Stirring : A Literary Collection
Samsara Quarterly

Stephen D. Rogers


Since I hadn't even met a gay women, never mind had sex with one, I was left in a rather tenuous position where my family was concerned. How could I be certain that I was a lesbian when I had no homosexual experience, no proof that I would be more comfortable with women than the men already available to me?

"That will be twelve dollars. Thanks for stopping in."

My brother took me to movies which portrayed lesbians hoping that I would discover some truth that would finally convince Mom. After each movie he would ask if anything had sparked, but nothing ever did. Maybe it was me, and maybe it was the movie. Was the actress truly gay, or was she playing a part? Was the script written by a gay woman, or was the story merely a mixture of stereotype and misunderstanding?

"Imports are around the corner. Don't forget to support our local brews, ten percent off this month."

Since I hadn't crossed any line, Mom urged me to remain neutral so that I didn't ignore the possibility of being heterosexual. While she professed to love me no matter my orientation, I knew that I confused her with my proclamation of lesbianism. As parents sometimes do, she feared that I was merely flirting with something in the name of rebellion.

"With deposit, that comes to fifteen ninety-five. Thanks for stopping in."

My brother admitted that he had been turned on by the lesbian actress, and began to wonder if I was asexual, simply not interested in getting it on. That question prompted a second and a third. What if I was really strange? What if I only became aroused by goats or something?

"Can I see some ID? It's store policy."

I liked that excuse. While it was true, I owned the store which meant that it was my policy. Actually, I only half-owned the store. Dad was a silent partner, having financed the business for me by selling his part in a paint company and going into semi-retirement.

"If you buy a case of the wine, it's like getting two bottles free."

My brother was committed to helping me find true love. He decided that if we didn't know how to bring me to the lesbians, we'd just have to bring the lesbians to me. The store was his idea.

"You get back on the highway heading north. Take your second exit, and it's about ten miles on your right."

My brother picked the location too. We're at the crossroads of a busy state highway and a major local road. Both county and interstate traffic see my sign going both ways. Some day it had to bear fruit.

"That will be ten dollars even. Thanks for stopping in."

The Sign Review Board wasn't too happy with the name of the store, but I wasn't breaking any laws. My family went all out building community support and getting people to show up at the meetings. In the end I prevailed, and raised my sign in black-
and-white: LESBIAN LIQUOR.

"Sorry, but we're out of that right now. I'm waiting for a delivery, maybe tomorrow morning."

I have a large sign at a busy intersection (in pink neon at night), and I've caught nothing but a few snide comments. Are all the other lesbians already paired off?

"Thanks for stopping in."

Mom was a late convert, but has been sighted wearing a LESBIAN LIQUOR T-shirt while gardening. While my brother doesn't think she'll find me a date, at least she's supporting me in her own way.

"Hello there." If I ever really doubted my feelings, the woman who just walked in the door more than affirmed my belief. I wonder if she'll let me buy her a drink.

Location: Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts
Publications: Ellery Queen, Mocha Memoirs, Thema, etc