Learning to Love

* An Introductory Note: My blog contains a blend of fiction and creative non-fiction. When I tell of events specifically involving myself, they really happened to me. Sometimes I blur exact locations and change the names of people involved to protect their anonymity. This particular post involves a real-life person who is very important to me. I’ve hesitated writing it, but I have her express permission to share these events. Names have been changed.friends-friendship-girls-110440
There is a first time for everything. I have mentioned previously that although I am married and the majority of my relationships have been with men, I do have a sexual attraction to women. This is incredibly taboo in the Latter-day Saint world. How did such a thing come to happen to me? I couldn’t tell you.
I have loved boys and men since I was a little girl. My first sexual feelings that I remember identifying as sexual feelings were from Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid. MMMMmm Hmmmm! Especially when he’s lying on the beach, clothes all torn and that perfect black hair all tousled. Have mercy! Actually, the saying Have Mercy reminds me that Uncle Jesse from Full House did it for me too. AND Uncle Joey. I love a funny man. But this post isn’t about my television crushes from the late 80’s. *cough* Jonathan Taylor Thomas *cough* And we won’t even touch N-Sync. For now.
I, of course, thought that girls were pretty, but never really had “feelings” for them. There was an experience that I had in high school that I’ve debated writing about. It was incredibly important to me sexually and helped shape my entire outlook on life. But if I were to tell the story accurately it would involve under-age people and that’s not cool. I’m trying to adapt it so that it happens to adults, but it’s not working so far.
As a missionary in Mexico, I had many companions. I got along with the majority of them. One or two of them I wanted to smother in their sleep or shove in front of a train. But that was rare. One companion outshone them all. Let’s call her Esther. I wrote about her once before. She and I hit it off from the very beginning. We were more than companions, we were best friends. We spent about 8 months together which is quite a long time for any companionship but for sisters, that’s nearly half your mission. Our mission ended when Esther finished her mission and went home. She was from Portland, Oregon and I was from Utah. We promised to stay in touch. And we did for the rest of my mission and even after I got home. This was back in the day before Facebook, so you had to really work to stay in touch with each other. I didn’t even have a cell phone back then, come to think of it. . .
So despite our best efforts we sort of lost touch. I became a student at the University of Utah. One evening there was an ice cream social at the Institute. I went. I was painfully single at the time and back then if you were a returned sister missionary and still single you were in danger of forever spending your life as an old maid. Guys were like parking spots though. All the good ones were taken and the rest were handicapped. *Note (I actually dated a guy who had cerebral palsy for a while. When I speak of handicapped I’m not talking about people like him but rather the guys who are just . . . undatable).
The social went well. I was eating an embarrassingly large amount of mint chocolate chip. My favorite. When all of a sudden I felt someone grab my waist from behind. Needless to say, I freaked out and nearly peed myself. I turned around spewing green ice cream from my mouth only to see Esther standing there! I was shocked! We instantly hugged and started blubbering all over each other. She had moved to Salt Lake City for work. She actually had her degree before she even left on her mission. She was like, a grown up. I was just pretending to be one. The ice cream social was forgotten and we instantly went off together.
It was so nice to reconnect. We became besties all over again. We hung out nearly every day after we both finished work and I finished school. She had her own apartment and I was still living with mom and dad. It didn’t take long for us to move in together as roommates. The apartment was small and along the shadier parts of Salt Lake City, but it was great to be together again. We laughed and made bad food and watched great movies. We both loved good movies. We didn’t have a dog, but every evening we’d walk our imaginary one around the city.
When we’d watch movies we’d sit on the couch. It was our custom to lounge on each other as best friends often do. We were comfortable together, but still had boundaries. It’s not like we were living a porn fantasy and walked around naked all the time having nude pillow fights. No. We had separate bedrooms and shared a bathroom. Man, that bathroom was crappy. The building was over 100 years old and you had to wait for the rust water to run its course before getting in the shower and you had about 23 seconds of hot water. On a good day.
During this time, as we’d watch movies and lounge on each other I noticed that I had developed feelings for Esther, I was just clueless as to what that meant. But it felt like a crush. It was more than friendship. I was giddy to see her every day and I missed her when she went home to visit her family. I was falling in love with her. I thought that it was silly. That of course, I’d love my best friend in the whole world. But my eye began to linger on her hips and eye her butt as she walked across the room. Esther was not blessed in the chest department, but she was still beautiful.
