Always you, Edina
As you step outside
Diary of a Provincial Lesbian
The Woman in Beige
The Comedienne

Abridged EXTRACT from Diary of a Provincial Lesbian

Diary of a Provincial Lesbian
Feb 25th
I'd never been to the Glass Bar before although my partner Georgie is a regular, being in
London more often, meeting up with work connections. Was amazed and charmed. Resembled Doctor Who's tardis - tiny on the outside, spacious within - enough room for several settees, armchairs, coffee tables and masses of women. Would have liked to go over the room with a tape measure and then compared inside measurement with outside measurement. Said as much to Georgie.

Georgie immediately welcomed as if she's an old and dear friend of everybody. I stood behind her, my smile about level with her shoulder. Suddenly felt I had a deeper understanding of what, HRH, Prince Philip might have gone through. Obviously many of his more ill-judged remarks were a form of attention seeking.

''This is Margaret.'' Georgie finally remembered me, ''Margaret, meet Rosemary, Sandra, Abi, Chris, Tanya, Lizzie, Jo Anne....''

As always when I came into London with Georgie to meet her friends I regretted my choice of clothes, my wide, flapping trousers which I'd seen as boho-chic looked ridiculous, everyone else wore boot leg jeans, the collar of my shirt was unfashionably huge and there wasn't a patterned shirt in the room never mind a pattern of gaily wrapped toffees. How did I invariably get everything so wrong?

''Hi what do you do?'' I asked Lizzie or maybe Sandra.

''I'm a choreographer - modern ballet and jazz dance.''

Swallowed, 'Crikey' and 'Well I never', said instead, ''So how do you know Georgie?''

''She designed the lighting for our company's last production, Women on women want Women on Women. Georgie's brilliant. How do you know her?''

''I'm her partner. We've been together nearly ten years. Anniversary next month.''

''Great'', she said making 'great' sound somehow like 'dreary'. ''Better get a drink. You're ok, aren't you?'' She nodded towards my almost empty glass.

''Yes. Fine. This is more than a sufficiency,'' kicked myself in the leg, hard.

Sandra or Lizzie disappeared into crowd around the bar. Could see Georgie at the crowd's centre. Sighed. Drooped. Slumped. Suddenly my glass was whisked out of my hand and replaced with a full one.

I stared into a rather sombre face. Tanned but not like Georgie's tanning booth tan. Tanned like someone gets when they work outdoors. The woman must have been at least ten years my junior. She was my height; brown hair cut short, steady brown eyes. Nothing really distinctive about her and yet the thought sped across my mind that she was quite unique. Not in an immediate physical attraction way, just an observation, a first impression. And I knew absolutely that this first impression was true.

''Thank you'', I said, ''I'm Margaret.''

''I know. I heard someone introduce you. I'm -'', but she got no further, another woman grabbed hold of her hand and pulled her across the room, ''Bye,'' she called out, ''Take care.''

Which was nice. Which for a little while transformed the evening. Met up with Georgie's parents. Georgie adores them. I'd adore them if they'd adore me. They quite like me but ideally they want a much grander partner for their only daughter. I don't mind. Or I didn't mind. My happiness held right up till we left the restaurant. We stood on the pavement saying our goodbyes, buttoning up coats, kissing cheeks.

The parent looked fondly at me as if I was at least an endearing puppy. One with high spirits and boundless, bounding good nature. I didn't mind that either.

I said, ''Now don't forget, put aside Saturday March the 20th. You can stay over. There won't be masses of guests, just close friends and family.''

Georgie's mother said, ''Any particular celebration?''

Georgie said, ''Don't worry ma, nothing definite.''

''But of course it's definite'', I said, ''Or have you got some secret, romantic plan tucked up your sleeve? Can you believe it, a decade together and still deliriously happy?''

Couldn't stop burbling. Ma and Pa-in-law were looking uneasy, sending enquiring glances to Georgie, Georgie shaking her head at them and narrowing her eyes. Something was very wrong. I shut up.

Georgie said, ''We'll have to see.''

In silence we walked to where our car was parked. In silence we drove for nearly an hour. Georgie switched the radio on once, Eric Clapton singing about his darling looking wonderful that evening. She switched it off.

Georgie broke the silence. She said in a quiet, cold voice, ''I wish you hadn't gone on like that. Why must you always pre-empt a situation?''

Had no answer as not aware that I pre-empted situations.

''All I'm saying,'' she continued, ''is it's not such a great idea making a fuss over one day in the calendar and anyway purely logistically, it's not going to work out.''

''Why are you talking to me as if I'm a client and you're explaining a hitch in a business project?'' I asked keeping my voice mild.

''I'm trying to bring you down to earth, that's all.''

''No, that isn't it. You're trying to tell me something unpleasant but wrapping it up in cold words.''

''Better than turning everything into a bouncing desperate cheerfulness,'' she said, ''With you everything has to be a joke or ...a whimper.''

Only I could know the effort it would take for Georgie to be so cruel. She wasn't , isn't a cruel woman. These words of hers weren't carelessly said.



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