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“M’lady! What can I offer ye ta drink?”

For a moment, there is a wistfulness looking at the taps, because I’m usually on my way to a good buzz when I’m here.

“Could I just get a coke?”

Why do women always insert “just” into our requests? Another weird way of apologizing. But I guess it isn’t weird to a woman whose job title is “wench.” She’s probably got enough to worry about in that uncomfortable get-up pushing her boobs to her chin. Come to think of it, I might’ve even gone to high school with her…yikes. I give a little curtsey as I accept my lame, PG-13 beverage.

What am I doing here? Four months pregnant, and I’m standing in the lobby of Medieval Times. It’s February, but I’m sweating and just starting to show. The first person in my circle of friends is turning thirty. My two closest friends from college pulled up in a sweet party bus, already loose from an hour plus drive down. I’ve managed to curl my hair and somehow, it still looks nice under my paper crown. I’ve waited my whole North Jersey life to cheer for the green knight, and I won’t get to slur along with my fellow peasants. Sigh. 


Beth clinks her mug with mine. In spite of it all, I’m glad I came, because I’m standing beside my best friend. Last summer she left New York for Boston, so I treasure these moments when we are together, laughing just like we did when we were nineteen, still keeping in time. We weren’t talking for long, as we sipped, waiting to see which of our group would try to get knighted first.

Would you believe I can’t remember how she said it?

“Mare, I wanted to tell you, I’m gay.” (Or something like that).

My best friend just came out. She came out to me in the middle of the artificial Middle Ages.

I remember this night in a haze, like a Tennessee Williams’ memory play. The major points are there, but those other details are lost in a fog. What I do know is that I did the one thing you should always do for a loved one on a special day: not make it about you.

This wasn’t the time for twenty questions (Who else knows? How did you tell them? Are you dating someone?) however excitable they may sound. It also wasn’t the time to do a mental binge of four years at college like I was rewatching Game of Thrones, searching for Easter eggs. All I could feel was happiness and honestly, pride. She was living her truth. So I spoke before giving anything else a second thought.

“I love you and I’m so proud of you!”

We hugged: me, my best friend, and my unborn, avocado-sized son between us. I wasn’t drinking, but my eyes were shining and that flimsy crown probably fell off my head. Both of us were starting entirely new chapters of our lives, but it was more like lifting a plastic casing off: shiny, new, exciting. I looked up at all those colorful banners waving and I thought, actually, this might be the best place to come out. Hip, hip…!

Marybeth McDonough

Marybeth knows the correct movie quote and the filmography of the actor who said it; she does not need to look it up.

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