This weekend, I’m heading to the Pocono Mountains for a birthday party being thrown by one of my friends from college.
She’s footing the bill for food and lodging at a fancy resort for 100 of her closest friends and family members. Note: College chum majored in industrial engineering. And here I am typing up this blog entry in my PJs. Can you say liberal arts degree?
The upcoming weekend got me thinking about the good ol’ days. You know, cheap beer, cheap dates and more cheap beer.
For some reason, I can never think about those days without recalling three incidents in which I was smacked in the face with my budding lesbianism.
ONE. The first incident took place in the dorms, so I was a freshman or sophomore. My roommate, who became my best friend, played the Kate to my Allie. Or, vice versa. I’m not sure if the better softball player was Kate or Allie.
Anyway, I’m guessing this happened on a Sunday morning. We had probably just come back from a Sunday morning dining hall brunch of reconstituted scrambled eggs, doughnuts and chocolate milk. Chocolate milk is hangover antivenom, if you didn’t know. I most likely played REM’s Superman a million times in a row.
You don’t really love that guy you make it with now do you?
I know you don’t love that guy ’cause I can see right through you.
At some point we laid on her bed and talked. Boys. Parents. The party last night. Classes. The annoying girls next door. Grades. Religion. God, we could talk for days.
I fell asleep.
And woke with a start.
It was one of those dreams that was so real. Did we or didn’t we? I looked down. I had my clothes on. But, we were just naked and going at it like, well, a couple of lustful co-eds. Bare skin and curves and entwined limbs. The taste of her mouth. It was all so real.
I wasn’t sure what to say. Where would we go from here?
“What happened?” I managed.
She was at her desk with a book in hand.
“Oh, you fell asleep,” she said. “I’ve been studying.”
I tried to wrap my brain around the fact that it was all a dream. It was just like that season-ending cliffhanger in Dallas. But it really wasn’t because this was my life.
I felt a huge sense of relief. I wasn’t ready for girl-on-girl anything. Not even in my dreams. I told myself that such a thing — a longing, a desire, one simple thought — could never happen again.
That was the last Sapphic dream that I had until I hit my 30s. Talk about self-discipline.
TWO. The next incident took place in a back alley in town. Calder Way. This would have been my junior or senior year. Technically, senior year number one or senior year the first as I was on the five-year plan.
It was a cool day. Late fall or early winter. A group of us were huddled outside a store. I was laser-focused on a tight ass in a pair of Calvin Kleins across the street.
“Do you think you can stare at that girl’s ass any harder?” my friend asked.
“I was looking at that,” I said, pointing to lord knows what. A store window, a stop sign, a rock, a piece of lint, any-fucking-thing besides that perfect ass.
Shit. Shit. Shit.
That was all that was said. The subject was dropped. When I bring it up now, my friend says she doesn’t remember.
The memory is seared in my brain, though. “It’s not safe to go there,” I told myself. “Not safe, not safe, not safe.” I didn’t even know where “there” was. Or, how you got “there.” Or, what you did when you were “there.” The only thing I knew for sure was that I couldn’t let my guard down, not even for one second on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
THREE. I’ve graduated but have come back to visit a friend at college. A bunch of us are getting together for a night of partying.
I had just lost a lot of weight. I show up wearing a pair of brand new black button-fly Levi’s, black Nikes and a satin jacket emblazoned with our university’s name and logo.
“Are you sure you’re not a lesbian?” my friend asks.
I protest way too much.
* * *
Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to be out at college. To go to the gay bar and make out with girls. Lots of girls. A different one every night of the week. To try them on like the Benetton sweaters that we loved so much back in the day.
I know now that I wasn’t ready for any of that. It’s not that my friends weren’t. It’s that I wasn’t.
My 18-year-old head would have probably exploded. And, that would have gotten me a big bag of nothing.
So, this weekend, we’ll all sit around and tell stories from the day. “Good times,” we’ll say.
And, I’ll recall the ones that resonate so deeply with me and be thankful for the simple fact that I can finally be out amongst friends.