“Surprises, I feel now, are primarily a form of violence.” Suzanne Finnamore
The other shoe dropped, hell froze over, a bear shit in the woods and the gauntlet was thrown. I was in over my head. I thought I was ready to ride the storm out. How could this not be fate? Who in their right mind would fight the insurmountable odds that Debra did if she didn’t actually love me, more than anyone or anything? And who could not fall in love with someone who was willing to put everything they had into this? Perhaps even get killed.
A quiet Riot.
Jackie returned the next morning and Anna explained to him that I would be staying with them indefinitely. She told him I had grown accustomed to the spirit of a household where lovers were friends and friends were family. Jackie was in a state of shock and did not return to work for days. We had several conversations where he made promises and I would confess my sins of affairs in my past, anything to convince him he no longer should want me. But it made no difference. He threw his pot away, said he would stop drinking and went to church. He chose the Second Baptist , a church of notoriety in Houston that bragged millions of dollars and lots of entertainment. Why he didn’t chose a Catholic Church is beyond me. He asked me to go to the church Psychiatrists, a couple with the last name Duck. And I wished to do just that, duck. But I went, and the couple told Jackie that a separation was in order considering the level of abuse and betrayal. Though I appreciated their positive influence regarding the separation, I also found that to be troubling since they really should not have made a commitment to one side or the other.
The days, weeks passed with interludes between Debra and I, work and play. I let my company go to Coit Draperies, and started the trek toward a new career path. Debra’s mother took care of the children while we all worked. Debra and Anna went to work, again, for a pest control, lawn fertilizing company. I went to work for the Performing Arts in Houston.
I worked for the Performing Arts Sampler Series, PASS. This company sold subscriptions to the magazine “Curtain Call” ironically the same name as my business that I just sold. I felt it was fate. The Performing Art Sampler Series was a set of 10 tickets to various shows, Ballet, Opera, Stages Repetrory Theatre and others. You would get a single ticket to your choice of performance at each. You received the tickets for $40.00 and the Magazine was free. In reality, the magazine was the selling point. When a client would want this deal, they would have to buy two, so they could go with another person.
The real reason I applied; the performing arts are a predominantly “gay” run area of business. I thought it would be a chance for me to meet other women, find out if I was ready for this lifestyle. I was right about it being gay. But my co-workers were 12 gay men. So that was a wash. We were to receive 2% of the total and I was told I would be lucky to get $100 a week. The first week I made $800. I could sell anything. My boss loved me, some of my co-workers did not.
But I made some of the closest friends I ever had. One such friend, Sammy Ramirez became my rock. He was a beautiful 6 foot tall man with a black stick straight Tina Turner Hairdo, doe eyes, almond shaped. He was gorgeous. He had a lot to say about my life, Debra, Anna, how I dressed etc. Devonn loved him. He was so sweet to her, that once, when playing softball, his team lost shamefully. Devon ran up to the fence
“Sammy! Did you win” she was all smiles and so happy to see him, he didn’t have the heart to tell her the truth.
He smiled that wonderful warm smile “Yes darling, we won” and on that she ran into his arms, he scooped her up “So I need ice cream, what about you my love” of course, Devon was in agreement.
We were all on a bowling team. Sammy, his lover, James Sweet, Debra and me. Anna was unaware of this, though I don’t know how she kept it from her. We had this whole other life going. Like we were already established as a couple and family. Nothing was further from the truth. Debra was living two lives. One with me and the children, the other with Anna. But I have gotten ahead of myself
I worked under Leo Schwartz, a French Horn player in the Houston Ballet Symphony. He was a tremendous cheer leader for us. He never made us feel inadequate. Devon was welcome in the boiler room and Leo gave her whatever she wanted. Leo has since relocated to Chicago. I miss him dearly.
Debra drove me to and from work, keeping me on a short leash.
In mid July of 1986 Anna took me aside and asked to speak with me privately. Anyone familiar with this story knows that had to be a tentative moment. Did she know? Was this the confrontation? Anna always maintained a calm demeanor, so who knows? Anna sent Debra out with the children so she and I could have this preplanned discussion. I washed the dishes, showered, folded cloths, rearranged the loose miscellaneous debris under the kitchen sink.
“Dianne, what the hell are you doing?"
Anna towered over me holding a wine cooler, looking as if she were going to land this on my head.
“Debra and the kids are going to be home and I really need to talk to you. PLEASE!“
I resigned myself to any inevitability and followed her to the bedroom. She sat on the bed, pulling me down next to her.
“Okay, Anna, what is the crisis?”
Did I sound nonchalant? Unaware? Probably not, but Anna did not seem to notice the glaring neon guilty sign across my forehead.
“Do you remember Dian from Chicago?”
