After Travis had broken up with Paige, he entered a state of mild depression. He claimed she was his one great love and his life had no meaning without her, but he couldn’t possibly date her because she was an awful human being. In an attempt to help ease his heart, his aunt enrolled him in a volunteer program at the local arts center making various things with the elementary kids that would go there. That’s where he met Donna Lewis, a girl he claimed changed his life. She volunteered too and seemed like a nice improvement from Paige.
Every now and then the center would host a gallery where all the kids could display their work and parents would come to over exaggerate their pride in their children’s work. The best part about this was the food. The parents would usually make delicious meals and desserts for the event so when Travis asked if I wanted to come I decided to play third wheel in exchange for the banquet of goodies.
I was on my second nanamo bar, when I saw her….Samantha Kritchen. She had spilled a bit of punch on her t-shirt and was looking for a napkin to wipe it off.
“Here you go.” I blushed slightly as I handed her one.
She smiled and I saw the one and only flaw about her. She had few crooked teeth but besides that she was lovely. He dark raven hair was in a very stylish up-do with a few curls left lose by her ears and her slim body was simply dressed with jeans and a t-shirt. Her eyes were dark and deep, which contrasted perfectly with her pale skin. Something about her reminded me of Becky, but it could have been the fact that they both had that surreal ethereal quality to them. I think that’s my type.
While Travis spent the evening with Donna, I walked around the kiddie gallery with Samantha. She said her brother was one of the little kids that came to the center as she pointed out an Eiffel tower he had made with popsicle sticks and a car he had made with clay.
“He’s very talented,” I commented, a little jealous that a six year old kid was a lot more artistic than me.
Samantha’s entire family were art enthusiasts. Her mother was a highly acclaimed painter from Europe and her Dad used to be a sculptor but became a curator after losing his arm in an accident.. Samantha herself volunteered at the center teaching painting and knitting. I admired her entire family; they all had similar passions and seemed to pursue it with vigor. I also like how they all supported each other. I’m sure my parents would have supported me if I decided to be an artist but it was never really my thing. I didn’t have any real hobbies. At least none that I dedicated myself to. I spent most of my time hanging out with friends. I wasn’t picky about what we did as long as we all had fun. I guess if friendship was a passion that would be mine. Samantha on the other hand was clearly an artist; her face lit up as she talked to me about the different techniques the kids were learning, which made her more attractive in my eyes.
The whole time she talked I kept wishing that this wouldn’t be the last time I’d see her. It’s not hard to meet people but it’s hard to keep in contact with them, unless you go to school with them or work with them.
It seemed that my wish was about to be granted because she asked if I wanted to see a movie with her that Saturday, to which of course I said yes, hoping I didn’t sound too eager. And I would just like to take this moment to say how awesome it was to be asked out by a girl. More girls should do it. She liked me and she asked me out! I don’t know why, but I felt like I had won something in that moment.
Saturday’s date went well. The movie she chose was some old black and white silent film. I guess being an art person means you like stuff like that. I found it boring and hard to follow but Samantha was really into it, and since I wanted her to be into me, I tried to enjoy the show. My pretense seemed to go well because we saw each other again on Sunday for lunch.
For about a month, I spent my days with Samantha, even taking a beginner’s painting class that she taught. It was a great month and it would have been perfect except for one little issue…Samantha never let me get close to her. Every time I went in for a kiss she’d move away or laugh and cover her mouth. Even our hugs were very brief. I did a dozen breath checks before I’d meet her; I even showered twice. She also never wanted to do anything during the evening. When I asked her if she wanted to go to Jane’s birthday party, which was held at Vanessa’s place, she said it would run too late.
“But it’ll be fun and you can meet some of my friends.” I said, trying to convince her.
“No, I don’t want to go out that late.” She replied.
“Do you turn into a green monster when the sun goes down,” I teased.
“No!” she sharply replied.
It wasn’t like she could use her parent’s as an excuse because they actually offered us tickets to a ballet one night. Night. As in nighttime, which Samantha turned down. And when they took her brother to visit her grandparents one weekend they said I could come over to keep Samantha company.
I was so excited for the sleepover, but she of course didn’t bother bringing me over that entire weekend. We went for a bike ride instead.
A month and a half later and still no kiss. I vented my frustration to Travis one day in the library and he said maybe she’s like Mel.
“Don’t. Don’t even joke about that. I am not going through that again.”
“Ok let’s run through the facts. She likes you right?” He said
“I think so. I mean she always wants to spend time with me.”
“She is a girl right?”
“As far as I can tell. Everything looked legit when we went swimming.”
“She’s a-sexual.” Becky interrupted. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to listen in.”
“She’s a what?” Travis asked confused.
“A-sexual. I think it’s someone who doesn’t like sex or even intimacy sometimes.”
“Oh, like she had a bad experience or something?” Travis prodded.
“Maybe, maybe not. I saw her reading a book called ‘how to be a-sexual in an oversexed world‘.”
“Maybe she was just doing research,” I said hopeful.
“Maybe, but from what you’ve said I think it fits.”
