The day was sweaty, the room filled with estrogen, and gossip was a tangible, sticky humidity that clung to the skin. The summer sun poured in through the windows, and dust motes sparkled like a swirling cloud of yellow glitter.
A group of people walked into the far room, and the women around me peered at the fresh meat. Two tall boys, one pierced and dangerous, the other clean cut and a little dorky. With them was an amazon woman with long, flowing hair, and shorter than all of the others by at least a foot, was the person who caught my attention.
She was wearing beige plaid shorts that hit at the knee, black converse with holes in the sides, a gray short sleeved t-shirt, and had hair cropped short to the scalp with a fringe of bangs over her big amber colored eyes. When she looked up and grinned, her teeth were slightly crooked, giving a playful appearance.
I swear, I wanted her in that one moment. My pulse throbbed through me and my thoughts were nonexistent. My brain was too full of her. I was halfway out of my seat when one of the other girls pulled me back to reality with a touch on the arm and an accusing, “Where are you going?”
I slowly lowered myself into my seat, my heart pounding fiercely in my chest. I didn’t want to let her out of my sight. I craved her presence, wanted to shake her hand merely for an excuse to touch her skin. I knew if she left and I never saw her again, there would never be another as wonderful as her. It was crazy, I didn’t even know her! Hadn’t heard her voice or learned her name!
But the group walked out of the room, and my heart sank to my feet. Losing all casual pretense, I got out of my chair and walked briskly to my manager. “Who were they?” I tried to sound nonchalant, but I’m sure my voice betrayed me.
“They are the new trainees. They will be working here starting next week,” she answered me.
Thank God! I went back to my work station feeling dizzy. I sat down and thought about what next week would bring. I would find a reason to talk to her. Her preference didn’t matter, who she had dated, who she was dating- I would charm her, woo her, romance her, and make her mine.
I dreamed of her every night for a week. I started work the next week hoping that we had been put on the same shift. It was a hectic day, and I quickly lost myself in the hustle and bustle of my work until I saw her in the hallway. I must have looked like a hot mess, because she was grinning at me in that way that suggested she had been watching me and was thoroughly amused by my actions. I pulled myself out of my crouched position and blew a piece of hair out of my face.
“Hi, I’m Tabby,” I think I managed a grin as I held out my hand, and I knew my eyes were sparkling way too brightly to seem as if I was uninterested.
“Hey, I’m Gwen. I work in [a different department.]” She grinned in a cocky way and took my hand. She had the softest skin and her voice was slow and smooth. My heart was pounding in my throat and I felt a little high.
“Nice to meet you,” oh my God, I was grinning like a fool. “Are we working the same shift?” Her grin broadened and I swear she could see right through me.
“Yeah. I’m really excited about it. I’ve signed on for the next year.” (We were working on a contract basis.) She sounded so cool, why couldn’t I be as cool as she was instead of a blundering idiot? I finally realized I’d been holding onto her hand for way too long and let go, taking in a breath as I told my heart to calm down.
“I guess we’ll be seeing a lot of each other.” Finally, something came out with a half grin and a somewhat languid inflection.
“I guess,” she laughed. “See you around, Tabby.” She turned and walked away to do her job, but I swear she was chuckling at how obviously attracted I was to her.
I turned back to the hectic mess which was my job, crouching back down to the floor, but not really paying attention. My every thought was focused on her: the next time I’d see her, the next thing she’d say. There was no embarrassment at my actions, no shame at throwing myself at her, no questioning of my sexuality (which I had considered myself to be fairly straight only several days before.)
You have to understand that at this point, in my frame of mind, she was not a woman. She was not a taboo, and I was not a “lesbian.” She defied labels of every sort. My sexuality never crossed my mind once as I focused on the task of getting first:girl to like me.