The last year of Catholic high school, we decided to bypass the rumours and just fuck.
Why not? The running joke of the track team was that we were sneaking behind the bleachers during practice to make out. We both had short hair, so we were lesbians, and we were friends, so we were girlfriends. At least this way, we wouldn’t be virgins at university.
We waited ’til summer, a night when my parents were out of town. We sat on my brother’s beat-up futon. We were making out and then we were shirtless, braless, and she was sucking the underside of my breasts. I was pretending to like it — or really liking it, I couldn’t tell. I had never liked my chest before, but this was pretty nice. I had given her hickies every half-inch below the neck-line.
“We should do this somewhere more comfortable,” she said. I closed the curtains and we moved to the bed.
We were down to our underwear. “Now what?”
“Well,” she said. “We might need a towel, because I squirt. And some music.”
She put on Fall Out Boy, but before we had even really gotten on the bed she stopped and changed the song. Then changed the song twice more.
“Any song we listen to is gonna be the song playing the first time we had sex. That’s a high bar. Got any ideas?”
I didn’t. She didn’t either.
For a long moment, we sat in silence. She couldn’t find the right song. There was a growing pit in the bottom of my stomach that said maybe I don’t want to do this. She was biting her nails. She said, “Want to get dinner?”
So we went for dinner: Cheesecake Factory. Cheesecake Factory had seemed so fancy when I was younger, but now it felt like nausea — the shame I couldn’t quite contain. Had the gold walls always been so garish? Had the waiters always been so stiff, the menu so laminated?
We both ordered ice cream, which made my stomach more upset, and it felt like a sign. Why couldn’t I just have sex like everyone else in our high school already had? Didn’t I want it? Wasn’t I normal?
I knew she was feeling the same shame. That inherent fault that came with bodies, with wanting and being wanted. And what was wrong with wanting? There weren’t any bodies like ours, not in any histories we knew, not in any sermon we’d heard.
So what if we fucked?
So what if we didn’t fuck?
This was something entirely platonic and new, a history of hands that knew to stop when neither of us could say it. We had nothing to be ashamed of, not our bodies, not our bodies’ desire.