My heart thumped loud and hard in my chest, I felt I was out of breath even though the wind was blowing. I stood just outside the meeting hall, hiding behind some trees. I wasn't brave enough to go through that doors and meet the rest of the community. I was still not use to being seen as a lesbian, provided people saw me as that. Oscar had warned me not to go to the meeting, but I was stubborn enough to bet against him. It was too late to turn around now, I wanted to keep my fifty dollars.
"Hello there. I think you're new and lost, the meeting is held inside that building and not under these trees. Though they do provide good shade, perhaps for next meeting."
I jumped, startled at the sudden appearance of the voice. I spun around and saw the woman from the stand earlier. I forced a smile in my face, "Hi, it's you. I was just..." I hid my hands behind my back, in case Terry might have the impulse of holding them. I could already feel her piercing gaze scrutinizing my body. My cheeks were flaming with embarrassment.
"I know, all this is intimidating," she said, "but you'll get use to it." She walked before me and beckoned me to follow. I did so, reluctantly, and both of us crossed the threshold of the building. Inside, several banners of various colors were hanging from the walls, depicting messages of tolerance and equality. "We just want to get the word out there," Terry said, "we want this campus to be aware of our existence."
"All this is very noble," I replied, unsure of what else to say.
Terry nodded, "we appreciate new members." She walked to a row close to the stage and sat down, she invited me to sit next to her. I didn't want to, however I knew nobody else. "I've never seen you around campus, I never forget a face. Are you new?"
I nodded, "this is my first semester here."
"I see," Terry said, "I think your girlfriend is lovely."
My eyes widened at her comment, pangs of jealousy coursing my veins. "I beg your pardon?"
"Oh, I'm sorry, did I got it wrong?" Terry asked innocently.
"No, not at all," I said, "she is my girlfriend. We've been together for many months." I lied. She smiled at me and we fell in silence. The lights dimmed and a man went on stage to talk about tolerance and sexuality. The entire presentation, I could feel Terry leaning on me repeatedly, either to make herself more comfortable or whisper something in my ear. What she told me usually went along the lines of "she is such and such and is dating this person." I felt uncomfortable with her presence so close to me. One time, she even tried slipping her hand in mine, luckily I retrieved it just in time and pretended to scratch my arm.
The presentation finally ended and I was on the edge of my seat, ready to run when the doors opened.
"Cerice, it was very nice having you here with us," Terry said, placing a hand on my thigh. "We're having a hike next week, maybe you wanna come with us?"
I eyed her hand with caution, I was too much of a coward to ask her to take her hand off my thigh in fear that I might sound rude. Maybe this was how the lesbians acted, but Sasha didn't act like this, did she? Everything was so strange, even the LGBTs had to have a code for acting in public. "I will think about it," I said, "I will ask Sasha if she wants to come along."
"Oh, I'm afraid it is only for students," Terry said, "please say you'll come. If you're undecided, just give me a call whenever you feel like coming. I promise fun."
I nodded and left the room. I wanted Sasha so bad.
"Mmmm, I missed you," Sasha whispered, her arm was wrapped around my waist and I felt her inviting warmth.
I kissed her on the neck and snuggled my head on her shoulder, "you look great in black." I whispered, recognizing my blouse, "how was your day?"
"It was good," she said, there was something on her voice that made me think otherwise. "How was yours?" She added quickly.
"Upon Oscar's insistence, I have to tell you that I assisted a LGBT meeting today. It was certainly strange." I said, "but if I'm going to be one, I might as well start acting like one."
Sasha laughed, "there is not a way of acting. Just be you."
"Yeah, they have a hike next week...only students though. I thought it might be fun if you went too."
"It's okay honey," she said, squeezing my hand in hers. "If you want to go, go. I don't want to be one of those crazy girlfriends that enslaves their partners. Have fun for both of us."
I smiled and leaned on her to brush my lips against her cheek. When I got closer, I saw a little red mark, like a blemish, on her skin. "What happened there, Sasha?" I poked her cheek and she flinched back. I looked at her concerned, "it hurts?"
Sasha cupped her cheek, "I had an accident..." She diverted her eyes and I knew she was concealing me the truth.
"What kind of accident?" I asked, "Sasha, tell me." I was acting a bit more aggressive now. Everything that happened to Sasha felt like my responsibility. A thought drawn in my mind. "It was Sam, wasn't he? Oscar said he was restless last night. Did he saw you coming out of my dorm and decided to attack you? Oh the son of a %&$#, I will strangle him."
"Cerice, please lower your voice," Sasha pleaded, as several curious students were turning to our direction. "Let me explain."
I remained quiet and waiting.