I thought change would never take place at this school as long as I worked here, but after years of debate, dancing might finally be allowed on campus. Back in my day we had some strange rules for students: “No vehicle may carry uneven amounts of different sexes.” and “Facial hair is strictly prohibited.” but the no dancing rule has been a tenant of the school as much as its core values. It just goes to show that things can change with time, for better or worse, sometimes if you want something, you just gotta wait it out.
This means that my wife is going to ask me to take her to one of these School-sponsored Formals, so she can be a “chaperone”. Ha! She just wants to get me to try and dance. But given how things are now, she might just have to wait for me to say yes. I’m a sucker like that. After all, if the rock is already tilted that way, its hard for it not to fall.
It wasn’t awkward for him. They had walked and talked late at night before. Now, truthfully, she was the one she talked to more than Paul. Tonight however, more than ever before was certainly an anxious time for poor Maggie. She had been hoping that he would ask first. That’s what guys are supposed to do. But what if he never does? What is she supposed to do? Hope for God to send her someone else? As much as she prayed, this was the first time she asked God directly, “God, let him please say ‘yes’.”
She could see that Stephen was in deep thought, even more so than usual: his brow was furrowed and he was constantly craning his neck as if to look a something far away and on the ground.
“What’s the matter, Stephen?” She asked. Her question could hold off a little longer for the sake of honest friendship.
Stephen sighed and shifted his eyes lazily around. “Have you ever had someone you trusted slowly not become…trustworthy?”
Maggie didn’t really understand, so she just said, “I don’t understand.”
“Its not like it happened all at once, like he lied to me, or did something horribly outrageous. He just slowly slipped away.”
Ah. This was about Paul then, Maggie thought. “Are you talking about Paul?”
“Yes. He’s just slowly become more and more… I don’t know.”
“He’s still your friend.”
Stephen: “He thinks he is, and I would consider him one, but I don’t think he actually treats me like when we were friends. He’s…guarded now. I either can’t read his real face, or he truly doesn’t have one anymore.”
Maggie: “What about me? Am I your friend?”
“Of course you are.”
“And do you know what my true face is like?
Stephen paused a moment and let out a sigh. “Maggie, you’re one of the most transparent people I know.”
“That sounds insulting.”
I’m sorry,” Stephen apologized, “It wasn’t supposed to be.”
Maggie tried not to let the catch in her throat stop her now. “Stephen, we hang out a lot, you know.”
“Yes?” His eyebrow raised into a high arch and he swallowed. Crap. He knew what was coming next.
“Have you ever thought about asking me out? At all?”
Stephen wanted to curl up and disappear. It would be easier for Camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for him to not end up hurting her feelings before the night was over. He let out yet another sigh.
“No. I haven’t.”
Maggie bit her lips and nodded slowly. Stephen knew that this was how she fought back tears. If anything was going to fix this, it was going to be honesty, and openness, but it was still going to hurt the both of them, but he realized that right now, he trusted her more than anyone else on the planet.
“I never asked you out, because I didn’t want to lead you on,” He paused, “because truthfully, I am not attracted to you.”
Dumb Stephen! Stupid, stupid, stupid! There has got to have been a better way to put that.
Maggie’s stopped breathing; the catch in her throat finally caught. Her whole face showed a disbelief at what he just said. Her eyes said she was about to run.
Stephen grabbed her hand first though. “Its not that I’m just not attracted to you alone. I…I’m not sexually attracted to women.”
“Bull-” Stephen had never heard Maggie swear before, but she almost did right then. She assumed he was either the worst lier ever, or whatever the alternative was. “Are…Are you telling me that you’re gay?”
He let go of her hand. “Or a homosexual, or whatever the word for it is.”
Maggie’s mind froze up in thought. Stephen kept going.
“It’s not as if I choose to be. It’s just my natural inclination.”
Maggie’s word’s were slow and chosen. “When did you…find out?”
“I figured it out in high school. But Lord knows my parent’s would sooner accept a Muslim as their son than one of the gays.”
“And Paul doesn’t know does he?”
Maggie’s mind started to pick up speed. “Why didn’t you tell him? I assumed he would have been the first person to know.”
Stephen: “No! I don’t know, I just assumed that he would be freaked out, and that our friendship would never really be the same.”
“So, you were too good of friends for you to be honest?”
“That’s sounds like a girl friend-zoning a guy when you say it like that.”
Maggie’s anger was perked up now. “Of course it does!”
Stephen: “But its too late now, with the way things have been lately, its probably best if he never knows.”
“Now who’s hiding their real face?”
Stephen took a step back from that one.
“It’s not hiding it…it’s…” He slunched his shoulders and shrugged. “You’re right. I should have told him, and I’ll guess I’ll have to, otherwise you’ll just tell him for me.”
Maggie gave a half-hearted snort. “I ain’t no snitch. And besides, if he really is your friend, he’ll come to terms with it. It might take time, but you’ve still got plenty of that.”
The two of them stood facing each other and slowly, ever slowly, through the tears and fears, a smile formed at the corner of their mouths. Maggie was never one for hugging people, but she felt it was appropriate in the moment. As she unwrapped her arms from around him, she took a step back, unsure of what to say next, if anything. Stephen saved her the trouble.
“If anything changes, I’ll tell you.”
“Alright, I’m sure Paul will-“
“I meant with, you know…us.”
“Oh.” Meggie continued to listen.
“I can’t change how I feel now, and I guess, neither can you, so for the time being, we’ll just have to wait, and pray.”
“How strange,” She said.
“What is?” He said.
“For us, to wait for God to change the ones we love, and also for God to change the ones we love.”