Anna was looking at her hands, pushing them forward, scrutinizing her nails, always manicured to perfection.
“She and I lived together for a while, here in Texas.”
“Of course I remember. Your parents hated her”
“No, they hated the idea of her.” she put her hands down to her side, pushing on the frame of the bed, as if bracing herself.
“Anyhow, she is in Austin and I want to go see her.“
Dear sweet Jesus, it is not as farfetched as I imagined. Hell, this part could be over soon, and we can move on to the diatribes from the in-laws, tearing through co-workers and finally keeping Jackie from blowing his, or my brains out. (Prophetic)
“…and?” I waited for her reply.
“And.. I want to go see her, but Debra is going to go crazy”
uh...not so much...
“Are you going to tell her?” I folded and refolded a pair of Debra’s underwear.
“At first, no I wasn't” Anna grabbed the underwear from me and tossed them over her head.
“But then, I felt that would be unfair and cause more harm in the long run”
Okay, who wrote this script. I mean really, could this be any more pathetic? Here she is being all honest and there I sit, in her house, on her bed, restraining myself from running out the door and waiting for Debra on the street like the family dog waiting for the family cat to return from the vet after being declawed.
A foul and awesome display, now we are all son’s of bitches. (Oppenheimer, after witnessing the first atom bomb).
Was this really going to go my way? Was I actually going to have a love interest go without a hitch? Just this once, Lord knows it would be the first time…
“Anna, when are you going to do this?” trying to sound placid, unaffected.
“Uh, this weekend”
“Anna, why are you doing this?” I sat there very serious, containing any enthusiasm. And I was curious.
“ You and Debra have been together, what 6 years?”
“Four, almost five”
She corrected me, it really did feel like more years than that. Hell, it seemed like 10 years in just the few weeks Debra has had her mitts on my life.
“Anyhow, Dianne, you know I have always loved Dian”
Anna looked so serious, serene, happy. Or was I just THAT hopeful? She went on to retell the same story of how she met Dian, how her parents tore them apart, how she wanted to pursue this for fear she would never have another chance. Then she explained how Debra is very “butch”, not her type. I felt the need to jump in and defend Debra like she was a long standing friend instead of a love interest, but suppressed the urge in favor of keeping my life, and having a potential, almost guilt free weekend with Debra. I asked all the right questions, she gave encouraging answers. Then.
“Di, I want to ask you to do me a favor”
She stared directly into my green with guilt, green with envy eyes.
“You and Debra have gotten so close over the last few weeks, could you please be there for her when this all comes down?”
I swear my reading audience, that is exactly how it all went down. I did everything I could to keep from dragging her luggage out and packing it for her right then and there. I stood at the mirror, combing my hair, which didn’t need to be combed, but it was so much easier to guage Anna, without giving away my poker face.
The front door flew open and Devon came screaming and laughing down the hall, Debra chasing her, scooping her up in her arms and onto her shoulders.
“What are y’all so serious about?”
I engaged Debra’s stare, as I stood behind Anna. My eyes were bugging out of my head as I shook my head back and forth quickly to let her know there had been no great confession.
“I was just telling Dianne that I will be going to Austin this weekend” Anna stood up, bracing herself.
“Oh great, are we going to Lake Travis”
Debra, Anna, me , and her friend Melanie would go there on Melanie’s boat. We also would skinny dip there, as it is a private, no clothes needed environment.
But not this weekend. Devonn was still on her shoulders.
“Oh, are we going to schlitterbahn.?” This was a favorite of Debra’s, rafting down the river in New Braunfels.
“Debra!” Anna crossed her arms peered back at me with a brace yourself gaze. “Debra, I am going alone”
“Why?” Debra said this with a very quiet, condescending lilt to her voice.
“I am going there to meet up with Dian.”
Debra stepped forward knocking Devon’s head on the top of the door frame. Anna ran behind her and caught Devon. Debra kept moving forward, without realizing she had probably given Devon a concussion, impervious to Devon's wailing. Was she in a state of shock? If she was, that made two of us, three if you want to count the poor child.
This was not how I pictured this to go.
It was like staring into a deep dark bottomless pit;
If you stare into the abyss long enough, the abyss will stare into you. (Neitzsche)
Beginning of Book
Yes, this is absolutely positively true. If you lived this wouldn't you write about it? Some of the names of characters in this blog are fictitious. This is an account of actual events. Some of the events have been compiled together for the flow of the story. Even when I read my own work, I wonder how it could be so. But if you study your own life and compartmentalize it into less than 200 pages, you would be surprised how interesting it really is!
TRUTH HAS WITNESSES (Dianne Lindsey) This material is the copyright Dianne Schuch Lindsey and cannot be duplicated in any fashion without the express permission of the Author. All rights reserved ©