“… the minute I heard the word lesbian, my blood started beating so fast that my pulse was all I could hear. I was not paying attention to what was flying out of Ruby’s mouth. I could only catch certain words, like girl and dyke and twisted.”

This quote occurs in Chapter 18 after Ruby tells Evelyn that Celia is a lesbian. Here, Ruby tries to weaponize Celia’s sexual identity and outs her in an attempt to enlist Evelyn in a plot to destroy Celia’s career. Evelyn’s reaction is one of shock and fear. In this moment, she realizes the danger that she herself is in because of her association with Celia, and she begins to understand her own romantic feelings for Celia as well. By using the truth about Celia’s sexuality to destroy her career, Ruby reveals how powerful the secret truly is and how much damage it could do to Celia’s life. It is telling that this is the moment that leads Celia and Evelyn to begin their romantic relationship. Though Evelyn loves Celia deeply, she also works hard during their entire relationship to hide who they are, a necessity that often breaks Celia’s heart.

“When Celia said she couldn’t have all of me, it was because I was selfish and because I was scared of losing everything I had. Not because I had two sides of me that one person could never fulfill. I broke Celia’s heart because I spent half my time loving her and the other half hiding how much I loved her."

This quote occurs in Chapter 46 as Monique and Evelyn discuss the fallout from the risqué sex scene in Three A.M. that causes Celia to leave Evelyn again. Evelyn describes plainly how much emotional pain it caused them to have to hide their relationship. Because Evelyn was terrified of the professional ramifications of being outed, she was unable to love Celia fully. Looking back, after Celia’s death, she regrets the time she wasted and the pain she caused Celia. Living in the closet was often a necessity that allowed both women to have successful careers, but at the end of her life, Evelyn biggest regret is the barriers to love created by the internal and external pressures to hide their truth.