Bi the Way
I roomed with my sixth grade best friend for my sophomore year of college. Jane could pass as a stick figure from afar, and she was just a few inches taller than me with straight black hair that covered the length of her back. Since we had an empty spot in the suite we were living in, Kutztown’s housing department filled the room with a random girl named Abby. Neither one of us knew what to expect from this girl considering our attempts of social network “creeping” didn’t turn out so well.
The night Abby moved in, Jane and I were squished together to watch Family Guy on her bed. Stewie threatened his mother’s life yet again as we heard someone fumbling at the door. Our eyes widened and we froze, watching the doorknob turn. A girl with strands of wavy, black hair falling in her face stumbled into the hall and dropped her bags on the floor.
“Hi, I’m Abby. I’m your new suitemate.”
Jane and I decided to use our manners that night and got up to greet Abby.
“Hey, It’s nice to meet you, I’m Lidia.”
“Hi, I’m Jane.”
Abby’s parents walked in the hallway and we exchanged introductions again before offering to help bring Abby’s stuff up to the suite. Jane and I used that opportunity to get to know her better.
“So where are you from?” Jane asked.
“Warrington. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it,” Abby said.
“Hmm, no. Can’t say I have,” Jane responded.
I chimed in, “me either. We’re both from Easton.”
“Oh, I’ve heard of that place. It’s down 611, right?”
“Yeah, you’ve been there before?” I said.
“No, but if you take 611 it leads right to my house. I live in the Philly suburbs,” Abby said as she struggled to open the first door into Dixon Hall.
“Here, I’ll swipe my card, it’s already out,“ I said, already swiping my ID to get back into the building. “But that’s cool, not many people know about Easton.”
Abby’s parents decided to leave around midnight, after we brought her ten bags and boxes up to the suite.
Jane asked if Abby needed anymore help getting her things organized and put away, but she simply responded, “no, I think I’ve got it from here. Thanks a lot though, I appreciate it.”
Jane and I walked back into our room where I grabbed my face wash and headed to the bathroom. When I came back in, Jane was facing my closet, lying on her bed watching Netflix. I opened my closet door and pulled out a baggy tee shirt to change into for bed. When I looked up at the mirror, I caught Jane zoned out and staring at my closet.
Looking at her through the mirror I said, “Are you checking out my ass?”
She shook her head, startled, and snapped out of her trance before answering. With wide eyes, and a red face full of embarrassment she said, “What? No!”
I couldn’t contain my amusement and burst out laughing at how uncomfortable I just made my friend. Jane sat up and paused her show before continuing.
“But really, how could you miss that thing? I’m sure anyone can see that from a mile away. Gay or not.”
I shook my head in disbelief at Jane and walked over to sit down on her bed. Feeling as though she won the war of sarcastic wits, she laughed proudly about her one comeback that she snorted a few times.
“So, are you going to tell Abby?” I said.
“I don’t know. I mean eventually I will. I guess she needs to know since we’re living together,” Jane said.
“Well technically she doesn’t need to know; but if you do decide to tell her and she’s weird about it, too bad. She can move out just as quickly as she moved in here. Hell, I’ll help her move out,” I said.
“Okay, okay. I’ll probably mention it tomorrow,” Jane said.
“Good,” I said getting up from her bed and turning off the lights before crawling into my own bed.
“Thanks for being here, I don’t know what I’d do without you,” Jane said.
“You don’t have to thank me; I’m always here for you, you know that. Besides, I couldn’t get rid of you even if I tried,” I flashed a smirk at Jane and snickered.
“Gee, thanks,” Jane paused a few seconds before continuing.
“I’m going to go to sleep now. Goodnight,” she said.
“Goodnight, and we can talk more about this tomorrow if you want,” I said
“Okay.” She said, and with that we both dozed off.
The next morning, Jane jumped on my bed and vigorously shook me yelling, “Hey fucker, wake up! I’m bored and hungry. We should go get breakfast.”
I buried my face into the pillow and tried pulling the covers over my head to drown out her voice. Still half asleep I muttered out a few words through my annoyed mumbles.
“GO AWAY. I juts want to sleep,” I said.
“Come on, it’s 11. I let you sleep in,” Jane said.
“Ughhh, you’re like an annoying little brat. A real pain in my ass sometimes, you know that?” I said.
“Yeah, but you could never get mad at me. I’m a lovable immigrant,” Jane’s unusually large grin quickly transformed into a devilish smile with stalker eyes that could burn a hole through your comfortability.
Jane was always the one to make any situation uncomfortable. Whenever she met someone new, it became her job to be as weird and awkward as possible. Some people thought she was blunt because she always said whatever came to mind regardless of context. I knew Jane just didn’t have a filter when she spoke. Jane was always fully aware of how people saw her, but didn’t care. Most of the time she could get away with how she acted by telling everyone these were her “immigrant ways.”
I remember walking through our building one day when Jane stopped halfway through the lobby and called my name. The second I turned around, her shirt was up past her belly and she grabbed the skin around her stomach, shaking it up and down. I stood in shocked amusement as my best friend did the truffle shuffle from the Goonies while people walked by laughing.
After Jane woke me up, we decided to start getting ready for lunch. She took a shower after me and walked around the suite in her bra and underwear.
“I’m going to invite that Abby girl to lunch with us,” she said already walking out of our room.
“Okay, uh don’t you think you should put clothes on first?” I said.
“Hm, nah.” I don’t like wearing clothes,” Jane said.
