Sara came by Lizzie’s apartment about noon on Saturday. She was dressed in jeans and a black t-shirt that said, “Some girls like girls – Get over it”. She carried a small white dog and had a backpack over her shoulders.
When Lizzie opened the door, the little dog barked. Lizzie said, “Well, hello. I’m pleased to meet you also. My name’s Lizzie. What’s yours?”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t quite catch that.”
Sara laughed. “This is Buster.”
“Hello, Buster. Are you joining us on the protest this morning?” Lizzie reached out her hand and the dog licked it.
“May I hold him? Will he let me?”
Sara held Buster toward Lizzie.
Lizzie held the dog close to her chest and it started licking her face. “Oh, I love doggie kisses. I miss my dog so much.”
“Why don’t you have it here?”
“When Jerry and I got married, I had to leave her with my parents because Jerry wouldn’t have a dog in the house. She was about sixteen years old. She developed cancer and we had to have her put to sleep. I cried for a week. I’d had her most of my life.”
“What kind of dog was she?”
“She was a Yorkshire Terrier. She had one litter of pups before we had her spayed. I gave one of them to Uncle Dave. It’s a joke in the family. If you ever saw Dave, you’d never picture him with a Yorkie. Uncle Jesse has a calico cat named Marmalade. When Bitsy and Marmalade were introduced, Marmalade adopted Bitsy. It’s funny to see them together with Marmalade washing Bitsy like she would a kitten.”
“That would be funny to see. Why not get another dog?”
“This place has a ‘no-pets’ policy.”
“Bummer. I don’t know what I’d do without Buster. Are you ready to go?”
Lizzie looked down at her plain green t-shirt and jeans. “I hope I’m dressed okay.”
“You’re fine. It’s going to be a nice day. No rain and not cold enough we’ll need coats.”
“Do I need to bring anything?”
“Nah.” Sara pointed to her backpack. “I’ve got water bottles for us and there’ll be signs when we get there.”
“Okay. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do.” Lizzie shrugged her shoulders and spread her hands in a gesture of uncertainty.
“You’ll be great.” Sara assured her. “Just follow the rest of us.” She patted Lizzie’s shoulder.
* * *
Sara led the way to the subway. They got off at their stop a couple of blocks from City Hall and headed up the stairs. At the top, they were met by about twenty people. A red-headed girl walked up to Sara and kissed her. Several of the others hugged her.
Sara said, “This is Liz, she’s straight, but she has a gay uncle and a gay brother. Liz, I’m not going to try to tell you everyone’s name. You’ll pick them up as we go.”
One of the men handed Lizzie a sign. “Here you go, Liz. Welcome. I’m Jeff. I’m a straight ally, too.”
“Hi, Jeff.” Lizzie said. She looked at her sign and laughed. ‘Elizabeth Taylor had eight husbands, my brother only wants one.’ “Seems like an appropriate sign since my name is Elizabeth also. However, my brother wants two husbands. He’s been in a three-way relationship for a couple of years now.” She laughed again. “I’ll have to have a picture of this.”
The red-headed girl held up her cell phone. “Smile.” She snapped a picture and said, “What’s your email? I’m Joan.”
Lizzie told her and Joan emailed the photo.
“You new people need to know the rules,” Jeff said. “We don’t engage with anyone who heckles us. If they ask questions like ‘why you’re doing this?’ it’s okay to answer. If they start violence, stay calm and back off. We don’t want any trouble. Also, we don’t block the sidewalk or any doors. Understood?”
Lizzie nodded along with several others. “Who are the other new people?” She asked.
Two girls who were holding hands and a boy all answered. “It’s our first time also.”
The group walked a couple of blocks to the front of City Hall.
Jeff repeated, “Remember don’t block the sidewalk or entry to the building.”
They stood in a line close to one edge of the sidewalk. Lizzie stood between Sara and Joan. They spoke quietly among themselves.
A woman approached. “You people should read the Bible! Homosexuality is a sin!” She waved a book in front of Jeff’s face.
The group tried to ignore her. This seemed to make her angrier. “It’s unnatural!” She stamped her foot. “You need to go home and leave decent people alone.”
A police officer approached. “Is there a problem here?”
“These people are breaking the law.” She pointed toward the group.
He looked at the group. They stood in a single line about twenty feet away from the entrance to the building.
“Ma’am, they have a right to assemble as long as they are peaceful and not obstructing the sidewalk or entrance to the building,” The officer said in a calm voice.
“I don’t care how peaceful they are. They’re breaking God’s law,” the woman insisted and waved her finger in the officer’s face. “Arrest them.”
“Ma’am, I can only enforce the laws of the city or state. So far they have done nothing wrong. From what I see, you’re the one causing trouble. I’d suggest you move along and leave these people alone.”
The woman snorted. “I want your name and badge number.”
“Certainly.” The office complied with her request and she stomped way. He turned to the group. “Who’s in charge here?”
“I am,” Jeff answered. “We have a permit to march.” He took the paper out of his pocket and handed it to the officer.
“Looks like everything’s in order. I’ll be around if you have any more trouble.”
“Thanks, officer,” Jeff said.
* * *
They stayed in front of City Hall for about four hours until Jeff said, “I think it’s about time to break. Anyone hungry?”
There was a chorus of yeses.
“How about pizza?” he asked.
“I’ll have to take Buster home first,” Sara said. “Liz, you go on with the gang and I’ll meet you there.”
Jeff draped his arm around Lizzie’s shoulders. “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of her.”
“I’ll bet you will,” Sara said with a laugh. “Watch him, Liz. He thinks he’s a ladies’ man.”
Jeff stuck an overly masculine pose. “Just because I get more girls than you do.”
“I wouldn’t bet on that,” Sara retorted.
* * *
That night before she went to bed, Lizzie called Mike. “Hi, Mikey. How are things?”
“Pretty good. How’s school?”
“Fine. Mike, I’m confused. Do you suppose it’s possible that I’m gay?”
Mike gasped. “Why would you ask something like that?”
“Well, I met this woman the other day. She makes me feel strange,” Lizzie admitted.
“It’s hard to explain. I know she’s a lesbian. I just feel weird when I’m around her. And I don’t have many friends here, even after four years.”
“Has she made any advances?”
“Not really. We met when we collided on the sidewalk during a rain storm. That night, we had dinner together. We talked for hours. I told her things I’ve never told anyone else.”
“And what were you drinking with that dinner?”
“A-h-h-h. We went through two bottles of Moscato,” Lizzie admitted.
“And you know what happens when you drink wine.”
“Yeah. Diarrhea of the mouth. Anyway, I told her all about Jerry and Catherine. . . It felt good to talk about it with someone besides family.”
“I’m glad you’ve found someone you can talk to. I think you need a friend.”
“I think so too. Then today, I went with her to a protest rally…”
“What?” Mike interrupted. “My little sister at a protest rally? What were you protesting?”
“Believe it or not, we were protesting for marriage equality. I’ll email you the picture a woman took of me. But, back to the subject, how would I know if the attraction I feel is sexual or not?”
“Look, Sis, I can’t advise you. All I can say is let things work out as they will. If it’s meant to be, it will be.”
“Thanks, Mike. I guess I was just wondering how you’d react.”
“You’re my sister. I love you. Who you love and end up with, I’ll accept, just like you accept Brian and Eric and our relationship.”
“I love you too. Talk to you later. Goodnight.”
“Keep me posted. Goodnight.”
Lizzie – Chapter 5