Tracy loved her job. She took everything with a pinch of salt: the good and the bad. She smiled most of the time, which was difficult to do for people in the lab, because of the hard work and long hours. Tracy also had a soft spot for Jane; she felt sorry for her and fervently wished that Jane would find the type of love that she was looking for. To help her along, Tracy thought, she might just give Jane the necessary tools for making things happen: a spell to conjure love. She quickly wrote out a spell containing an amethyst stone, a red ribbon and a chant. She gave Jane strict instructions on how to carry out the spell, where to bury the stone and where to tie the ribbon. Jane accepted the spell, the note, the ribbon and the stone as a gift and appreciated the fact that Tracy had done her best to help, but would never be able to tell her that she never intended using the spell. Jane thought it best not to manipulate unseen forces to her own advantage, you never knew when the meddling would bite you in the ass and besides, love should come naturally after all.
Along with the spell, Tracy had news to tell; news which would make Jane’s balloon pop and fall to the ground in a miserable heap.
“Jane, I need to tell you something. I’m sorry that I have to break this to you, but…..” Tracy said with a significant pause, “I saw Hank the other day at the movies…he was holding hands…with another…. guy!”
The color drained from Jane’s face; as the fantasy world she had built around Hank slowly came tumbling down.
Jane decided to pluck up the courage to speak to Hank that very afternoon. She anxiously waited for him and as soon as his feet crossed the threshold, she pounced.
“Hank, do you like boys better than girls?”
Hank nodded and said:”I am particularly fond of men, I most certainly am not a paedophile.”
The words hung in the air between them and a tiny part of Jane died. She felt as if she was stuck in an alternate, topsy turvy world; in need of years of therapy. What love struck girl in her right mind, would fall for a gay guy? Was the writing on the wall written in invisible ink or what? Her face and feelings matched her mood 99% of the time; the remaining one percent she used to fake happiness.
From that day forward he was known to Jane only as Hank the gay plumber. Of course he was still Hank the hot plumber, to other guys, Jane guessed, but for her the word “gay” became Hank’s identity and “hot” flew out the window never to be seen again. The Sally Williams’ nougat never made its way into Hank’s hands, instead Jane threw it in the trash, symbolically destroying every piece of emotional evidence she had of The Big Crush. She vowed to pay close attention to telltale signs of homosexuality, to hide her feelings until she was sure and to never, ever submit to the influence of The Big Crush. Jane asked the all knowing Google whether she was the only girl in the world who had ever fallen for a gay guy. Within seconds Google informed her, to her relief, that she was not the first, nor would she be the last. As soon as word spread through the lab and studio, sniggers and mocking whispers followed her. She kept silent and hung her head. Whenever Hank came into Head Office, Jane merely smiled, greeted him cheerfully enough and continued her work. His presence reminded her of the embarrassment of falling for Hank the hot, GAY plumber.