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On a whim I googled up my first girlfriend.

We lived our lives in eerie parallel with one important difference: I came out and she never did.

We both had our first sexual experiences with men when we were in high school. We met in college through our boyfriends, who were both members of the young christian alliance group on campus. We were each other’s first girlfriends (which ended the aforementioned relationships rather spectacularly). She realized she was a lesbian; I realized I was bisexual. I admit I went back and forth for a while but in the end it was plain to me that I enjoyed both men and women. We ultimately broke up over that issue but remained friends through college. I dated men and women; she dated men.

We both got married. I married a man I thought I loved; perhaps I did. At any rate, it was enough lust to last for a while, nearly a decade. He knew I was bisexual. Of course the insidious thing about a heterosexual relationship is that you can slide right back into obscurity. Since I’m a pretty private person, most people who met me at this time had no reason to think I was even bisexual. I feel guilty about those years of “safety,” of being effectively hidden. It’s actually kind of creepy: just a mention of my ex and boom! Instant cover. However, I’m about 99% certain my parents wouldn’t bat an eyelid if I brought home a girlfriend. My family is quirky like that.

She got married because she couldn’t face coming out of the closet. I don’t think she ever slept with another woman besides myself, at least not while I knew her. But she was afraid and she was ashamed, and her family would have disowned her. I met her mother once, and that woman was southern Baptist to the core. I tried to discourage her from getting married but she was adamant, and pointed to my own — to which I could say nothing, since she felt I was like her, a lesbian who was just better at taking a bit of dick. Or who hid my unhappiness better.

She was desperately unhappy, but I couldn’t seem to help her. Slowly we drifted apart. Last I heard from her, she had two children, neither of whom she had wanted but, I hope, loved anyway. Last time I saw her, she was already drunk by lunch time. I tried to keep in touch, but somewhere along the line she and her husband moved and I never heard from her again.

So I googled her up. She died in a car accident several years ago. And now, I wonder. Was that the only way she saw to escape her marriage and her life?

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