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how i came out of the closet and ruined my life (part 6)
around 8, i stop crying, and just lay there, exhausted, but still too worked up to sleep. at 8:15, the phone rings. i know that marie doesn't get off work until 9, so i decide not to answer it. but it rings again, and it's loud and annoying, and what if it is marie? what if she'll tell me tomorrow that she's not going to live with me, because i didn't answer my phone? i answer it. it's cindy. she gushes, 'debbie! i'm so glad to hear your voice... we've been so worried about you... your mom called me, and asked if i had heard from you... i mean, when i first got that e-mail, i thought it was a joke, just because of how you worded it... but then they said that you had vanished, and then it wasn't funny any more... where have you been? what's going on? is it true? are you ok?'
i'm crying again. but this time, it's a silent sort of cry, not those big loud sobs, so i can hide it better. i start trying to answer her questions. she says i sound funny, and i tell her i'm just tired, and i think she sort of believes it. we talk for about a half hour. she's asking all the questions that marie said they would ask, like how long have i known, and did i try to change, and all that. and then she asks, 'so guys just don't float your boat, huh?'
i think of marie and i smile and i cry, because i'm so upset that even the happy things make me sad...
she asks if i knew in high school, and when i say i did, she asks why i didn't tell her. she says she wouldn't have cared, and it makes her feel like i didn't trust her. that makes me cry, too, but i tell her that i didn't really tell myself then, either, so it's not at all like i didn't trust her. and i tell her about the grilled cheese incident that prompted the e-mail, and she listens and it seems like she understands.
sometimes, she asks things that don't really make sense, but for the most part, she's ok. she says she understands, that i can't change it. but then she turns around and says that she knows i'm easily influenced, and that my roommate is gay. i think of molly, and i tell her that molly has a boyfriend. she says, 'no, i mean the other girl. what's her name-marie?'
'she is not,' i say, 'she likes boys too.'
she says it's the same thing, and she knows how others can affect me, and she's just worried that i'm doing it because they've talked me into it. i tell her that nobody talked me into anything, and that i was like this waaay before i met them.
she asks some questions that i don't know how to answer, like, 'does it feel right?'
i tell her i don't know if it feels right or wrong, because it's the only way i've ever felt, so i don't have anything to compare it to. judging from her reaction, i don't think that answered her question, but i don't know what else to say.
she asks if i have a girlfriend, and when i say no, she asks, all sly, if i have anybody special in mind, and i laugh (and cry, of course) and tell her no.
after the half hour, i tell her that i need to go to sleep. i know i won't be able to sleep yet, but i also know that i need to calm down, and talking to her is still making me cry. she says i should talk to my parents, and i'm exhausted. i can't talk about it any more. i tell her that i'll talk to them tomorrow, and she says she'll call them and explain. i thank her and say bye, and when i hang up, i cry all over again. it's relief, because cindy is ok, and fear, because i still have my parents, and all those other people to deal with, and confusion, because no matter how perfect this all is, i still just wish i could lie again.

while i'm still crying from that, the phone rings again. i dry my eyes and take deep breaths and then answer it. it's my mom, and she goes crazy, asking 'are you ok? where have you been? what's going on?'
i tell her i'm tired. i beg, 'please, call me tomorrow. i don't work. call me anytime after classes. i'm tired. i just want to sleep.'
she says ok, but she wants to know where i've been, first. i tell her i just needed to get away for a little, and i was at marie's, and at kroger, and in my car, and wherever, just away. she makes me promise that i'll answer the phone tomorrow when they call, and i promise. she starts to say bye, but then she says my dad wants to talk to me.
he gets on the phone and he says, 'debbie,' and his voice is all messed up and i think he's crying, which is really scary, because i've never ever seen my dad cry, not even when i was a very little girl and his grammy died, and we went to the funeral and everybody cried and i didn't understand, and he just told me, perfectly calm, 'because they're sad. and it's ok to cry if you want.' but i didn't want to, because i didn't know what was going on, and i hardly even knew grammy. and i was glad that my dad was different from all the other people at this funeral, because they were scaring me. but now, he's just like them, and i'm scared. he asks, 'are you ok? debbie, please, you had us so worried...'
i'm crying too, because my dad is crying, but i try not to let it show and i tell him i'm ok, and i just want to sleep. and everything he asks, i just answer, 'i'm tired. please, i'm tired. dad, i want to go to bed. please...'
and he says ok, and then he takes a deep breath and says he loves me, and he'll call me tomorrow, after he drops jake off at practice. i say ok, and hang up, and i'm crying again.

