I’m participating in The Scintilla Project.
Life is a series of firsts. Talk about one of your most important firsts. What did you learn? Was it something you incorporated into your life as a result?
(There was another prompt for the day:Who am I? I can’t answer that prompt because the only thing that comes into my head is “The question is who… are you?” as said by Rafiki. This leads to giggles and a lack of any serious thought. Oh well.)
The Friday before finals week in the spring of 2006 was quiet in a lot of regards. Several hours of staring at a word document that wasn’t filling nearly fast enough left me in need of some distraction. The townie boys I hung out with occasionally were going out because the students (for the most part) were staying in. It was someone’s birthday, but I didn’t know them and didn’t really care. I just needed a reason to be out from my writing hole.
I went out relatively early with the intention of having a couple drinks and heading home. I sat around a table with one of the girls from my dorm and five guys, waiting for the birthday girl to arrive. We had to pull up another bar stool for the girl who followed her in, and that unknown person ended up across from me.
When the anonymous girl didn’t introduce herself right away, my friend K leaned over and told me “her name is Kate”, with a strange look on her face. “You’ve heard of her, right?”…. I hadn’t.
“Chris’-lesbian-ex-Kate, they dated in high school”.
At that point, someone ordered a round of shots. I needed one. Actually, my brain felt like it needed about 12, but I participated in the birthday shot with the group and went back to my Dirty Shirley Temple. My mind swirled and whirred, trying to make sense of this information. The familiar bar might as well have been Wonderland.
As the night went on I unconsciously focused on that girl. I tried to wrap my brain around this idea of a “lesbian”. A woman who dated other women… who was happy? normal? in my group of friends? what?
After a little while in my own little world, I walked with my friend to the bar for another shot. Tequila has an odd way of helping my brain ignore the craziness and anxiety in the background and focus. I stopped trying to understand her. I went with the group to the dance floor, dancing close to her but never touching. I helped her walk the birthday girl back to the car and gave her a hug goodnight (completely socially acceptable).
She came to town every night for the next week, which coincided with finals. I went out every night that week. I knew I wanted to spend time with her, but I couldn’t bring myself to think about anything else.
The following Friday night I held her hand for the first time. The next night, I kissed her for the first time. She stayed with me. We were happy, silly, and I was more than a little bit fumbly.
The next morning, as she walked away from me, I thought about myself as a “lesbian” for the first time. At once it terrified me and I didn’t care at all. I let myself fall.