“Getaway” – by Cristina Arama

Student stories

This isn’t about me or you or the fact that it’s just stopped raining in Brașov and we’re finally able to get out of the hotel for once, walk around the place and hike a little bit into the forest. But there are bears around here, and no one’s feeding them anymore, so they’re hungry for us four girls on our two-day lesbian getaway. It isn’t about the gigantic hotel that spreads over the lake and is full of gold leaf and chandeliers, even in the cheapest rooms, or about anything else, really, apart from the fact that we’ve all come here to escape, for a couple of nights, the overwhelming terror from back home that stops me from kissing M on the Magheru boulevard, and stops A from holding hands with S when they’re walking to the subway. I guess it’s worse for the two of them, because they both have pixie cuts that emanate absolutely no interest in the opposite sex. At least, for me and M, it’s not that obvious that we’re together if we’re not holding hands. I can pass for straight. I have a bob cut and sometimes even put on eyebrow gel and mascara.

The log-turned-bench on the side of the parking lot is soggy from today’s rain, but A and I sit down anyway as we wait for our girlfriends while they finish their hike up the hill. We set the Coke and Stalinskaya Vodka we bought by our feet. I know they heard us having sex last night, because M had gotten a little drunk and moaned too loudly. I turn towards A to apologize for keeping them up last night.

“We were doing the same thing,” she says, but lacking that adolescentine smugness.

Conversations like these are still uncomfortable between us, even though we’ve known each other for almost three years. Neither of us has been able to shake off the shame and guilt that our Romanian upbringing has ingrained in us when it comes to sex.

“Did you have fun?” I ask, but not sarcastically.

S told me some time ago that A has trouble getting wet. Said it was a medical thing.

“S was really sweet,” A replies. “She even brought some of these tiny candles that look like coins, to make it more romantic.”

I make a dumb joke about M and I not needing any candles since we’re always horny, and then regret it, because it’s not always true. We sit in silence afterwards, the plastic bag with the Coke and Stalinskaya Vodka swishing when the wind blows it around. I mean to say something to make up for it, either about my inhibitions when it comes to being intimate with M, or about how I only ever had a single orgasm with her.

“Do you think we can find any lube close by?” A blurts before I can say anything.

We’re far from the city center, where our best shot at finding lube would’ve been Mega Image. But I say, sure. We look around a minimarket that only sells chips, wafers and beer, and then find another one that sells toiletries too. I offer to ask the clerk as A waits with the plastic bag close by. I’ve never bought lube before. I try to keep it together for A’s sake so she doesn’t feel terrible about forcing me to go through this encounter afterwards. The clerk frowns at me when I ask about it, pausing for a second as if he needs some time to picture me naked next to him and in need of lube. He doesn’t have any, either way, so we go back to our log.

“Today I had my first orgasm with M,” I tell A. “I faked all the others. Unless I’m a little drunk, I can’t get into it, and I always feel guilty. Like I don’t deserve it. Or like it’s all wrong. Like what we’re doing is wrong.”

“What was different this time?”

I shrug. I managed not to think about anything.

A tells me she never really had an orgasm either. She can’t picture what one would feel like.

“I feel bad that S has to try so hard to make me feel good,” she says, and looks to the side, towards the forest. “I’m terrified of having to bring a girl to dinner parties and shit in the future.”

“We’ll just have to ignore the nasty looks,” I say. I regret using we, because I’m bisexual and that’s supposed to mean it’s easier for me. “And I’m fine with that. I don’t want to be old and regret I didn’t do what made me happy all my life.”

This isn’t about me or you or the fact that it’s been nearly a year since then and things haven’t gotten much better. It’s not about the fact that last week, A tossed an off-handed comment about women being that much better in bed, and I knew it was a lie, because I don’t think it’s gotten any better for her either. I don’t know why we’re still pretending, after that talk, while we waited for M and S to return from their hike. I don’t know why we think we’re supposed to make it seem as if sex is like the heated scenes in the movies.

It’s about holding back from crying every time I fake an orgasm. And about hearing my mother’s voice reverberating in my mind, saying that this love is perverting my brain, that the March nights in Brașov were a sin. That she hopes I’ll find the right path again — and that I’ll feel better soon.