Do you remember that first Thanksgiving that I came back? Of course you do. Remember how we spent that day in the city? We drove up just to get out of town, away from everyone who knew us. If you’d have had it your way, we probably would have stayed in town, making out in the middle of the local mall for all to see, but that wasn’t my style. I drove us into the city so we could hold hands in “private”. This was the first time I realized how crazy guys are for lesbians, and how close minded white picket fence families are. We walked around down near the water front hand in hand. It was absolute bliss being able to hold your hand in public, as if to say to the world: “Yeah, this is the girl I am desperately in love with with. She makes the stars come out and the sun shine brighter than it ever has before.” Guys yelled catcalls at us from across the street. Moms grabbed their childrens arms angrily and pulled them away from us as they passed us on the sidewalk. Remember how we passed that club with the sign that said “Happy Spanksgiving” and I had to stop and take a picture of it? God! I thought that was so funny! We both did. It was a strip club or a drag club… maybe both. Point is, it was fabulous and so was the sign. It’s gone now. Just like you.
How do you get over someone that separated your world into the time before and the time after? What if she really was the person I was supposed to be with forever? What if I lost my one shot at true love because I was too afraid to tell people I was in love with a girl. What if I never feel that way again? I didn’t realize what I had when I had her. I was lucky. She was absolutely perfect. Now, all I do is spend my time looking to recreate her. It doesn’t work. No one is right. There are no girls like her. Except of course her new girlfriend. Her fucking twin. But I can’t seem to find anyone. It took me eighteen years to fall in love. How am I ever supposed to find that again? I know I made a mess of everything. She was my first real relationship. But, I can’t believe that she could mess things up so much that now there is no chance we could ever try again in the future. Honestly, we should have taken a break a long, long time ago. I had so many things I needed to figure out. We should have taken a break after the first year… but I loved her too much to let her go. I needed her. So, we stayed together. Even though we kept hurting each other, our love, or perhaps obsession, kept us together. I wish we would have taken a break then. I wish she wouldn’t have moved with me. I wish she’d never gotten into drugs. I wish I’d never taken those pills. I wish we’d never gotten violent. I wish so many things had happened differently because I wish more than anything that we could have another chance. I have never felt that close to anyone and I miss it more than anything. I still love her. Either I want her back or I want to forget I ever had her in the first place. People keep telling me that it will be okay. They say I will love again, but I don’t believe them. I was so in love with her. How many times do you get gifted with a love, a connection, like that? It seems so easy for her. She is constantly falling in and out of love. Maybe it’s the drugs, or maybe not. I don’t think anyone knows the answer to that one. But does it really matter? How come she gets to be happy and I have to be miserable? What did I do to deserve this? She gets to treat me like shit, cheat on me, do drugs, and sleep around, and I am the one that is punished? How is that fair, Universe???!!! Please tell me, because I just do not understand. All I want is to wake up in her arms and find out that this all has been one huge nightmare. But, you see, it isn’t. It’s reality, which is worse than a nightmare because it’s fucking real. I don’t want to be pathetic anymore. I don’t want to be sad and I don’t want to miss her. I don’t even want to know her anymore. I want to forget she even exists because knowing that she is still breathing makes it hard for me to breathe.
I still see you inside of this god awful house, and I still feel you everywhere.
It was such a hot summer. I remember that. One week was a straight seven days of hundreds. The air was still, leaving us sticky with sweat as we lay in the grass while the heat shimmered in waves around our lifeless bodies. We would take long drives to nowhere just for an excuse to use the A/C in my car. Lane would turn up my stereo so loud that I was sure she would blow a speaker, as angry boys screamed at us, telling us about how much love sucked. They were right.
