did all these little jagged things come from? Straightening, she saw the black man and his sign. Anger flared in her. Who was he to say what love was sin? Love was love. She started to march forward and give him a piece of her mind, but the wind fell out of her sails before she got there. He wouldn’t listen. He wouldn’t change. He was so blindly faithful that he couldn’t think for himself. What was the point of trying to fight him?
She knew she wasn’t hurting anyone by loving other women. In fact, she had helped a lot of boys and girls who were confused in adolescence, working with them to discover themselves. She didn’t advocate for the LGBT community, she just made sure that they had the self-esteem and tools to be the person they were, gay, straight or anything else.
She loved sharing the story of Angela, how her friend had made her the woman she was today. All the girls seemed to have someone like Angela, a friend they could count on, and they all took her experience to make experiences of their own.
She still missed Angela. She went to sleep every night listening to the carousel. Her lovers had asked about it and she was quick to tell them. They were all respectful and some even gushed a bit at how wonderful such a person and gift was. Sadly, none of her relationships had lasted longer than a year. They were all wonderful women and she kept in touch with most of them, but they weren’t her.
Passing the black man and his board, she gave him her best death glare, but didn’t stop or slow. He wasn’t worth her time.
“Lori? Lori, is that you?”
Lori whirled. She knew that voice. She was nearly knocked over when Angela collided with her in a gigantic hug.
“What? When? Oh Angela!” Lori squeezed her tight, making the other woman grunt.
“I came for an interview. I think I got it. I think I’m going to be living here!” Angela let out a squeal that was exactly like the ones Lori remembered, and her own girlish cry echoed Angela’s.
“I don’t believe it! That’s fantastic! What job? I’m on my way to a lunch meeting. Tag along, please.”
“Oh, I shouldn’t. Not if it’s for work.”
“Trust me,” Lori told her, linking her arm through Angela’s and pulling her along. “They will love you. Now spill. What’s the job?”
They chatted all the way to the restaurant and Angela joined Lori at a table for four. Ten minutes later, the older couple still catching up, were joined by a much younger pair.
“Mrs. Thompson?” Ken asked.
“Yes, Ken, Tony, please sit down. I’d like you to meet Angela, my first and best girlfriend.”
Angela blushed a little and the boys immediately relaxed. Tony wrapped his arm around Ken’s shoulders, leaning into him.
Ken was the speaker of the pair. “You really are a lesbian.”
Lori giggled and Angela leaned over to kiss her cheek.
“Always has been,” she said, hugging her friend.
Like what you just read? Have a question or concern? Leave a note for the author! We appreciate your feedback!
Kimberly Gould is the author of Cargon: Honour and Privilege, and it's sequel Duty and Sacrifice. She can be found most places as Kimmydonn, including Kimmydonn.com