When I was twenty years old I met a woman named Gina. She was 13 years older than I was. Gregarious. Intoxicating. The type of person whose attention you wanted, waited for, lost yourself in pursuit of.
Gina collected people, almost always younger than her. Her famous line was that everyone she wanted to sleep with, she did. She pursued me from the start. At twenty years old I was young, inexperienced, vulnerable, arrogant and not at all worldly. I lived by sexual standards that included never dating “old” women, or women who weren’t considered absolutely beautiful by societal standards — which, in hindsight, was such an obvious reflection of my own insecurities.
When I met her I was renting a room in a house owned by two correctional officers situated in a gated cul-de-sac in Coon Rapids, MN. Not exactly a young dyke’s paradise. But back then I assumed that everything 3 hours away from Deer River was “The Cities” and so I ignorantly chose to go to a college in Coon Rapids. I imagined that I would immediately find a group of queer peers, then the love of my life, and spend the rest of my days dancing to ABBA in a big fucking homo utopia. …..Instead I went into a bathroom stall on the first day of class and found “God hates fags and niggers” written on the door. ….Other colorful incidents included being alerted to being prayed for, and republican parades through the halls — no fuckin joke.
Realizing too late the mistake I had made, I quickly sought out any radical face I could find, which tapered down to a gay boy named Taften who was more vanilla than ice and spent his days practicing sign language and his nights bottoming for rich married men in St. Paul….and this guy named Mike. I spotted Mike one day on the smoker’s quad. I identified him as an equal bc he was wearing a White Zombie t-shirt and had a guitar with him. I hurried over, sat down and lit up a smoke. Talking with him I found out that A) he smoked weed and B) his roommate was bisexual.
A surge of relief and glee. Here was my DESTINY.
I made plans to come over that weekend.
Saturday night I strolled up to Mike’s house decked out in what I considered to be my sexiest butch clothes — cargo pants and a quicksilver polo. My fauxhawk was fucking PERFECTION. ….And there on the steps, stood Mike and Gina. My excitement quickly turned to disappointment as I noted Gina’s age and that she was heavier than I was and that I would NOT be riding off into the sunset with this elderly person. …..P.S. I have to say, now that I am the age Gina was when I met her, I wish even more that I could step back in time and slap my superficial self.
However, I spent that night laughing and talking with her and was instantly drawn into her. She was one of the most interesting people I had ever met. A bisexual, jewish, social worker who loved weed and had a laugh that shot serotonin through my brain. I started going to her house a few times a week and a month later Gina decided she’d had enough of Mike’s dirty underwear and heavy metal ways, and promptly kicked him out. This opened up her basement for one young dyke who was feeling real oppressed over in my suburban hellhole. The C.O. officers were harshing my mellow harrrrrrd.
The night I moved in, we sat on her couch, smoking weed and drinking vodka…she told me that roommates could sleep together without it meaning anything. I puffed up my egotistical chest and told her that that was never, ever, ever going to happen. Ever. She smiled ruefully, “Okay”, she said.
Over the next several months Gina became my main confidant and a sort of mother figure to me — like a second mom who I could tell all the fucked up shit to that I could never tell my actual mom. During these months I had become wrapped up in a trans man named Micah who liked to pretend we were in an open relationship, but really, that was a pretty one-sided deal. Gina was my shoulder to cry on, an open ear to listen, and my go-to source for advice. Gina stroked all the parts in me that ached to be touched. I could make her laugh and making her laugh became this deep well of joy for me…she told me that all my broken parts were beautiful, that my ability to feel so much was both a blessing and a curse but it was what made me this phenomenal, amazing being. She called me things like “Sweetheart” and “Baby” and let me sleep with her on the nights Micah would be out being all open and shit. Scattered across these months were also a regular stream of come-on’s from Gina and that it was “only a matter of time” before we had sex. Comments on my body. On my smile. On my eyes. On my muscles. I would give her a grin, and rebuke her.
One night in May we were having a regular night of heavy drinking and banter — Gina and I loved to fuck with each other — when I made the comment that in the great scoreboard of life, I would always be a few points ahead of her because she could never get the one thing that she really wanted. Her retort was that I just wasn’t brave enough to admit that I wanted it too. I can’t remember what I said back — who knows a limit to beer when they’re only 20? — but I do remember that there was a moment of energy, a second of movement. Something changed in me after that night, because I went to work the next morning — work was unloading bags of dog food from the big trucks at Petco — and I started imagining what it would be like to kiss her, what her mouth would taste like, and that shot heat and ice through me. Did I unload any food that day? I think I may have just stood there. I would think it, then shove it away, repulsed. I mean, she was like my mom.
But those thoughts wouldn’t go away. And at home I suddenly couldn’t act normal around her. She would look at me and I would blush and pull my hat over my eyes. I couldn’t make clever jokes anymore…I started fucking up my sentences and tripping over shit constantly. Her presence was more than I could handle. And I wanted her eyes on me, all the time. Hyper-aware of my every movement, pose, hair, appearance. Feeling unhinged.
A couple of weeks later we were sitting on her deck, and I wasn’t just drinking irresponsibly that night, I was on a fucking mission.
Finally, I sat across from her, our knees barely touching, and I pulled my hat as far down over my eyes as it could possibly go and I let those words escape me…but before I could hyperventilate, she said “Baby.” Softly. But with authority. She told me to look at her, and it was not a question. Then she kissed me.
