I hid this for years. It's a story of long summer days, bicycle rides, popsicles and swimming pools. It is the smell of bubblegum chapstick and chlorine and salt on my skin. It is the dappled sunlight on the porch and the scratchy inside of my Rainbow Brite sleeping bag. It is about her, the first Her.
She was my best childhood friend. We ran with a pack of neighborhood girls, but she and I seemed to spend most of our time by ourselves. We went to the same grade school. We carpooled to school together, snickering in the backseat about some inside joke or another. We went to the same church. We wore identical white dresses on Sunday mornings. We colored in our Sunday School bulletins together.
It is also a story of sexual awakening, and of hidden desires, and of shame. It is a story of stolen glances, the dark corner of the basement playroom, and that secret that we never spoke about, not even between ourselves.
I don't remember when we started being more than friends, or when it became part of our play to touch each other in those places that we knew were wrong to touch. I don't remember how it came to be that we understood what that wetness meant or why our bodies convulsed when we touched. I don't know how it ended or why. I don't know why it was so wrong. But it was. We were so young.
I had my first orgasm with her. I didn't know what it was at the time, but I remember it as clearly as I remember anything in my life. I remember the sleeping bags on the floor next to her bed, I remember the way the floor creaked quietly as I climbed on top of her. I remember feeling aggressive and too forward and behaving unlike a good little girl should behave. I remember feeling like something was wrong with me, that I was put together the wrong way.
"I think you're truly bisexual, Kitten. That's what this story tells me. There's nothing wrong with you. You were just made this way and that is okay. You weren't wrong to experiment with her. It wasn't wrong. Do you accept that?"
I don't know. It was hidden for a reason. It was a secret for a reason. I knew then what it meant to be gay and in my family, that was unacceptable. It meant that you had sexual urges. It meant that there was something impure inside you.
I felt the guilt as I passed her in the hallway at the high school. We were no longer friends. Our high school was large and we were in different social circles. But I caught her eye once and I saw that shame there. She knew what had happened between us, even if she couldn't talk about it. I didn't blame her; I carried my shame on the inside too.
"Kitten, you have to let this go. You can't feel ashamed anymore. I love you and accept you for everything that you are. Have I judged you for anything that you've told me?"
I had to let it go. It was over, long over. But it didn't have to be negative. I could still hold on to those things she taught me, those lazy afternoons we spent kissing in my bedroom, the feel of her small nipples under my fingers. I could smile at our innocence and our sense of discovery. I could hold on to the the feeling of kissing her goodbye at the side door as her mother called her home for dinner.
"No secrets between us, Kitten. There can be nothing that you don't share with me. Tell me everything."