After Leda Cooper is betrayed by the love of her life, she desperately tries to make sense of what happened. How could she have let herself fall in love with a straight woman? Did she really expect Ray would remain faithful to her or to the life they built together?
In Confessions of A Straight Gay Woman, you heard the story of Leda and Ray from Ray’s perspective. Now, in Lesbian Love Diaries, Leda tells her side.
Will Leda break the chains of love binding her to her straight wife, or will she remain in love with a lost cause? And what about Izzy, their daughter? What will happen to the product of their damaged love?
I knew that I wanted her in my life—ideally, in my bed. I just didn’t know how to go about making that happen. I didn’t want to scare her off, but I did want to make arrangements to see her outside of work. Just as I was mulling over how to go about asking her to hang out sometime, Ray surprised me by initiating making plans.
“Wanna grab a cup of coffee sometime?” she asked. “As friends...”
Ironically, in our relationship, it was often Ray who took the lead. This was one of the things that baffled me about our relationship—one of many puzzling details.
“Sure. I could use a friend,” I told her.
That happened to be true. I had a lot of friends, but few people who really understood me down to my core. What’s that saying about a soul recognizing its counterpart in another? Perhaps I was able to recognize the aching hole of solitude in Ray because I, too, had my share of loneliness. It seemed as if there was a magnetic force drawing us together, propelling us deeper into connection. That was what it felt like to me, anyway.
I found Ray endearingly funny and adorable. On our non-date date—her words, not mine—she wore a strappy little tank top that revealed her elaborate kick-ass tattoo. A sun encircled by a moon above an image of what looked like two opposite, but complimentary, faces. Her arm was an artistic masterpiece. Even without the ink adornment, Ray herself was exquisitely created. If I believed in a God, which I didn’t, and still don’t, I’d have worshiped her as His creation. As it was, I left God out of the equation and simply worshiped Rachel Havemeyer as being the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen.
Her green eyes shone brightly and her blond hair hung carelessly down to her shoulders. Without even trying, Ray was beautiful—the sort of effortless beauty we attribute to supermodels when, in fact, it takes them hours to look as if they’re not trying to be gorgeous. Ray was certainly not trying. Yet, she was gorgeous.
If I wasn’t falling for Rachel, I might’ve been jealous of her. She was almost too good looking, although this was softened by the fact that she didn’t seem to know how beautiful she was.
I knew she found me sexy. The thing about women, whether gay, straight, bisexual, or asexual, is that we are taught to recognize the beauty of the female form. A completely straight woman can find another woman hot as hell without it threatening her sense of sexuality. Men are entirely different animals. Most non-gay men will adamantly deny finding anyone with a penis remotely sexy. Not so with the fairer sex. Nearly everyone has a fondness for the female form. A woman’s beauty is universally recognized by women as well as men. We live in a culture where the female form is widely touted as being more aesthetically pleasing than the one-step-up-from-an-ape male form. I have learned to use this cultural predilection to my advantage. If a female can acknowledge that I am indeed sexy, then it’s not a far leap for her to envision herself being sexual with me. Once that happens, all bets are off.
I don’t want you to get the wrong impression here. I’m presenting this initial courtship as if I was a predator and Rachel was my prey. It wasn’t like that—not completely, anyway. I’m just trying to own my part so that, later, when I tell you what happened, you won’t see me as a total dupe. I don’t want to paint a picture of me as the victim without also sharing the ways in which I was a victimizer. It is never entirely one way or another. I was neither all good nor all bad, and I suppose that, as much as I hate to admit it, that sentiment applies to Ray as well. She didn’t set out to hurt me. That came later. In the beginning, she was innocent.
Ray didn’t see herself as innocent. She saw herself as a murderer. In our first out-of-her-workplace encounter, she confided in me about the death of her fiancé. Suffice it to say, she felt responsible.
That was a terrible story, but it was hers to tell and I don’t really wish to share it because I hate thinking about Ray finding love before she and I found each other. The story I tell myself is that Ray is incapable of loving anyone, that she’s so badly broken that she hurts anyone she comes in contact with. That’s a lie, I suppose. Or maybe it’s the truth. I don’t know. I have come to realize that I never really knew the woman that I married. Regardless, it’s disempowering for me to focus on her. I keep saying I’m not going to do that, but then my mind drags me back to her—Rachel Havemeyer, love of my life—and my pen follows suit.
Let me try a different tactic.
In Al-Anon—I attend Al-Anon these days in order to make sense of my past—they tell us not to focus on the alcoholics in our lives, but to focus on ourselves instead. So, I’ll do my best to do just that.
Here’s my story...