The handful of months after V and I first kissed are a blur. All I know is that two months after Easter, we came to the conclusion that we were in an actual relationship, though we weren't entirely sure how that had happened. I asked for an anniversary; having never been in a relationship before, I wanted something to celebrate every month. We chose June 9.
By this point, the summer before senior year, I was ready to be done with both my school and God. I knew, from everything I'd been taught, that God wasn't exactly a fan of this new relationship, so I told him sayonara. V and I began exploring this gay new world. I referred to myself as a straight girl with a girlfriend; I didn't feel any connection to a gay culture, and didn't want to.
I'd been seeing a counselor on campus for depression, and told her about the changes in my life, knowing she would be supportive. (College was all about finding the right people: not everyone was super-fundamentalist, but you had to dig hard and carefully.) Her response surprised me. When I'd talked to her about V over the past year, she'd assumed that we were together, but it wasn't up for discussion. That would continue to be a common theme: "Of course you're together; you have been for awhile now!" No, actually, not.
That counselor was our lifesaver through the first half of senior year. Those awful four months included roommates moving out on us with no notice, the most difficult classes piled together, taking the GRE and applying to grad schools, V breaking up with her high school friend, and - oh yeah - trying to figure out how to be in a gay relationship. But every week, we could come crawl into two comfy chairs in the counseling center, cry like a baby (me), talk about anything (both of us), and leave feeling a little more capable of handling the next week.
She also connected us to a master's student on campus who was a lesbian; we met for dinner, and she too became a point of stability. She lent us The L Word so I could get it through my head that just because I had a girlfriend didn't mean I had to cut all my hair off and be angry and ride a motorcycle. One of our professors in the English department also helped us through senior year, as did our new roommates. (Tip: If you need moral support, definitely room with the most vocal feminist you know on campus.)
As it came close to graduation, everyone started talking about how much they were looking forward to it. Every time, I wanted to shake them and say, "You have no idea. You're looking forward to a piece of paper. I'm looking forward to my freedom." The thought of no longer facing expulsion and/or therapy if discovered was tantalizing, and inconceivable.