Franny listens to her friend Rosa’s coming-out speech with awe and tenderness. She has never experienced this kind of disclosure before, and yet it feels deeply familiar.
It is the quiet, desperate request of a heart to be seen and welcomed into a community.
Franny recalls her first dinner party on Pine Street, making pasta and opening the wine Allison’s then-boyfriend brought. She can taste the ice cream they ate on that cold winter’s night.
She hears Marilyn’s laughter, and sees the sparkle in Leo’s eyes.
Mostly, her body remembers the settling into a new life, a new community, a new possibility. A sense of belonging that her feet recognized before her mind did.
We’re home, her feet said that night, as she stood in her bedroom after everyone had left.
As she listens to Rosa tell her story of self-discovery, fear, and anxiety, Franny knows it is the story of every human who has ever been labelled as “different.” Every person who has chased belonging from place to place, running from rejection, shutting down imagination and hope with every step.
When Rosa finishes, there is nothing for Franny to say. “It’s okay that you’re a lesbian” has the virtue of truth, but too much ring of condescension. “We love you anyway” implies that love is a challenge and they are doing Rosa a favor by overcoming it. “It’s none of my business” is also true, except that Rosa has offered it up and made it their business, together.
So Franny holds out her hand. Rosa takes it in her own, damp from what Franny imagines to be anxious perspiration.
Holding hands, the two friends cry, and laugh, and cry some more.
“I’m glad you’re here,” Franny finally offers.
“Me too,” Rosa answers. “Me, too.”