She had long straight brown hair and beautiful golden-brown eyes. Her bottom lip was full and pouty. She always smelled good. Her hips were wide and when she walked, she looked like a fairy. That’s the best way I can describe it. One day she came out to grab some clothes from the laundry and she was only in her garments. Whoever designed sheer skin tight white underwear was a genius! I was staring at her below the waist. I could see the color of her full butt cheeks the light brown tuft of hair between her legs showing through the sheer fabric. I was blushing and my heart was pounding. I was sexually aroused by her. This was the first real time such a thing had happened to me.
I was disturbed by my feelings. Back then, I thought such things were sinful. This plays into shame a great deal. I thought I was sexually degenerate. Not that I thought others were this way, but this was something that had been ingrained in me from my teenage years on. Girls were not supposed to like girls. But at nights, my mind wandered to what it would be like to kiss her lips. As I slipped my hand between my legs to touch myself, visions of Esther would come to my mind. I would imagine that the slick lips I was stroking were hers. When I penetrated myself, in my mind is was Esther I was fingering.
One particular Sunday, I was overcome with guilt. I spent the afternoon crying in my room. I tried not to cry loudly, but the crappy walls of the apartment couldn’t keep out the sound of a fly farting. Esther knocked on my door. I was a wreck. Sweatpants and shirt was my wardrobe, crumpled up tissues were all over my bed. My face was a collection of puffy eyes, tear streaks, and boogers. Esther asked what was wrong. How could I confess? She was a vision of loveliness. She still wore a navy pencil skirt and a white blouse that she had worn to church. I broke down again and cried some more. She declared that this was a level 1 emotional emergency. She helped me up, wrapped me in a fleece blanket and sat me down on our couch. She made me a cup of camomille tea, we loved the “safe teas” we were allowed to drink as Mormons. I already felt less hysterical.
She grabbed a book and sat down next to me and silently read to herself. I had uncontrollable echo sobs. The kind where you’ve stopped crying but the sobs still come. I finished my tea, Esther was giving me space to talk. She never asked me what was wrong. She knew I’d say it in my own time. And I did. Next to the time when I confessed my attraction to women to my husband, this was the bravest thing I’d done. She looked shocked but flattered. I told her how I felt and how guilty I felt about it. We talked for an hour about sex and our attitudes towards it.
She told me how for a long time she wished she’d never had an orgasm before. It left her with a sense of longing and hunger, one she felt guilty for indulging in. She told me that she’d had sex before her mission and regretted that she had regretted it. She only regretted the way it had ended. We watched the movie “Lost in Translation” and held each other. I no longer felt stupid or bad. I felt that she understood me.
I was exhausted from crying as I went to bed that night. The street light outside filled my room with orange light. The light and my exhaustion combined to make sleep difficult. I don’t know how long I lay there, but I heard the door open to my room. I rolled over only to find Esther climbing in my bed. She’d never done this before. I moved over to give her room. We lay on our sides facing each other. I slept in my garments and felt exposed. She smelled so good. It was Esther’s scent. I reached out to touch her my fingertips encountered soft, exposed skin on her side. She was naked. She bit her lip and nodded as if to say, “Yeah, it’s okay.”
She came forward and stopped. Like she wanted a kiss. I moved forward. My heart raced. I put my hand fully on her side. My fingers were cold, but she was warm. She came closer and we intertwined our legs. Hers bare, mine covered in my silky bottoms. My heavy breasts touched her chest. It was a forward-facing spoon. And there . . . we kissed.
I wasn’t sure what I expected, but it was a kiss. That day I learned that a kiss is a human act of intimacy. Kissing her was different, but so is kissing any other person. It wasn’t filthy. It wasn’t tainted. It didn’t feel any more or less immoral that the half-dozen kisses I’d had before. It was heavenly. I removed my underwear and we held each other. Yes, I was deeply aroused. Her body felt amazing next to mine. I’d like to say we made passionate love to each other that night. But we didn’t. That came later. Much later.
It says in 1 Samuel: 18:1 “that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” That night in that bed, Esther and my souls were knit together. We weren’t driven by sex, but it was a part of who we were. We weren’t a lesbian couple. What we had transcended all that.
Why didn’t I marry Esther? Because A) that wasn’t an option back then and B) it wasn’t what our path was. She’s married now and so am I. We see each other often and our love it just as deep as it was then, if not more.
People think that love, romantic love is exclusive of every other type. But if you have children you might understand. When my first daughter was born, I loved her with all my heart. I wasn’t sure that I could love another child. I didn’t see how it was possible. Then I had another daughter. I didn’t stop loving my first, or love her any less. I found that love can be shared. I could love two children differently with as much intensity. Then that expanded to three, then four. Sometimes I struggle to love my son as much as my daughters especially when he pees in the dog food bin. Why do we think that we can only love one person romantically? That’s false. It just is. Love is not exclusive, love is inclusive. It grows, it doesn’t shut out.

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4 thoughts on “Learning to Love

  1. beautiful. I have had a similar experience with a man. I’ll try to write my own story as it comes into my sequence. You have a beautiful way of telling…but I wanted more

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