I am an alum of St. Stephen's University (SSU), in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada. my four years there were during SSU's time as a Christian university. SSU is no longer a Christian university, and I have been an agnostic¹ for nearly a decade, but many connections I made with people at SSU, and in the extended community, have remained strong even as we have grown and our lives have changed.
through my friends within the community, I learned about the event, "Queerly Grafted", which took place on Saturday, March 14th, at the church I attended during my time at SSU, St. Croix [Vineyard] Church. the church was asked to leave Vineyard Canada due to their "belief and practice in performing same-sex marriages and celebrating full inclusion and affirmation of LGBTQ+ family, friends, and neighbours." Queerly Grafted was "an evening of song and stories in which LGBTQ+ people shared their stories of pain and appreciation and grief in their relationship with the Vineyard movement."
I chose to travel to St. Stephen for the weekend's events, as well as to connect with friends and family in the area. due to COVID-19, most of the events were postponed. PIE Day was able to go forward, without pie; St. Croix Church held the event to be public, intentional, and explicit about being an affirming congregation. at the end of the Queerly Grafted evening, any queer individuals who wanted to share were invited to speak. here is what I shared:
a short fiction piece
inspired by my own journey
coming out as bisexual.
Andie stuffed the last storage bin in her car and closed the door. she was relieved a sliver of visibility remained from the driver’s seat through to the back window.
after driving for only a few moments, her phone began buzzing. when she stopped at a gas station and glanced at the texts piling in, her suspicions were confirmed: her friend since childhood, her flatmate Bethany, had adopted one of the small feline siblings of Andie’s grey kitten, Pepper. she smiled to herself and went to pump gas, hearing the phone jingle with new messages even as she closed the door.
the gas station building was tiny so she was grateful the afternoon was a quiet one. only as she had finished paying and was leaving did another customer come in.
as Andie drove, questions flittered through her mind. she wondered what Bethany would name Pepper’s sibling; why the driver of the SUV in front of her had failed to signal their intent to merge into her lane before doing so; what it was about the person who had entered the gas station as she had left that made her feel clunky. the last question lingered as she reached the toll highway and paid the amount to continue her journey toward Levettport.