**Content Warning** This story contains sexual content and swearing.
My face is coated in what has to be the brightest sunshine I’ve ever felt. I open my eyes and look around a beautiful room. The first word that comes to mind is “plush”. I’m absolutely drowning in about seventeen down pillows and a fluffy white comforter. I look up at a gray, tufted headboard. The windows are only dressed with pure white sheers, making the room seem even brighter. I’ve woken up in my fair share of women’s beds over the years and I’ve got to admit, this is one of the nicer ones.
I can’t say I’m surprised. I met Meisha on LovHers; the lesbian dating site with the tagline, “where sophisticated women meet their match.” You can’t even look at a photo without paying a membership fee. They want to make sure that their members are serious about love and not just looking for one-night stands. It’s a noble thought; who would spend money on a dating site just to mess around? Spending money means you’re so serious about finding true love that you’re willing to invest in it.
Unless you’re delightfully single, gainfully employed, and don’t mind spending money on women…like me.
I’m not a creep. I just had reached the end of the line on all the free apps. I couldn’t sift through any more typo-heavy profiles or keep trying to start conversations with women who responded with one-word answers. And if I matched with one more beautiful woman who was actually a man trying to have a threesome, I was going to lose it!
So, I decided to try LovHers. Even if I wasn’t looking for my “match”, I still felt like I deserved to spend my limited time with equally cultured and engaging women. And they liked it too! I never lied. I never made anyone believe it would be forever. We would always have fun and “see how it goes.” I was a placeholder. A gap-filler until their person finally came along. It was working.
Meisha was perfect for a dater like me. Recently divorced and newly out of the closet. She had two children and wanted to move slowly for their sake. “I’ve heard the joke about lesbians and U-Hauls,” she asked, “Is that true?”
“It happens,” I told her, “But the only time I’ve rented a U-Haul was to move a new bar into my basement. So you’re safe with me.”
The conversations were friendly, more like getting to know a new roommate than someone you’d want to date. We discussed the superiority of Living Single to Friends. We traded theories on aliens and UFOs. Eventually, the topics got deeper. Meisha wondered if she was harming her children by coming out while they were still so young. I told her that I hated my career choice but had no idea what else I was qualified to do. We had never met in real life but talking to her every day for almost two months made any walls we had up come crashing down.
I was almost afraid to break the bubble, but I had to see where this was going. I “spontaneously” invited her to join me for a drink on a Friday night. The reality was I chickened out on asking her all week and lucked out when her kids were with their dad for the weekend. We met at a local lounge with an intimate vibe, perfect for making a first date feel like the twentieth. One drink turned into two. Two drinks turned into dinner. Dinner turned into “one last drink” at her house, and I don’t even think she got the bottle of wine open before our hands were all over each other.
As we kissed, it was a struggle to stay out of my head and in the moment. I was afraid to take things too far or move too fast. Meisha had mentioned more than once that though she’d known she loved women her whole life, she’d never been with a woman sexually. The most she’d ever done was kiss a few friends in college, but those moments were playful. But on her couch, Meisha kissed me deeply, fiercely. A woman on a mission. Her hands moved without hesitation and when she was ready, she looked me in the eyes and asked, “would you like to come upstairs with me?”
The next two hours were exploratory and wonderful. It’s not often that your first night together feels so in sync but with Meisha, it felt like every move was the right one. The whole night had felt like reconnecting with an old friend, and the sex had only solidified that feeling.
Afterward, we made sleepy chatter about what we had planned for the rest of the weekend. I tried to make all my plans seem casual and up in the air, and I could tell she was doing the same. Just as I was about to drift off, Meisha asked me to throw on some clothes in case her children came home early. They were still getting used to sleeping at their dad’s new house, and if they changed their minds about staying the whole weekend, a naked woman in her bed would be a little faster than she wanted to let them in on her new life.
Six months ago, I would’ve just left. Six months ago, I would’ve said I had to get up early. Six months ago, there would’ve been no dinner, no tentative plans, no pretense of wine. But Meisha was now and with Meisha, there was no second thought.
Which is why I’m waking up being attacked by the sun while wearing a holey, gray UCONN t-shirt. It’s one of those t-shirts that was sold soft, (pre-washed, I think they call it) so it already felt broken in, but it’s also just old now. The white fur of the Siberian Husky mascot is cracked and faded. It’s about three sizes too big for me. Once upon a time, someone loved this shirt; judging by the size, I don’t think it was Meisha.
Meisha is laid across my chest wearing something silky and purple. She didn’t tie her hair up before she went to sleep, so her long braids are splayed all over me and the mattress next to her. She shifts her face to the sun and squints her eyes, then opens them and looks at me. She’s beautiful. I break a cardinal rule and give her a morning kiss. Toothpaste be damned.
“Good morning,” she says sweetly. She pulls back to look at the t-shirt I’m wearing and instantly grimaces. “Oh my God, I am so sorry! This is one of Ron’s shirts! I just grabbed the first thing I felt, and it was dark and I didn’t realize and—”
I pull her back in for another kiss, this time letting my lips sink into hers. “It’s just a shirt.” And I mean it. Of all the drama she’s told me about with her ex-husband, how they ended things, and the huge things that they still share, this shirt is small. I can wear an old shirt for one night.
