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Well Practiced Words (This Is My Normal Part 2)

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Doesn't it ever seem, that in a crisis every single one of your closest friends...every person you trust...suddenly becomes incredibly stupid? That they don't understand what you're going through? why is it, that when you are in your darkest hour, everyone leaves you to struggle through the night on your own?

I didn't ask much of Maddie. I didn't ask anything at all, actually, since my mouth and my brain wouldn't cooperate together. I would have asked that she listen, and not judge, and try to understand, if my mouth wasn't so damn impulsive.

Was that too much to ask? Should I have expected the shocked silence that I received on the other line, and then the soft, but oh-so-awful noise of Maddie's phone hanging up? I didn't think to expect it, I guess. I didn't think about what would happen after I said those words. I hadn't even expected them to run out of my mouth. But I guess I should have known I couldn't keep quiet forever. I was no good at keeping secrets...even when my own precious reputation depended on it.

But all the same, I felt a little cheated. I put so much of myself into our friendship, and now, it seemed, one little (well...not exactly little) secret was going to change all of that? Not fair. But, as they always say, life isn't fair. But she left me at the moment I needed her support most. There had to be some sort of rule. Something that drew the line between things that were allowed to not be fair, and things that won't ever let us down. Like a friendship that was built up over four years, and ended with two words...well, three, i guess if you count "I'm" as two words. Three words or two words, it didn't matter.

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"So how's stuff with Ben?" she asked.

"Fine," I told her. Fine was a safe word. I could say it and almost feel like I wasn't lying. 'Stuff with Ben' was far from fine though. I had been picking fights, trying to get him to break up with me. I didn't want to go out with any boy...ever again.

"Well, that's good. I'v kinda been thinking about going out with Branden...what do you think? I mean he's nice but he has that ugly little beard....but I guess he could shave that off. He'd be super cute if he'd shave the effin' thing...God, beards are gross. Even the little flavor-savor ones kinda look weird...."

She kept talking...

"...and oh my God, did you see that thing on Sharon's face? Holy crap, that was gross. I couldn't figure out if that was a hickey or a zit..."

And talking...

"...that new gym teacher is so racist!"

"Who?"

"Mrs. Tarrot or something..."

"Tarrot is, like, a Voodoo thing...do you mean Mrs. Terry?"

"Yeah that's her name I guess...." this conversation was boring me. I wasn't worried about beards and zits and racist gym teachers....I was worried that my whole world was crumbling at the edges. My reality was becoming more and more complex. I wanted to tell someone what was going on. Could I say the words? I had practiced saying them into the mirror over and over again, until they didn't sound quite as scary. I should say them now. No I shouldn't. Bad idea, Jacqui. Don't say those words. But I have to tell someone. Don't say those words. I want to. Don't say those words. I have to. Don't say those words. DON'T SAY THOSE WORDS.



"I'm gay."



And her talking finally stopped.



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