We used to stay up late talking about life and love. Lane was pretty sure love didn’t exist. As much as I sometimes felt that way too, I still had an inkling of hope that my someone was out there somewhere. Lane told me lots of stories about her ex and all the other boys she’d kissed or let touch her. I listened partially out of interest— she knew so much more about sex than little virgin me— and partially because I could tell she needed to talk to someone about it and she was my friend. She told me she touched some of them too, but she said she didn’t really like it. She told me that every time she had sex with her ex it hurt. But he kept going. Even though she wasn’t wet. She said the only thing she liked with him was when he ate her out. But he didn’t do that very often. When I thought about her being with guys I felt weird. I knew she had been with Joe, but I hadn’t realized she’d been with so many other guys. She couldn’t even remember all the guys she’d kissed. She used to insist that her life would not be complete until she’d slept with a Jewish guy and a black guy. She always had so many guys she was texting that a) I never would have imagined she was gay and b) I was quite jealous. She was kind of a guy magnet, and honestly, that’s part of the reason I liked hanging out with her. But I was always jealous when she talked to guys. Looking back, I probably should have realized that was because I was falling for her. I was falling hard before I ever even noticed.
I still remember the night we first kissed. I don’t remember what had happened earlier that day, but we decided to drive to the Elementary school near my house to sit and talk. I can’t remember for the life of me why we decided driving there was a good idea. But we did. On the way there, she played me her favorite sad song, the one she listened to on repeat when Joe had dumped her. Ironically, it wasn’t about losing a lover, but a father. Sleeper 1972 by Manchester Orchestra. She made me promise to be absolutely silent as her song played. I said okay, but only if she would let me show her my favorite sad song as she listened quietly. After our sad songs were over, we pulled into the school parking lot and reclined our seats. We lay down and talked about life, loss, and love. She told me all of her dreams and desires and I told her mine as she stroked the bare skin of my stomach under my shirt. I hated people touching my stomach, always had. It made me uncomfortable. The first time my first boyfriend tried reaching up my shirt while we were watching a movie, I left the room in a hurry and went up stairs in an anxious flurry of uncomfortable emotion. For some reason, I felt comfortable with her touching me. I had kissed her a couple times on the forehead and cheek before. The first time I did it, it was accidental. We had gotten so close that, in that moment, I treated her like I would treat my sister and kissed her on the forehead to comfort her. I apologized right after saying I meant it as a sisterly gesture. I don’t remember what she said, but the kisses continued, moving from forehead to cheek, almost to the lips. Then that night at the elementary school happened. We lay in the car and suddenly we turned to face each other. We kissed lightly on the lips. It gave me butterflies like winged girls trying to dance out of my vagina. We kept kissing, top lip, bottom lip, fingers shakily sifting through hair to pull heads closer. Then we stopped and turned back on our backs.
“We just basically made out.” Lane said, pointing out the obvious. “How do you feel about that.”
“I’m okay with it.”
We turned back to face each other. We came lip to lip again. I was so hungry for her. Every other time I’d kissed a guy I’d found that I didn’t think it was that special. The first time I made out with my first boyfriend I reported back to my friends that it wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be, in fact, it was kind of gross. Suddenly, our tongues explored each other, criss-crossing back and forth and diving behind teeth. Making out with Lane was a tremble of violent butterflies and a small burst of warmth between my legs. Despite all of this, we still said we were straight. I don’t remember what happened after we made out. It seemed like we kept kissing for hours. But at some point we left the school and drove to my house, where I’m sure we crawled into my bed and fell asleep. Maybe we talked about it a little bit more… I honestly don’t remember, but I do remember that this certainly wasn’t the last time we kissed.
Before I met Lane, I never thought I’d be with a girl. The thought never crossed my mind as a possibility. Sure, I was curious about them. As I went through puberty, I wondered about gay people. I think it’s completely normal to want to know about the lesser spoken faculties of life. We are all curious about the unknown. But, I never assumed I’d get first hand knowledge. Then we met and we kissed, and suddenly, I was in love with a girl. It left me wildly confused. Was I gay? Was I straight? Was I that foreign, negatively perceived, possibly mythological mixture of both: was I Bi?
