I swear she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen in my whole fucking life.
I was studying on the roof of Casa Zimbabwe, feeling heat on my brain, all the words in my textbook jumbling together and becoming a meaningless string of nothing. I could feel my attention slipping into that nothing when I stopped. I looked up and she was sitting across from me, all hair, all skin, all smile. I could feel heat on my body. I couldn’t stop looking at her, all beauty swaying in the hammock, rocking back and forth, pink sunglasses occupying her face right above a sweet, sweet smile that said hello.
I fell in love with her that day, and I still feel inseparable from her. We are silly laughing good mornings and pancakes with too much peanut butter in between. We are too good together, warm hugs and soft touches, loving in every moment we need it the most. She’s never been my girlfriend — we don’t do labels like that, but we’d ride with each other forever. We are romantic and sexual and plantonic, we live in the in between of it all, and it feels so good to know that nothing is off limits or too taboo. We ask for consent every time we touch, and it never feels any less familiar. I love her with all my heart even though it’s “not like that” between us. We are best friends, but also so, so much more. I don’t care if we fit some made-up standard of friendship or relationship. I just know that this love is so good.
The first person I said “I love you” to who wasn’t my parents or grandma was someone who, at the time, identified as a woman. We met at Catholic middle school, and we would meet in the girls’ bathroom to make out. We would have sleepovers to fuck, and when people asked if we were best friends, we would say yes.
I don’t have words for how I “identify,” but I know the second I felt my premature urges to masturbate, the first thing I reached for was lesbian porn. I know that I loved women long before I ever considered loving men. Men were trauma — they were words that broke you, they were a swing to the face, they were the chronic ailment that buried you, they were the eternal cross, they were the burden. Women were love, they were the kiss on the cheek, on the forehead, on the lips, between the legs, that would make it all better. Maybe it’s the constructed gender role of the “femme,” the indoctrinated behavior of caring and giving everything of yourself. Maybe it’s the resilience from the daily traumas of being woman or femme that gives rise to a genuine brand of sacrificial love. Maybe it’s some cosmic amalgam of it all.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to stop thinking in binaries. As I encounter more people and their bodies and their souls, I’ve learned that “woman” takes on many forms. Having a pussy is no prerequisite to this womanhood. Being a woman is feeling it in your past, present or future self and, through it all, having the capacity to love unboundedly, unabashedly, weighing sacrifice and survival with equal measure. Sex with someone who has in any way identified as feminine or woman is foremostly empathetic, and no, it’s not just soft, or delicate, or withholding. It’s empathetic because it’s rooted in a genuine interest to get to know you, by observing your body, by exploring how it feels, by watching you orgasm. It is accepting of this special brand of knowing the person you’re with that doesn’t need to be based in common interest or small talk. It’s all in the body, and that is more than enough.
Sometimes I think about people who hate this kind of loving, who think it is the farthest thing from good, right or true. People like this are so ridiculous to me, because I think this queer love is one of the only good, right or true things in this world. Good, because that is the only word to describe how it feels, from the touch to the orgasm, good good good is the word that hits the spot. Right, because I have visions when I come that tell me that God identifies as a genderqueer, femme lesbiana, and she thinks the word of Gospel is found tongue-deep in some dank pussy. True, because I fucking said so.
Rizza Estacio writes the Tuesday column on sex. Contact her at [email protected] .