I swore it was the last time I would ever try and call you
But, we have known each other for fifty years.
That deserves one more call.
I know you don’t understand why I had to be Rachel, how could you?
You said that it was like your friend had died,
Lost at sea, leaving no grave at which to mourn
Would my death have assuaged your discomfort?
Would a funeral and graveside eulogy have brought you closure
When I said we’ve been friends forever, I heard, “I don’t know who you are anymore.”
When I reached out to you, the silence was deafening.
My calls went unanswered, no messages returned, my letters were ignored.
I swore it was the last time I would ever look back
But we have known each other for fifty years
That deserves one more look
We shared the milestones of our youth, the angst of our teenage years
The small victories, the seemingly insurmountable failures
Young love and devastating heartbreak, we lived through it together
As our youth passed into adulthood, we remained connected
Through college years and job changes.
As love turned to marriage, we shared in each other’s weddings,
Our homes were established, we saw the birth of our children
The photographs of a lifetime tell the tale.
That we were there, together, as friends.
I swore it was the last time I would ever cry over you.
But we have known each other fifty years.
That deserves one last poem, a few more tears.
At the mention of a single word
Or a phrase that would mean nothing to anyone else,
All of our stories come flooding back
Releasing howls of laughter, each story leading to the next,
Till we’re left gasping for breath or eyes filled with tears.
I know you remember the stories
Now as we enter the final stretch of our lives,
When all that came before holds special sway.
We look back to judge if this has been a life well lived
Your voice is missing from the narrative
Leaving these golden years slightly tarnished.
The rocking chairs where we were to recount our exploits stand empty.
The stories, with no one to share them, fade with time.
I swore it was absolutely the last time
I would apologize for who I am,
But we knew each other for fifty years
That deserves not an apology but an explanation
Being trans is not a choice, I have always been Rachel
That you never knew speaks to the depth of my secret
That you could not understand the torment I suffered
Has cost me your friendship,
A high price to pay, but at stake was my very survival
I have finally learned that I am worthy of happiness
And my life is now as it should always have been.
If you had spent time to get to know Rachel,
You would have liked her,
She is an incredible woman,
Kind, generous of spirit and filled with joy.
But sometimes history simply isn’t enough, not even fifty years.
I swore this would be the last time
It will be,
There will be no but.