Our story: First kiss

I had kissed men before. Kissed men who used me; men I used to try to convince myself that I wasn’t gay. I had never kissed with love or passion, or even the hope of love or passion.

She had kissed men before. Men had kissed her with passion. She had kissed some of them with affection.

Neither of us had ever kissed a woman.

My life is now divided between before and after.

I remember the last moment before, in precise clarity. The brilliance of the sun and the sharpness of our shadows. The color of the sky. The little clouds. The scent of the trees and the wildflowers and the earth, the thyme soap on her skin and the scent of her hair. The dry mountain heat and the little breeze. The race of a cicada and the call of a lark.

Then time stopped. At the break of her lips.

How long? It’s meaningless: Time stopped.

It was glorious. Glorious beyond my wildest imagining. It was sweet and tender and then playful and then wild and chaotic and terrifying, until she drained all the life out of me and I drained all the life out of her.

I remember the moment after, remember it as vividly as I remember the moment before. The same sun, the same shadows, the same sky, the same clouds, the same scents, the same heat, the same breeze, the same cicada and lark.

But we were changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. Everything was changed.

We stood, arms around each other, heads on each other’s shoulders. Her breath was coming in short gasps.

When her breath finally evened, she said,

“Do you know you’re vibrating? I don’t know if it’s humming or purring.”

My story: Teenage

I was in Seattle, on the street with my mother. I was in junior high school. I had always admired women.

We saw two ordinary, well dressed women holding hands as they walked down the street. They stopped, kissed each other – chastely but affectionately – and separated with a wave and a laugh. Something I had seen thousands of times between married couples. A tableau of real affection, of love.

My mother said, in disgust, “Lesbians.”

Then I knew what I was. My heart went out to them, even as I knew that they were damned.

It wrenched me to the core. These were ordinary women. They weren’t strange or depraved. They were just like my mother. Except that they were in love. With each other.

And what of me? I had that same feeling for women; was I objectively disordered?  Was I in sin?

To prove to myself that I was not a pervert, I forced my virginity on a boy. It was quick, sordid and painful. Everything about it was disgusting. I was sick with myself for days.

I became a slut in the hope that I might be converted from my shameful inclination.

I became isolated.

I could not bear to be with girls. Girls did not want to be with me, a slut.

Boys didn’t want to be seen with me. They did want to be with me, unseen.

Everything about sex disgusted me. It had no meaning for them; its only meaning for me was degradation. I loathed it even as I went back to it, again and again, trying to exorcise the other depravity.

I threw myself into school work. I graduated at the top of my class. My first-choice university accepted me to its honors engineering program.