It’s been awhile since we caught up with “The Late Life Lesbian Diaries,” so here is part four of this feature written by RM, a later-in-life lesbian embarking on a new, long-distance relationship. To catch up, here is part one, part two, and part three.
Ten facts about BG, one is a lie. This is the list I start my day with, my quest is to figure out which one is not true. I had plans to leave the apartment for some spontaneous exploration, but it was Sunday and I was in no hurry. I knew she played golf, so that one is true. I really hope her favorite season being autumn is true, yet another beautiful match of the little things we love. A woman who has recently discovered her gayness can probably fix most things around the house. I’ll call that true. Still in bed, I snap a pic and send it to answer her asking if I had left on my explorations yet. Why I use this tool of sexuality so readily, I’m not sure. The list of ten and the get to know you questions warm my heart and creates an intimacy that has nothing to do with sex. Yet, here I am showing my sensual side, redirecting her, and the conversation. Again. I send a message apologizing, in my light-hearted way and then one message in return awakens every nerve in my body.
“Actually, I wanted to ask you something…My family is going away for 8 days in late September and I will be here all by myself. Is there any chance you could come and visit?”
My breath stops for a moment, my head drops back and I laugh. Do I tell her that just minutes before I was checking airfares to Australia and devising reasons to visit her country? I had been looking at tour dates for a favorite band that I knew would be in Australia in the next few months.
I am no longer in a rush to head out, a new adventure has been thrown at me and I am shaking. We talk about airfares we had both found, even before the question was asked. I contemplated work and getting time off. She sent the dates her family would be away.
“OMG OMG OMG. I’m all tingly and excited,” I say. She is in the same state. This isn’t a trip across town for a coffee, or even a cross-country trip for a quick weekend. This is 9,000 miles, across the world’s largest ocean, for a week.
Can she ride a horse? She grew up on a farm, so I’ll mark that one as true too.
It’s a lot of money and a credit card with a rising balance is the only way to pay for it, but then she says she is willing to help with the ticket. The conversation continues with the logistics of the whole thing, I never once say the words, “yes, I’ll come to Australia,” we continue on with the planning.
“Step 1 – determine how much PTO I have at work… Step 2 – put in for the time off… Step 3 – Say FUCK IT! and have an adventure… Wait, let’s make Step 3, Step ONE!! :-D”
A life of adventure, a life where I can get up and go whenever and wherever I want. I realize this is a dream state, one that is achievable, but not easy. As I get older, I feel more and more confident that I can one day get there. And it starts today, with a pounding heart.
I have enough hours for a week off, a week off from a job I’m not in love with. Am I in love with her? It’s been a week, not even a week. Five days. I cannot love her already, I shake my head and attempt to come back to reality. My heart is playing tricks on me, that’s all. It’s new, it’s exciting. It’s nothing, nothing at all. Nothing but a mind fuck.
Eh, fuck it, it’s adventure time!
I pull up a picture of her and stare into her blue eyes and imagine running my fingers through her curls. The list floats back into my brain, #1 fact, her nickname is Curl, I’ll take that as true. Fact #9 says she is 5’5”, I’m hoping that is true and I begin to imagine kissing her, our heights matching up perfectly.
“That’s my girl,” and I’m brought back to our conversation. I’m her girl? Does that mean she’s my girl? Do I have my first girlfriend? Five days woman, snap out of it. It’s been five days.
She says what I’ve been thinking, “What is the worst thing that could happen?” Fuck. Have I told her yet that I tend to be fatalistic? That I have a knack for producing the worst possible scenarios?
“We could have no chemistry in person and get on each other’s nerves. That’s my fear…” Her easy rationale pulls me deeper. “Well, I think I am a pretty easy person to get along with. And if there is no physical chemistry, I still get to show you around my beautiful city! Please, no pressure. Honestly, I really like you as a friend, so if there is no physical spark, I am ok with that.”
It was Eleanor Roosevelt that said, “Do one thing everyday that scares you.” Fear keeps us in our comfort zone. My comfort zone is larger than many people’s, but smaller than I’d like it to be. Then BG asks a question that perhaps seals our fate…”I am up for an adventure if you are???”
The chatter turns back to logistics, but I find myself restless, it’s time to embark on my planned mini-adventure. Ferry rides and exploring the Kitsap peninsula of Washington. I take BG along with me. On her list of facts, I narrow the false one down to either dinner with a former Prime Minister of Australia or that she can play the saxophone. I played alto sax in high school, so I ask her type of sax she played. I may have misspelled sax.
“You got it in one! I don’t play the sax. Sex on the other hand…” And we are back to our familiar spot.
I take her along on my walk and as the trail stretched out in front of me, my mind wandered into a future that can only be imagined. My left hand reaches out and grabs her hand. I can feel her soft skin against mine.
As the sun begins to fall behind the Olympic Mountains, I find a spot on the ferry deck where I can watch the Seattle skyline turn golden. Two men near me snuggle together against the wind and a young man on the other side of me glances sourly at them. I inch closer to the two men. Close enough to say “I’m with you,” but still far enough to give them space. I rub my hands together, stuff them in the pocket of my hoodie and smile inwardly at what I know to be true. I want what they have.
My own list of ten things (one false) begins to form in my mind and once home, it is her turn to determine what I am lying about. She makes a quick guess (wrong) but wants to know the story behind “I once ‘broke the lesbian.’”
After the disappointing reveal that I in fact, never was the putt putt golf champion of Nashville, I fill her in on the details of my first time with a woman. The story prompts discussion of techniques, equipment, and personal interests. The all-female cast in this new relationship we are embarking on is novel to us both. What we have learned through the stories of other women is that everything is different than what we are used to with men. Sex and intimacy is a shared experience, one clothed in laughter, communication, and trust. Before our skin has touched, we are laying the foundation of our first intimate experience. Fear of the unknown begins to dissipate and I crave every unknown bit of her.
We turn back to the less intimate, food, a desire right below sex. Or perhaps even above sex, we’re still ironing out that one.
(As I write this at a much more distant time in our relationship, I can tell you, we are still ironing out which one is more important to us.)
Food, Melbourne’s gayborhoods and the Victoria Market occupy our time until it comes time for me to sleep. My nights become later and later, as I wish to hold on to her as long as possible. I delay the inevitable and pester her with chatter of birthdays and questions regarding how much her kids know of her new life. “Good things come to those who wait…” “We’re in our mid-40’s, haven’t we waited long enough?!” She has to drive her son to soccer training, so I am forced to concede and retire. Until tomorrow…
An early morning check of my phone reveals a poem sent after I went to sleep and I crawl back into the warmth of my bed, and take her with me.