That one where Anne figures out she’s Bi, and that she loves Gilbert.
“As Long as the Moon and Sun shall Endure”
Anne had never considered that the closeness between her and her bosom friend was anything beyond platonic. Not in Avonlea, at least. Sure, she loved Diana. She knew that – she’d admitted it to camera multiple times, with never a shade of doubt. She’d almost died with excitement whenever she got to see her, stayed up late texting her through Tumblr, in the days before she’d even met her face to face. It was natural to care more about her than any of her other friends, to feel a need to be close to her – holding her hand or letting their limbs rest on each other, content to be simply in her company.
In hindsight, maybe she should have seen it as something more. The swirl of jealously whenever Diana gave her secret texting-Fred-smile was because she didn’t want anything to change. It wasn’t enviousness.
But it was.
The realisation came with a discussion with Phil. Growing up as an orphan, foster home to foster home, and then in the small town – the beloved, and yet still isolated – Avonlea, maybe there hadn’t been time for Anne to ever consider she liked Diana more that she was supposed to.
She’d just had a fight with Roy, and the camera was off. Phil had apologised, and the two fo them were sitting together, contemplating life.
“You know,” Phil said casually, throwing her legs out on the bed. “I’m glad I’m dating a girl, now. Boys are just so much… drama. And like, confusion.” She smiled. “Don’t get me wrong, Roy’s like my brother, but who even knows what goes on inside their heads?”
Anne gave a small, knowing smile, her head still reeling from the influx of emotions from the past few days: grief, heartbreak, embarrassment, anger, and now a small dose of relief.
“Is it that different?” Anne asked, unable to put a tap on her curiosity. She’d imagined almost everything it seemed, and she’d be lying if she said she’d never imagined, in her own way, what it would be like to fall in love with a girl. To lean over and kiss, Ruby or Diana and see what it felt like. But that was a normal thing, it was what she did – imagine herself in every possible life other than her own.
“I mean, Pros: I get a bigger wardrobe, she understands PMS. Cons…” she gave a devious smile “having to admit on a daily basis that I’m not the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen. Hard for the ego. The competition between us creates enough sexual tension, though-”
“Um,” Anne interrupted, feeling her pale skin tint red almost immediately, not ready to delve into that topic. “But does it feel different? Like, than it does finding a guy attractive?”
Phil paused for a second, and Anne knew that her off-hand curiousity was see-through. She braced herself for an energetic over reaction, but Phil just let her eyes slide to Anne’s carefully.
“Do you think you might be bi?”
Anne shrugged, running a hand through her hair. “Honestly, I… don’t know. I mean, with Roy, I was so objectionally attracted to him, like aesthetically, intellectually, but there was never the… intensity, sort of thing, and I…”
Phil took a breath. “I mean, I guess it feels sort of the same? But with a guy I’m a lot more, like, sexually attracted to them and their muscles and jawline, and with girls it’s more… delicate? I think they are beautiful and amazing and I want to just be with them all the time?”
Anne was grateful for her honesty, but: “Isn’t that just friendship though? Like, you just always want to be together, talking, with them, and you can’t stop smiling when they’re around and…”
Phil raised her eyebrows. “That ain’t friendship, honey. At least, not in my experience.”
Anne swallowed. It wasn’t that being bi was… bad, it was just so unexpected. Nothing that she’d ever planned for had included this: none of her favourite heroines encountered this. When books had always been her solace, her guide, here they had left her completely open to ignorance and confusion.
“Yeah, I think…” Anne smiled a little, as if something she had been hiding for so long from herself was finally uncovered. “I think, I might be a little bi.”
Phil gave a small laugh and rolled her eyes. “When I first met you, I thought you were a lesbian.”
Anne’s mouth dropped open. “You… what? I-”
“Relax. It was just… you were so close with Diana, and obviously so jealous when she texted or spoke about her boyfriend, and then Gilbert was so obviously in love with you and you were completely oblivious and didn’t seem to notice, so I kind of assumed…” she noticed how Anne was looking at her. “It isn’t a bad thing, you know. You totally could have been. And then I saw you around Roy, and I got to know you better and I realised I was, wrong.” She shivered slightly on the last word, “But, like, what I’m trying to say, is, I totally wouldn’t be surprised, if you were.”
Anne nodded, but her head was somewhere else. That was why she’d been so upset when Diana left, why she had always been so eager to see her, to be near her, so jealous that she was with Fred, and so dismissive of their relationship. But, that feeling, that feeling of what she could now recognise as attraction, as love, was all that she’d ever defined friendship as being.
It was probably because she’d been an orphan, because she’d never really had friends before she came to Avonlea, because she made her first real, close friend in Diana when she was 16 going on 17 and just starting to develop sexual attraction. But, other than Phil, now, she’d only had two other close friends, Diana and Gil. And the feeling had been the same between both of them, so maybe she-
She’d loved Diana, she was fairly sure she’d gotten over her, though, with her dating and getting engaged and moving away. The feeling had switched over to someone else, someone she had spent so much time with, grown so much closer to while they’d been at university.
And it just made so much sense, how she’d thought love was this poetic romantic thing, that she’d thought she was in love with Roy, because he wrote her poetry and seemed perfect and his name was literally Royal, but she hadn’t. Her love came in one form, only, in dependence and humour and competition and she was totally and utterly in love with Gilbert.
And she’d screwed it up. Totally. Because she’d been so blind, and her books had betrayed her again, because her parents were dead and she’d been in dysfunctional homes with wife-beaters and drunks, and then she’d lived with the darling Matthew and Marilla who were siblings, so she’d never really seen what love was, known what it was to be loved, until recently, apart from her stupid day dreams of princesses and princess and soliloquys.
“Anne, you okay?”
“I- yeah,” Anne said quickly, pushing the guilt and stupidity from her mind for a moment instead of wallowing in it.
What was she supposed to do now?