finds from secondhand store

so what if Peggy and Angie are both kind of new to this girls-with-other-girls thing and they start doing research

(no, not that kind of “research” – well, yes, that kind too, but also the other kind)

and one night they go to a lesbian bar in Brooklyn that they heard about after some very careful inquiries among the Griffin Hotel’s inmates (most of whom are in a position to know) and it’s fun, but they notice that the couples tend to be one woman in a dress and one woman in men’s clothing

“Well, surely it isn’t a requirement,” says Peggy, back in Angie’s apartment.

“I dunno, English,” Angie says. “It might be kinda fun.”

The next time Peggy walks into Angie’s room, ready for a night on the town, she finds the little waitress decked out in the very finest from Sol’s secondhand store down the street: unfashionably narrow trousers rolled up twice at the cuffs, boys’ wingtip shoes, a too-big khaki uniform shirt bloused out at the waist. Angie’s hair is tucked up under a newsboy’s cap, her thumbs are tucked under a pair of bright red suspenders, and she’s grinning like the tiniest, snottiest, trouble-makingest punk kid who ever got in a back-alley scuffle over a game of marbles.

“Heya, hot stuff,” Angie says, trying to pitch her voice deep and sounding like a twelve-year-old with a cold. “You wanna go dancin?”

And for a moment Peggy remembers another tiny, smart-mouthed punk kid: always swimming in his uniform, always falling behind, earnest and deathly awkward but with a twinkle of mischief in his eyes for all that. The memory surprises her with its uncomplicated sweetness; there’s a flash of pain, but it’s faint, and for the first time pushing it away doesn’t feel like betrayal.

“Yes,” Peggy says, and smiles, slipping her hand into the crook of Angie’s proffered arm. “Yes, I do.”