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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
By Jane Doe
It was Wednesday, and I'd gone home with Kris after an uneventful day at the office. The weather was pleasant, so we decided to sit out on the sand.
She was looking lovelier than ever in the warm light of the nearing sunset. Wisps of hair escaped from her loosely-tied bun and waved in the sea breeze. Her eyes followed the gulls down by the pier.
Instead of enjoying our time together, I was letting my own mind nag me to death.
We were still in our first days together, and I was already beginning to worry like I always do. This was going to involve work like any other relationship. Somewhere along the line I just assumed it would be happily ever after. Maybe I had taken for granted that everything would turn out ok.
What kind of relationship is this, really? What if what she thinks is love is really only some fleeting sexual attraction? What if I made that mistake too? No. If I'm wrong about loving her I could never be right about anything else. Even so where do we go from here? Was everybody else going to accept this? Can you just turn lesbian, out of the blue like this? Does she want this to be a serious, exclusive, real relationship? Because I do. Are we on the same page about any of this?
"You alright?" After a long silence, she had sensed I was ill at ease.
She put an arm around me, playing with my hair. After looking at me for a minute, she kissed my cheek, and saw me smile a little. Then suddenly she attacked my neck with kisses, tickling me with her nose on purpose, until I giggled. I squirmed away until I was on my back in the sand, but she was relentless. Only when I was pink from laughter did she stop. She looked down at me, smiling, and gave me a real kiss that eased some of my worries. And then she lay down next to me. Her hand found mine and together we watched the stars come out.
She asked me to stay that night, and because she meant it in an innocent way, I did.
We lay on her bed, where we ended up sleeping in our clothes on top of the covers. Again my worries distracted me.
"You're not happy like you were at first," she said quietly. I realized my frequent reflective silences weren't making a great impression. "Are you sure you're ok with all of this?"
"Yeah. I'm sorry, I know I'm being quiet. You know how I like to worry about things. I keep getting lost in my own head."
"Why don't you take me in there with you."
"Um, well. We finally got together now, and well, we didn't talk about any actual relationship stuff. You know?"
"Yeah. So let's," she answered, propping her head on her arm.
I struggled to extract only one question from my mind, but it was like trying to pull one thread out of a whole tangle. She broke my silence once again.
"This isn't just sexual, is it?"
"No," I said firmly. I'd been planning to ask the same question, so to hear her ask it was the best possible answer.
"I don't mean not sexual at all but that's not the point of it," she continued my thought. "Right?"
"Right," I said with relief. "I didn't know if you really felt the same way, because I couldn't figure out how to explain it. I think it's because I've never been seriously in love before. It's weird. I second guess myself about everything, but not this. It's just a fact, that I love you. I haven't been automatically sure about anything else. Especially relationships," I finished almost shyly. She'd already said she loved me, more than once. Why was I so nervous about telling her this stuff?
She smiled knowingly.
"That's exactly how I feel. It took me a long time to admit it to myself, that I was in love with you. I didn't know what to make of it. But I knew all along."
Unable to think of anything nice enough to say, I kissed her. We shared a silent interlude more comfortable than the previous ones.
"I never really knew any lesbians," I wondered aloud.
"I think I knew one. Never thought I'd be one."
"Are we? Like, officially?"
"Don't we kind of have to be?"
"I don't know. I guess."
"It's not like you have to go register somewhere," she shrugged. "But if loving you makes me a lesbian, than yeah. I am."
"I can live with that."
Another, shorter silence.
"This is kinda crazy, though."
"Yeah. I guess so," I paused for a moment. "Do you not want anybody to know?" Her hesitation was answer enough. I completely understood, although in the back of my mind, I couldn't help being the teeniest bit sad. "We don't have to, if you don't want to."
"No, Kelly, I don't mean it like that. It's just a big change to tell people about right away, I mean."
She was right. I would hate to make some big announcement and then have it not work out between us.
"I know. We should get comfortable with it ourselves, before we tell anybody. You've got more to deal with, besides."
"What do you mean?"
"Well. You've got Jill. Your whole family." I shrugged. "You guys are my family. You and Bri and..."
Deep down I had a flash of a feeling I hadn't had in years, since I was in the orphanage. An ache for somebody permanent. There had been nice families I dreamed of going home with, and it always led to disappointment. Hating that vulnerability and rejection, I quickly learned not to get too close to anyone. The other girls I knew left, often taken home by the nice families. I didn't resent them, but I wished for what they had. Kris was already the friend I always wished for, but for a split second I felt like that little girl, desperately wanting her to take me home, take care of me, love me. Oh, how did I let myself get so attached already -
"What's on your mind?"
I debated whether to bring it up, in case it sounded too needy or Freudian. Maybe later on. I tried to shrug it away.
"Honey, I know something's still worrying you. Can't you tell me what?" She kissed my hand soothingly.
"I'm just worrying about messing it up."
"Why would you mess it up?"
