Chapter 42:  Sæglópur (Lost at Sea)

Serena was in her bedroom reading when her doorbell sounded.  Taking off her glasses, she got out of bed and made her way to the door.  “Just a sec!”  She opened it to find Alex standing there looking like someone had ripped her heart out.  “What’s wrong, sweetie?” she asked, stepping aside.


Alex came in and took a seat on the sofa.  She didn’t even bother removing her coat.  “It’s Liv.”


Serena rushed to her side and put an arm around her.  “What happened?”


“We had a fight,” Alex answered.


“About what?”


“The same thing we always do—the fact that I’m not out.”


Serena rubbed her back sympathetically.  “How did it start?”


“I told her I was leaving Robert and that I wanted to be back with her.  She started questioning me to make sure I was sure about everything.  Then she finally agreed.”


“So then how did things turn sour?”


“She told me she wanted to celebrate by going as my date to the fundraiser for the Crime Prevention Commission.”


“The one on Sunday?”


“Yeah.  I told her that was too fast and I was uncomfortable with it.  I said we should be more discreet.  She told me she wasn’t going to do discretion anymore.”  She shook her head.  “Serena, there I was practically throwing myself at her…” she sobbed.


Serena grabbed a couple tissues and gave them to her.  “Take your time.”


“She was furious,” Alex continued after she’d had a few minutes to compose herself.  “She accused me of thinking she was less important than those who are going to be at the fundraiser and of being ashamed of our relationship.  She thought that if we hid things, someone would eventually discover us and it would cause me to freak out and leave her like I made the mistake of doing before.  I hate so much that this happened tonight.  In a few days time, we went from being in paradise to complete hell.  I was so excited that for a split second she was my girlfriend again.  It was like everything was going to be ok.  Life can be really cruel.”


“I’m sorry, Alex.”


Alex balled up a tissue in her hand.  “She’s so afraid I’ll break her heart again but I just wish she’d give me another chance.  I never intended to hurt her.  She said I only think about my needs and she won’t be my dirty little secret anymore.  You know…I’ve always known I wanted her but I kept coming up with all these reasons why I couldn’t have her.  Now when I’m finally ready to cast them all aside and just be with her, she doesn’t wanna be with me!” she exclaimed, going into a fresh fit of sobs.


Serena patted her back.  “It’ll be ok, honey.” 


Alex sniffled.  “I doubt it.  The last thing she said to me was that she deserved better.  I got so mad that I just left.  I couldn’t believe she’d say something like that to me.  I mean, I wrote her a letter last year where I basically told her the same thing.  But it’s one thing to think badly of yourself and another to hear the one you love echo those sentiments.  I felt like a knife was grinding into my heart.”


Serena squeezed her shoulder.  “I firmly believe everything has a time and a place.  Perhaps now just isn’t the time for you two.  But it doesn’t mean that it will never happen.”


“No, this is it.  She’ll never want anything to do with me again.  I might as well just cut my losses and stay with Robert.”


“Staying with Robert isn’t helping you be true to yourself.  It’s doing just the opposite.”


“Why should I be true to myself if the love of my life won’t have me?”


“You need to do it for you.  The longer you stay in the closet, the unhappier you will be.  You’ll convince yourself you can still be happy being someone you’re not, but each time you see a gay couple, you’ll wish you had followed your heart.  You’ll begin to resent yourself and resent Robert for what could’ve been.  In a way, you already do.”


Alex let out an agonizing sigh.  “I get what you’re saying, but I think it will just be easier for me to live a normal life.  No strange looks, no one whispering about what a pervert I am, no alienation from my family or any friends, no one trying to thwart my career efforts because they think a lesbian is bad representation.  I’m not ready to come out and I don’t think anyone should try to force me out, which is exactly what Liv wants.  Everyone thinks they know what’s better for me than I do.”


Serena realized that it was useless trying to argue with her.  She forced a smile and rubbed her knee.  “I’ll get you a glass of water.”


While her best friend was in the kitchen, Alex reflected over everything that had happened.  She couldn’t believe it.  Here she was, lost at sea without a compass again, the harsh waves of her reality threatening to consume her.  Like a storm troubling the ocean in the middle of the night, the darkness in her soul returned.  She didn’t understand how things could go downhill so fast.  Now she was faced with two choices—become shipwrecked or take hold of the wheel and steer her life in the best direction of only bad ones.


But she wasn’t going to let this bother her at work.  The next day she planned to put on her game face like always and act like nothing was wrong in her life.  Sulking about her love life wasn’t going to get the bureau any convictions.  She would go back to having the attitude she had when she decided to move in with Robert and she couldn’t afford to backslide on her self-transformation again.




Alex took her key out of her purse.  She stood there for a few moments, thankful that she didn’t have to go back to her old apartment, which she knew would only remind her of Olivia and drown her in grief.  Taking a deep breath, she unlocked the door.  She knew that once she crossed that threshold, she would have to live as someone different again.  And she was prepared for that.


The apartment was shrouded in darkness.  Turning on the light to the staircase, she made her way upstairs and opened the bedroom door.  Robert was there fast asleep.  She changed into her nightgown and slipped in beside him.  After wrapping her arm around him, she kissed his cheek and whispered in his ear, “I’m sorry.”


To her surprise, without opening his eyes, he stirred and answered, “I know.”