Is She?

When Claire starts university she moves in with fellow student Jasmine and immediately falls for her. But how do you tell if a girl is gay? Claire looks up the ‘signs’ on the internet and desperately seeks advice from friends. But with all the signs pointing in either direction she is just left wondering: Is she?

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3. CHAPTER THREE: THE SIGNS

Claire had a list, as long as her arm, of all the things she ought to be reading for class.

She told herself that she was just taking a five minute break, but she had already spent the last two hours scouring the internet for information, advice, how to’s, anything that could help her.

She had seen the words ‘she’s beautiful’ written clearly at the end of Jasmine’s last diary entry, although she didn’t have an opportunity to read the rest, she felt sure that this was significant. This was a sign of something, she was meant to stumble on it, she was meant to find out.

‘After all’ she thought ‘don’t people have loads of crazy stories about how they met? About how fate pulled them together? Perhaps this is what was happening here, perhaps fate led me to this house, to that journal entry… to that girl. To Jasmine…’

But she needed confirmation. She needed to know for sure!

She had typed ‘how do you tell if a girl is a lesbian’ into a search engine and had come up with pages and pages and pages and PAGES of results. It seemed as though everyone, everywhere had an opinion on it. They all seemed to have a tip or a trick that was sure to work, sure to give you an answer.

Claire decided that she would make a note of them all and then the signs which were most commonly mentioned were sure to be most important. Plus, if she started to see a lot of signs that related to Jasmine then she would know she was definitely onto something.

‘But how to confirm it?’

So far, top of her list was ‘short hair’ this was one of the most common ‘signs’ but it didn’t apply to Jasmine, so it was a bit frustrating. The next most common was ‘wearing boys/men’s clothes’ she hadn’t seen Jasmine in anything that could be men’s but she would keep an eye out for it.

Another thing on the list was something that seemed obvious now that she had been told, and that was ‘they talk about girls… a lot’. Claire hadn’t had much of a chance to really talk to Jasmine so she had put that on her ‘to look out for’ list.

Sport looked like it was essential. Lesbians like football, hockey, lacrosse, cricket, tennis, and roller-skating. A few websites were adamant that lesbians don’t like horse riding, but there were just as many places that said they did, so Claire put that down on the ‘signs’ list as a maybe.

There was a lot of stuff about rainbows; rainbow flags, rainbow posters, rainbow key rings, rainbow badges. Again she hadn’t seen Jasmine wear or display any rainbows, but she would pay close attention from now on.

Claire found a few people who all mentioned the same things about wearing silver rings. She knew that Jasmine had some gold jewellery and now she would keep an eye out for her wearing a silver ring. People were very specific about which finger the ring ought to be on, but they were all suggesting different fingers, so for now she would ignore that bit.

Then Claire hit the jackpot: a few places suggested lesbians tie their hair in pony tails which are secured at the nape of the neck. This was exactly how she had seen Jasmine tie her hair the days she helped her move in! This was a definite sign! It was the first one on the list that she was able to put a big green tick next to. She looked down the list at the other things she would have to check and felt sure that they were all within reach. Soon she would be able to prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that Jasmine was definitely gay.

Her phone buzzed. It was a text from Mandy.

‘job interview ovr @ 5. can I meet u 4 dnr @ urs aftr?’

‘defo! 6ish is gr8 :)’ she text back.

The minute she sent it she regretted it. She realised it was going to be an absolute nightmare getting the kitchen up to a standard where she could have dinner in it. She would have to work fast.

Claire spent the next few hours avoiding her reading and cleaning the kitchen and the bathroom instead. She tried moving some of the furniture around so that the table could at least have people sitting at it, rather than being pushed in a corner with a load of junk on top of it. Then she used her own saucepans and her own utensils rather than the unpleasant ‘house’ ones and was close to making a passable curry when the doorbell rang.

When she led Mandy into the kitchen her reaction was of pleasant surprise; saying it looked much better than she remembered it. Claire beamed internally, it still gave her a little buzz to get praise from Mandy and she started talking her through all the research she had conducted into the ‘signs’ hoping she would praise her for her hard work and dedication.

“It’s not exactly a science is it?” Mandy said.

“How did the interview go?” Claire decided that changing the subject was the best way to deal with her disappointment. Her curry looked as though it was vaguely finished, so she ladled it out on to two matching plates.

“Well, it’s a bit confusing really.”

“So,” said Claire, laying their hot plates on the table “talk me through it.”

Mandy sighed as she began relating her tale, the jobs she wanted were scattered across the country and the interviews were expensive to get to and difficult to prepare for, plus she had to keep taking time off from her current job in order to attend. Today’s interview had gone really well and they had practically offered her the job at the end, which was fantastic, but she would still have to wait for confirmation.

“Hey” said Mandy, breaking off to greet Jasmine as she walked into the room, Claire’s stomach immediately jolted at the prospect of being in the same room as her again.

“Heya.” Jasmine replied.

 “So I think I’ll still go to the interview for the one at Colbea’s” Mandy continued “I mean the worst thing that could happen is that I’ll get them both and will be able to choose, what do you think.” Mandy looked at Claire who was gazing across the room. “Claire? What do you think?”

But it was no use, Claire wasn’t listening, she was looking at Jasmine, her cheeks were flushed and she had a nervous smile on her lips, then when Jasmine turned to speak to her she could barely articulate a reply.

“So what are you two up to?”

“Food.” Said Claire, stupidly.

“I had an interview in the city,” Mandy said, stepping in “And Claire graciously offered to cook dinner for me. How about you? Any plans for this evening?”

“I’m actually meeting a friend down on the Southbank, I love it down there, we might go to the globe or something, have you ever been there?” Jasmine leaned against the sink and started to peel an orange. Claire couldn’t take her eyes of Jasmine’s hands, her skin looked so soft and the way she delicately moved her fingers made Claire wish it wasn’t an orange she was holding.

“No,” said Mandy, forced to step in again “neither of us have really been around London much, we could do with a tour of the best bits!”

“We’ll have to do that one weekend, I could take you to all the secret places the tourists never find!” She winked conspiratorially.

“That would be great!”

“Well, have a lovely evening!” Jasmine said as she left.

“You too!” Mandy called after her.

“Did you see what she was wearing?” Claire hissed as if Jasmine was still in the room.

“What about it?”

“Doc Martins!” Claire announced “She was wearing Doc Martins! That was one of the signs, lesbians wear Doc Martins, so… Jasmine could be gay!”

“For God’s sake, Claire!” Mandy snapped “You are completely mad! Not one of these so called ‘signs’ applies to you!”

Claire stared at Mandy, blankly for a moment then spoke, as if to a child, “but I know I’m gay, I don’t need to look for signs about me…”

Mandy threw her head back in frustration “Exactly!” she said “You are gay, but you have none, not one, of those stupid signs you’re so obsessed with. Doesn’t that tell you that maybe the signs are complete rubbish? It’s not about how you dress, or how you walk or what sport you play or how dumb you are, you just fall in love with who you fall in love with!”

Claire looked at her “but… then how do I find out?”

“Oh, just open your bloody eyes!” And with that, Mandy stood up and left the kitchen without looking back.

After a few seconds Claire heard the front door slam. “What’s got her knickers in a twist?”

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