i make myself stop crying, and then i don't know what to do. i feel so worn out and afraid and alone... i need to talk to marie. and in all the time that i've known marie, i've never called her. she knows i won't call her, so she calls me. i don't have her home phone number, i don't have her cell phone number, and i never call her at work. but this time is different. i just need to talk to her. so while my eyes are dry, i pick up the phone and call kroger. jacqui answers, and i ask for marie. jacqui says, 'debbie? are you ok? you haven't looked so good the last few times i've seen you... is everything alright?'
the dry eyes are gone before marie even gets on the phone. i tell jacqui i'm fine, and she says, 'ok...' like she doesn't really believe me, but doesn't know what else to say. and then she gets marie.
she says hello, and i choke out, 'hi.'
'debbie!' she's shocked. 'you called me!'
i sob, 'they called. they all called, marie. i'm scared...'
'oh, debbie...' she murmurs. i guess she picked up the phone by u-scan, because i hear rashid in the background asking her, 'is that debbie? is she ok? why is she sleeping in her car? why won't she answer the phone? what happened to debbie?'
'i've got the u-scan,' she tells him. 'go bag for sam.'
and then i guess he obeys, because she tells me, 'that boy is really worried about you, debbie. he loves you, too, you know.'
i just cry. she asks who called, and i tell her. she asks what they said, and i tell between sobs that her cindy was ok, and my parents are calling tomorrow.
she says that's good, and then she listens to me cry. then she says, 'debbie, i don't know what to tell you. it's really going to be ok, and the farther along you get, the more obvious that becomes. i think you just need to calm down, and take a step back, because everything is going to be ok. your friends are still going to love you, and your family's still going to love you, and i'm still going to love you. sweetie, it's going to be ok. it really is.'
'i need a hug,' i sob.
'you need a hug,' she repeats. and then i cry in silence for a long time, and she finally says, 'debbie, it's after 9. i have to go clock out. i'll call you when i get home, ok?'
'bye-bye, debbie,' she says. i say bye, but i hold onto the phone until she hangs up, again, and then i cry some more.

around 9:45, i get out of bed. i write a brief lj update, and i drink some water, and i face the fact that marie's not going to call. she probably got home, and her mom was there, and she can't really talk to me when her mom's around, anyway. i get online under a screen name that nobody knows about, and i look at what my friends are doing. i check my e-mail, and i have two new messages. one from marie (who only knows my e-mail address because she paid attention the night that she checked it with me), and one from t4.
marie writes:
    Debbie I really do not know what to tell you accept that everything will be alright in the end. Even if things do not go as you plan you are going to make it. I had an idea, i am not sure if you'll like it but maybe you should tell Terrie and see how she handled it when she went through it. No matter what, I will always be here for you.


    p.s. this is jorge {:-0

    [in the e-mail program, the jorge picture comes out as a smiley with a cowboy hat on.]

i read it and i love her. she's not perfect, and she's not the answer, and she can't fix it, but she's here for me, and she loves me, and that means the world to me right now. and then i'm crying yet again, but this time, i can feel that they're happy tears.

t4 wants to know what's going on, so i go to her journal and find her screen name and i talk to her for a little bit. then i go downstairs and find something to eat and just think for a while. i sort of wish that i hadn't been running away this whole time, because this is something that i really want to write about. i really want to think it through, and remember it, and learn from it. i want to have a record of it. and i know it will be quite a daunting task to catch my lj up (although i wasn't anticipating SIX parts just to get to monday!). so i start writing it out. i stop when my eyelids start to get heavy, and then i get ready for bed. and i'm brushing my teeth, and thinking about what i'll say when i answer extra's e-mail, and the best way to break the news to nikki. and i'm mentally composing an e-mail to my dad, explaining that the only thing spur-of-the-moment about this was writing and sending the e-mail. the 'decision,' and the meaning behind the contents were anything but spur-of-the-moment.
then i sit down to use the toilet, and all of a sudden, i realize what i'm doing. for the first time since i sent that e-mail, i'm not running away. i'm not trying to escape, or planning ways to avoid it. i'm thinking about what happens next, and how i'm going to face it. and then i'm crying again, right there on that cold rocking toilet, because i realize that marie is right. everything is going to be ok. it's not going to be easy, and tomorrow, i might very well feel afraid. i might get upset, and i'll most likely cry again. i'll have my ups and downs, and it's probably not going to be easy. but i can do it. it's really going to be ok.