exactly 18 years ago today, i was sitting in an empty classroom in my high school. i had asked my favorite teacher to meet me an hour after the class. i wasn’t nervous. it’s just, i didn’t know how to begin.
she pulled a chair next to mine and asked me what was up. i said everything was ok, but i just felt the need to tell her something. i don’t know how the topic got there. i only remember that my hands were in my coat’s pockets, because i didn’t know where to put them. i guess i was scared to see my hands shiver. i couldn’t look her in the eyes. i looked at the blue curtains and the oak tree in the garden. it was a windy day.
i told her that i had a crush on a girl. told her i read some magazines in the school library. said i knew alice walker was a lesbian as well. she was the only lesbian i knew back then. the jenny shimuzi period would follow a few months later. i haven’t had a page of a CK one ad freshly ripped from a magazine from the school library and posted inside my locker, yet. i had a guess that jodie foster was one of us, but i was thinking it could as well be wishful thinking.
i had no idea about this world. all i knew was whenever i saw that girl my heart would beat like crazy. i knew it was love. i knew it was right. i knew i was to go to hell. that’s what was written in the book. yet, even the hell didn’t scare me. (which also meant i would go to hell)
i didn’t have a care in the world back then. i just wanted to kiss her. and i knew i was gonna kiss her. it was destiny. unavoidable. unescapable. and often unbearable.
i couldn’t even picture us making love. i never reached to that point in my dreams. i just wanted to hold her hand and put it over my heart. convince her about the butterflies. and kiss. i was chasing the butterflies back then. would have never guessed i would try so hard to kill them some day.
she almost cried.
she gave me a hug and she told me i was very very brave. she told me she was so proud of me and said she was honored to be the first one that i came out to.
that woman, saved my life that day.
a week later she gave me a cassette. she told me she had a lesbian friend back in the united states that made that tape for her and sent it. it was melissa etheridge’s come to my window album. i had never heard of melissa etheridge before, so i spent the next few weeks researching about her in the library. i devoured that tape. i don’t know how many millions of times i have heard those songs until this age. i don’t know how many times i looked at that handwriting and wondered what karen, her friend, looked like.
many years later, after i lost touch with my teacher i began to wonder if karen actually existed. perhaps she just made the tape herself and gave it to me and wrote, “through my friend and to you brave little girl” on it.
i will never know the answer.
thank you for what you did that day. thank you for opening the door for me. thank you for making me feel normal. and thank you for being you and being there for me.
it still matters a lot to me. it always will.
you are a great teacher. but above all, you are an incredible woman.
i hope this post travels around the world and reaches you some day. even if it doesn’t, i hope it inspires some people out there.
i love you.
your little brave girl.