I wrote this Winter of my junior year of high school. At the time, I could only write from the male perspective of a protagonist– due to my own issues of female voice, authorship and internalized misogyny. Here my barriers are starting to break down—
* * *
Lara is talking. I’m half listening. She mentions the lust she feels only at night when she’s alone in bed. She keeps objectifying Leo, the mysteriously foreign man in the apartment down the hall. He’s got a pretty face. I wouldn’t mind examining it up close.
“Nick are you listening?”
I turn my eyes towards her. I can’t see her worry lines forming, but I know they’re there. I brush my bangs out of my face.
“Of course, I’m listening. Who doesn’t want to hear about your horny night life?” I sound a little too sarcastic. I don’t like putting people down when they’re talking about their desires. Everyone deserves to desire something, or someone.
“Lara, just keep talking.” I try to keep my voice smooth and light. I hate hearing myself talk. I hate feeling my Adam’s apple slightly moving up and down. I hate that I hate myself. Lara continues to go on about how embarrass she is about the fact that she objectifying Leo like he’s a piece of meat. “Lara, remember, he’s probably picturing you topless every time you pass by. If anything, men should be objectified by women more often. It’s only fair.” She smiles at me. I feel a little bit more confident that I am a good person. I really am. But why do I still hate myself?
I push myself up so I can see the edge of the bed. Lara’s off-white down comforter is about to fall off. I pull the covers up to my waist. I notice a dark, reddish spot about the size of my thumb. Blood. Of course Lara wouldn’t mind having a blanket with period stains. I try to forget about it, but my mind quickly wanders to what it’s like to be a girl—no wait, a woman—and be a part of a secret club. A secret club of mother nature’s, where you know that your body is ready to give birth to life, and yet you choose to avoid it. A secret club, where everyone can openly complain about the frustrations of being fertile. I wonder what it’s like to have that in common with nearly fifty percent of the population? Are women more connected than men? Are they more content because they share this experience and are not alone? I’m alone. I’m never so intimate with my roommate Scott, or my brother Jet, or even Nadia, the chick I’ve been sort of seeing for the last three months. Only with Lara can I be so open.
I suddenly feel the urge to leave. Lara doesn’t need depressing old Nick around.
“Lara, I just realized I forgot to Tivo Grey’s Anatomy. Why don’t I call you later?”
“Sure, no problem. I’ve got to catch up on some work.