I stared out the window longingly at the raindrops hitting the glass with soft plinks. It was the first rain in a while and I longed to go outside. Letting the raindrops soak my hair. “Ahhem.” I looked over to see my friend glancing at me questioningly, her arms on her elbows leaning in close to me. And she had that sort of snarky I can see right through you look.
“What are you thinking about?” She asked.
“Nothing.” I responded in a tone that we both knew was definitely not nothing.
“They emailed me again.” I sighed.
“Isn't that good?” She asked.
“Well yes, but no.”
Mia raised her eyebrows
“Well I want them to email me, obviously but I don't want to mess it up!”
“Chill, you'll be fine.”
My computer binged. “Look how they responded, now be a normal person and respond.”
“Whatever.” I sighed.
I pulled up the email.
El: hey Raya there is something i need to ask u but im scared u will be uncomfortable and lie so if i ask u will u plz be honest.
“oooOoo.” Mia chimed.
I glared at her. “How should I respond?”
I cut Mia off.“What about this?”
Raya: ok :)
She shrugged. “That works.”
El: do u like me
Mia literally squealed. “OH MY GOSH.”
Our science teacher glared at us and Mia smiled at him apologetically. “RAYA! THIS IS AMAZING!” Mia whispered.
“URGLEGHDNSHA.” I hissed.
“Speak English, dear child.” Mia said.
“But El likes Olia!”
“You must be the ‘other’ person they were talking about when you asked if they had a crush on anyone.”
“But they like Olia!” I exclaimed
Mia raised her eyes at me. “But they also like you!” Mia poked me.
“What should I respond?? I am literally freaking out!” I exclaimed.
Olia looked over at us from across the room. Raised their eyebrows and then walked over to us.
“But El and Olia are just perfect for eachother! Both non-binary pansexuals.. It's like it was made to be!”
“Just respond.” Mia sighed. “But make sure you ask why.” She added.
Raya: maybe a little....
El: i do
Olia reached our table and raised their eyes.. “Raya, are you okay?”
“Not at all.” Mia added.
“Do you have a crush on someone besides Dally?” I asked
“Who is it?” I asked.
“I can't tell you.” Olia raised thyre eyebrows and smiled.
I sighed. “Do you have a crush on El?” I asked.
I sighed again. “Read this.”
“OMG!” Olia squealed. The science teacher gave us the stink eye. “This is great!” They exclaimed.
“Sort of? I think.” I responded.
“Why wouldn't it be?” Olia asked.
Mia and I exchanged glances. “Do you swear on your life never to tell El I said this?” I asked.
“Well El also has a crush on you, that's why I wanted to know who you liked because then hopefully I could have set you up. But then you like Daniel so then I was trying desperately to set you up.”
“So El wasn't dating me?”
I sighed. “I don't know, so then maybe you did date Daniel but it didn't work out so then you dated El. It's all so confusing.”
“It really is.” Mia agreed.
“ARGLESHMARGLE!” I growled. “But what does it mean? What if it means they dont like me back!”
“They definitely like you back.” Mia responded confidentially and Olia nodded in approval.
“But I'm not ready for any of this! Dating, anything!”
“Then just tell them that!” Olia suggested.
The bell rang, startling us all. We picked up our stuff and stood up.
“Well good luck.” Olia said and hurried up the door.
“Just don't overthink it.” Mia said. “And you'll be fine!” She called as she walked out the door frame. Both of them seemed to have a lot more confidence than I did.
I sat in the grass letting the sky cover me in its tears. I grasped my phone tightly and sighed. I fell backward onto the grass, all my clothes gathering mud but it was the last thing on my mind. My phone binged and I shot up..
Hi Raya this is El let me know if this works
Sent from my I-phone
Three tiny dots indicated they were typing and then..
El: So r we gonna be a thing or what do u want
I wanted to tell them how I was feeling. That I didn't know. That life was so confusing and that I was a demiromantic human and couldn't just be thrust into a relationship after only knowing them for two weeks.
But it's not like I could say that. I had only known them for two weeks. We didn't have that kind of trust yet. And then that made me think.. Did I even want to date them? Like I liked them but then my crush sort of faded once I learned they liked someone else. And now they like me back and I have no freaking idea what to do.