At first, I went through a strongly feminist phase. I didn’t need men. They had betrayed me far too often in the past. Now, I had found real true love and satisfaction in a woman, I must be gay! I didn’t need a man to make me happy because I was happier with this girl. But as I really tried to picture telling people I was gay, it didn’t seem right. I wasn’t comfortable with that label. I had myself convinced that if I told people I was gay they would think a series of things: I wasn’t attractive enough to get a guy to love me, I was gross, I had been attracted to every girl I’d ever been on a dance or cheer team with ALL ALONG, and I was somehow less of a person than them. Plus, I still thought David Boreanaz and Channing Tatum were sexy as hell. So, I started toying with the idea of being bi. But bisexual identity came with its own series of misfortunate ideation. First of all, a lot of people have really negative reactions to bisexuals. They think they are confused or they are just really into sex. Through out my struggle of determining what sexual identity to claim as my own, here is what I have realized: I am attracted to both men and women. Physically, I am attracted to masculinity from both sexes. I am probably more attracted to women because I have yet to find a man that I can be sufficiently emotionally connected with and physically attracted to. I fall in love with people for who they are and how they make me feel. It is as simple as that. I enoy sex with men AND women, but sex isn’t the issue. Everyone and anyone can have sex. If you aren’t good at it, you can learn to be better. Not everyone can fall in love with one another. It is a strange happening of chance, of beautiful coincidence, that one person finds another soul that they find commonality in. Falling in love is such a delicate process, it’s fragile. But, careful coincidences make sure that the thread doesn’t snap. The problem is, once you are in love, the thread between your souls is still so delicate. Sure, you’ve found the connection, but now you have to tread carefully, grow at the same rate, wait for your lover to catch up, or run until your heart threatens to pound right out of your chest to catch up with your lover. Love is simply love. It has no right or wrong. So, yes. I’m bisexual. I have the capacity to love both men and women. And that’s okay.
We can we pat ourselves on the back and say that we tried… But, you and I know the reason why I’m gone and you’re still there.
1. We were 17 and 18 years old when this began. Too young for lasting love.
2. You were gay, I was undecided.
3. I made you keep us a secret.
4. You are really, really messed up. You were from the beginning.
5. I am pretty messed up, but at least I’m trying to fix it.
6. I didn’t know how to love someone.
7. You didn’t know how to love someone.
8. My parents hated you.
9. I made you move and you hated it.
10. We moved in together.
11. We got violent.
12. I asked you to let me see other people so I could try and figure out my feelings.
13. You were always jealous of me.
14. You were competitive with me.
15. I took those pills.
16. I never lied to you. Maybe too much honesty is a bad thing.
17. I made fun of you for playing so many videogames. I’m not sure you understood I was really just joking.
18. You started putting me last.
19. Maybe we were always too different.
20. Neither of us had the greatest models for relationships. Your parents were prescription drug addicts who laid around the house all day long, avoiding work and life. Mine were a subtly dysfunctional facade of a happy, healthy, successful family. We were desperately searching for a safety net, which we temporarily found in each other.
It was never meant to last, you see, because it was never supposed to happen.
When I think of you, you flood my mind in snapshots. I have taken a thousand photographs of you, all stored inside this skull. You live there. You won’t go away. But that’s okay. I like it that way, for now. I’d still be lonely without you. I mean, I am lonely without you. You’re long gone now. But you will live forever in my memory. I can’t seem to let go of you because I am still afraid to be alone. You made life bearable, maybe better than bearable. I think you made me happy.
My favorite photograph of you is from that first summer. We are sitting on the dock playing music. Well, we were going to play music. You are turned around at the torso, searching for your pick. The guitar lays on your lap, one arm protecting it from falling into the lake. The lake is gray and black ripples, like satin fluttering in the wind, because your feet are resting in the soft folds, cooling off because for once we are having a warm summer. However, the sun is going down, and the day is cooling off. You have your black, I Declare War sweatshirt on. The one that says “Fucking Heavy” on the back. I remember you wore that one time when we picked my little sister up from school. You held your hands over your back so she wouldn’t see what it said, proving how ill equipped you are with children. Your hair is smoothed over your face as you look down searching for that goddamn pick. It is perfect. Every scene kid would be jealous of the perfection that is your emo bangs in this moment.
I miss you. But those girls are gone. They don’t exist anymore.