The blonde had a history of seeing girls cry as a result of her involvement. She hadn’t made them cry deliberately, but her presence tended to be a catalyst. She tended to inspire the desire in some girls to make a dramatic course correction in life, so as to follow the blonde’s lead. She only appealed to girls for whom this change was indeed an envisioned improvement, but even so the journey alongside the blonde was never an easy one, even for those who found it deeply fulfilling.
Over the course of several decades, perhaps two dozen girls had acted on that desire. Most had found the new life path exhilarating and comforting in good times, but intimidating and overwhelming in bad times, which tended to be: early on. The blonde made a point of being logical yet comforting, when a protégé needed to talk, vent or cry.
Some girls had wanted to proceed but had felt too intimidated to do so. The blonde was there for each such girl too, never pressuring her but helping her work through the emotional and logical issues. For some, this tipped the scale, and they joined the blonde in a new life. For some, the temptation and draw could not overcome the resistance-to-change that she felt.
Regardless of the path taken, tears were an inevitable part of the journey. The blonde empathized yet saw tears as good checkpoints along the way, a sign that the girl was making progress, reconciling her new life to the pain in her past, and no longer bottling up her feelings. When a girl threw in her lot with the blonde, it felt to her as if she were joining a new sub-culture, a royal court of sorts in which she was one of a very few princesses, typically two or three at a time, cherished by a protective queen. That didn’t always mean living with the blonde. One girl had been involved for years, and loved to visit, but she lived thousands of miles away. Nevertheless, the supportive care of the blonde was like a shield that protected her as if her house were an embassy of the queen’s domain.
Some girls stayed for many years; some left soon. Staying — that involved some ground rules, but girls were welcome to stay or to go. Being with the blonde tended to change every girl’s life path dramatically, typically with the girl becoming much more self-aware, with the long-term benefits one might expect to result from that.
Break-ups were mutually painful, and things tended to get worse before they got better. Even so, after a cooling-off period, many of the girls who left became lifelong friends.
Upon hearing how non-symmetrical the dynamic was, between the queen and her protégés, sometimes a new prospect would announce that this would never work for her, and yet curiosity drew her ever closer until one day, she signed up. In most such cases, the draw of the primal girl-with-girl sexuality had tipped the scale. The romantic dynamics had much sexually-themed intensity, in large part inspired by the depths of emotional intimacy involved. Intense girls fitted in well.
One more girl was about to start her tearful journey. She had spent weeks on the very edge of making contact, craving a new life yet feeling vastly too intimidated to start. Even so, today would be the day she’d take action.
* * *
The blonde was having a leisurely morning. She had stepped away from her computer screen, and was sitting on a nearby sofa, trying to figure out a perplexing database restructuring puzzle for her automotive business. Her mind was precise and engaged; her posture was the opposite, informally relaxed.
Every few minutes, after she’d made some progress, she glanced up at her computer screen. Her incoming email display updated itself continually. An announcement appeared. It told her that someone had just sent her a direct message on Twitter. She recognized the name. The girl had never sent her a direct message before. The girl’s thoughts, as she’d made them available to the world via social media, intrigued the blonde — on the assumption she was reading between the lines correctly.
She knew that this was significant regardless of what was in the message. Life was about to become a lot more interesting yet. And so, a new chapter begins, the blonde thought.
She had done some military contracting work but had never been formally in the military. Even so, she liked the premise of taking life seriously. Her long, smooth legs swung down from the sofa. For a few seconds, she sat, pensively, with near-military precision to her proud posture. She stood up, and turned methodically to face the computer screen. She was enjoying being alive. For life to be dramatic, it didn’t need to involve pyrotechnics, or slaying space aliens or dragons. A simple direct message via Twitter could be mutually life-changing, for two girls.
She stood erect, her posture proud, like somebody would stand to receive a Medal of Honor or to face a court-martial. The two steps she took toward the computer were slow and deliberate, and blended perfectly with the precision of her posture.
She moved the computer mouse and clicked its button a few times. She read: “I have a question about something you wrote. Please send me your cell phone number.”