I mean like I had to think what would I do if Olia asked me out? I mean Olia’s pretty but like I don't think I would say yes I mean there is still something between El and me but didn't know if I wanted to date them. I didn't want to kiss them or hug them or hold their hand or anything. That last person I had a crush on took eight months to finally confess my feelings. It was less than a month. I needed more time.
I sighed and sped up my answer.
Raya: honestly, this is all really new to me like super new in the last two weeks like I've met 22 new queer people when just three weeks ago I only knew two. And like I would love to date you but could we take it slow?
That was accurate enough wasn't it Not exactly what I was thinking but I mean it was close enough. I hope so.
I got my answer two hours later at the wonderful time at 11 pm.
El: Ok sure just know that I might hug u a bit more
El was so confusing. This was so confusing. Life is so confusing. Bananas are so confusing. Why couldn't everything make a little more sense? Why wasnt there a wizard telling me what to do? Why is freedom of choice so confusing? Some days I wished I was on autopilot and someone just made the decisions for me.
I heard my mom coming up the stairs preparing to go to bed. I turned off my phone slipped it under my pillow and fell aslepp dreaming of nonbinary people dancing with rainbow hair.
I woke up to about a million notifications last night when my brain wasn't working. I texted all my friends and told them my dilemma.
Raya: GUYS!! HELP ME!! I just got asked out but I am too youngggggg i don't know what to say!
Sia:OMFG WHO IS ITTTT
I picked up my phone and quickly responded.
*sighs, blushes and rolls their eyes*
their names El....
Jake: What did you say???
Iva: Maybe just tell them that you really like them but that you're too young and not ready for it?? Tell them that'd you'd love to but in the future or something like that
I frantically responded while pulling on clothes and trying to eat breakfast as fast as I could so I wouldn't miss my bus
Raya: i said that this is all new to me and id love to date them but if I could get to know them a little better and like take it slow...
like smt like that...
Jake: WOW good job! That's a great response!
Sia: yesss go raya!!!
Soia: good job child
Mia: wow great response
I finished reading through my thread and received a million texts from El when I was trying to do math
El: hi Rachel wryd
El: can we try not to be so awkward between us
El: because if we do end up being a thing i dont want it to be awkward
Raya: yessssss, im sry, im just afriad ill mess something up.
El: and if u do i can help u
El: the only person i want to be with is the you that i like
Raya: u are the best :)
El: so does this mean we r official or do u still need time
El: r we official
El: no rush
It was funny El was talking about no rush when they had emailed me three times in the span of two minutes. I felt pretty rushed so my answer was only half honest and thought through. I was not ready. But I felt too pressured. I guess that's what they meant by peer pressure. It's the ones you're closest to that pressure you the most.
Raya: ok. but i still would like to take it slowly :) :) :)
El: I agree!
El: like i said no rush
Raya: thank you :) I added a picture of a hedgehog to my texts because I think I was using emojis too much and I didnt want them to think of me as that person. Though in retrospect the animal girl isn't much better.
El:soo cute awww
Raya: it reminded me of something.. especially with its tiny ears....
El: what did it remind u of
My math teacher looked at me from behind her desk and quickly switched it off and pretended to do school work.
I hoped it wouldn't be like this forever, me needing to respond to El not because I wanted to because I didn't want to make them mad. Not really the best relationship foundation especially also because my heart wasn't all the way in this. I wanted to be with them but I also wanted time. Like time together as just friends or time away from them to process my emotions. But it was hard to just say that.
Day and day dragged on more and more texts from El and each day I was feeling slightly better about it all. I had the courage to tell them I was demiromantic and that I needed time and EL had started sitting with my friends.
Every morning and every day after school I'd meet them at their locker and every night they'd send hearts and wishes to sleep well and every day I was getting closer and closer to being ready. I wanted to be ready.
And I almost am. The last bell of the day rang, finally dismissing us to the weekend.
I looked out the window at the rain pouring down outside. It would feel so good against my skin. I ran down the stairs with a backpack sling on my back and out into the sky, the rain drenched my hair and my clothes seeping into my bones and filled me with a new kind of life..
I was drenched to the bone starting to get only slightly cold when I saw them. Standing in the grass with an umbrella a halo of dryness surrounding them. El waved and I smiled. I sped up my pace and walked over to them. They extended the umbrella so it was covering me.
“Hey.” El smirked.
“Hullo.” I smiled. “I have something I need to tell you.”
“Go ahead.” El smiled.
“About time.” They said playfully. They extended their hand. I took it.
And we danced in the rain.