“Yeah, but don’t you think that girl might feel weird if you walk in her room half naked?” I said.
“I don’t see the big deal,” she said.
Jane barged into Abby’s room and then knocked on the door signaling she let herself in. I followed behind and watched Abby’s eyes grow wide when she saw Jane. We both asked if Abby would like to join us for lunch and after she agreed to, Jane left.
“Sorry Jane’s walking around naked; she’s very comfortable with herself,” I said.
“No, it’s alright,” Abby said.
“Yeah, well just be happy you weren’t around when she got her nipples pierced. Jane literally told everyone she knew and met about them. Oh, and if the other person commented back about them, she asked if they wanted to see her new piercing. Half the time she already pulled up her shirt before the people could say no,” I said.
Five seconds later Jane came bursting through Abby’s door again, tripping over her own feet and falling on the ground. She sprung right back up and took the phrase “just shake it off”, too literally.
“I heard you talking about my piercing,” she said bent over and rubbing her knee. “Do you want to see them?” Jane had the same twinkle in her eye kids gets on Christmas morning.
“Uhh, sure I guess,” Abby said.
Once Jane was finished ranting about her piercing, Abby touched up her make up and we walked to South Dining Hall for lunch. During lunch, I caught Jane checking out a short brunette girl wearing leggings and a knit sweater. As the girl walked past our table Jane said, “Uhm excuse me! Hi, I just wanted to tell you I really like your top.”
The girl flashed an innocent smile at Jane and simply replied with an, “Oh, thank you.”
I looked at Abby after the girl walked away and said, “Well that’s about the hundredth time Jane has gone up to a complete stranger just to compliment them.” Jane twisted her face into something normally seen in a horror movie with her tongue sticking out and told me to shut up. I just laughed.
“As you can see, we’re really nice friends toward each other,” Jane said.
“Yeah, it usually consists of me laughing at Jane for doing something stupid.” I said. “Oh, I have this really great story from last year that involves two girls and Jane.”
“Oh no, not that one,” Jane said.
“Well what happened?” Abby asked.
“Would you like to tell the story, or should I?” I said.
Jane squinted her eyes towards me for a few seconds before switching her attention to Abby.
“Freshman year Lidia, my boyfriend, and myself went to a party at this kid’s place in U.P. Long story short, I got too drunk and my boyfriend convinced me to hook up with these two girls,” she said.
“Yeah, and now she sees them everywhere she goes. It’s great,” I said.
“Uhhh, no it’s not,” Jane said.
“Well I think it’s hilarious. I’m never letting you live it down.”
Jane glared at me until Abby interrupted her.
“That must be really awkward, seeing them around campus.”
“Yeah, they’re literally walking mistakes. But oh well, I’ll live,” Jane said.
“Well if it makes you feel better, I’ve made my share of mistakes too. I’ve hooked up with a few weird guys,” Abby said.
Thinking this would be the best time to tell Abby, Jane suddenly blurted out,
“Yeah, at the time I was completely up for it because I’m bi, so I figured why not.”
Jane’s finely placed comment didn’t go unnoticed. Abby’s face grew pale and her pupils widened with a blank stare making it impossible to guess what she was thinking. Abby nodded in approval before stuttering out the words,
“Oh, that’s cool.”
“I thought I should tell you eventually since we’re going to be living together. I just don’t want you to feel uncomfortable around me because of my sexuality,” Jane said.
“No, no it’s fine,” Abby said as she stared down at the mound of peas on her plate.
The conversation quickly died after Jane came out to Abby. I tried lightening up the mood by talking about the different artists and bands I wanted to see in concert but that didn’t last too long. Eventually, we finished lunch and went back to our suite where Abby continued unpacking from the night before.
I didn’t see Abby until the next day. She pulled me aside and into her room while Jane was still in class.
“So, I know Jane is bi, are you too?”
“Nope, I definitely like guys,” I said.
Abby paused for a few seconds before continuing.
“So, how long have you guys known each other?” she asked.
“Since sixth grade. Jane moved here from Poland and lived down the street from me. I met her at the bus stop on her first day of school. She seemed so standoffish, but later I found out she was from a different country and didn’t speak English well. I learned to be more patient with her whenever we hung out. I was actually her first friend when she moved here and we’ve just been friends since.”
“Oh, that’s cool,” Abby said. “So you were there through the whole process?”
“Process? You mean, when she came out and said she’s bi? Yeah, when she told me I was thrown off because I never had a bisexual friend before and I didn’t know if I was comfortable with it at first. Clearly we were still friends throughout it and sometimes I actually forgot she was bi. It just wasn’t a big deal to me,” I said.
Abby had the same blank stare from the night before and I couldn’t read how she felt.
“Does that bother you at all? Jane being bisexual? I said.
“No, I think its great she came out. Why? Do I seem that way? Because if I do, I’m sorry. I’m just not used to this.” Abby asked.
“That’s fine. Like I said before, when I found out I was thrown off until Jane and I had a talk about it.”
“Well I had a bunch of questions for her. I remember one of the first things she said to me was, ‘And don’t worry, I’m not attracted to you.’ But it was never weird or awkward for me. Maybe try talking to her about it like I did if you feel a little uncomfortable.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right. I really do think that’s great for her though, that she’s out and happy. I believe everyone deserves happiness and love. It’s just going to take some getting used to on my part, but I’m okay with that. ” Abby said.
Lidia Nesci is a junior at Kutztown University pursuing her Bachelor's Degree in Professional Writing with a minor in English.