The Step

Siobhan03How did you meet?

Well, we’re both from New Jersey and we met at an Early Decision reception. We hung out a few times before school started.

Yeah, we met at the Early Decision thing and everyone was very nervous. We were all sitting in a room, and we were sitting directly opposite each other, so we were just kind of looking at each other the whole time. Everyone was being very quiet, and we were two of the only people raising our hands and talking, so I was like, “oh, that girl is smart.”

What happened when you got to school? As in how did the relationship escalate?

We were initially friends, and then I guess we really found each other when we came out. We did it at the same time and that created a very strong friendship, and from there, we spent a lot of time together. We talked a lot and it just grew into something more.

She was the first person I told that I liked girls, and she helped me through that. And telling your families at the same time really builds a support structure with that person. So you know you have them to help you through it.

How did the initial relationship conversation go?

Well we were definitely having a hard time transitioning from friendship to relationship, and we were very back and forth. So I was under the impression that she didn’t really want it to work and we were just going to be friends. I was getting ready to take that blow because she looked like she was preparing to say something really intense.

We were in the room, and we had been kind of on and off. It’s just very complicated when you’re dating the very first girl you’ve ever dated. She was bracing herself for me to say, “I think we should just be friends” and I was like, “I think…that I want you to be my girlfriend.” And that was the most I could muster at the time. I wasn’t confident enough to be like, “will you be my girlfriend?” Saying, “I think” was the most that I could muster for myself.

That definitely took a lot. You’re very strong for that.

So tell me why the spot you’re sitting in is so important to you?

So early on, before classes picked up, we would stay out super late. She used to walk me home at night, but we didn’t want to say goodnight yet, so we would sit on that step. Oftentimes, we would have really deep conversations. Not necessarily always about each other; sometimes it would be opinions about our society or the world around us.

That was also the first place I told her I loved her.

Yeah, she was saying goodnight to me there one night and we had been fighting and we were both really frustrated. Eventually, we just decided to drop it.

I have no idea what it was even about.

*laughs* Anyway, we reached a conclusion and we were feeling very close and loving again.

And I said, “do you trust me?” and she said “yes.” And I said, “okay, close your eyes, count to ten, and then open them.” So I positioned her in front of the door and she closed her eyes. And I said, “I love you.” And I walked away because I didn’t want her to feel pressured to have to say it back. Then I started to run away, and she jumped on my back behind me.

I wasn’t going to let her run away like that because it was something I truly wanted to say back. And now we always think about being upperclassmen and walking by this building and just thinking of all the memories that we made here.

Tell me about the presents you got each other.

We decided to incorporate this spot into our Valentine’s Day gifts. So I got her a bracelet with GPS coordinates of the spot.

I knew I was going to make a drawing for her to put in her room. So I drew a picture of our spot so that it could be memorialized.

What is love to you?

I think love is finding someone, whether it be romantic or a friendship or family situation, that you trust and respect, and you know you can lean on them and they can lean on you. I think it’s just knowing you’re not alone in the world, I guess. And there’s someone who’s there with you, and who cares about you.

For me, love is understanding. I didn’t always feel like I had people who understood me really well. And that’s really changed, and so much confidence has come from having somebody who just understands me, whether we agree or not. I think that’s a really big deal because when I first got to school, I had a hard time being myself and being committed to this relationship because I grew up with this mentality that love couldn’t exist between anyone but a man and a woman. And now that I’m in this situation, I understand that love is so much more than that. Love can exist between anybody. I think it’s good that I learn that; I’m glad she’s taught me that.



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