This approach didn’t surprise her. Twitter account logins were sometimes shared with others who claimed to help with social media. In such cases, privacy was by no means assured. The blonde typed a reply: “Feel free to text or call. My number is … ” and she typed the 10 digits, then sent the reply.
Several hundred miles away, a cell phone made a notification noise, next to a brunette girl of the same approximate age. She was also sitting on a sofa. Her posture was very different than that of the blonde. She sat hunched, her stress level sky-high. She felt terrified — and she also felt ridiculous and ashamed for being so scared. Feeling bad about how she was feeling – that was nothing new to her.
She was having a hard time breathing. Her hand trembling, she picked up her phone and tapped the screen a few times. A few seconds later, a cell phone rang, several hundred miles away. The blonde recognized the area code and figured it was the girl from Twitter. She tapped the “answer” button.
With a friendly smile in her voice, the blonde said: “Hi, this is Tanya. Hello, “ and then she said the brunette’s first name. The brunette froze. She held onto the phone tightly, close to her ear. She didn’t want to hang up but she couldn’t speak. A few long seconds went by. The brunette felt overwhelmed by emotion upon emotion.
The blonde guessed what was going on. Her soothing voice continued: “I’m guessing you’re not quite sure how to start the conversation, or you feel overwhelmed. That’s understandable. To me, the important thing is that you made contact. I love that. I suspect that, from here on, long-term, things will become easier for you.”
The brunette squeezed her eyes shut tightly, wishing she could will herself to say something, anything — and yet she simply couldn’t.
The blonde continued: “Perhaps your conclusions have reached critical mass, as to yourself, your life path as it is now, and how an alternate lifestyle might work for you. If I’m mistaken and you truly just want to ask a question about something I wrote, please hang up and call back — and then I’ll simply focus on your question. On the other hand, if my assumption about your life path is correct, stay on the line because we’ll agree that this means ‘yes.’”
The brunette was silent but she didn’t hang up. A few more seconds went by.
“Yay!” said the blonde cheerfully as if she’d heard a verbal “yes.” She continued: “I’m SO glad! I can understand how this is all so new and different for you, that it’s a terrifying proposition, wow. No wonder you’re feeling overwhelmed.”
The brunette was silent. She didn’t hang up. In this peculiar new conversational dynamic, staying on the line meant, “yes.” She felt peculiarly comforted by the blonde’s approach, and her words. The blonde somehow seemed to understand how the brunette was feeling. How this was possible puzzled the brunette. The blonde seemed fearless. For her to empathize, or sympathize, with someone who felt so intimidated … it seemed incongruous, to the brunette. And yet, the sincerity in the blonde had touched her. She started to cry, silently chastising herself for that because it meant that all hope had vanished, of her being able to say something. And yet, somehow, the blonde had structured things to where the brunette didn’t actually need to speak. She simply sat on the couch, crying — and making very sure she didn’t hang up.
“Coming to grips with all this is very hard and then actually doing something about it seems likely to be much, much harder yet, yes?”
Silence. Hence, “yes.”
“And yet, you’re in some ways SO ready for this. From your words, I conclude that this is what you’ve wanted for a while now. You’re motivated to proceed. You also feel overwhelmed. Those are two separate things and they do reconcile perfectly.”
Sitting in silence, tears clouding her vision of the room around her, the brunette felt shocked. She had always felt that this was a contradiction she couldn’t resolve. But, the blonde’s precision had been useful. Cognitively, the brunette was indeed ready to start a new life. At the same time, emotionally, she also indeed felt overwhelmed. These were indeed two different things. She had never needed to feel ridiculous about that. So, instead, she now felt ridiculous about having felt ridiculous. She noticed that immediately, and it made her cry more yet. How she could ever function in so intimidating a dynamic as she was craving, she could not even begin to envision.
“You can’t help how you feel,” the blonde comforted her. “Whatever you’re feeling, please just feel it — don’t fight it or resist it or deny it. You’ve probably kept so many feelings bottled up for so long. Starting now, it’s OK for you to feel however you feel.”
