Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Her name was Carly.
I met her when I was 5 years old.
She came over almost every day after school and rang the doorbell.

“Can Sarah play?”

She didn’t care that I wore a dress over my leggings. And she never told on me when I tucked my skirts into my waist band to ride her bike.
I loved that she always asked for just me. She didn’t want to hang out with my sisters, just me.

As we grew older, her clothes got darker and her makeup got thicker.
She had secret scars on her arms just like I did.
But I never asked her about them. I didn’t know how to talk about things that were important.
I think I was 13 when everything changed. And she was 14.
One day we were outside riding scooters down her slanted driveway, when her little sister suddenly asked, “Carly, did you tell her yet?”

“tell me what?!” I asked.

                                            “You have to tell her eventually”

                                                                                                        “She won’t understand”

 “Carly just tell me!”

                                         She told me.

                                                                                  “I’m bi-sexual”

I didn’t know what she was talking about. She had to explain it to me.

Bi-sexual. Kindof like gay, but not quite. I knew what gay was. Mom said it was something people pretend to have so they can get attention. Dad said it was a really bad demon that lived inside people.

“That’s not a real thing” I said.

I don’t remember what happened next; just that it was time for me to go home.
I told mom about it later that night. And I’ll never forgive myself for that.
Later that week, I walked into the dining room to see Carly sitting at the table with my mom.
She was crying. Sobbing. I’d never seen Carly cry like that before.

“You have to give it up to God, Carly” my mom was saying.

There was a brochure on the table between them titled “Love Won Out.” Next to it was a blank application. And a pen.
Carly looked up at me for just a second and then buried her head in her arms. But I’ll never forget her face. Her makeup was running down her cheeks. And her eyes weren’t ashamed, or even angry, just sad.      So

After she left that day, my parents sat me down and told me that they didn’t want Carly around the little kids any more. They explained that homosexuality was a sin. A terrible awful sin. I remember my face turning very very red as I remembered the time I dreamed about kissing a girl. I resolved to never ask them about my budding sexual attractions. I loved my little brothers and sisters, I didn’t want them to be kept away from me. I didn’t want my daddy to hate me…

Carly came over less and less after that. She never told me about the conversation she’d had with my mom. We drifted apart. I’d wave to her when I passed her on the street, but eventually we never spoke anymore.
It might seem strange, but I still know the number to her mom’s house by heart.
I still tie my shoes the way she showed me when we were kids.
I still feel guilty every time I pass her street.

I want to reach out and tell her that I’m sorry, but I don’t know how.

I want to tell her that I’m so sorry that I didn’t know what to say.
I’m sorry that I didn’t support her like I should have.
 I’m sorry that I didn’t protect her from my parents.
 I’m sorry that I pushed her away, just when she probably needed friends the most.

 I’m sorry that I told her that she was a fake.
                                      I was only repeating what they told me.
                                                                                         I wish I had known then what I know now.

I look back now and realize how brave she must have been. How strong she must have been, and how hard it must have been. I wish I knew how to tell her that I’m sorry. If I could go back in time, I’d give her a hug and tell her how beautiful and inspiring she is.

Her name is Carly.
I'm sending her a link to this post, and maybe one day I’ll have the courage to ring her doorbell and tell her all this in person.