Lynette Loeppky's Cease

by Shaun Hunter


Calgary through the eyes of writers

In the 1960s, the backroom of the historic Cecil Hotel was known as a lesbian hangout. The Cecil was demolished in December 2015, but the iconic neon sign graces a wall not far away from its original East Village site, inside the refurbished St Louis Hotel.  (Photo: Shaun Hunter)

In the 1960s, the backroom of the historic Cecil Hotel was known as a lesbian hangout. The Cecil was demolished in December 2015, but the iconic neon sign graces a wall not far away from its original East Village site, inside the refurbished St Louis Hotel.  (Photo: Shaun Hunter)

In early 2005, Lynnette Loeppky’s partner Cec lies in hospital in Calgary, her pain, severe and undiagnosed. Lyn travels back and forth from their hobby farm an hour’s drive northeast of the city. She wrestles with her decision to leave their eight-year relationship. She hasn’t told Cec about her intentions, and now, it’s too late. She remembers the day she met Cec, a petite executive several years older than her. Lyn was late for the meeting: it was not the last time she would feel Cec’s appraising eyes upon her. Now, as Cec’s life hangs in the balance, Lyn considers the many constraints her lover has imposed upon her over the course of their relationship. The first one? That they live their lives as a lesbian couple in secret.

 

I called work and left a message for Euphemia who tracked vacation and sick days. I said that my husband had been taken to Emergency and I wouldn’t be coming in.

My husband.

Because I wore the ring Cec had given me on the fourth finger of my left hand, Euphemia assumed I was married. I didn’t want to lie but Cec was insistent.

“The minute I quit my job, I won’t care,” she said. “But the business world in Calgary is small. Someone will figure it out. I’m the only woman at my level in management and I have enough to deal with, without adding that.

“But it comes up. They ask.”

“You don’t have to answer. It’s none of their business.”

Easy for her to say. She was mistress of the side step, the master of evasion. She could redirect a conversation with a wrinkle of her nose and a blink of her eyes.

I, on the other hand, was a horrible liar, a fumbling evader. Cec said she was afraid to send me out into the world because I wore my feelings so plainly on my face, anyone could read me like an open book.

Which was my point exactly. How did she think they wouldn’t know?

 

Lynette Loeppky, Cease: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Desire (Fernie, BC: Oolichan Books, 2014)