"I have trouble getting close to people. Now I'm way closer to you than I've ever been to anybody. It's just what I've always wanted, and on the other hand, sometimes it scares the hell out of me. That's why I always screw up my relationships."
"Well, maybe if we talk about it, you won't be so scared. How about the last serious guy in your life. Alan, right?"
"What happened with him?"
"He was great. I was stupid."
"But tell me about it."
"I think he would have married me. He actually did help me a lot. But I'm not completely curable, I guess."
"How did he help?"
"He was patient. A gentleman. It helped to know that there were good guys left in the world, not just the riffraff I used to know. You know he never really tried to get me into bed?"
"You never slept with him?"
"Well, I did. Only a few times. But it was always my doing."
"Wait, you had to convince him to sleep with you?" She said, looking surprised.
"No, he was all for it. He'd just been waiting on me."
"And how was it?" She asked with a small grin.
"Not bad. He was the first guy I slept with in years, and nobody else since." I shook my head. "Isn't there a rule about not talking about your exes in bed?"
"This is girl talk. Doesn't count." She waved her hand. "So what happened at the end?"
"Well, we were a few months in, and it was going great. And I have a stupid hangup where a great relationship is a problem for me. So I got antsy and ruined it."
"Why is it a problem?"
"From when you were little?"
I nodded. "It took me years to figure that out. I still can't fix it, but at least I kind of understand it. Plus growing up, I dated some of the biggest junior-league creeps in the world. That sure helped."
Kris moved closer and took my hand. She didn't need to prompt me anymore; she just wanted me to talk. So I continued.
"I still have problems. But I'm a lot better than I used to be, I think. Anyway, Alan. It had been my best relationship ever, and all of a sudden I got claustrophobic. I thought this is it, the only place to go from here is marriage, and it scared me, and I ran away. I thought it was going too fast, even though it wasn't. He left, and he was right to. That poor guy didn't do a single thing wrong."
"You didn't want to get married? At all, I mean."
"No, I did. But I can't seem to get there. When I get close I get scared."
"But what are you scared of? Why did you run?"
"It never works, and being clingy never helped, so I feel like I have to quit while I'm ahead. They can't leave you if you leave first. So you can't get too attached. People are temporary, and you have to keep your distance, so you won't get hurt when they disappear."
"People aren't always temporary," she said.
"They have been in my life. I've never known anybody more than a few years. Every time I ever started to get close to somebody, it got cut off one way or another. Kids at the orphanage. Foster parents. Friends. Boyfriends." I paused before adding, "Jill."
Her mouth opened, but nothing came out. I watched her realize that her sister had unintentionally added to my long list of disappointments.
"Honey, Jill's still your friend," she reassured me. "She moved away, but she's not out of your life."
"I know. But at the end of the day, it's kind of the same to me. I've just never had anybody permanent."
"Well you do now," she said with a gentle smile.
"I want that more than I've ever wanted anything," I admitted. "That's why I'm scared."
"Don't be. I'm not gonna leave, and neither are you. Cause if you run away, I can track you down."
"Seriously, though. We'll work at it, day by day. Whatever it takes. I'll prove you can trust me."
"I already trust you. I trust you with my life," I realized aloud.
"Then what do we have to do?"
"I don't know. Just take it slow."
"That's good, cause I want to go slow, too." She patted my hand and suddenly I felt very self-centered.
"Why am I talking like I'm the only person that's ever had relationship worries. What about you? You've probably been hurt before, too."
"Not anything major, really. I just I want to take it slow uh, physically."
"I'm just kind of nervous. Um about the first you know." she continued, getting quieter and pinker with each word.
"What? You told me you weren't a virgin," I recalled. I had been slightly surprised to hear it, considering how naive she appeared at times.
"Well, I'm not, but " she sighed. "I only did it one time, in college. I always heard it was supposed to be this glorious thing, but it just hurt a lot. I don't think it lasted more than a couple minutes. At least my boyfriend enjoyed himself. I mean he was a nice guy, but... I really regret that. It wasn't like I thought it would be."
"I'm sorry. But you know, it can be a lot better than that," I began.
"Oh, I know. I just didn't find the right guy to share it with," she said, curling a bit of my hair around her finger. "But I have found the right girl."
I smiled ear to ear.
"The thing is, though," she said. "I'm kind of I wasn't really ready back then, and well, I'm kind of counting our first time as my real first time."
"Sure. We'll go exactly as slow as you feel like."
"Thanks. Course, I don't mean years. I just mean not right away, you know?"
"I'll wait years, if that's what you need." I had zero objections, since I was not exactly in the habit of jumping into bed with people either. And I was glad she had her own reasons for wanting a slow pace. "And when you're ready, I'm going to do the best job anybody has ever done making love to anybody."
"Gee, that sounds like a pretty good plan," she laughed. "How are you planning to do that when you've never been with a woman before?"
"It'll come naturally." Somehow that aspect didn't phase me at all. I was at peace.
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