Chapter 7: Girl Talk
Chapter 1 – The Annihilator (NSFW -Explicit sex)
Chapter 2 – The Annihilator is Dead
Chapter 3 – It Was a Good Day
Chapter 4 – The Jake Must Go On
Chapter 5 – A Daring Rescue
Chapter 6 – Sweet Brothings
“But what about Kelsey?”
Jessica had nearly forgotten that she’d only told the Marco story in order to distract from talking about Kelsey. Jake wasn’t going to let it go. She sighed.
Seeing her reluctance, he thought better of pushing. “You don’t have to tell me, if it’s a thing. I was just curious.” Her nervousness before the game that day had come as a total surprise to him.
“No.” Jessica said. She searched for words. “It’s just sort of delicate. I guess.”
Jake waited for her to elaborate. She scrambled for another distraction.
“Remember when you dated that sorority girl from Texas that called you Chocolate?”
“Oh Gross.” Jake had nearly forgotten the embarrassment of the girl they called the Chocoholic. She’d been obsessed with his blackness. She said some of the dumbest things any person had ever said to him from assuming that he didn’t know his father to reminding him multiple times that her dad would try and kill him with increasing levels of seriousness and creepiness. He’d dumped her quickly and quietly when she’d crossed the line and called him a ‘my negro.’ It still bothered him that he’d ever thought that her behavior was anything close to okay.
Of course, he’d read the blogs. He realized that he shouldn’t be ashamed of himself, only of her, but he couldn’t help feeling like an idiot for falling for it even once. Being reduced to nothing more than a caricature and having gone along with it in any way was something he didn’t like to dwell on.
“Oh God, Jess, is Kelsey a racist?”
“No!” she snorted a laugh. “Dude, she’s literally color blind.”
“Uh huh. You ever wonder how it is that people who call themselves ‘color blind’ so frequently tend to only know white people and only hire white people?”
“Oh yeah, and they’re all like ‘I don’t see color.’” Jess said that last bit with a snotty accent that sounded suspiciously like her mother.
“You don’t see color because you don’t have any people of color anywhere around you and you’ve made sure it stays like that!” Jake told the imaginary racist. “But seriously” he said “What does the Chocoholic have to do with your girl?”
Jess put her face in her hands. She’d completely forgotten that they’d nick-named her The Chocoholic. She’d gone after every black dude in their frat. She’d even hit on Aditya, but lost interest when he gently but firmly explained that he wasn’t her type. “Man” she said “We were so shitty to that girl.”
Jake objected. She was, after all, a racist. Jess said that the way they reacted to her racism was a perfect example of toxic masculinity and that rather than giving her a racist nickname in it’s own right, they should have shut her out in other ways. Eventually, they agreed intersectionality is a thing, and they were back to the subject of Kelsey.
Jess hesitated. So much of this wasn’t hers to talk about. “You ever date a girl with… stuff?”
“What, like a penis?” Jake asked
Jess laughed. No, that would be easy.
“Actually” she said “Kelsey is cis. We met through the Ladies Auxiliary because her dad is trans. He couldn’t come today but they usually come to stuff together. He was a single parent, so she’s pretty protective of him. Likes to support him and everything.”
Jake crooked an eyebrow. “But the” he asked while gesturing at his own face when he couldn’t remember the words.
“Cis women can be color blind too Jake, God.”
“Shit, sorry. I don’t know medical things. So what do you mean? What is ‘stuff?’”
“Like trauma, like a history.”
“She got beat?”
“And way worse. Like sexual trauma stuff.”
“Oh shit.” Jake’s eyes were wide. “I guess that’s why her dad raised her alone?”
“Yeah” Jess said without elaborating. Kelsey had told her after their third date that she wanted to talk. At the time, Jess was terrified that she was about to get the let down, but Kelsey explained that she’d been molested and she had some ground rules Jess had to follow if they wanted to keep dating each other. She’d been over-joyed not to be dumped. But she also felt a new level of responsibility to her girlfriend.
Jake thought about it. A few of the girls he’d been with had told him about things from their past. One ex was date-raped by a guy she thought was her best friend, another had been molested by her nanny. Every girl had stories of people who’d tried to take advantage of them in different ways. If he was honest with himself, he didn’t usually date women long enough to learn that much about them. He told Jess as much.
Jess told him about the ground rules talk. Jake said he thought that was a pretty mature approach. Privately, he wondered what he’d say if he had a ground rules talk.
“Not to sound insensitive” Jake said, “but what’s the big deal, I mean you both kind of have… stuff.”
“Fuck. Why does everybody think I was molested?” Jess answered.
Jake laughed at first, but got serious when she shot him an angry look and he quickly clarified that he didn’t mean that. He’d done his homework after Jess came out. He knew all about dysphoria. Of course, just as he was patting himself on the back about it, She informed him that some transpeople don’t really experience dysphoria and that she was one of them.
“Okay, this is going to sound like a dumb question, but if you don’t have dysphoria how do you know you’re trans?”
Jess rolled her eyes. “Are you serious, dude? How do you know your gender if you don’t feel bad about it? Come on.”
“Point taken” Jake said “But I’ve never heard of that.”
Jess looked sheepish. “I don’t talk about it much because I’ve had a lot of people react badly.” The first time she’d told a therapist that she didn’t feel dysphoric, the woman had answered with a blunt ‘Then why are you here?’ Thankfully, she had good enough insurance to find another therapist and fast, but a lot of other people weren’t so lucky.
“Kelsey has panic attacks” she told Jake “And she used to cut herself. I have no idea how I’m supposed to deal with that, dude.’
Jake laughed. Jess didn’t seem amused but he raised an eyebrow and replied to her silent judgement. “That’s kinda ironic, though, right?”
“Oh fuck you, dude.”
“Weren’t we right here having this same exact conversation this morning?’ Jake asked “You’re not obligated to her now that you know this about her, but if you like her, you figure it out even if it’s awkward, right?”
“I bet you she knows how to deal with her shit better than you do, am I right?”
Jess nodded again.
“Take it from me” Jake told her “She’ll let you know. Just don’t be an ass.”