As I ran my hands through my roommate’s chest hair, it hit me that I hadn’t had sex with a man in three years. That was the length of time that had passed since I’d fallen in love with a new friend on a backpacking trip to Europe and subsequently realized I was more attracted to women. Even after that relationship fizzled, I started hanging out at lesbian bars, continued dating women, and even came out to mother. In my life, the chapter on heterosexual romance, I thought, was closed. But times are different now. Anything is possible in a pandemic. I held up my hands as he lifted my sweater over my head. My desire was strong and surprising.
…Dressed in stained sweatpants, I pulled my stringy hair away from my face with a clip. I had downed two glasses of wine already; the news that all the restaurants in the city were ordered to close had filled my feed, as had the skyrocketing death toll in Italy. The world was changing every hour, and for the worse. I struggled to locate myself in the midst of chaos and fear.
He showed up with a bottle of wine and a smile. We sunk down on opposite ends of the couch, offloading our anxieties about the pandemic. Why had I never noticed his mop of curly hair? His almond-shaped eyes? After a bottle of wine, our feet accidentally touched. I yanked them back. We drank another bottle. I could feel his eyes on me, but I couldn’t return his gaze. He reached for my hand and asked in a hushed tone if he could kiss me.