This hit the brunette hard. It was like a dam bursting. She started sobbing. She was holding the phone close to her ear so that the blonde wasn’t on speakerphone. She wanted to mute her phone so that the blonde could not hear her despair, but she couldn’t see her phone clearly through her tears, and she was terrified of hanging up by mistake. She pulled her feet up and hugged herself, her face on her thighs, sobbing.
* * *
Her husband walked by, on his way to the kitchen. He glanced dispassionately at the sad bundle on the couch, adorned with a dark mop of curly hair. He didn’t say anything. He was accustomed to his wife having a bad day.
He’d ceased caring long ago. Early on, her sadness had inspired him to want to “fix it” yet regardless of what he had tried, he’d always failed. Sometimes he’d managed to cheer her up or distract her, and such periods of time had been better than others, but sadness was the underlying theme of her life, as far as he knew.
She had assured him that he wasn’t the cause. She had been sad before meeting him, and she had been sad after meeting him. Even so, he’d tried. His every effort had failed. Even when she was coming across as positive, he’d always felt that she was willing herself to be positive, not naturally being positive. Sincerity was missing from her positive demeanor in a subtle way that he could never pinpoint.
His failure to help had exhausted his patience: eventually, he’d felt impatient with her. He’d initially tried to hide it but eventually he stopped trying to hide it. Finally, even his impatience had worn out. It had exhausted him to care about her, even if only in exasperation — while seeing her always being so sad, and with him knowing there was nothing he could do to fundamentally help.
He’d developed coping mechanisms to keep himself able to function in everyday life. They’d worked well, in large part by putting much emotional distance between them. The effect on her had been more devastating than he’d realized. She had valued his companionship and caring. With her husband having downgraded his role to a co-parent of their children, and a roommate, she felt alone and lonely even while married. To the outside world, they were accustomed to appearing to be a happy couple, and so this continued. Also, for her to be able to say “I’m married” to strangers who wooed her – she found it to be a useful and effective way of saying “I’m not interested.”
Indeed, they were mutually supportive; he was just not emotionally supportive. Intimacy had ceased. She used to think they were friends, until she realized that emotional support tends to be a defining characteristic of friendship, and hence her marriage didn’t qualify as a friendship. Even so, she’d stayed on. She didn’t have anywhere else to go, and besides she valued the stability. Uncertainty was something that terrified her.
Once, she’d made plans to leave him but they had petered out and there she still was, as if nothing had happened. He’d noticed her energy level rise and then fall again, and hadn’t paid too much attention to the reasons.
Her sobbing was a new thing, he observed. Mostly she cried quietly, he mused. He retrieved what he’d come to find, and then left the kitchen and walked placidly back into his study.
* * *
“I’m still here,” the blonde said. “I can also hear a very sad girl crying. I’m fine with waiting as long as it takes. I’m not going to say too much else because it might be hard for you to listen right now. I sympathize but it’s actually good that you’re being open with yourself and me, as to your sadness.”
Hearing this just made the brunette cry more intensely yet, as if the empathy was encouraging the sobs, as if she’d just received permission to really let go. Minutes went by.
“Good girl,” the blonde said gently. “We have all the time in the world.”
The first two words shocked the brunette. Part of her wanted to object but far stronger was her need to hold onto them and bathe in their comfort.
Finally, she felt more in control. She carefully opened some text messaging software, without hanging up.
“say that again,” she typed.
The blonde understood. “Good girl,” the blonde said, soothingly.
“i like that more than i can explain,” the brunette typed.
And so, the dialog continued, with the blonde speaking and the brunette typing.
“Since right now you need comforting, let it comfort you. Later you, or we, can analyze why,” the blonde said, reassuringly.
“my emotions are feeling more okay suddenly”
“I’m glad,” replied the blonde.
“emotions aside how is starting over not a huge mistake” the brunette typed. She liked the privacy of typing. She didn’t want to be overheard by her husband.
“It IS a huge mistake as to your career. As to its historical trend, it might well end it, but then again you might well continue your basic career, yet with a new twist.”
