Being a Friend
It’s been rough being alone for so many years down here in Little Texas. It’s beaten some rough edges off me though.
I was so angry, oh good Dog, eight years back. Betrayed by people I cared about, mostly liberal men. And confused sad women.
How I wish I could go back and talk to these women differently. How I wish I knew then what I do now. How hard is for women in this patriarchal culture. How much we should excuse each other for, how gentle we should be with each other. How much we need to be listened to, even when we do what patriarchy has conditioned us to do.
I’ve only tried to make friends with a few women in this small, conservative, mining county I’ve lived in since 1996. I never really knew how to perform femininity, let alone want to; and they seemed alien when they did. I didn’t get it. I felt left out. We could not talk about men in a way I understood.
Why are we always talking about men? Why aren’t we climbing up on a roof or a tree or building forts? Why aren’t we doing what we did back when we were girls, or what I wished I was doing with my girlfriends back when I had girlfriends when we were girls.
But I never had girlfriends like that. I knew some girls in high school. They were members of our protogang. I wasn’t close to them. I finally felt social power, because I was smart and had access. I had access to stuff our primarily male protogang was interested in. Grass! A country place in which to get high!
And we did that, and it wasn’t at all bad. A lot of it was pretty sweet. One of the most lovely parts of my childhood, until, of course, as always, they started plotting to get me raped by one of them. A seventeen year old man I thought was one of my very best friends.
It’s an old story. He didn’t do it but he made me admit in a dark locked room that I’d let him.
And then I fell in love with him. Sweet sixteen.
In retrospect, it got boring after that. I don’t know any of those people anymore. That’s good.
I’m writing this for my friends who will get what I’m saying. You are whom I write for now. You are who I have.
I’m getting old. I’ll need you. I’ll be here for you much as I can.
I’ll do what I can.