This is something I've been working on today. I didn't intend for it to be multi-part, but I apparently have more to say here than one post will allow.
She peered into the bathroom mirror, scowling and scrutinizing. Unhappy with the image that reflected back, she placed her palms face down onto the fake marble countertop, the weight of her body propped up by two thin arms.
“I look like a kid,” she said with a heavy sigh.
Sarah could make insecurity look somehow confident. Regardless of the words spoken, nothing about her tone of voice sounded defeated or depressed. Utterly fearless in life, even body image couldn’t dampen her spirits. She was the leader of a passel of fellow lesbians, with a few gay men like me thrown in for good measure. With time, I had become her closest confidante.
Even with my deference to her talents, I never saw Sarah for anything other than exactly what she was. The other girls were too intimidated to be impartial, too much in awe. Half of them were in love with her. All of them were in lust.
She had a mythical reputation among the out girls in the city.
“You know Sarah?”
I’d indicate by a shake of the head that yes, in fact, I did.
“Really? I’m jealous.”
Then they’d ask me questions about her. Some of them I answered. Some of them I did not. The discourse always felt like I was responding to the rabid fans of a sports team I didn’t follow and never much cared about one way or the other. At best, I was an impartial observer. Long ago, I decided to take Sarah with a grain of salt. You’d be foolish not to do the same.
Her admirers would have really been jealous if they knew the number of times I’d seen her naked. I was ambivalent to female nudity, but had to concede that her body was attractive. Based on what I had observed firsthand many times before, even men attracted to breasts had seen hers. She was a bit of an exhibitionist and not a bit self-conscious. That same confidence extended in every conceivable direction, though I saw her frequently obsess and fret about what to wear to a night out to the club. At times, I made suggestions, and she often agreed with me.
Her car was about as subtle upon arrival as she was. Around nine in the evening we’d all pile into a two door sports car with a manual transmission and a huge hole in the muffler. She refused to have it properly fixed. Some nights we went to the gay bar. We also went on rescue missions. This was a euphemism for retrieving members of the group who intended to sneak out of their parents’ house late at night. These were also girls that Sarah intended to take to bed.
She had her detractors as well.
“Oh, you know she’s bouncy.”
They’d say this derisively, dismissing her as promiscuous, unwilling to form a real relationship with anyone. A certain amount of sour grapes was present in that statement. Who knows how many women had thrown themselves at her over the course of several years? She never bragged about anything, but then again, you don't have to brag if you're good at what you do.
Concerning Sarah’s past history, I knew better. Shortly after I was made an official part of the gang, Sarah fought a protracted and frankly quite pointless war with a recently departed ex-girlfriend. The insults began over the phone and then carried over onto endless, hour long internet chat sessions. For whatever the reason, the two of them were too attracted to each other to cease contact altogether, but far too bitter to even begin to establish anything like a healthy dialogue.
I asked her once why she went to the clubs so often.
“I feel better being around other gay people, even if they’re lame.”
It was good to be among those who understood me, I will concede you that much. But I could find emotional instability in anyone, gay, straight, or somewhere in between. Before the night was up, I'd end up being propositioned once again by the club’s unofficial drug dealer. He didn’t really want me, of course, he just intended to sweet talk and to flatter. Anything to make a sale. Sarah could always be counted on to be a good and reliable customer, but I’d had bad experiences with club drugs and was now much too careful.
The gay bars were never especially interesting to me after a time. The same people turned out, or maybe the same typecasting showed up from weekend to weekend. On multiple occasions, completely out of boredom, I’d decide I’d see if I could seduce someone. It was my own passive-aggressive protest. My efforts were effective from time to time, but you’d be surprised how many men I found who resisted. I tried every trick I could think of to drag them home with me, but they’d beg off after a time, claiming they had to meet up with other friends.