Meisha sits up in bed and clumps her braids together with one hand, then wraps them around themselves to pile and tie them on top of her head in a heavy bun. The move is so graceful to watch. I kiss her bare shoulder when she’s done, enjoying watching her in this moment. Something she probably does every day that I just had the pleasure to see.
Wow, who have I become?
“I don’t want you to think I’m still in love with Ron,” Meisha says.
“I don’t think that,” I say. There’s a small breakfast spot on this side of town. I wonder if she’s the type to eat breakfast or if she’s a simple cup of coffee girl.
“When he moved out, he left drawers full of crap. I haven’t gotten around to boxing it up. Not because I’m still pining for him or anything, I’m just lazy.”
I gently trail my fingers on her arm as she talks. “It takes a while to unwind yourself from someone. When my parent’s separated, my dad only took his car and a suitcase.”
“I also think if he wants his shit, he should come and get it himself, you know what I mean?” She was venting now. It was cute. “I’m not going to go all Waiting to Exhale and set it on fire, but if you really care about it, come and get it. This divorce is hard enough on me.”
“Arson is a serious crime. Hey, are you hungry?”
“Divorce is hard, coming out is so hard,” I don’t think she heard me. She seemed to be on a roll, and I liked hearing her talk. “I’ve just felt so confused for years. I didn’t even know where to start. And then you—”
“Me!” I smiled.
“I was asking God, ‘how do I start again?’ ‘How do I feel sexy again?’ ‘How do I even have sex with a woman?’ And then He answered my prayers.”
“God answers prayers for lesbian sex? Wow, this new pope really is progressive!” I laced my fingers into hers and kissed her hand.
Meisha laughed, “I really think He did! I mean, I was so confused about where to even start with a woman, so scared to get involved with anyone on a serious level, and then I see the perfect profile: an experienced lesbian who isn’t looking for anything serious. It’s like God said, ‘Here you go! Get some practice before the real thing!’ It couldn’t have worked out any better.”
Before the real thing.
My mouth goes dry and my hand, holding hers, goes limp. I clench my other hand, digging my nails into the skin while blinking back tears.
Do not cry. You knew what this was. Don’t you dare cry.
I do my best to not change a bit of my body language. I worry that my voice will betray me if I talk, but I’ve been quiet for too long. My voice croaks, “it’s the best possible scenario.” I pretend to clear my throat, but my eyes start to water. “Hey, can you point me to the bathroom?”
Meisha rolls over and reaches for her phone on her nightstand, absentmindedly pointing in the opposite direction, “sure it’s the next door on the left. I’m just going to check on my kids and then maybe we can get some breakfast?”
I hustle to the bathroom and shut the door, taking a series of deep breaths. I look at myself in the mirror and suddenly seem old, foolish.
This is who I am. I love this life! I am a great time for a short time.
In high school, how many girls did I give their first kiss? In college, we were all having fun. Relationships were not the move. I just never understood why, on a campus full of beautiful women, you would stop at one. After college there were clubs and trips to Palm Springs and Provincetown.
And then Dani.
Dani almost changed things. And then Dani left, and somehow still changed everything, and it took so long to get things back to normal. And I almost lost it in this bedroom. I almost forgot how much I love this life.
I turn on the faucet and splash my face. I feel around for a hand towel, bury my face in it, and finally let out one deep sob. My shoulders slump. The terry cloth absorbs the last of my tears and sorrowful sounds. This time when I look in the mirror, I feel composed. Feeling confident that we’re alone, I take off Ron’s t-shirt, toss it in the hamper, and walk back into the bedroom.
Meisha is sitting on the bed scrolling on her phone, dressed in a t-shirt and sweatpants. “Ready for breakfast? I know a great place not too far from here.”
I walk over to my own clothes, draped neatly on a gray chair that perfectly matches the headboard. “Actually, I don’t really do breakfast. I just like a cup of coffee in the mornings.”
“Oh,” she puts her phone down to look at me, a smirk on her face. I didn’t think she heard my invitation to breakfast earlier, but maybe she did. Either way, the plan has changed. “No problem, I can put on a pot of coffee,”
I continue to button up my shirt and sit down to put on my shoes. “I’m so sorry, I just remembered I have to run some errands this morning, so I think I’ll just hit a drive-thru on my way to the store.” It’s a line I’ve said plenty of times before, but it feels like a struggle to come out. The words scrape past a lump in my throat. “But if you’re still free tonight, maybe I can come back over for another drink?” I walk over to her side of the bed, bend down, tip up her chin and kiss her mouth. This is a move. This is the part she’ll replay in her head all day until she works up the nerve to invite me back over later. Even though I secretly hope she doesn’t.
“I’d like that a lot,” Meisha says. “I’ll walk you out.”
“No need,” I say. “Get some rest; we’ve got a busy night.” I close the door behind me and find my way down the stairs and out the door. I have about twelve hours to shake off this funk before I see her again.
Or maybe I’ll just block her number and see who else the app has to offer.