I laid in his bed, stretched out, the covers barely touching my feet. His hand was still over mine. I could barely feel the heat radiating from it. I was already so warm. His hand made no difference. I felt sticky all over. I probably was. I tried moving my legs. They felt sluggish. His hand felt like lead weighing me down.

Q: how was losing your gay virginity?

I drum my fingers on the desk, looking at the not so innocent question posted on my page. This website is more addicting than I thought it’d be – I’ve been checking for anonymous questions submitted to me every five minutes for the past couple of hours. This is the third one. Honestly, I was almost waiting for this moment. My 100% sincerity policy would force me to reflect on the experience. So I pucker and twist my lips this way and that – which according to my friends is highly amusing quirk – and stare at the computer screen for a couple of minutes before posting an answer.

A: awkward, unsatisfying, something that i may regret later on, and something that i am sure i could do much better, both in performance and choice of partner (no actually, it was very awkward and basically a one night stand with a somewhat random dude, something i somewhat regret now)

His hand slipped out of mine. He turned around. He gave his back to me. I took this as a discreet signal to pick up my clothes. To leave. I used his bed sheet to wipe away the telltale signs of what we’d just done. He didn’t seem to mind. He ran a pale hand through his blonde hair. I thought of my own dark curls. I was almost jealous. Jealous of a guy I couldn’t remember the name of days ago.

Q: who did you lose your virginity to?

A: A supposedly straight guy from my old school who I shall not be disclosing the name of
Not because I myself care
But because I don’t want to put him in the spotlight

I answer that in a heartbeat. I am an honest person. I have reservations only when another person’s privacy is involved because I am incredibly respectful of that; I am good at detecting and not crossing that fine line. Since I don’t mind what people think of me, I’ve nothing to hide. I also love answering questions, which is why I reply without second thoughts.


A: during the summer
it was birthday sex so extra points :3

I’d just finished eating my fourth brigadeiro when he came in for the fifth time. I was sleeping over at Sergio’s house, only because it was the biggest. Most of my old friends from Escola Americana de Brasilia were there and we were all catching up. I hadn’t seen them since I moved to New York City to accommodate my mother’s studies a year ago. My family and I were spending the summer in Brasilia, so I wanted to spend some part of my birthday with my friends.

Sergio’s older brother had been ghosting in and out of the room for a while now, and I had been debating whether or not I should tell him to join us. Sergio didn’t seem too keen on that, but I thought it was awkward otherwise. After deciding that I could excise certain rights on my birthday, I invited his brother to come sit with us.

“Would you like a brigadeiro?” I offered. He smiled boyishly and shot a smug look at Sergio, who looked scorned. I swore I knew his brother’s name, but I’d embarrassingly forgotten it since I last saw him in middle school; it was only when Sergio addressed him that I remembered his name was André.

André was a handsome guy, I suppose. Who am I kidding – he was godly. Silky blonde hair, light eyes, pale skin, lean body. I was the complete opposite – dark locks, dark eyes, everlastingly tan (a Brazilian trait), toned body (I’d just begun to do gymnastics in Manhattan). I had already “decided” that I wasn’t straight – I thought of myself as bi – so I couldn’t help but notice this. I also noticed that Sergio was squeamish, obviously disturbed at this new development with André. He must’ve discerned that I was looking a little too interestedly at his brother. It made sense – Sergio was the only friend who I’d “come out” to so far, and though he didn’t initially react well, he thankfully accepted me. What must’ve really gotten to Sergio, though, was that my lingering stares weren’t exactly reproached. In fact, they were reciprocated. Recalling André ‘s body language – the smirks, torso tilting, mirroring, even slight leg rubbing – the flirting was so obvious I’m surprised that no one else seemed to have noticed. Everyone was engaged in playful banter, but André and I were having a completely different interaction.

A: Losing my virginity was actually enlightening; I developed a bunch of philosophies and discovered a lot of things about myself

Later on that night, after all of our friends had left, Sergio led me into my temporary room. I pulled out my sleeping bag as he harped on about how he couldn’t believe that Natalia started going out with Fabian. How did that even happen? I felt nostalgic at the schoolboy gossip and wished I lived in Brazil again. I was ripped out of my reverie when Sergio suddenly gave me a noogie and told me he’d be right next door if I needed anything at all during the night. You hear? Anything at all. His words were normal enough, but his eyes alluded to something else. I nodded tiredly before laying down.

But I couldn’t sleep. . Sergio’s warning look bothered me. What was there to be careful about? I was restless and just couldn’t keep still. Eventually, I got tired of trying to sleep and started to roam around. I wondered if there were any brigadeiros left – I really love those. As I meandered into the living room, I saw a shadow coming from behind me. I turned around, body tense, to see wisps of blonde shining in the moonlight.

