Male, 19, Canada
I went to an all-boys high school and was kept pretty busy with sports and outside pursuits, so I arrived at college having never even kissed a girl. It was college orientation day when I met her. We were standing in line waiting, and rather than just remaining silent I figured: why not speak with this beautiful girl standing right next to me. Let’s call her Sarah.
We spent the afternoon together. She was 23, I was 18. She had seen the world, been there, and done that on any number of topics. Needless to say, this difference in experience didn’t stop me from running down a road I thought would lead to a relationship, when she clearly saw me as just a friend. I was young, naive, and had a lot to learn. We met for coffee as we often did one cold, wet night, and my perspective was reoriented.
I asked: “I’m never going to be more than a friend to you am I…”
She spoke into the quiet, damp night:
“Don’t be one of those guys”.
“I can always use another friend” I replied, trying to hide my bruised ego.
I’d never really been rejected before.
She was right. I moved on. We still went for coffee most every week, but it was strictly platonic.
We parted ways for the summer, and I found myself in a relationship, not a great one, and it only lasted the summer.
I arrived back in my college town once the summer had ended. Sarah had invited me over to show me her new place and shoot the shit as we had in the past. She had just ended a relationship, and I had too. Naturally we talked about that. Then we started delving into the risqué, a topic we’d never spoken about at great length. That shy, prudish restraint I had before had vanished. She shared details of her experiences; we talked about sex, masturbation, life.
Our conversations actually had substance, something that was lacking last year. I told her things I’ve never uttered to another soul. Suddenly there were convuluted moments where things felt slightly off. Drunken texts trying to convey a distant moment, parting ways but feeling as if I was dancing a dance and I’d just missed my cue.
It all came to a head this one weekend in November. Sarah, her brother, her brother’s girlfriend, and I were in town and we had gone drinking. In our drunken stupor, we had managed to divide our group, leaving Sarah and I alone, sitting at the base of a tree. She broke the silence.
“You like me, don’t you?”
I thought of moments past. Walking through the darkness recalling conversations where her words were my thoughts just a second before they left her lips.
“Yeah, I do.”
We stumbled home and fatigue set in. I had settled in upon a couch in the small basement suite. Her brother and his girlfriend had already passed out beside me on an air mattress.
“You can stay on the couch or sleep in my bed, but underneath a different blanket,” she said.
It didn’t take a genius to figure that decision out.
Within five minutes we were kissing.
Knowing who lay in the room beside, she led me, in the cover of darkness, from the bed, through the kitchen, and behind the only door we could close. Drunken logic had allowed me to get this far, but how much, I knew, was dubious. We fucked drunkenly. I couldn’t even make her out in the pitch black. I slowly gained a better sense of what was going on, a more developed feeling than simply eeriness. I lost my hard-on. It was for the best.
In that moment I thought I had everything I had hoped for. I kissed her, but it was one-sided affair. We made our way back to her bed. We didn’t cuddle that night. An attempt to hold a hand was left unanswered.
We didn’t speak about it in the morning, but a week later, the silence was breached. She didn’t want anything more than friendship from me. We parted ways for winter break. I went to New York and all the while wished I was strolling the streets with her hand in mine.
I never knew what it felt like to be in love, I always wondered. Now I know.
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