Like most people, I had a normal shower routine. Lather, rinse, repeat. Unlike most people, my routine had an extra step to it. My routine was: lather, rinse, cry over someone I could never have, repeat. I'd never told anyone that I was a lesbian, especially not my best friend, who I had developed some very deep feelings for. I was too scared to. What if I lost her friendship? What if she hated me? I didn't know if I could stand that.

I constantly told myself that I should just go ahead and tell her how I felt about her, because life was too short to spend constantly berating myself. That, and I was afraid I'd make myself sick with stress. Every time an opportunity came up, though, I always seemed to chicken out. It was pathetic.

Every day would start out the same. I'd get in the shower and lather, rinse, cry, and repeat it all over again. Then, once I was out of tears, I would get dressed for the day and go off to face my friend and the rest of my peers.

Three months later, my routine is still the same. Only this time, there's a difference. I still cry in the shower, but now I don't go and face my friend. I can't. She's gone. I didn't scare her away when I finally got the guts to tell her how I felt about her; she surprised me by telling me that she felt the same way. She didn't flinch away or anything.

Two weeks after we'd started dating, my best-friend-turned-girlfriend was killed. It wasn't an accident.

It was a hate crime, for being who she was and loving me.