“Oh, André.” I sighed, relieved.

“Hey.” He sat down on the sofa, completely relaxed. “Can’t sleep?”

“Nope,” I plopped down next to him and looked towards the open window. The stars shone clearly – you’d never see them like this in the city. Nostalgia gripped me again.

“So. Why’re you spending your birthday here?”

I turned to André’s curious eyes, leaning forward and cupping my chin in my hands. “Because I miss Serg and my friends. Plus I get sick of hanging around my family. Most of all though, I miss Brazil.” He nodded and we fell into silence again.

Q: why do you like guys and not girls? has it always been this way?

I wipe the sweat accumulated during gymnastics from my face as I skim the question. I don’t really know the answer to that off the top of my head, so I ponder it in the shower. When I return to my computer, I begin to write one answer but end up posting something else.

A: Although I thought I was straight for the greater part of my life, I was never attracted to girls. Even back then, I found myself more interested in guys.

“…Hey.” André poked me in the stomach. “I heard you were gay.”

I was slightly taken aback, but I figured Sergio would keep no secrets from his brother. “Um, I’m not sure yet. I mean, I think I’m bisexual.”

“Cool.” He was leaning back on the sofa now, his head tilting towards me with narrowed eyes. The look he was giving me was lazy yet focused. “Why the indecision?”

“I’ve thought my whole life I was straight. I’ve only recently admitted to myself that I like guys.” I watched André from the corners of my eyes.


“You’re sleepy,” I pointed out after a seconds of awkward silence.

“No, not at all. I’m very much awake.” His voice deepened as he drawled out the last sentence, and the reason behind the odd gaze clicked. I shuddered.

As to why I specifically like guys, I find them more interesting; their physique is more attractive, how they act suits me better, and I prefer the way they think.

After a few moments, André stood up and stretched, still giving me that look. “God, it’s late. Wanna chill in my room?”

I hesitated, and I initially didn’t know why. The words coming out of his mouth were nothing out of the blue. And yet his blue eyes. That look. I think some part of me finally recognized what Sergio’s warning entailed. In my defense, it was hard to remain casual, let alone think, when someone is peering at you like André was. Words of approval tumbled out of my mouth and I numbly followed the blonde.

He stationed himself on the floor and motioned towards the bed – I dumbly sat on it. What was I doing? I was mentally hyperventilating. But before I became catatonic, I separated myself from the situation and determined my position. Was I really against this? The answer removed all insecurities and I managed to continue the conversation.

“I thought you said you weren’t tired?” I raised a brow. He grinned.

“Funny, you’re the one on my bed.”

To the listener, we were holding friendly chatter, but our eyes were doing something else entirely. We were holding two different conversations at the same time, and eventually, one of them manifested into something physical. To this day, I can’t pinpoint exactly when we stopped pretending. It understandably got muddled up in lieu of what happened afterwards. But I clearly remember when André whispered “Happy birthday” on my lips and captured them. Right then and there, I realized I had no attraction to women. I never did.

Maybe I see more of myself in guys than in girls?

I was pulling on my shirt when André sort of turned around – his back was still to me but I could see part of his face now – and gave me this look. It was almost pitying, definitely cool and unattached. It was neutrally bittersweet; probably just neutral.

“I’ll see you around. Even after you leave for NY.” His mouth spoke lies but his eyes spoke truth. I told myself right then and there that no one would ever detect a discrepancy between my eyes and my mouth.

“Maybe.” My eyes told the rest as I walked out of the room, door clicking shut, straight into Sergio.

But it isn’t just that, because some girls can be completely (or almost) like boys, and I still wouldn’t be interested.

A year later, my partner and I will be making small talk during an extensive moderated caucus in my first Model UN conference. I will bring up a party, she will bring up crushes, and I will admit that I like someone but offer no more information. She will understand my hint and move on, but not before admitting something.

“You know, I really admire your honesty. Few people are unafraid of judgment.” Her lipstick-covered mouth and huge eyes will speak the same truth. I will give her a soft smile and poke her arm.

“Hey, you’re the confident one here. Besides, we have to keep on top of our game,” I will chide. “How are we going to take the USA down?”

She will reciprocate with a devious smile of her own. I will swear that she senses my slight but genuine worry as she leans in close, hooking her arm into mine. “Don’t worry, partner. I got this. You keep networking with people inside of the conference room while I take over the bloc outside. At the very least, I can ensure beta status. We’ll prevail,” She’ll whisper. But this time, her eyes are saying something different: “you’ll be okay.” So I’ll nod and silently reply: “thanks.”
Whatever the case, I like boys. It’s just who I am.

Nicole Sanchez, Age 16, Grade 11, Stuyvesant High School, Gold Key

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