“oh god what will everyone say”
“Scary thought, yes?”
“Would you have to fear violence from anyone in your life as such, aside maybe from random strangers?”
“Okay, good. That simplifies it. Let’s do some play-acting. Imagine the scariest person in your life has heard that you’re starting a new life with a new direction. The person can’t fault your logic but pours on the emotional pressure on the premise of ‘what will everyone say?’ … imagine you’re standing there under this barrage of pressure and insults, calmly, but I’m standing next to you, also calmly, holding your hand.”
“oh god and wow would you?”
“Yes. Imagine you’re standing there calmly, listening and understanding where the other person is coming from, but not budging assuming you’re not hearing any logical arguments that are changing your mind.”
“So, really spend a minute thinking yourself into that as-bad-as-it-gets situation.”
Silence for twenty seconds.
“That wasn’t a minute yet,” the blonde cautioned.
“i dont need a minute to realize its not so scary”
“So that was the scariest person being as scary as you can imagine and even so you were OK with it?”
“y but you were there”
“How did that help?”
“without you i wouldnt know what to say”
“What DID you say, imagining this scene?”
“And you didn’t really need to say anything, right? Your life, your decisions. They affect others but it’s still your life to lead. If you want to categorically protect everyone from any impact of you pursuing your own happiness, then you do nothing so you always lose out, yes?”
The blonde waited.
“i never saw it like that but youre right”
“As to your pursuit of your happiness being OK even if it affects others negatively?”
“i guess but there has to be balance”
“Yes. Doing things so as to be hurtful is not OK.”
“Being unreasonable is not OK.”
“Violating someone else’s rights is not OK.”
“So if what you’re doing is logical, within your rights and not mean-spirited, what else affects where you draw the line?”
“Is any one of your children gay?”
“not that I know”
“If that were the case but your child lived a forced, sad life pretending to be straight so as to not hurt others’ feelings, would you like that?”
“What if someone else’s feelings really would be deeply hurt?”
“I think you’ve just established a principle, yes?”
A pause. Then: “yes”
“So are there any specific reasons why you should be the exception when applying the principle? I know you’re used to denying yourself, specifically, and if there is a reason, let’s find it and honor it. If we can’t find one, maybe there isn’t one and the principle applies without exception, to you too, so you get to pursue your happiness even if that hurts someone else’s feelings.”
There was a long pause.
Another long pause.
“cant think of a reason to make an exception”
“So, until and unless we find one, we can assume the principle applies to you too. You pursuing rationally justifiable values … if that creates discomfort for others then that’s for them to worry about and manage, not you. Yes?”
“A zero-impact-on-others policy puts your happiness last so that others might be content but then you’re miserable.”
A long silence. Then “y” appeared as the typed reply.
“So emotions aside, let’s analyze some of the logic,” the blonde suggested.
“You deeply value emotional intimacy in a romantic context, yes?”
“Do you have any?”
“You also deeply value sexual intimacy in a romantic context, true?”
“Do you have any?”
A long pause.
“You don’t have to answer but would it help you more to be totally open, here?”
“So as to my question, don’t answer it to me but answer it for yourself.”
“To move things in your life around carefully so as to get some, or some more, emotional and sexual intimacy back into your current life path, you’ve tried that already, yes?” the blonde asked, gently.
“Diligently, and so much that you’re now beyond hope?
“So, one option is that you simply go without for the rest of your life. Can you accept that?”
“Good girl. That means the only remaining options are to either passively await better days or to enact a cause so you get what you crave, yes?”
“How OK are you with waiting to see if somehow things get better for you without you doing anything about it?”
“So the only remaining option is you doing something to enact the cause, so that the effect is you experiencing more emotional and sexual intimacy again, yes?”
“Yes!” said a mellifluous voice over the phone, emphatically.
That startled the blonde. “It’s nice to hear your voice.”
“its nicer yet in person” typed the brunette.
