The First Time

I had known from a very, very young age that I was equally, if not more so, attracted to girls as to boys. There were many adolescent fumblings—at 12 a girl named Kathy with long dark hair and a penchant for riding naked on my thigh when her mother wasn’t home. Teenage crushes that never went any further. Jealousy over the first butch/femme couple that I’d ever witnessed…the beautiful blonde that sat on the lap of the captain of the volleyball team at parties where most of us were stoned and no one cared. It was the very early 80s. We were always high. Always sleeping with a different somebody in search of elusive attention. Thinking that the next one would provide the love and devotion so craved. Disappointed yet again and again and again.

I went off to an all-women’s art college far away from my family. There were scandalized whisperings in the dining hall of girls who slept with other girls. I feigned disgust for my friends and then snuck off to masturbate in our dormitory bathroom, fantasizing about being one of those girls. All of my life I thought about the first time. What it would be like. When would it happen. How would I know.

I arrived at school early in the fall of my sophomore year. I had been named as a resident assistant and was assigned to work the desk to welcome incoming freshman and transfer students. I had my routine down pat until she walked through the doors unaccompanied by a parent. My breath caught. My heart stopped for a fraction of a second. There she was. Tough as nails in a black muscle tee, the requisite blonde mullet, baggy jeans with a chain hanging from the back pocket, and wide leather wristbands. She was tiny. Small boned, wiry, shorter than me—but when she signed her name her biceps rippled with sinewy muscle.

I cleared my throat and managed to start my greeting. She looked up and met my eyes. “Hey there,” she drawled. Her thick southern accent was as familiar as grits and sausage gravy over biscuits. “You’re from North Carolina,” I said. “Now how did you know that? Is that on your little piece of paper there?” “No…I’m from Greensboro.” She returned a lopsided grin, “Well, damn girl, we’re practically neighbors! We should get together and shoot the shit. Why don’t you come on by my room later and we’ll talk.”

I knew. This was the one. I knew I’d be having sex with this girl before the end of the week.

We talked a lot that week. About home. About our art. About our pasts. About her girlfriend she’d left behind. I had a boyfriend. My high school sweetheart. He knew, though, that someday I would act upon my attraction and that was okay with him.

On Saturday night, one week to the day after she arrived, she told me a story about a girl she’d been with who had never been with another women before. She told the story of how she had asked the girl if she could kiss her. The girl replied, “God, yes.” We kept talking. It got late. My roommate was gone for the weekend. She asked me if I had ever thought about being with a woman. I looked her right in the eye and said, “God, yes.” She smiled, leaned in, and kissed me. My heart took flight and my head exploded. Everything I had ever fantasized was right there. It was really happening and it felt absolutely perfect. The last piece of the puzzle I’d been missing all my life.

I was frantic to do everything I had ever dreamed of. She was stone, but she let me have my way. After exploring my body in ways I never could have imagined, I rolled over on top of her and took over. I needed to try everything. I wanted to know what she felt like, what she tasted like. I spent what seemed like hours between her unshaven legs. At one point she managed to say, “Are you sure you’ve never done this before?” I mumbled something into her cunt. Only in my head.

After that night we spent a lot of time together. I have pictures of her on a park bench, sunlight in her hair, a glare bouncing off her mirrored aviators. One leg crossed over the other…not like a woman…one calloused hand resting upon her black Doc Martens. A few weeks later I went to her room late at night, wanting. wanting. I heard a noise on the other side of the door, a rustling, a murmur of voices. The door opened and I was greeted by my best friend, clad in nothing but “my girl’s” plaid, flannel shirt. I was crimson and silent. I turned away and ran down the hall. Back to my room, frozen and betrayed.

I moved on to other women after that. I became known as the school heartbreaker. “Don’t go out with her, she’ll do you and ditch you.” And I did. That girl, the first of many, became my fuckbuddy throughout college. Whenever we were both hard up and no one else was around we turned to each other. A midnight fuck after watching The Wizard of Oz. Frenzied sex in her tiny apartment in the worst neighborhood imaginable. Groping in the teacher’s lounge at 2 a.m.

