When I arrive at HR the following morning, Lenora shouts like she’s a PA announcer calling my name in the starting lineup. I smile, then walk over to her desk, and get right to business — “I need to update my W-4, and personal information.”
Lenora raises her eyebrows, then reaches for a folder in a vertical sorter on her desk. “Can I ask why?”
The moment has arrived, and I’m filled with a calm that pleases my soul. “I’m getting married.”
“Oh!” Lenora stops, her face filling with delight. “Linda, that’s great! Who’s the lucky guy?”
No more lying, no more hiding, no more worrying what the hell anybody thinks. “Her name is Darci. I’m a lesbian. Darci and I have been together five years, and we have an appointment at the county courthouse tomorrow to get our marriage license.”
To her credit, Lenora recovers immediately from her surprise; she doesn’t apologize for her assumption, but I decide not to make an issue of her reaction. As she hands me the forms I’ve required, I feel that same thrill of uncertainty I’d felt Saturday on entering Murph’s house, knowing I had crossed a line but not knowing what waited for me on the other side. And as I sit at a nearby desk and begin filling out the forms, I realize that Murph, somewhere in some distant office of that city to where he has moved, has probably filled out similar forms this week for the company where he now works. I wonder if he’s elected to withhold his personal information again, if he’s rebuilt the wall surrounding him. But then I shake my head, and tell myself not to care any longer. How Murph chooses to live his life is his own business; the life that Darci and I are fashioning together needs to be our sole concern.
[This is the end of the story I began back with The Smoking Insomniac on October 12. I still don’t have a title; since I plan on revising, I’ll wait for that effort before deciding on a name for this tale.]