A-sexual? I had never heard of that word. But then again, I had also never heard of poly-amorous until recently, thanks to Vanessa. There was probably a plethora or sexual and relationship choices that I didn’t know about. But I was curious about this whole a-sexual thing and I was especially curious to know if Samantha was one. No one I knew had even heard of it, except Becky who said she was also curious about it after she saw Samantha’s book. We couldn’t find that book in our school library but we did find an article about it in . “Pleasure” magazine. In it they called it nonsexuality but Becky said it was same thing. The article was about two different types of a-sexuals based on interviews that they had with some college folks. Apparently, one kind didn’t like anything romantic and had no romantic feelings towards boys or girls, while the other liked some forms of intimacy like hand holding but didn’t enjoy or even think about sex. Blame it on hormones but I thought about sex often, and couldn’t imagine it not crossing someone’s mind, including Samantha’s.
Maybe it was wishful thinking, but I didn’t think she was a-sexual or nonsexual or whatever. She seemed like a normal girl, who was maybe just a little more strict about her virtue. I could handle that. I liked her so I didn’t mind taking it slow. But what if this was going to our pace forever? What if she was asexual? I had to find out for myself. As nervous as I was to bring it up with her, I had to ask her.
When I got to Samantha’s place I froze. I hadn’t thought out what I was going to say. I wasn’t even sure how I felt about it. I could have been a dick and just stopped talking to her. But she was nice, I liked her, and I was dying to know if Becky was right.
“What are you doing here?” Samantha asked half smiling, half puzzled.
“There’s still some light out so I thought we’d take a walk or get something to eat.”
“I can’t go out, I’m waiting for an important call.”
“Then can I come in? We can wait together.”
“No one’s home right now.”
“Well, you’re home and that’s all that matters to me. Besides we haven’t hung out in a few days”
She stood at the door hesitating.
“I’m not going to do anything if that’s what you’re afraid of.”
After a few more seconds of thought she let me in and led me to the living room. Her house was cramped with artwork but I liked it.
“What call are you waiting for?”
“It’s for an art`school. I applied to get into one of their programs and they said they’d phone today to let me know.
“Oh, that’s exciting. I hope you get in.” I grinned,
She smiled back, “Thanks. You want something to drink?”
“No. I’m ok.”
Samantha seemed nervous so I thought I’d help ease that, but my tactic was clearly not a good one. When I tried to sit next to her she moved to the other side of the couch. Despite the disappointment from her blatant rejection, it gave me the perfect excuse to have the conversation with her.
“Do you not like me Samantha?”
“What are talking about? I like you a lot.”
“Then why are you always pushing me away?”
She went over to one of her dad’s mini sculptors and fidgeted with it a bit, silently.
“I don’t know,” she responded without looking at me.
“Do you even like guys?”
“Well I’m sorry but it’s driving me crazy wondering why you won’t even let me kiss you.”
“I am not a lesbian Kevin!”
“Then what is it? Is it a religious thing?”
“No one in my family is religious.”
“Are you afraid of me or turned off or something.”
“I think you’re very attractive and I’m not scared of any guy.”
“Are you…are you asexual?”
Her eyes grew wide and she stared at me like I had revealed some secret pass code, “you know about a-sexuals?”
“I only just learned about it. I guess I was wondering if maybe you might be one. Are you?”
“I think so. I’m not 100 percent sure but it’s the closet thing that explains how I feel.” She said coming over to sit next to me. “I like guys. I like dating guys, but I have no desire to have sex with them. It’s like I have no sex drive and the idea of it kind of repulses me. Even the idea of you wanting to have sex with me makes me kind of sick. I know there’s nothing wrong with sexual desires but I don’t really have any of my own.”
“This is probably none of my business but…did something happen?”
“No. I’ve never been sexually abused if that’s what you’re asking and I’m still a virgin. I just don’t like sex. I don’t ever want to have sex, or make out, or any of that stuff”
“Excuse me for being an ass but how do you know you don’t like it if you’ve never had it?”
“Have you ever lit yourself on fire?”
“Then how do you know you won’t like it?” She retorted
“Because I instinctively know it would hurt like hell and kill me. Kissing me is not going to kill you.”
“No but I know I won’t like it.”
“I have no desire to kiss you or anyone.”
I didn’t understand how you could be attracted someone, claim to like them, want to spend all your time with them, and not want to kiss them. And I didn’t understand how her being asexual meant we couldn’t hang out after hours, until she explained that she had noctiphobia which was a fear of going out past dark and that it was completely unrelated to her asexuality. Day or night, she did not want to have sex with me.
“So you don’t like anything physical?” I continued on, wanting to know just how non sexual she really was.
“Nope,” she said crossing her arms as if to block her body from me.
“But how do you know for sure if you’ve never done anything physical.”
“I know myself well.”
I sighed, “ok, but I don’t understand where you were planning on taking this relationship.”
“So you’re saying sexual relationships are the only ones that count, and that there’s something unnatural about not wanting to have sex?”
“No, I never said that. And I never said we should have sex. I just…when were you planning on telling me. I mean if I hadn’t brought it up, you wouldn’t have said anything right?”
“I would have told you when I was ready.”
I didn’t think that was fair to me, but there was no point arguing it. She ran her hands through her hair a little frustrated and asked, “so now what?”
“If you are a-sexual that’s fine. We can go on being friends.”
“Friends?” She said disappointed.
I could respect Samantha for her lifestyle choice but I couldn’t necessarily accept it. I wasn’t a sex addict but I did like it and being in a relationship where you never kissed or anything just seemed weird to me. It didn’t matter anyway because the phone rang and she found out she got into the art school, which was in Montreal. Even if she wasn’t asexual, I wasn’t going to see her again. Prom was right around the corner and it was very obvious I’d be going solo, that is, if I chose to go at all.