|She’s at the desk next to me, rummaging through her backpack. After a few moments, she sighs, her brow furrowing slightly.‘I left my pencil in Science, do you have an extra?’‘Sure, here.’‘ Thanks.’ Her hand brushes against mine as I pass it over, and I shiver. It’s a small moment, gone in half a second, but it leaves me paralyzed. Her voice is soft and gentle and the same smooth caramel as her hair, which falls in tangled waves that come to rest at the small of her back. The sunlight forms a halo around her head, painting her skin gold and filling in the curves of her cheekbones. |
I snap my eyes away and redden, although I don’t think any of my classmates noticed me staring. There are red half-moons carved into my palms, and I realize I’ve been digging my nails into my skin. Biting my lip, I look back up at her. I can’t breathe. I stand up, my chair squeaking backward. The noise is jarringly loud, and the classroom is too quiet. My footsteps echo as I head towards the door, and that is wrong too, the floor is carpeted and shouldn’t make any sound but somehow, it does. I know I get a few odd looks, but I don’t care I’m going to the bathroom.’
The teacher says something, but I don’t hear him. My ears ring, and blood rushes in my head like a tsunami, drowning me with it. Ican’tIcan’tIcan’tIcan’tCan’t what?I don’t know. I can’t. The hallway is empty, and I run. My heartbeat resounds like a gong in my skull, tolling louder with each footfall. The bathroom door creaks when I push it open, and it is too loud. Wrong. I catch a glimpse of my reflection in a cracked mirror. My makeup is still perfectly in place, but my eyes are oddly empty, devoid of their usual spark. It is replaced with a blundering confusion, a pale abyss of unknowing. Is that me? No. Wrong. The stall door jams and I have to shake it a few times before it swings open, banging against the adjacent wall. It comes flying back too quickly, and I catch it with one hand. It hits my fingers too hard, leaving them red and stinging. Wrong. I collapse on the toilet seat, my head in my hands. My nails are too long, and they dig into my cheeks. I don’t know what’s going on. My mind is thick with fog. I don’t know how I feel.
I don’t know.
My phone is in my back pocket. I reach for it, my hand fumbling and nearly dropping it in the toilet. I type:am i gay quiz
I scroll through the options, unable to settle on a quiz and afraid of what answers I’d receive.
Are you gay?
I want to know.
Question 1: Have you ever felt romantic attraction towards someone of the same sex?
Maybe? I don’t know.
Question 2: Could you imagine being in a relationship with someone of the same sex?
I think so?
Question 3: Have you ever kissed someone of the same sex?
Question 4: Have you ever fantasized about being with someone of the same sex?
I don’t know.
Question 5: Have you ever found yourself staring at someone of the same sex?
I dig my nails deeper into my skin.
Question 6: Would you currently consider yourself straight, gay, bisexual, or just curious?
I’m not gay. I’ve had crushes on guys. Right?
Straight? I don’t know.
I open a new tab, then type in: definition bisexual
Bi·sex·u·aladj. Sexually attracted to both men and women; not solely attracted to people of a specific gender.
Is that what I am? I don’t know.
I answer: Just curious
Your results: You are questioning! You haven’t figured out your sexuality yet, but you don’t need to worry about it. Sexuality is a spectrum. You might eventually find a label that feels right to you, or you might not. Regardless, don’t worry about it! You don’t need to have it all figured out.
No. I run a hand through my hair, my fingers painfully tugging at the loose strands. I can’t stand grey areas. I want an answer. I want to know.
I am overreacting, but I can’t make myself calm down. Inhaling shakily, I stand up, sliding my phone back into my pocket. As I exit the stall, two girls come in, chatting in bubbly voices. They’re both wearing crop tops and high-waisted shorts, and one has her hair pulled back into a ponytail. I nod awkwardly in their direction. Ponytail girl gives me an odd look, and the other ignores me entirely. The girls disappear into stalls, and I try to control my breathing. They’re pretty, right? I guess. Am I attracted to them? I don’t think so. I don’t have to be attracted to every girl I see to qualify as bisexual, right? I don’t know. My reflection in the mirror’s grimy glass has changed. My eyes are bloodshot, and my cheeks and forehead are peppered with red splotches. Because I didn’t shed any tears, my makeup is fine. However, I look too much like I’ve been crying to comfortably waltz back into class and finish the test. I can’t just skip it and accept an F, though, so I splash my flushed face with cold water and leave the bathroom.
The classroom door creaks loudly as I push it open. A few people glance up, and I look down at my feet, avoiding eye contact. However, as I pull up my chair and sit down, my gaze involuntarily snaps to my left. She’s still there, illuminated by the warm light as though it radiates from inside her. I feel nauseous. These feelings aren’t going away, and I don’t know what to do with them. I don’t know what they are.
I hate not knowing.