I saw her years later. She had softened a lot. Years of rehab had broken her early morning routine of rolling over, sleep in her eyes, to grab an unfiltered Marlboro and a can of Bud out of the small fridge next to her bed. I never understood how she did that without getting up to pee first. She had become a psychotherapist and ran her own state-funded rehab center. That bad boi was gone. Replaced by someone older, wiser, more responsible.

I had a different ending to this blog. One in which I never expected to see or hear from her again. Yet, somehow, I found myself looking for her after I wrote this. She stayed on my mind and with a little Internet ingenuity, I wound up with her on the phone today. It seems I have been on her mind a lot lately too. After all these many years. In all of my life I have never been so reticent to commit myself to a relationship and yet have so many open possibilities. I do look forward to rekindling our friendship, if nothing else. But, as is my mantra these days, you just never know.


The “C” Word


That word has been looming in my frontal lobe for two weeks now. Like Winnie-the-Pooh’s little black rain cloud, it has hovered over me, causing me to behave irrationally, snap at people, become irritated at the slightest “tone of voice,” and be easily distractible—my work has lain in piles, untouched, ignored.

About a month or so ago, I started having severe pain in my right breast. Pain so bad that I couldn’t sleep at night. Wearing a bra was uncomfortable at best, yet without it, I had to walk around cradling it in my hand. Over Labor Day weekend it became unbearable and the I was forced to admit that I needed to see my doctor first thing Tuesday morning. She found a lump. Small, but there. I tried to take the news stoically. Be brave. It’s probably nothing. She got me this first available mammogram and ultrasound. First available meant this morning…almost two weeks later. Two weeks to deal my worst fear, second only to losing a loved one.

My stress has been palpable. Almost a physical presence. I thought about death and leaving my child alone in the world. I thought about chemo as a single mother with no real support in the area. I thought about life without my right breast. I thought about sex.

I have three physical features about myself that I like. My eyes, my lips, and my breasts. At almost 45 years of age, they are still firm, still ride fairly high, are not too big or too small, and create great cleavage with a good bra. I seem to choose lovers who love my breasts. Of course, everyone may be that obsessed with tits in general. In high school, one of the boys I dated came in his khakis just from touching them. But that was then. Now, they get kissed, caressed, lightly bitten, sometimes bitten hard, nibbled at, licked, and pinched. They love a good, hard cock between them just as much as a nestled head. They adore a face buried between them, drinking in the scent fresh from a shower or misted with Chanel no. 5.

So, this morning, I get up early and wish for my mother…or my best friend, both of whom live far, far away. The miles stretched before me as I drove myself, alone, to have my tests done. I thought about cancer. I tried to be upbeat. The “C” word became an unwelcome mantra in my head. I disrobed and donned the soft, worn white garment tied in the front. The radiologist called me in immediately. Ahead of the other women in the inner sanctum. I faced the mammogram machine head on. I dealt with the pain. I reflected on the fact that I had been negligent in keeping up with my yearly appointments. I had not had a mammogram in five years. Perhaps it was too late.

I was returned to the waiting room, but seconds later they collected me for my ultrasound. The technician was silent as her wand glided across my gelled breast. I tried to watch the images on the screen. My last ultrasound had shown a child within me. A life. Would this reveal a death? I was told that diagnostic patients always received their results immediately. There would be no dreaded wait period. The technician left me on the table with my arm over my head. The doctor returned a short while later and I held my breath.

I left the room and silently dressed. I walked through the crowded outer waiting room without meeting anyone’s eyes. I walked through bright sunshine to my car. I called my parents. Then I called my best friend. And a torrent of tears let loose for the first time since that pain had announced itself, carrying with it all of my nightmares and worries and concerns.

I recently took one of those ridiculous applications on Facebook called Death Day. The idea was that if you input your birth year then you would be returned your year of death along with the manner in which you die. Mine said that I would swallow a toothpick and die of peritonitis at the age of 99. That silly app could be right…

My tests were negative.