rating: g? idk.
class: independent study
summary: personal narrative written for huffles and i's first anniversary.
Two years prior, I would have not imagined, under any circumstances, being in this position.
I have not been put here due to sudden loss or gain like death or wealth, an awe-inspiring revelation, or anything shockingly monumental. It’s because of a person - a single person, miles away from me, who has altered my outlook on who I am, who I have been, who I will be. Pieces that I hadn’t acknowledged before are fitting into place, making the picture that I was previously unsure of clear. Moments in my life, details in my relationships have begun to make more sense to me now than ever before.
I, a girl in small town Michigan, have developed and secured feelings for another girl in the capital of California over the course of two years. From acquaintances to best friends in a rather short amount of time, unashamed, excited chats about TV shows and comic books gradually grew into conversations about our day, our lives, backgrounds, theories, opinions, and philosophies. After that, friendship turned to a romance separated by over 3,000 miles. She didn’t act, under the impression that I was straight, and I was just barely aware that I had feelings for her that went beyond platonic. I blamed my admiration on an innocent “girlcrush” that I would forget with the coming of my next boyfriend. He came and went within a month and she remained. A vague admittance of liking someone turned into a guessing game until I was told the answer I already knew. It was me she liked. It was me she liked for quite some time. And by then, I knew I liked her too.
The result, explained in as little words as possible, was that I felt better. About nearly everything.
The realization that I was bisexual should have been a major one, hugely thought-provoking and perhaps even a challenge to my way of life as evident from others’ experiences, but it was far from it. Yes, some things have been put into a different perspective and yes, some aspects about me have been changed. But rather than reaching some magnificent conclusion, it was like finally noticing something that was always there. You momentarily question why you hadn’t seen it earlier, accept it, and continue on as usual.
I don’t consider my life rewritten or altogether different, yet I’m still nervous of how her opinion of me will change as I twist my hands, toying with the corner of my skirt.
My aunt takes another drag of her cigarette and a short pause is immediately followed by a cloud of smoke thinly passing through her lips. The cruise ship parallel to us has a party room that we can clearly see from the deck of ours. The bright party lights flash and the music, although too far away to hear, is easily imagined. It’s almost a rave - and I think I see an old man playing Dance Dance Revolution. I focus on what they’re doing rather than the smoke entering my lungs and clinging to the tissue inside and think of something to say.
She already knows and supports me. The random questions (“What’s her birthday?” October 19th. “What’s she like?” Incredible. “Favorite food?” Well, she likes sushi, pizza, and Cheez-its wrapped in Fruit Roll-Ups…) make that obvious, she wants to know more about my girlfriend because she can’t speak with her personally. My parents support me too, my friends encourage and congratulate me, and I, for once, feel absolutely comfortable.
My appearance makes it known without words that I am an intellectual. It isn‘t wrong - I am shy, quiet, helpful, subtly humorous, and I spend more time thinking than speaking although that certainly doesn’t excuse me from saying stupid things.
My aunt and I laugh about something during her after-dinner smoke that my parents wouldn‘t join her for. It’s one of the few times we’re alone without anything to do on the ship, without anything to converse about.
I pull my knees to my chest and wrap my arms around them. For someone so smart, I should be able to think of something to talk about, but all thoughts travel back to my girlfriend. I don’t want to be one of those people who can’t forget their significant other for a moment, but my parents, spending more time with each other than usual, are almost always holding hands and it’s a reminder that my own romance isn’t fair.
For the first time, I experience mutuality. The affection is not unbalanced like in all of my relationships before this. I feel happy without the pressure to prove myself. I’m with someone who silently encourages me to be more assertive, brings out the best of me, and makes me want more than the things I‘ve accepted as the best I could do. This hasn’t happened before. I normally close up, keep my hands in my pockets, and shrug arms off my shoulders or waist.
Now I want to extend my hand to grab hers, wrap my arms around her and rest my head on her shoulder, laugh like an idiot, speak my opinion, say what I mean. There is no fear of judgment when I’m with her.
Shelly and I continue to make casual conversation until it comes back to another question about Ashley. I answer it truthfully and correctly without hesitation.
It seems that I am opposite to the people around me. My Aunt Shelly is loud and has an even louder, distinctive laugh. My mom isn’t afraid to speak her mind and gets what she wants. My dad is funny, an obvious jokester, with more compassion than I could ever know.
