The first time I realised that I liked girls.

I was 21. The person who I told was me, at first.

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I was working at a bureau de change in the middle of town. It was pretty much the most thankless job I’d ever had: the money was filthy and the clients were rude. But it was also the easiest job I’d ever had, and I wasn’t really in a demanding-job state of mind at the time. But that’s another story. The point is, I wasn’t in a position to complain.

All the counters faced outside, and from my chair, I could see the fountain outside where people often enjoyed their lunch, or just soaked up some sun during their smoke breaks. I was the only person on duty during the lunch hour, and there were no customers around, so I was people-watching to pass the time.

Two girls sat down on the ledge of the fountain outside. They were both obviously tourists. One of them was a tall blonde with the palest skin I had ever seen. Others probably would have said that here was nothing particularly special about her, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. I have no idea what the other girl looked like, she could have been on fire and I wouldn’t have noticed. The blonde girl tipped her head back to enjoy the sun, and I remember thinking, I want to kiss her right now.

And as soon as I thought that, it was like someone had kicked me in the chest. I couldn’t breathe, all I could think was, I want to kiss that person. That person is a girl. I want to kiss that girl. I am also a girl. I wanted to laugh and cry and throw up. But most of all, I wanted to tell someone else. It felt like if I didn’t tell someone, it wasn’t real. And this was the realest thought I had had in a long time.

I sent one of my closest friends a 500 word email on my phone, and then I sat and waited. I thought the world would change somehow. But my colleagues were still in the break room behind me, people still came in with their money, it was still so dirty that I wanted to scrub my whole body. But I could feel it. Everything was different.

My friend replied almost immediately, despite it being pretty late where she was. And she said it was ok. I didn’t even know that I was asking if it was ok until she told me it was.

Today, I had another of those moments. I wanted to kiss another woman so much that I ached with it. This time, I didn’t need anyone to tell me that it was ok.

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