love, life, and the pursuit of liberation
I think Dee Rees invaded my brain and stole my memories when she wrote Lee’s first time scene in Pariah.
My first time was beautiful. Let me share, but first, a sidenote– I am a “gold star” (L word reference) and have only been with women. Okay back to the story.
I had just turned 19 the week before and was madly in love with a friend. I had been crushing on her for an entire year (read my entire freshman year diary or ask ANY of my friends. They can surely testify.) But I thought this was totally one-sided. Even though she made me mix tapes, and we talked on the phone incessantly all summer (this was before cell phones and my mom got to her know her very well because she called so often), and even though she agreed to go into our housing lottery though she was a year older, I thought this was just her being nice.
I remember she got me a really sweet birthday gift that showed she listened to what I liked– Beavis and Butthead refrigerator word magnets and a Winnie the Pooh card. She conspired with my friends to decorate my dorm room with candy and balloons while I was at dinner, and I was beyond in love. Again, I thought this one sided, as she spent my birthday weekend at another girl’s house, and I tried to pretend that it didn’t sting.
I don’t quite remember how it started, but over that next week I started spending the night in her room, in her bed, though my room was literally next door. I think it started because we stayed up late one night studying and laughing, and I dozed off. Then the next night, we were up again late and we didn’t want to acknowledge that I should perhaps go back to my room. And this falling asleep trend just continued for several days. I think we each ended up dropping our 9 am class. It wasn’t conducive to our going to sleep around 3am pattern.
Still, I thought this romance was all in my head.
The night IT happened, we gave up pretending to study. We were listening to music (she had an EXTENSIVE) collection, and she was playing Bob Marley selections that she thought I should know– stuff that wasn’t on the popular Legends album. That morphed into MeShell Ndegeocello at some point. I kick myself that I can’t remember the song anymore. We were sharing a pillow on the extra long twin that only colleges provide, and I remember our hands were above our heads and slightly touching. I don’t remember the conversation, but I do remember wondering if she was aware that our hands were touching. She got up to change the CD and even though that process probably lasted no more than 30 seconds, I remember my mind racing about how she was going to position herself when she got back in the bed.
She got back in and put her hand back in mine. So it wasn’t just me..
The random blabbering continued, but our faces started to turn to each other. I kissed her on her cheek, then her mouth, and then I was mounting her. Somehow I knew what to do. She didn’t believe me afterwards that it was my first time.
Needless to say, we didn’t sleep that night either. I remember trying to sneak back to my room, underwear in hand and my other bff’s catching me. The look on my face, the marks on my neck, and the disheveled hair said it all.
That day was awkward, not knowing if that night had meant anything, if there was an “us.” We did end up in a relationship together, and after tumultuous months, realized that friendship was much better for us, and that’s what we’ve remained for 14 years.
But that first time still holds a place in my heart.