Ethel’s Part 2: Paula and Connie

Paula & Connie: Ethel's Part 2: A Lesbian Romance (Ethel's (A NYC Lesbian Bar)) Kindle Edition

This story is available in full on Amazon, Kindle Direct. So I can only put up a sample. It is available for sale for all of $0.99 or via Kindle Unlimited.

On a Saturday night in early October, at about nine, twenty-three-year-old Connie Dyson stood outside Ethel’s, near the street. A stranger walked up to her, introducing herself as “Michelle” and waving to a friend who went into the bar without her.

“You remind me of someone.”

“I’m sorry?”

“You remind me of someone. Me. First time?”

“That obvious?”

“Let’s take a walk. Don’t worry, I am not hitting on you. You’re cute but not my type,” and she gave an exaggerated wink. The pair headed west and turned up Hudson Street. Michelle put her arm through Connie’s. She told her story of coming to New York from upstate two years earlier and through the internet hearing of Ethel’s. She stood pretty much where Connie was before someone recognized her for what-she-was and took her on this same little walk. “It meant so much to me, and when I see the old-me standing there like you were I do the same.”

To this perfect stranger, Connie came out for the first time. When they had circled back to Ethel’s and she told this fact to Michelle she received a smile and was told: “You’re about to come out to a lot more people but they’re all family.” With that they entered the bar together, arm-in-arm.

Michelle made a point of introducing Connie to everyone she said hello to. For the first time in her life, Connie did not feel that she was stranded on an island. She even danced with two or three. She neither was nor was not pretty. Very fair skin. A narrow face split by a narrow nose above a small mouth. Her profile was that of a small bird. Her hair was brown and she wore it pulled straight back over her skull. It draped three or four inches below her shoulders, highlighting her small ears and the two studs—one low, one high—she wore in each of them. 5′ 5″ and with a small figure, black leggings, a white blouse, and flats.

Two things stood out. She had a two-inch scar diagonally on her right cheek. It added depth to her face. And her eyes. Her eyes made all the difference and made her something other than and far more than pretty. Azure eyes.

Her sleep after that night at Ethel’s and after replaying it again-and-again on the long ride on the R Train to her walk-up apartment in far-from-fashionable Bay Ridge, Brooklyn was the most peaceful of her life.

On the next Saturday night, Connie sat briefly with Michelle and met more of Michelle’s friends before mustering the nerve to approach a woman standing alone at the bar. They chatted briefly but only chatted and the woman parted with a “see you around.” While Connie felt alone, she was pleased for having approached a woman she did not know. And for having survived. Michelle, who observed this, got up to bring Connie back to her table and they laughed about it.

The next Saturday, Michelle asked Connie if she’d like to go to a party the next day at Sherrie and Tracy’s Loft. Michelle knew the couple well enough to be asked with some friends. She knew it’d be OK to bring Connie along and she thought it would do the newbie some good, a chance to mingle in a more relaxed environment.

One Day Later: A Party

Sherrie and Tracy’s Loft was large. One of them came from money but no one ever knew which one. They met at Smith, were together as Sophomores, and became inseparable as Juniors. They were now 25 and each worked for a non-profit. On a Sunday in early October, they held a party. The attendees were a mix of people from school, from jobs, from the neighborhood, and especially from Ethel’s.

As usual, Paula stayed close to Angela. By this point, as noted, Paula’s feelings for Angela were changed. A love left untended from afar while Angela was with her brother was briefly inflamed. It had settled into the glowing comfort of sisterhood. But a stranger looking at the two would think they were lovers—looking nothing like sisters, displaying all the signs of physical closeness and natural comfort—and a stranger would hesitate before approaching.

Connie was such a stranger. As it happens, neither Angela nor Paula had been at Ethel’s on either of the Saturdays when Connie was there. So she had no idea who they were. She sensed something about the older of the two, Paula. Connie asked Tracy when she said hello “what’s the story with those two?”, a nod towards Angela and Paula. Tracy said, “It’s a little complicated, but for now all I’ll say is that we love them both and they are like long-lost sisters so feel free to say hello.”

Connie touched Tracy’s hand and with a thanks got a Chardonnay. She circled the room before mustering the courage to approach the pair with a “Hi, Tracy tells me you’re like sisters. I’m Connie.” Said in a single breath.

Angela and Paula introduced themselves. When Connie said that Tracy said something about it being “complicated,” Angela responded with a “She did, did she?” She gave the elevator-pitch version of their story, making it clear that they were both gay (or at least bi- in her case) and wondering why they hadn’t come across each other at Ethel’s.

Just then, Sherrie tapped her glass and once she had everyone’s attention Tracy began a little speech.

“Thank you all for coming. We had an ulterior motive in asking you here today, although we’re sure it won’t surprise anyone. One of us—I won’t say who—asked the other whether she might want to get married and receiving a yes the first of us—again not saying who—asked and . . . I’m sorry. I’ve been rehearsing this and someone—not saying who—bet I wouldn’t get it right and this someone won the bet and, well, I’m pleased to let everyone know that Sherrie and I are getting married sometime in the new year” and a handsome older black-couple were next to them and rings that could be seen-from-the-Moon were on their fingers and Nicole, standing near raised her glass to the “happy couple finally” and everyone joined and rushed to congratulate them.

In the melee, Connie lost sight of Angela and, especially, Paula and left.

Continued on Amazon.