June, 1980. Gloucester, Massachusetts
I was in a sort of limbo. I had returned home to Gloucester nearly a year before and was working full time for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts at the Hogan Regional Center in Danvers. I liked the job but wasn’t sure if this was where I wanted to work long term. The pay & benefits were good but it was a state institution and I found it depressing, feeling like Massachusetts could do much more to help persons with developmental disabilities. Meanwhile I was continuing to work with the National Anti-Draft network of Youth Against War & Fascism and making plans to attend the Black Hills Survival Gathering in South Dakota, an anti nuclear event organized by the American Indian Movement and the Black Hills Alliance. I wrote to Rachel in London asking what was going on with her, when was she coming back to the U.S.A, and what where we to each other after 15 months and so many miles away. Early one morning I got a collect phone call from Rachel. She had forgotten the time zone difference. ” Paul I wasn’t sure how to say this to you but I’ve come out as a lesbian. Don’t take it personally but I hate men”. I wasn’t quite sure how to take that, and initially thought it was goodbye. It wasn’t.
In subsequent letters and phone conversations after Rachel returned to America I learned that she had suspected she was a lesbian long before going to Europe, even before we had met. Events that occurred while she was traveling reinforced that. It was a little hard to take finding out the person I had thought was “the girl of my dreams” was saying she had found the girl of hers. As time went on it was clear that we would always be a part of each others lives, like family, and that while the nature of our relationship had changed we were there for each other in many ways,- she was closer to me than my birth sister.