A month had passed since Love Potion Number Nine had been set in motion. Tina was practically ready to move with Hank, the southern attorney, and LouAnne had seen James a total of seven times, which was a record for LouAnne, who believed in being careful and taking things slow.
I’d all but forgotten the quest for a man. Casie, who I’d known since first grade, had magically metamorphosed into the most incredible human being I’d ever known. Something clearly had changed between us, and I didn’t want to think too hard about it. I found myself completely lost in her. I saw beneath the “skin” of her, and for that brief window of time, saw another person as divine. It was like two innocents romping in the Garden of Eden. I’d never felt that before or since. She had nearly all the non-physical qualities I’d written about in my letter. The fact that she wasn’t the “right” sex didn’t matter in my Love Potion Number Nine euphoria. At least not at first. When things became more physical, unease crept in.
Neither of us had acknowledged with words the new depth to our friendship. Looking back, it certainly had been easier that way. It’s when the words started that things got messy.
I know Casie sensed my hesitation the first time a hug became an embrace and a kiss. That must’ve been what made her decide to “talk about us.” She must have thought getting things out in the open would help. With someone else that might have been true. But not with me. Hearing Casie proclaim her love for me, instead of making me happy, scared me. “I never in a million years thought the love of my life would turn out to be a woman,” she said. “But here you are. What’s the point of pretending it’s not true?”
Like Casie, spending life with a woman partner was not how I’d ever pictured things turning out for myself. Though I liked to consider myself a liberal thinker, I realized it was fine to have sympathy for someone else in that plight and push for their rights, but I didn’t want to have to be in that boat with them. It was a hard realization about myself.
I know it hurt Casie that I wouldn’t tell her I loved her back. We both knew the truth. I did love her, but I couldn’t make myself speak the words. That would make it real, but I still wasn’t sure what “it” was.