T Melissa Martin he date was 1960. A few women met together in the basement of St. Phillip’s Church. Not to do volunteer work. Not to plan a holiday banquet. Not to choose a theme for vacation bible school. The true purpose was clandestine. Hidden. Shrouded in silence to the outside world. Incomprehensible. Martha tightly closed the door. Six o’clock. A tranquil quiet hovered over the small band of renegade soldiers. Each month they traveled from different cities. Soundless greetings. Knowing expressions. Misty eyes met and held. Camaraderie filled the damp and dusty room. The women sat in silence for several minutes. Sighs of relief escaped. Masks dropped. Courage dissipated. Frozen feelings thawed. Plastic smiles faded. Martha usually spoke first and today was no different. « 18 DOZ Magazine October 2018 1960 “Another member has joined our support group. I want to introduce Kate.” Last names were not mentioned, and some used an alias. Martha introduced Emma, Sue, Judy, Betty, Jane, and Golda. “Welcome Kate,” they chanted in unison. Emma wore a blond wig and clothes purchased from thrift stores. Her disguises were laughable, but her reasons were not. Emma lowered her sunglasses and remarked, “Your secret is safe with us.” Kate gasped. Emma’s eye gleamed purple and blue. Tears rolled down Emma’s face and quickly turned into hysterical sobbing. The group understood. “I just want to die!” Emma’s voice quivered. Sue tried to comfort her.