Bi The Way

Sam is eight when she meets Aaron. Fifteen when she meets Gallagher. And not old enough to deal with bisexuality and depression.

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1. The Only Straight I am...

When I was eight I didn't know what bisexuality was. I thought there was gay straight and lesbian. Though I had only ever met straight people. Anyway, when I was in the second grade, Aaron Lee came to my school. She was a year older, she could do a cartwheel, her hair had streaks of pink in it. And I had a crush on her. Though of course I didn't know this at the time. I would talk to her every recess, sit with her on the bus, we had sleep overs, soon I was in love, well what a eight year old thinks love is. I was in that little-kid-that-picks-the-other-little-kid-flowers-and-pushes-her-on-the-swing kind of love. But, of course I didn't think that I could date a girl. Because I was straight. And straight girls don't date girls. (I didn't take into mind that we were eight can couldn't date anyway.) So I stopped talking to Aaron, I didn't see her at recess, I didn't sit with her on the bus. I didn't want to see her. I didn't want to catch any lesbian-ness she had. Soon she moved away. I think she lives in Vancouver now. But I don't know. But, I suppose that doesn't matter.

When I was in the seventh grade I changed schools, I went to a school with a program for "gifted kids" who were really just the kids who liked learning and wanted to work hard. My older, prettier, smarter, more athletic sister want there, so I went too, to show that I was just as good as her. I loved it there, it was like I found a space where I could almost be myself, almost. 

About half way through the year we had some speakers come in to talk to our class about social justice issues. One of the women speaking told us that is is a activist of LGBT rights. And I knew that LGBT was an acronym that people used to refer to gay people. But that was about all I knew about it. At the end of this activist's presentation, I went up to her and asked her how many different sexualities there were. And what she said next changed me forever. "As many as there are people on this earth." Being twelve, I didn't understand that vague and deep message. I just thought to myself "What the fuck does that mean?" and then nodded politely and thanked her and went back to class. Everyone in my class who had been in that presentation went back to whatever they were doing before while I just sat at my desk and thought about what she had said. I sat at my dest through lunch, not talking to any one, ( which it a rarity for me because I never shut up) I sat right to the recess bell. That was when my teacher, Mr. Farmer came over to me and asked if everything was alright. He was a very tall man, in his late thirties, he had also taught my sister when she was in the program so I had known him since I was eight. I looked up at him from my desk and thought about his question. Was everything alright? I didn't know. Is finding out there is a whole other world where you can like any gender you want and then questioning everything you every knew an every day occurrence? I decided to answer his question with a question. "What does LGBT stand for?" I asked him, moving from sitting on my chair to sitting on my desk. "It stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender." He was never one to beat around the bush. "Do you know what all of those things are?" (Now right about here you might be thinking "What twelve year old doesn't know what Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender stand for?" Well, I'll have you know that I grew up in the 2000's lived in a very small town, and had never met, much less knew about bisexual or transgender people until now.)

"I know all of them but one."

"What one?" he sat down on the desk.

"Bisexual."

"Oh well that just means that you like boys and girls. Because bi means two." he put his two fingers up.

"Oh." I say very quietly.

"Why do you ask?"

"I just didn't know." I shrug my shoulders and put my hands in my lap. I trusted Mr. Farmer almost more than my own parents. I thought about telling him that I was I was bi, because in my mind it was the only explanation for why I liked Aaron Lee, but I also had crushes on boys now. But I decided to not tell him until I was sure. "Thank you Mr. Farmer." I said standing "I should go outside now." 

"Ms. Adams?" he said

"Yes?" I leaned into the class room

"I think one day you'll find.." he paused thinking about how to articulate his thoughts "... that this new information will one day mean a great deal to you." as he said this he looked me right in the eye and made, an almost sad, half smile. I nodded and walked out. As I put on my outdoor shoes I thought to myself "Now how the hell did he know?"

 

The strange thing about this program I was in was that it only ran for grades seven and eight. And it only had two teachers. One teacher who taught grade seven and grade eight drama, Mr. Farmer. And one teacher who taught grade eight and grade seven math, Mr. Willson. So I grade eight I only saw Mr. Farmer for a fraction of the time I had before. 

By the time June of grade eight rolled around I knew  I liked girls and boys. Now this is  the same time when all of the grade eights graduate. Now, my goal for basically my whole elementary career was to be valedictorian.  But now my goal had changed to don't let anyone find out you're bi. 

We were sitting in class when our teacher came in with a stack of papers. He wasn't very tall, he had a shaved head that he claimed to shave himself and he was wearing is infamous basketball shorts. (I don't think I had ever seen him wear anything else.) "Alright, settle down peanut gallery." he shouted to the noisy class, sitting down on his half finished wooden stool. "We are doing votes for valedictorian. Here is how its going to go. You nominate someone, they come up here and say why they should do it, then, after everyone has gone, we vote. So, who wants to nominate someone?"  There was a very long silence. Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw my friend, Faith, slowly reach her arm just above her head. "Ummm, I think that Sam should do it." not two seconds after she whispered those words, another ten kids nominated their friends. After about of twenty minutes of "No, she hates speaking in front of people!" and "Ha, let Mc Kingly do it he'd kill it!" we had narrowed it down to five candidates. Me, and four people I didn't like. We had five minutes to prepare what we were going to say and then we would present to the class. (Now, I'm going to skip over this part and give you the highlights. The first guy threw up while he was talking, the next girl told us she would bring a 'totes fab' feel to graduation and I quoted John Green and made the pun 'Why graduate with these other valedictorians when you could GLAD-uate  with me?' Surprisingly, that show of my wit and maturity, I won.  But, my grade eight grad isn't a good story. It was pretty standard, the really good story starts when I was in tenth grade two years later. That's when we had our first semi formal. And when she came back.

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