Chapter 30: Paraphrase a book written 3500 years ago
Author's note: cast off, thumb disabled but rest of hand OK. Stole a line from the show. Feedback welcomed, and thank you for reading. Wow, this got Biblical. So much processing.
Title from Macklemore's song 'Same Love'.
You might doubt Kate but you can't doubt something as intrinsic as her heartbeat.
Gladys chooses this moment to sit up and reach around you for the lonely cigarette.
"It's about time, Kate," Gladys says between puffs. And it is, really. She's been playing this cat-and-mouse game with you for weeks now. She's been kissing you and withdrawing, setting you up and getting you out of her own set-up and you're still so confused. But there's her heartbeat, there, right under your palm, and it's the first thing she's done that you can believe in.
You don't know if you should but you trust her heart. You're pretty sure it was in the right place, anyhow. But you don't see how she went from thinking you were disgusting to straddling you on your bed last night. She has beliefs. You read the Bible, once or twice. You're almost certain the book Kate holds in the highest regard has a thing or two to say about this.
"And what does God have to say about this?" You ask her and you swear you can actually feel her heart skip a beat.
"I don't believe God wants us, any of us, to go through life alone," she says, convincingly. "The Bible says a lot of things, Betty. Honor your mother and your father. Thou shalt not kill."
"And you'd rather be hanged for a sheep than a lamb. I get it. You're already damned, why not…" Kate cuts you off abruptly, angrily.
"No! I'm trying to say…" she pauses, trying to think how to word what she's trying to tell you. "We ate lobster the other night, didn't we? And you teach men at the factory, don't you?" You nod dumbly. "Both abominations in the eyes of the Lord." And you nod, still not sure what she's trying to say. "We don't stone a man for working Sundays, Betty." And you nod again, not sure what you're supposed to be understanding. Gladys sighs behind you.
"What she's saying is society picks and chooses from Biblical laws. Am I right?" This time Kate nods. You take your cigarette back from Gladys and she takes another from your pack. You find comfort where her shoulder rests between your shoulder blades. "And sometimes understanding the spirit in which the laws were made is more important than following them." Kate opens her mouth as if to argue, then nods again.
"Leon said, he told me, something based in love is a delight to the eyes of the Lord. Jesus told us to love each other. That's about all he said. And Betty, it doesn't… it doesn't…" She trails off and looks away. Her hand falls away from yours, her heartbeat steadier under your hand. You let yours drop back to your lap reluctantly. "It's not disgusting. You're not disgusting and I'm sorry I called you a deviant. It was such a shock, finding out you'd been thinking about me like that. I was scared and I was wrong." She looks back at you and you curl your hand around hers where it's balling up your bed sheet.
"I did nearly the same thing, first girl that kissed me," you tell her quietly, and it's true. You were so scared of being found out that you hadn't thought about the fact that she'd kissed you because she wanted to kiss you and you'd hurt her feeling until an hour later. You found her quickly and made it up to her in the best possible way.
"Carol and I practiced kissing once," Gladys chimes in, and you both turn to stare at her. "James was much better. He didn't burst into scandalized giggling every two minutes." And her face clouds and you remember you haven't had that talk with Gladys about James and Gene and war and death yet.
"We're fine, aren't we, Betty? You do understand, don't you?" Kate asks but you shake your head. She looks panicked until you clarify that it's the latter rather than the former the no signifies.
"Don't understand how you can justify it, Kate. It's there in black and white, in that book you read." She sighs and pulls her hand from yours.
"Come to Leon's church with me tomorrow. He's better at explaining these things that I am." You nod and stub out your cigarette before nudging Gladys aside so you can lie back down. It's one of your days off and you think you deserve some extra shut-eye after that heavy week. Gladys lies back down and after a moment's hesitation Kate joins the two of you. There's not much room but the last time the three of you were like this you'd just rescued Kate and this feels like you've come full circle and the peace that comes from that thought lulls you back to sleep.