A Night of Many Firsts
I have spent a majority of my life in Northern Canada and my summers home from university held nothing but depression and seclusion. I had just finished my second year of University in the ‘big city’ and had finally come to terms with my sexual identity and was slowly building confidence to come out to my parents and my friends. I vividly remember talking with my best friend about a girl she was bringing up to work in the summer and she was also a lesbian. I was more excited to meet someone else like me in my small town and hang out and do whatever I thought lesbians were supposed to do.
We had a lot in common. We both played basketball, liked scary movies and camping. Soon we found ourselves falling for each other in what turned out to be my very first summer romance. One weekend we took a trip up to one of my favorite camping grounds right near a beautiful hot spring. It was my first ‘alone’ time with a girl and my first time setting up a campsite without hurting myself. Unknown to us, a group of my high school friends also decided to take a trip up to the springs and ran into us at the camping site. Neither of us had ever revealed that we were in a relationship nor that we were gay.
After a few hours of chit chat, my group of friends headed to their campsite and my girlfriend and I decided to go take a dip in the hot springs before making s’mores. The springs were beautiful at night and we found a perfect waterfall that we sat under. I had this amazing feeling that it would be my first kiss, and it was. I was elated but my memory of joy would not last for long.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a flash and then yelling. My friends had found us in the springs and saw us kissing. I heard yelling, screaming and shouting of the words ‘DYKES’! ‘LEZZIES’. We knew it was best to get out of the springs, but we were completely surrounded and then I felt it hit my face. A fist. A fist of a friend I had known, had gone to prom with, had driven home from parties and did a project in biology with. I heard him yelling the most horrible things about us. I could feel the pain shooting through my face so fast it made tears well up in my eyes. My girlfriend took my hand and we dragged each other away from the crowd. We sprinted the three kilometer boardwalk back to our tent, still hearing the shouts and hollers from the springs.
When we got to the safety of the crowed campground, I asked her “How could they do that? I have known them all for years! I have been with them through break ups, make ups, pregnancy scares and trips to the hospital. And, after all that I still loved them. Why is this such a big deal?” She was silent for a long time. The whole way back to the tent and after we dried off by the campfire. We never made s’mores.
I crawled into the tent with her, and asked “What do we do? Should we tell someone?” “No,” she said, “This is what happens to people like us. The sooner you realize it, the sooner you get over it”.
I remember that night of firsts. But, the one I remember the most, is the first time I ever felt afraid to be who I was.
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