Ashley, closest to me despite the distance (as I’m still quite upset with my parents for being lovey-dovey), is the most different when compared. I see in her who I want to be. I know it’s my bias, but I feel as though I’ve never met anyone like her before. She’s intelligent, imaginative, funny, determined, open-minded, beautiful, confident, unafraid, strong-willed…
I wonder why she’s with me.
We are known for being so alike it’s almost frightening, but I’m so much weaker than her. I’m selfish, I’m too independent for my own good, I want to be left alone a majority of the time, I’m lazy, I’m timid, and I haven’t had an original thought for years. When compared, I don’t deserve her.
And it makes me try. I want to deserve her, I want to deserve my friends and family, I want to deserve my future, and I want to be okay with my past mistakes. I want, I want, I want…
I want to tell my aunt I love my girlfriend.
I want to tell her now. I love Ashley. I love Ashley Elizabeth White Bear Gonsalves. I’m in love with another girl and I won’t question it.
I love her.
This is the great revelation in my story.
I knew I liked her very much, so saying “I love you” didn’t bother me. But this is where it crosses the line between like and love. I learn of its depth, its importance - as if everything I had been thinking in broken thoughts over the past few months had just come together in union. It extends beyond the distance between us, past the stereotype of high school romance, and shatters every other thought I considered true about my previous relationships.
I love her.
The tears sting at my eyes, I hug my knees tighter, and in the end, I don’t say a word. I figure telling a divorced woman about how much I love my girlfriend of less than six months is not the best decision to make. I don’t know if she’d laugh, tell me not to get so invested, or give me a “that’s good” while thinking just how immature I am and how heart-broken I’ll be in the future.
She smokes, I try not to cry, and we watch the party across the dock.
Months later, I meet Ashley for the first time. I had recognized her coming down the road, just by her arm hanging out the car window. I knew immediately. As soon as she gets out of the car, I run, despite my high heels, and hug her harder than I’ve ever held someone before. I need this person, I know our time is short, and I don’t want to go. While my parents and her sister chat, we shake from nervousness and laugh at the menu to forget that we can’t pick up our drinks in fear of dropping them. The first kiss happens in the parking lot. It’s chaste, quick, and leaves both of our hearts pounding hours later.
The next day, on our date at the mall, we hold hands. She holds mine because she wants to and I hold hers to make a point within myself. Despite the stares and double-takes we get, I am unashamed. I am doing something I wouldn’t normally like with someone I love. I’m more than okay with it. I’m breaking out of my shell. Before the movie, we take pictures in the photobooth. On the third shot, we kiss and seems as though the pause between the photos is especially long. I think we both opened our eyes, lips still together, and laughed. I fight my first urge to pull away out of nervousness and, instead, lean in more, raising my hand to rest my fingertips on her cheek. The rest of the night is spend laughing at Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, my head on her shoulder. Because of her arachnophobia, we switch when Aragog’s funeral is held.
The third and final day is spent wasting time in Sacramento, at Six Flags, at the hotel room my mom left us alone in. We hold hands, we goof off, we nearly fall asleep on each other watching Can You Survive a Japanese Game Show? and then we say goodbye. The car ride back to her house is quiet. I have my head against her and I watch the streetlights and street signs pass, not sure when I’ll see them again. Before too long, they get blurry, my vision becoming one jumbled mess of white, red, and yellow orbs. I don’t touch her any more than I already am because I know that, unlike before, doing so now will hurt more than it will help. I walk her to her doorstep as I did the night before and I quickly kiss her. I don’t let it linger, I know I’ll start crying. But I can’t let her go so easily, so I nearly throw myself at her and cling.
I want to remember this, to remember every detail as if I had photographic memory. Or photographic senses for that matter, so I could remember her squeezing me just as tight, the smell of her hair as I press my face into it, the sight of my fingernails digging into her back, and the kiss. (Oh, if I could recall the kiss at any time and actually feel it…) I want to stay here because I won’t feel quite so complete without her, I want to kiss her again even if I run the risk of sobbing, I want to bust inside her house and elaborately tell, not ask, her mother that I want to marry her daughter no matter what insignificant people may think or how long it will take or if it’s legal or not, I want to be with her because I love her.
I want, I want, I want…
And this time I do. I act. I respond to what I want. Despite the lump in my throat, I manage to tell her that I love her with more sincerity than I’ve ever heard in my voice before.
Apparently, she loves me too.