The Kiss that Launched a Lesbian Love Story

Love and Sex

The Kiss that Launched a Lesbian Love Story

Illustration: Namaah

Mwasn’t even supposed to be there. She told me this later. Some of her friends from Puducherry were in Mumbai for the weekend, and she’d got them to the Canvas Laugh Club. M is not the “pay for a laugh” kind of girl. She’s all smiles, all the time. I swear she lights up the bloody room. But more on that later.

I went up on stage. A totally, wholly, roaringly gay stand-up comic. Yeah, I like women. In that way. In that totally, wholly, roaringly sexual way. I didn’t see M in the audience that night or I’d have beamed at her right away. Anyway, attraction was a far thing. M wasn’t very impressed with me. I was too fit (she actually said that) and my stance was too strong. I didn’t look funny at all.

It wasn’t until the safety pin set that she got laughing (it is funny if I may say so myself). After that, she laughed and laughed, and then laughed some more and then went back home, flushed with happiness, and did what any girl with a blossoming crush does – Googled away. She had no idea why she was smiling as she read because here was the little problem. M wasn’t gay. Or at least she had no idea she was.

We became Facebook friends. I didn’t know this girl yet, but I liked her already. Her profile picture was a close up of her beautiful brown face and those glowing eyes, nuzzling a majestic Boxer. “I’ll come to meet you when you’re in Mumbai next,” M wrote, “if you hang out with fans, that is.” Hell yes, I do!

When we finally met, it was monsoon in Mumbai. Here’s what went on in M’s head: She’s much shorter than she looks on stage. Nice blue-and-white check shirt. And then: Nice ass. Even as she finished these words in her head, she was confused. Why had I looked at her ass? My poor M.

M didn’t understand that love didn’t know chromosomes, that XX worked the same as XY.

I didn’t want to drink coffee that rainy day. I wanted to eat fanas. Sportingly, M agreed to come find it with me. We walked past the Bandra talao. It poured. We walked to Khar station. It poured. At some point, the sun came out and the day pretended like nothing had happened, like it wasn’t watching us find our way to each other. We boarded the train and got off at Dadar. Fanas? Fanas? They pointed. We followed.

The small narrow lanes were crowded. I instinctively reached for her hand. M took it, and looked down. What a curious feeling, she thought. We held hands as we hunted for fanas and talked. About Mumbai. About life. About fanas. M told me she wants to get married, but has never liked any man. She’d never been in a relationship. Never kissed anyone. I wanted to hug her and tell her why there was no man. Why there may never be one. My poor M.

After three crowded lanes worth of hand-holding, rain-walking, and body-bumping we found fanas. She smiled at me. When M smiles, you want the world to stop and watch; it’s a thing of beauty. On the way back we took a cab. We were drenched, happy and on the cusp of – dare I say it? – love.

I reached out and put my fingers in her hair. Don’t do that, M said, clenching my hand. She was telling me one thing, her body was saying another.

When we reached Lower Parel, I pulled my hand back, as she looked at me with desire and utter confusion. She had a crazy urge to kiss me, she told me later. But she immediately shunned the thought. Why would I even think of it? She looked at me blankly, with a raging storm in her head, and hugged me goodbye. M didn’t understand that love didn’t know chromosomes, that XX worked the same as XY.

We texted each other that night. I didn’t say anything to push her. The next morning we met again. As soon as she saw me, her face shone in the way that only her face shines. What the hell is this, she wondered. My head was clear.

I was falling in love with M and I was waiting for her to give herself permission to fall in love with me. Over coffee, we spoke about dogs. About sandwiches. About love. “I have to get married soon. I have to settle down,” she said, valiantly defending her post, even though she was rapidly being pulled away from it. I decided to make my move. Just one move.

“Hang on,” I said. “Do you not see the attraction my body has for yours and that your body is accepting it,” I asked.

“Yes,” M said, in a small voice.

We went to a friend’s place, and I made her lie down on a bed. I put her hand in my hair, and leaned in close. M looked terrified. “My heart,” she said softly, “is pounding in my ears.” I didn’t do a thing. Just lay there with her.

“Don’t look at me like that,” she whimpered. I looked on. Breathing. Waiting. M rose up, closed her eyes, and took the plunge. Her lips shyly brushed mine and even after she pulled away, her eyes remained closed. When her beautiful brown eyes finally opened, I knew M had done it. She’d given herself permission to fall in love with me.

Remember those walls I built,
Well baby they’re tumbling down,
They didn’t even put up a fight,
They didn’t even make a sound.

 This is an updated version of a story published earlier.