….When people talk about time stopping, I believe them. Twenty years old and flying. From yearning so hard for so long for this feeling. For this moment. I put my hands in her hair and I said goodbye to this world.
“I will lean into you. You can be the wind. I will open my mouth, and you can come rushing in.”
When we pulled away, Gina leaned back, lit a smoke, looked at me, and commanded, “I’m going to smoke this cigarette and then I’m taking you to bed.”
Rapture: A feeling of intense pleasure or joy, exaltation.
Submission: the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person.
Fear: an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
I ran away.
She went inside, I made an excuse about using the bathroom, then I made a direct beeline out to my car. I drove to Micah’s house in Minneapolis, and I had angry, frantic sex with him, pretending it was Gina. Pretending I had stayed, wishing I had stayed. I came fiercely, but without release.
The next day I parked my car in the driveway and changed my oil for SIX hours bc I didn’t know what time Gina would get home from work, but I did know I wanted her to see me looking real sexy in my tank top- All sweaty. All smeared with grease. All canadian-lesbo-film-esque.
Two days later she went down on me on that same deck. I kept my eyes closed.
What followed after that were years of emotional manipulation and abuse, grooming, and gas-lighting. Gina tore me apart, consumed my tasty parts, and rebuilt me in her image. Only to desert me, again and again and again. There were also soul exploding moments of love and passion and truth. Gina would pull me in, then cast me aside. She went between me and a man twice my age, bored with me, back to him. Bored with him, back to me. Years of wishing on my knees and praying to a god I knew didn’t exist, just to be with her. For her to want me. To take me, strip me, and keep me. I made countless c.d.’s. She would eat them up greedily, then I would find them on the floor of her car months later, scratched to shit. I imagined what our wedding would be like, she told me I was too fucked up to care about anymore.
She reveled in cutting me open and dipping her fingers in my bloodstream. How I drove her away. How I ruined our love. How I was too younginexperiencednaievesensitive to understand. Then coos and praise and whispers of “I’m just Robynsexual.” She would play Missy fucking Higgins songs and goddamn Adelle and squeeze me in the palm of her hand until my remorse became the pulp she could lick from her fingers.
She brought a man home two days after she had taken me on the deck. I was fucking anguished. I could not believe it. Even though Ani D. said there would be days like these, I threw a goddamn fit. She looked at me like I was some cute little kid with that child’s desire for attention. She left me and went upstairs to him. I strained to hear their conversation, the words I caught were “You know how babies are.”
She would ban me from her life, refuse to speak to me, tell me we were done forever and that it was MY FAULT. …Then three months later I would get a text…..”Missing you.”….really saying she had forgotten what my heart tasted like and was hungry for a sacrifice once again.
Whenever I didn’t have a girlfriend, there was Gina. And even when I did have a girlfriend, which was often. She would keep me, hooked, begging.
Years later I had one of those breakthroughs in therapy where you realize the person you centered your entire idea of “soul mate” around, was really a predatory -almost- child abuser who groomed and used you. I stumbled out of that session sick to my stomach and having one those meltdowns that straps you in and takes you for a ride. I got to my car and I spat this out.
To think that it all could’ve been bullshit. To think that you preyed on me. That you used my pain to manipulate and own me.
“Just take an Ativan and let me do what I want.”, “No one knows you or loves you like I do. Our pain is the same. Your faults are beautiful.”….Auburn told me “Imagine if it was a twenty year old girl hearing these words from a thirty three year old man — “If your dad dies, I’ll be your father.””
It’s vanilla ice cream topped with gravy. The want to masturbate furiously and sob hysterically. Masochistic revulsion. Consciously unaware of WHAT THE FUCK was going on….Auburn said “But it was not incest.”..Really?..Because she was a mother. She was my owner savior author god salvation rapture endsville only and forever.
we used to joke about how sick and fucked up it was. How sick and dirty and wrong. “Just take an Ativan and just let me do what I want.” ..Something I desperately wanted to happen and desperately did not want to happen.
Do you know? Are you aware of the things you have done? Of the things you still try to do? Do you know that you have hurt destroyed eviscerated ripped apart torn open my chest dug your fingers through my skin into my being into my fucking soul and spit upon the home of my heart.
- Wednesday, July 6th, 2011-
I had to say FUCK YOU to writing anymore after that…
The last time I saw Gina was right after my marriage ended 6 years ago. This was after the epic meltdown. I went down to Coon Rapids and I was reckless with her for one last time. That night ended with her dancing naked on the hood of her car, in the middle of good white Suburbia, to some raunchy song. Me, sitting in the driver’s seat of her disgusting sports car, drunk off rum and just astonished at what I was seeing.
And of course, after that I wanted her again. Tried again. Got shot down, again. I guess I must have finally gotten my fill of sexy pseudo-incest mind fuck games because after that, when she would text me her late night sonnet sentences, they no longer made my pulse race.They made my eyes roll. She had become tired shit.
On a trip to Minneapolis a few years ago I drove past her house on my way. Why the hell not? I knew the way. My heart swam up to my throat as I rounded the corner…..to see a huge van parked in her driveway. It had a picture of some oiled dude wearing only bikini bottoms and a smile. There was a number underneath him and a promise that he was available for parties. …..I wasn’t at all surprised.
FINAL SUMMATION: Love is either Suicide or Salvation. Rarely do we get to pick which. The scars I carry remind me of both.
A WORD OF ADVICE: If you’re out somewhere, and a bisexual, Jewish NURSE hits on you in some sports bar in Coon Rapids, MN, Run.
Run as fast as you fucking can.