“I can hardly wait,” smiled the blonde. “Okay, so let’s say finding someone new has been justified. You have much- more-socially-acceptable options than to choose a girl. Would you choose a guy?”
The brunette went back to typing: “n!”
“i crave girl dynamics”
“Well, that settles that, then.”
“Yes!” said the lovely voice of the brunette again, over the phone.
The blonde smiled and said, “fortunately, you have more than a billion age-appropriate adult women to choose from, on the planet.”
The brunette’s reply was definitely not something she was ready to verbalize. She typed it instead … but didn’t send it yet. She waited for many long seconds. She made a face as if she were bracing for a physical impact. Then, she sent the message. She took a deep breath, realizing she’d stopped breathing a while ago.
The blonde smiled when she read: “i already chose one”
“yes” read the display
“Who’s the lucky girl?”
A long silence ensued. The blonde was on pins and needles. Several seconds went by. Still, no reply from the brunette. After waiting for perhaps ten seconds, the blonde decided to count the seconds as they went by, to keep herself calm. By now she was tense too. Regardless of its content, the brunette’s reply would shape the future for both of them, and the blonde had strong hopes for one particular path. After she counted off another twenty seconds … “i like u” the display announced.
The blonde smiled happily and exclaimed: “Yay!!! Wow, I’m beyond delighted!!”
“yay!!” read the display.
“I am SOOOO happy!!” the blonde exclaimed, literally twirling around. Then, a pause, and on a somber note, she added: “I doubt I have any hope of being acceptable in your social circles.”
“dont care about that any more”
“Well, you already having chosen, that does simplify things wonderfully.”
“Yes!” said the complex, pretty voice of the brunette, over the phone.
“Great, wow,” said the blonde, trying to keep up, and added: “I assume you should not just vanish to start your new life, with me in it. I’m not saying you should call a press conference or hire a sky-writing airplane, but at least a few people should be told. ”
“help me write up an announcement”
“That’s a good approach. It has worked for me in difficult situations.. In a letter, I’d write up what I wanted to say, then I hand-delivered it, and I stood there while the other person read it. I invited any questions, comments or concerns. Whatever they said, I made sure I understood by feeding it back to them with as much empathy as I could. As to questions, if they were trivial, I’d answer them right away, and if they were complex then I wrote them down and told the person I planned to go think on the reply. It worked well, for me.”
“Wow,” said the voice over the phone.
“Are you OK with doing that?”
“y but will you be next to me?” showed the display.
“Sure,” smiled the blonde.
“maybe not with every person I speak with”
“As much or as little as you need.”
“Wow,” said the voice over the phone again, this time sounding relieved, almost smiling.
“when can u be here” displayed the screen.
“There’s a flight landing at 630 pm and then I could rent a car ….”
“Wow,” said the voice over the phone again, this time sounding almost happy but still very tense.
“ill come get you at the airport” read the next message she sent.
“Thank you! I should be at the curb at 645 pm or so. That still gives me time to write a first draft of your letter to get you started.”
“youre walking into a hornets nest”
“Arguably, we are walking into it hand in hand, together.”
“Yes, it is,” smiled the blonde.
“im not ready to announce this yet. i have many qs for U”
“That’s fine. We can find a quiet place to talk as long as you like. All night if you like, plus the next day and so on.”
“I’m the boss lady so I make my own schedule,” the blonde explained.
“where will U stay”
“I’ve just booked a place that I’m guessing is nearby,” the blonde explained. “I’ve booked the flight, too.”
“Thank you,” the lovely voice said.
“You’re welcome. How would you like to be contacted when I’m done with the letter?”
“Okay. When’s the last time you had a nice, relaxing bath?”
“I like the idea of you luxuriating while I write.”
“lux say that again”
“Luxuriating,” the blonde smiled.
“like your voice” the display announced.
“Thank you. It’s mutual. You’re a brave girl.”
“Were you scared to contact me?”
“But you did so anyway. That’s bravery: being scared and still proceeding. So, brave girl.”
“dont feel brave”
“It makes sense though, yes?”
“Okay. So, brave girl, you — even though you don’t feel brave.”
