I never thought it could be good.
For a long while, up to and including coming out to Iris, I was just resigned to the idea that my life was shit. That I had inherited a bunch of anxiety problems from Ellie, and my sexuality - or her sexuality, or our sexuality - compounded those. I felt awful all the time, didn't sleep well, stressed out and broke down time and again over stupid shit, shit that I know in the long run doesn't mean anything, but... yeah. It got to me. It was practically neverending, and trust me, the last thing I wanted to be was a fucking sob story.
Things didn't change after I came out. There was still finals, and graduation, and the vague feeling that people knew and judged me. I asked Emily if people were talking, and she said no. I asked if she had any plans, and she said yeah: she was going back to the Inn.
That hurt a bit. When I was a guy, she was my girlfriend, and I never really got over the guilt of letting her come to Maine with me. What's more, even though we haven't really seen eye to eye all the time since we transformed, I've still relied on her as a friend and confidante. Our relationship has been strained though, because after I admitted to the blog that I was into girls, she took it to mean that I still had feelings for her, and she went out of her way to make it clear that was not in the cards. I didn't say that's what I wanted, and I guess I'd be lying if I said I never imagined... but no, that wouldn't work anyway.
I questioned her decision to go back to the inn, rolling the dice to get a new body, and give Emily's body to someone else, and she reasoned that it was the perfect opportunity. She did the legwork of finishing high school for Emily, and now whoever got the body next wouldn't be tied to any place or life decision. Independence. I had to admit, it was a smart call. And then she said something that made me think twice.
"Do you want to be Emily?"
She's going to the Inn on the last week of the summer, basically leaving Emily's body in limbo all winter. Imagine that. This time next year I could be her. There are certain upsides to that. Emily is more conventionally attractive than Ellie, I would say (though I think I look fine.) Her family still has money, and seems to love and support her. There's also that freedom she was mentioning. And there's the nice big bonus of: she's straight, with no anxiety problems that I know about. I could have such an easy time as her.
But is that what I want for myself? Listen, whoever you are. reading this, I assume you're comfortable in your life. You know it could always be better, but you would think twice before taking that deal, wouldn't you?
In the end, it's not about being gay or straight, it's about taking a way out. I've been with girls, I've been with guys, I've been on both sides. At one point in my life as Ellie I probably would've loved to simplify it again. I remember Fletcher telling me that he had gone back and forth so many times that his sexuality was just a big blur. I'm not at that point and I don't know that I would ever be. There's been points, as Ellie, when I thought I would never be with anyone again. If being Emily meant I could go back and feel something familiar, I would really, truly consider it.
But that's not the whole story.
It was prom night. I convinced Iris to go, even though she's not the most social creature. I spent the whole night keeping her company, and I didn't mind. We're pals. I've spent a lot of time wrapped up in my own shit that it was good to get out and enjoy things, and to have her with me.
We went to an after party, there were drinks. Iris is kind of a lightweight, and before long she was feeling ill, so I walked her home. I had my arm threaded through hers to keep her steady. We got to her house, and she said, "My parents aren't home, mind coming in for a sec?" Sure, of course.
We got in the door. She removed her heels and wrapped her arm around me, gave me a big hug, and said "Ellie... there's something..."
And she didn't finish the thought. She just began kissing me, first on the cheek, then on the lips. It took me a second to get over the shock and pull away.
She seemed confused. "What do you... you... you like girls, don't you?"
"I do, I do," I reminded her, "But I just... I never thought of... doing that."
"I have," she said. "When I first thought maybe you were into girls, I thought maybe... I mean, I hoped it meant you were thinking about it. Then when you told me, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since."
"You're gay?" I said in shock.
"Yes!" she said, drunkenly slurring her words, "I'm sorry I didn't tell you then, I thought... I thought maybe you knew and that's why you were telling me. I couldn't handle it if you rejected me, though."
The idea had never crossed my mind. I guess I need to work on my gaydar.
She looked like she was going to cry, so I sat next to her and said "Just give me a minute, okay, this really surprised me."
"I'm so sorry, I shouldn't have done anything, forget it, you don't have to..."
"No, Iris, just wait," I said. "You're my best friend. And I just had no idea."
"If you don't want to ruin the friendship, I understand."
"Well," I said, "What's done is done..."
Then I wrapped my arm around her and pressed my lips to hers. I haven't kissed someone, really kissed them, in a very long time, especially not someone I liked that much. It was like a light went on, I swear.We kissed, then took a break, then kissed some more, then fell asleep on the couch in each others' arms.
When she woke up, she rolled over and looked at me. "I never thought I'd actually lose my virginity on prom night."
I laughed and kissed her, "You hardly lost your virginity."
"Well, when does a lesbian lose her virginity then?"
"I don't know," I admitted, "Guess we have a lot to learn."
"Well, I look forward to it."
Since then, I've wondered if maybe it was a mistake. Maybe, as much as I liked
Iris as a friend, maybe certain other aspects of our personalities
might prove incompatable. I don't know, maybe I'm overthinking it... but
we took this leap and I intend to see it out. I'm tired to stifling
It's just that sometimes I forget that Iris and I aren't really the same age. Whenever I find myself giving in and having fun with her, I remember that my experience is way, way, way beyond hers. Hell, even my experience in this life, let alone the past, is more significant. I can't expect her to live up to my, well, expectations, and I feel bad trying to lay all my baggage and needs at her feet.
So I'm just trying to go along and enjoy what we do have, and worry about the rest later. It's been a really nice month. That's something that I don't say often.