The first week of my sophomore year of college, a cute blonde sat near me at lunch, and mentioned being adopted.
–Well. I was adopted, too.
–Really? I’m Lisa and I’m new here.
That’s how it all started. Lisa 2 had seen me in a play the previous spring, found out information about me from my friends, and arranged the accidental meeting. It was love at first sight.
Lisa 2 and I spent weekends at her (wealthy) parents’, tried hard to get drunk one night, watched Fame and Cabaret a thousand times. Her roommate moved out, and I moved in. I watched the way her eye lashes almost closed as she studied intently. I had protective feelings I’d never had before: I would go to law school, I decided, to be able to support her in the way she was accustomed.
We never touched touched. We had every meal together for a year, and never held hands. We had bunk beds, and she would climb up to me in the top bunk and burrow her head into my neck holding each other until I drifted off to sleep. Then she’d move down to her bunk. I couldn’t imagine my life without her, having had such beauty, humor, those eyes looking at me with love and acceptance. She was heaven.
Summer came and went, and we drifted apart. I don’t know why. I went to the university, and came back to see Lisa at the Lutheran college. I told her I loved her in that way, and she was shocked and appalled that I would sully our friendship in such a disgusting fashion. Thirty years later, she’s a lesbian, as were most of my friends from that little Lutheran college. Lisa and I reconnected, and recently met for coffee. I remembered all the reasons I loved and wanted to protect her.
At the university, I soon decided to seduce my English professor, Mack. This time, I was the pursuer, and I analyzed his desires. Hippy. Intellectual. Deep. Naïve. I gave him my poetry, but not my phone number and my trap was set: He would be thinking of me all weekend before we met the following week, with no way to contact me. I came to class late, with my guitar. I stayed after class, and he asked me out.
I became overwhelmed by the pursuit, by being something, someone desirable and worldly. I was more naïve even than I pretended to be. Making love in a real bed in a real house affected me deeply. I felt some necessity of loving Mack if I were to sleep with him. I soon had hallucinations that blew apart my mind; scenes of molestations from years before played back in my mind in psychotic colors and sounds. Mack would touch me, and, as if in an echo, I could feel Seth and all the others touching me. At first, I tried to cover this up, pretending I was shy. But before long, I was hugging my knees, teeth chattering, stuck in a horror of repetition.
Mack found this all very moving. I watched his face, a mass of cross-hatched wrinkles, and felt I loved him. I was shattered when he finally left me. But that crash was just the delayed reaction of losing Lisa 2, I think. An appropriate time for that grief to finally be released. Maybe that’s too complex an analysis. I don’t know.