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It was almost twilight on a warm day when Andrea leaned over and kissed me, her soft lips touching mine. The moment was perfect, the gesture, one that I had been longing for. Finally, everything just seemed to fall into place. It felt so right, and at last, I was happy. I looked Andrea in the eye, and kissed her back. Her cherry lip gloss melded with my peach chapstick, and they formed something new and unique. The kiss was energizing and invigorating, a warm, concrete symbol of the best –and hardest— decision I had made. It felt electric, like when you try to light a match, and it finally catches on, blazing and strong. We leaned back on the checkered blanket with the last rays of sunshine grazing our faces, holding hands, wishing the moment would never end.
I, taking a trip down Memory Lane, thought back to when I had first met Andrea. We were standing awkwardly at Orientation, when an auburn-haired, blue-eyed girl walked up to me. She introduced herself as Andrea Morgenstern. I gave her my name as well. The summer passed, and I had given her no thought. Suddenly, when school started, I found out that she was in most of my classes. I slowly started talking to her. I found that she was smart, funny and outgoing, and I felt that there was a possibility that we may become friends. She was frank and vivacious, but also polished and put-together, and I could talk to her about almost anything. We started associating out of school, going to each other’s’ houses and such. We had sleepovers, went to sports events in groups, and baked cookies. Normal, “wholesome” stuff like that. As the days went by, I was happier and happier to have her as a friend. She was so empathetic and true, a foil to many of my peers who weren’t.
One day, after we had gotten to known each other for about five months, I went over to her house. She opened the door, and complimented me on my hair. My blonde tresses had not submitted to the curling iron easily that morning, unlike her naturally-curly red hair. She invited me in, and led me through her upright, elaborate Victorian house, out to the sprawling, wooded backyard. We sat on one of the overturned logs, and started chatting, casually. The topic ranged from our Geometry class, to our classmates and the basketball season. I was perfectly content with the conversation, but had a nagging feeling in the back of my mind. I took a deep breath and shifted in my seat.
“Andrea, I have to tell you something.”
She replied, “Yeah, Jessie? What is it?”
I continued, “Well, I . . . I don’t know how to say this.” I was nervous, almost as much as on the first day of high school, when my ugly plaid skirt and polo shirt, as well as everything else, seemed unbearable and stifling. I started winding my hair around my finger, until I almost lost circulation.
I stumbled on, “Andrea, you are a really good friend, and you’ve always been there for me. You’re smart and honest, and always very friendly. You’re usually courteous, too.” To make matters worse, I started sweating a lot. Andrea looked concerned.
“I need to tell you something. I am lesbian, and . . . I like you, as more than a friend. It’s okay if you want to stop being friends, just let me know. It’s been a great six months, being your friend. You’re probably shocked, and weirded-out, but I wanted to tell you, so that you knew.”
In middle school, I had tried to be who I wasn’t. I had dated boys, and never got past the first date. I hadn’t wanted to. Pretty soon, I figured out why. I found out that there are many mean names you can call someone, especially if they are different, and that sometimes, life sucks so much. I had told my parents, and my extended family pretty much accepted it. My true friends did too, not that I had many. I would’ve told Andrea the truth sooner, but I honestly didn’t think that I would like her.
Andrea looked stunned. I got even more worried, anxious to hear what she was going to say. I concluded that she would get mad and force me out, which was pretty likely, or she would be okay with it. I decided that I should leave in the next few minutes, if she wouldn’t respond.
I hoarsely asked, “What do you think? I mean, how do you feel . . . about me, liking you?”
She replied slowly, “Wow, Jessie. I never thought that you were . . . a lesbian. I must say, I’m surprised. Now, I have something to tell you.”
I asked, “What?”
She replied, “I’m a lesbian, too. Thanks for letting me know.”
A week later, we shared our first kiss. When I hear the name Andrea, I think of love, honesty, plaid skirts, and friendship. Ninth grade will always remind me of her. Oh, did I mention? I now use cherry lip-gloss, every time thinking of her, and how she passionately kissed me, in a way that was all her own.