One time, I kissed a girl in a church parkinglot. It was as easy as swiping a miniature angel paperweight from a Mom and Pop store without paying for it, and just as thrilling. Dating Alison was like being a kid again. We drew mustaches on each others faces and did crafts. It was cute, but also it was intense, like going to a third world country and having to teach poor African children how to read. In the beginning, I had no idea how wheelchairs worked or what dating someone who lives with paraplegia entails, but I knew one thing- I had never had a bond with a gay woman like this before.
There were many other girls before her. I was the pussy hunter. Sex was fun, it was fantastic! But damn, I was so sick of pretending .“Yeah baby, I’ll call, Give me five more minutes. Come on, honey. I’ll pop you real good” I would run the opposite direction when I saw the women I did things with that men talk about in rap music. There was no emotion what so ever. I craved it like a jumbo box of Freihofer cookies when I met Alison.
It was never about the sex with Alison. She started flirting with me after I asked her about her church, and just like with Josh and every other dyke who stuck their tongue down my throat, I went along with the ride. From our first date when she joked about not being able to feel her vagina, I was absolutely in love. Here was someone who wouldn’t use me for sex! Until, Of course, one afternoon we were playing trouble. I was sitting on her lap, when Alison grabbed my face and we started kissing. I tried to move away because I felt more of a connection to her than I imagined possible. Feminism, activism, coffee- We had so much in common! Immediately, my psycho trauma stress disorder kicked in and I began to stare at her hot pink bra losing myself in the color. “Please, slow down” I said. Alison tossed the board game to the side, “Fuck the game” and pushed me into her. She said Fuck a lot when we had sex. “Oh fuck, Oh Kat, Oh fuck.” That night I drove home and took eight laxatives. Then I made myself vomit. We had met at the height of my eating disorder, and the idea someone I really cared about was trying to take control over my body terrified me. I had never had an emotional connection with a woman before. At least, with a woman who liked to make vaginas happy. I fell in love with my straight best friend in highschool. I’ve never felt the same way about a girl since.
I called Alison that night and straight up asked her: Am I just sex to you?
She told me she didn’t understand. She never understood. The next morning, I arrived at her church wearing a blazer. My stomach felt the lightest it ever had before. Perhaps it was the dizziness, but I swear when I saw her I floated. Alison pushed herself over to me, grabbed my face and kissed me like I was a star. That kiss made the world disappear, and for a brief moment, I saw myself with her there for the rest of my life. Later, I sat at her parents dinner table. I couldn’t eat anything they made, and so my eating disorder got even worse. It’s silly, but maybe if I had eaten some salad, my safe food, at home those weeks we were first courting instead of trying to learn about wheelchairs and lifting a woman, I wouldn’t have had to be hospitalized. The night I came home, she got her parents to drop her off. Alison kissed me crying. My birthday was the next day. I made myself pumpkin pie, and Alison watched weeping. Her tears wet my IV bandages. I was out of breathe as I handed her the can. Alison opened it upside down, an orange clump all over her lifeless legs.
The two of us were laughing. I thought I was going to be with her forever. I didn’t mind that I had to help her use the bathroom. It was like she was a part of me, and yet, something always was missing. I suppose you could say I felt like a nanny more than a girlfriend. Alison and I went on a trip to Michigan. Taking care of her for four days killed our relationship, and the kiss that August morning burst into flames. I had a couple drinks, and a heart to heart with one of the gays in the bathroom about eating disorders and the lgbt community. Alison didn’t want to go to the workshop. I cried. After everything I HAD DONE- LEARNED HOW TO MAKE HER SHIT- Alison would not learn about a mental illness. I could hear that Alison had started crying as I sat in the bathtub. It was 3 am, and she was lying down in bed. I wanted so badly to take off on the next plane home that I drunkenly grabbed my coat and ran out the door. I woke up in bed with Alison. Apparently, one of the girls found me lying on the bathroom floor with one shoe on. Alison sobbed. “Are you okay? Be gentle with yourself!” I looked at her, and told her no. I wasn’t. She was always crying, and I was always there to hold her too. Until that night, when I wanted nothing more than to punch her in the face and scream stop feeling so god damn sorry for yourself.
We both cried in the hotel room. She promised she would be better and try to understand my feelings. When we came back home, I debated giving her her ring back for three weeks. I asked her about her plans for the future. Reality had sunken in. Would she get a nurse? Would I be sticking a catheter up her urethra forever? Would I ever be able to have kids? I had grown so much as a person in the past few months, but there Alison was still the same and trying to hold me down, hold me back, keep me safe and structured, when all I wanted to do was break away and fly.
I realized Alison would never learn how to use the bathroom herself. She didn’t bother at 23, and only after four months of dating and my urging had she even tried. I realized I was worth more. That night, I asked her to come talk to me. Alison texted me she couldn’t after I spent the day waiting. “I can’t come see you. That’s not something I can change about me.”
I began crying- softly and slowly. Then, I took a drink of coffee, and knew that I could change something else. At the time, Alison was happy ever after. But maybe happy ever after didn’t exist. Maybe ever after was the little moments- a kiss, a hug when you need it most, laughter until your stomach burns. Love was not stagnant, but a ripple from a drop of rain falling into the ocean. Your soulmate would cross the fog drunk sea, thirsty for your lips.
I broke up with my girlfriend dry eyed. Then I drove to Walmart and bought a box of lemon cake. As the house filled with sour, my stomach grumbled and I felt free.
At work, we do not say these words aloud but make elaborate diagrams for one another. You write these words: Kissing you would be like this, and draw a picture of two butterflies being struck by lightning. I stare at it and wonder if you may be right. I do my own drawing and write, Kissing you would be like this, and sketch a picture of a man made of ice kissing a woman who is actually a stove. We have made hundreds of these drawings. We do not actually do any work"