The first time I kissed a girl my eyes were wide open. It had been a long time coming and I was surprised it had taken as long as it did. The bland disappointment that followed, however, I did not expect. It was not a major anti-climax or steep decline to nothingness but rather a sense of: “oh…ok”.

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It all started with baggy pants and hip hop music. Shaggy hair, bitten nails a deep voice and a pair of converse sneakers were enough to convince all those around me that a boyfriend was out of the question. My choosing comfort over style was apparently an encrypted statement of homosexuality. I was a seventeen year old girl who smoked weed and listened to the Wu-Tang Clan and so was of no interest to the boys at my brother school, even more insulting was the fact that they were mediocre looking. Not one of them was strapping with broad shoulders and dreamy eyes, instead they were skinny with disproportionate rear ends and un-kept hair. So when one evening a new and incredibly attractive girl came into my room, closed her eyes and leaned in…I leaned in too…eyes wide open. I had been kissed by a girl once before, but this was the first time that I had ever kissed back. My eyes scanned the room as I waited for the time to stand still and for us to be thrown into a dizzying lust only to be jerked back to reality by the sound of the “lights out” bell. None of this happened.

One of my closest friends was lesbian and she was having the time of her life. She didn’t walk into spaces and constantly feel awkward and underdressed or any of the other symptoms of social retardation that burdened me. She took what she wanted and I admired that. I wanted that. So I kissed back. I was not sure if this girl was what I wanted but I decided to take her just in case. It was only after I watched her leave my room, her walking on air and me stead fast on the ground, that I came to realise what it meant to succumb to pressure. Here I was, awkwardly groping some confused young girl who had probably mistaken her own admiration for lust. I knew that if she turned around and came back into my room I would do it again, but I was not sure why. I was a senior and she was a junior but we were both just kids.

It was done.

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She came into my room often and I let things happen. I let her straddle me and pine over me. I let her send me letters and tell her friends and all the while I felt nothing. Every time I heard her knock on my door I took on the duty of groping and kissing, teasing and whispering things I had heard on TV, it was awkward. She began to pick up on the chill I was giving off and sought comfort elsewhere…I felt no particular way about that either. It was when another young girl came to my room seeking some of what “old girl” had got that I realised that the charade had become exhausting.  I realised that I owed my first girlfriend an apology.

I used her. I wanted to be wanted. I needed to be needed. I longed for someone to look at me and struggle to catch their breath, for them to toss and turn at night, all but begging the sun to rise so that they could see me again. I wanted someone to feel sick at the thought of losing me and though she was the person who felt that way…she was not the person I wanted to feel that way.

I was in a parallel universe where people pretended to be gay to fit in and be wanted. I now recognize that as a symptom of a society that shames those who travel alone. Apparently we all need someone to confirm our existence. So rather than an apology, I think I owe my first girlfriend a thank you. There is no shame in being alone and I learnt that in her arms.

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