“I appreciate your trust,” smiled the blonde.
“Anything else before I go write?”
“y dont break the connection”
“I can keep you on the phone while I write. Would you like that?”
“Yes!” said the voice over the phone.
“and until youre on the plane keep talking to me” added the display.
“I understand,” smiled the blonde.
“i feel ridiculous”
“That’s understandable too. This is atypical behavior — but I love it.”
“ur encouraging my freakish behavior”
“Yes, I am. You have a huge backlog of being encouraged to like what comes naturally to you.”
“ill ask you about that later. k please write”
“Okay. If I’m too quiet, prompt me. I’ll try to think out loud…. So, let’s identify what we’d like the the letter to have accomplished after it has served its purpose, so that we can enact the causes to get us there. We begin with the end in mind, so to speak.”
“ur so logical”
“Thank you. I strive to be. ”
“i feel safe with you on my side”
“I’m glad. That’s my job, sort of, to give you just cause to feel safe.”
The letter was written. The brunette helped shape it. She loved it as it was taking shape, and when it was done.
“decl of independence”
“Yes it is, isn’t it?” the blonde smiled.
“Thank you,” said the lovely voice.
“How many copies should I print?” the blonde asked.
“i just wanna email it and then run and hide”
“If someone isn’t viably nearby, emailing is OK but then I would recommend you send it while that person is on the phone with you, expecting it and reading it while you are on the phone.”
“print a dozen”
“Please tell me the people who, you think, should get told?”
The brunette identified seven people. The blonde suggested two more.
“oh yes ty”
“ill take a bath while ur in the air” showed the display.
“Good girl. Welcome to your new life.”
“Yes!!!” said the lovely voice. A few seconds went by. Then:
“why wont I just be miserable with u too” read the display.
“I’m going to teach you to like yourself,” the blonde explained.
“impossible” the brunette wrote.
At length, the blonde explained her reasoning. To the brunette’s surprise, the blonde offered a logically consistent set of arguments that the brunette could not fault.
“i can’t fault your logic but it feels wrong”
“That’s understandable. Emotions lag behind cognition, in the time-line.” The blonde wanted to elaborate but realized she had better get going. “I should start getting ready for the airport,” the blonde said.
“awww :(” said the display.
“I’ll keep the phone connection going but I’m going to hop into the shower and then be right back, okay? As in I’m just putting the phone down, not hanging up.”
“k I feel ridiculous again”
” By typical standards we ARE being ridiculous. But we’re feeling very close to each other so we don’t want to break the connection.”
“y dont break it ever”
“We’re emotionally intimate so we wanna stay as connected as possible. Logical.”
“In my life currently, romantically? One.”
“tell me about her”
The blonde did, decided it’d be a good use of five minutes.
“i like her”
The blonde explained how, perhaps ten years ago, two of her girlfriends at the time had become close friends, having — in one case — a seven-hour long phone conversation across state lines.
“Wow,” said the lovely voice, and added: “I can see that, now.”
“They did pass the same selection criteria, so it makes sense they’d have a lot in common.”
“so i was selected after i passed your criteria”
“Yes. I tried to be logical about it, and I succeeded, even though I also felt a strong attraction to you emotionally.”
“opposites attract? u and i are so different”
“Fundamentally, we’re not — but that will take a long time for me to explain.”
“looking fwd to it”
The blonde said “Good girl,” and then announced she was going to go shower.
“do U tell the other girl good girl too?”
“Yes, I do.”
“k go shower”
“Okay. Five minutes. Bathroom break time for you too, I’d imagine.”
“wow y I forgot”
“Intense concentration, wasn’t it?”
“Okay, here I go shower.”
“post a picture of you after the shower holding a sign with good girl and todays date”
The blonde smiled. “Okay.”
Things worked out better than the two girls had planned. Three hours later, the blonde was airborne, and the brunette lay happily in her bathtub, wiggling her toes above the waterline and feeling, in several ways, as she’d felt when she was a teenager — full of hope for an exciting life ahead.
More: Part 2