This is a cautionary tale for all my queer folks out here, though can it be considered cautionary if it is inevitable, that dreaded phenomenon of falling for the straight friend. It is predestined to happen at some point in your life and even more so when you are closeted and cannot date openly. Now I don’t think the male race faces this particular brand of torture but if you are a girl chances are you have had at least one of those (questionably) straight friends with absolutely zero idea of the concept of personal space, who are just so touchy and cuddly and high on hugging and hand holding. This normally wouldn’t be an issue until you go ahead and catch feelings that should not be caught.
I am 26 and I am a raging lesbian who has only had the courage to come out to herself only a couple of months back, and by coming out to myself I mean finally accepting my attraction towards women in its emotional and physical entirety and not hiding behind excuses of being bi-curious or who wouldn’t like women have you looked at a woman or all woman are some degree of bisexual, and finally looking at myself in the bathroom mirror and saying out loud I am so so gay, I am a lesbian. Coming out to myself has made it less surreal and more tangible and since then I have been subtly coming out to few trusted friends here and there. Some were shocked, some were neutral and some came out as bisexual and asexual themselves. Advice ranging from moving to Mumbai or even out of India to how to avoid the imminent arranged marriage parental trap without coming out was generously given.
The most validating coming out happened recently, it can mildly be blamed on the spliff we were smoking when I told my distant cousin who was also my classmate from school about how I had a one night stand with a man because I was doubting my orientation and to my utter delight/horror he says “Thank God, you finally said it” and all I could do was gape at him in my semi high state. I finally got to know that half my class in high school thought I was gay. Which brings me back to touchy feely platonic girlfriends. One that I was so enamoured with in school with blinding obliviousness to the underlying cause. She, joining my school in class 11th and I, who am the personification of anti-social became thick as thieves. And boy what is it with convent girls and touchiness. I am tall, she barely reached my shoulders and that made for her arm perfectly circling my waist with my arms draped around her shoulders. She would cling to my arm while walking and would hold my hand under the desk in class. And was it magical, the best feeling ever, thinking back to it makes me facepalm about the obliviousness.
But she isn’t the girl I fell for. One of the most troubling memories of my childhood is of seeing my mother cry silent tears when she thought we were asleep. Tears that were brought on by testing time financially and socially, given that she was single handedly bringing up my sister and me (no my father isn’t dead, neither are they divorced, we just lived separated because my father is a strange alien and I need to write another post on how he is a big part of the reason I have ended up being indifferent towards or distrusting (almost hating) men, yes I am quite the stereotypical man hating lesbian, and how my orientation is not the only issue I need to figure out). My entire childhood was driven by the desire to never let those tears fall again and I had absolutely zero time to waste over silly oblivious school crushes, my sole focus on excelling academically and becoming financially strong.
Undergrad came and went with its fair share of strong crushes on girls and even supposedly experimental make-out sessions. Postgrad happened right after, at one of the top MBA colleges in the country and I finally felt within reach of that goal I had set for myself when I met her, the Scarlett O’ Hara to my Rhett Butler, the Lotte to my young Werther. She was a drama nerd, I was a drama nerd, we ended up in the same play. She would hold hands, threading our fingers, lean her head on my shoulders and I was swooning inwardly soon enough. It wasn’t just the touching, she is one of the most incredible woman I know, brilliant, gorgeous, hot as hell, driven, wouldn’t take shit from anyone. I was an absolute goner the day she kissed me drunkenly on her birthday. Despite being messy and rough and so not how I had imagined it a thousand times in my head, it was so hot and I saw stars. The euphoria lasted one whole day before I gathered up the courage to bring it up only for her to shoot it down as a drunken incident she could barely recollect. If heartbreaks can be literal, I had one that day. The bodily pain I felt is witness to it.
We continued as if nothing happened, or rather she did. The “friendly” physical intimacy was still dished out at the same if not stronger intensity. So did her flirting with every other guy in our circle and drunk kissing random dudes at parties. She kissed me a couple of more times, always drunk though, and the pathetic pining needy fool in me never stopped her and never brought it up later either. Finding her one fine day swapping saliva at a party with a particularly obnoxious boy, I dragged her away and told her to not get so drunk that she loses all sense. She looked me in the eye and said she is never out of control and just left. I could only think about the times she had kissed me and if she was in control then. I started distancing myself from her from then on and some time later she confronted me about it seeking an explanation. I told her I am in love with her and her eyes went wide and she said she loves me but only as a friend. I was so numb. I told her I know that and that we can’t be friends anymore and I do not want to talk to her anymore. The only saving grace in all this drama was the timing, which happened to be when we were about to graduate. The few remaining days were spent by me in hiding and awkward avoidance.
To summarize this, it’s been three years since graduation. She is in the US, currently dating a guy. I am stuck here, still not completely over her. We share the occasional texts on birthdays. Once I asked her if she was experimenting all the time she kissed me. She texted that maybe her drunken self was. Maybe I should write a book about how she has plunged a knife in me and then taken it out and then plunged it again and rinse and repeat. So yeah, keep an eye out for that supposedly straight best friend and stop yourself from catching any feels before it’s too late.