Firsts by E.E. Suchowolec
Updated: May 8, 2019
The first time I noticed the feminine physique, I was five. Disney’s Fantasia played on
the television, a massive silver box with a domed backside, and a built-in VHS player.
(You remember VHS, don’t you? Black nondescript plastic cases housing magical spools
of grey-and-black film rolls. Add a spark of electricity, and the world burned with color.
It was a lot like love.)
Naked fairy women flitted around the screen. I watched the creamy skin undulate across
the screen. I traced a finger across hand drawn nubs of tiny nipples. I traced a finger across my own body.
I wanted to be a fairy, too, naked and drifting gently through the air.
I wondered at the feeling of hunger in my stomach; after all, it was after lunch.
The first time I noticed Woman, I was nine. I sat perched on a stool in Art. I was
supposed to paint a picture of a bowl of fruit.
Instead, I watched Mrs. P------- drift around the room, watched her from the corners of
my eyes while she slid in and out of my peripheral vision, the tip of my paintbrush hovering over the surface of my paper.
She wore a cream shirt with silver buttons. I could clearly see her white lace bra through
the thin material.
(I studied the swirls, the feminine flowers, the intricate embroideries. I was sure they
could tell me a secret, if only I could read the unique cursive locked away in stitchery.)
Her hand at my elbow. A tutting whisper in my ear. I looked at my paper.
No fruit. Only swirls.
The first time I felt ashamed, I was sixteen. My best friend was having a bad day. I
hugged her during lunch, as I could see the tears threatening to cloud her beautiful green eyes.
(Green like grass, green like promise, green like minty chewing gum that we chewed
under the bleachers with our heads together giggling about boys and books and inside jokes. Green like nothing you’ve ever seen. Green with a tiny gold fleck in the left iris.
Green was my favorite color, but only your shade.)
Hey, he said from the next table, check out the dykes.
Yeah, another chimed in, you gonna start kissing, bitches?
Amid chants and catcalls and jeers, she pushed me away, blood rushing to her face. I let
myself be pushed, wondering at the sudden gnawing loneliness that had bloomed in my stomach.
The first time I kissed a girl, I was nineteen. There was a boy at a college party. I wanted
to impress him. She was there. I dared her, alcohol making me feel warm and brave and silly, to kiss me.
(I don’t even remember his name, even his face is a blur. I remember her name (Kat) I
remember her perfume (red door) I remember her hair (chocolate) I remember her lips (plump).)
Our hands tangled in hair, I drank deep from her lips. Lips were soft, and sweet, and
heady. My stomach burned.
It was not the alcohol.
The first time I met my husband, I was twenty. Our eyes locked in the library. I sat at one
table, surrounded by books. He sat at another table, surrounded by girls.
My eyes drifted down to the text. Magnets drew me back. He had green eyes. He had soft
(I actively sought the feminine in his features.)
The first time I cheated on my husband, it was a late night at work. My pretty
(beautiful, intoxicating, breathtaking, goddess-like)
coworker was working late. I brought her coffee. She thanked me. I smiled. She smiled. I sat
with her and helped to sort papers, file documents. She watched me with gold buried deep in her
She took my hand and led me to the bathroom.
(There was a lot of heavy breathing and clumsy, hesitant touching.)
I’m married, I whispered into her mouth. So am I, she whispered back, sliding her fingers
under the edge of my lace bra.
The burning in my stomach intensified. I bloomed, still mostly clothed, unfurling before
The first time I whispered my truth—I’m Gay—it was against her navel, lapping at the
sweaty dew across her stomach.
She laughed. So am I.
The first time I took her to dinner was in the sudden disorienting void post-divorce.
Hubby hadn’t cared; he’d been cheating, too.
I held her hand. I waited for the jeers.
And so, fingers entwined, we ate.
E.E. Suchowolec was born and bred in the heart of Michigan, majoring in writing at Grand
Valley State University. As both a bisexual woman and a neurodivergent individual, she
passionately advocates for mental health and LGBTQ+ issues. She works as the Director of
Education for the online writing community The Writer’s Workout. She lives with her husband and three children in Michigan.