She's Making Me Nervous
I get her to go out with me. Her name is Ellen. It's been a long time since I went out with a girl and it's a first for me to gain a date by requesting it in such an adult, formalised format.
I drive into work and pay a million dollars for the parking. And I think of nothing but her face all day. Afterwards, I pick her up from the library. I tried to wear an ambiguous outfit to work so I didn't have to change for dinner, but now I feel regret because I missed the mark and I look like an 80s movie extra. When she gets in the car, she tells me I look beautiful straight away. She hugs me across the way and she’s warm. We go to a Lebanese restaurant, so I order for us and she eats an amazing amount.
We talk for hours. Usually, I like to leave a restaurant straight after eating; I get bugs inside sitting about after I'm done. But with her, it's all on its head. I can't remember how much I tell her, but it feels like everything. She's a good listener. And so am I. We both hear one another. I haven't been heard since my ex-boyfriend, in the beginning part. She tells me she’s got five brothers and they’re all younger than her. And she doesn't have a mum. All she knows is her name is Loretta, and she was 8 when she left for groceries and never came back. And her dad’s very religious and they disagree a lot, but she's dead set on staying to see every one of her brothers finish the HSC. Not far off. She's 25 and her youngest brother is going into his final year now.
Ellen is incredibly smart. She has a master’s degree in English literature. It’s evident her skills in analysis complicate all her thoughts. Sometimes she’ll be chewing on something I've told her, and she'll go silent a while and I just let her go and smile and giggle and she's like oh sorry! And then she comes back, and we keep on. Talking all night.
We take a walk through the botanic gardens. She asks … are you a lesbian. And I tell her… I fall in love with anyone, and I fall in love a lot. My feelings and attractions are based on expressions more than physical traits. I adore kindness. And there's something in me that likes people who are in relationships already. I like that they have love. It amplifies what I see and feel. I can never be monogamous. I’ve tried. I don't know how I manage to summarise it all so neatly. I never have before, especially not to myself. She digs it. It sounds like you’re free, she nods. But I feel like I'm in a prison. No one wants to love someone who is a slut. Her eyes blink twice when I say that word. She sees something hard now, looking at me. But I’m soft again and I tell her… I can't be anything else. It doesn't matter how much I love someone. It doesn't fill up like a cup. I don't know what’s broken in me. I can't work it into the way of the world.
After a long pause, she tells me she's simply a lesbian. She has male friends but has never desired to be sexual with a man. She spent time with a trans woman once and that’s how her body found out about penetration. I'm very interested, because a trans woman I went with in my teens told me they don't use their dicks that way. And we’re both kind of learning and nodding again, and the tense feeling has passed. And we’re down at the water and it’s freezing. She wraps me in her jacket, and I look down to meet her eyes. She’s so much shorter than I am. She's much warmer too. She’s making me nervous.
A master's graduate in Psychology and Neuroscience, currently working in cancer research. Writing creatively sets me free.