A Transatlantic Lesbian Love Story
© Copyright 2021 by Natascha Graham
Photo by Kate Hliznitsova on Unsplash
make a million decisions that mean nothing, and then one day you
order take-out and it changes your life.” - Annie Read,
Sleepless in Seattle
I didn’t order take out. But I did post online, and moments after that, my whole life changed.
A couple of months ago somebody in a Facebook group for highly sensitive people wrote a post asking for movie suggestions for HSP’s. I could count on one hand the amount of times I comment on group posts, but for some reason that morning, whilst I was sitting in my sitting room, drinking tea, I decided to reply, and I posted my list.
Then I forgot about it.
I went back to my tea, my sitting room and my work.
Then, only moments later, under my list of movies, Lori Graham replied saying, “You’ve listed all of my favorite movies!”
I stared at this name that I had never seen before, belonging to a person I had never met.
From the moment I saw her name, I felt compelled to know, and within minutes of posting my original post, we were commenting back and forth, very quickly taking over the entire thread with our messages.
Within an hour I was charmed, smitten, somewhere between swooning and giddy and half way to falling in love with a complete stranger.
We spent the rest of the day swapping obscure similarities as easily as we swapped films and books, and asked each other simultaneously if we could officially become friends on Facebook.
When I saw her profile picture, my chest tightened and my heart felt as though it were speeding up and slowing down all at once.
Then I saw where she lived: “North Carolina” in the United States, exactly 3,815 miles away from my English home. I felt so sad that this stranger lived so far, but more than that, I felt confused as to why this person half way across the world from me was making my heart ache and race more than it ever had before.
We talked on and off all day and evening, and the next, and the next. We shared our lives in stories and moments over the next month, video messaging on Marco Polo, skyping, pictures and voice clips. She was fascinating and brilliantly funny. We connected in a way neither of us ever had with anyone else before. We told each other the stories of our lives. Shared the good, the bad, the spider web complexities of past relationships and romantic missteps.
I will never, ever forget the moment she told me, “I love you,” or the smile she smiled, or the overjoyed relief I felt when I told her, “I love you too.”
Then, one day, just like Joe Fox in You’ve Got Mail (one of the movies on my list) she asked, “Do you think we should...meet?”
She arrived at Heathrow Airport just one month after we first met online, looking more beautiful than I had ever imagined. Watching her on a phone screen was nothing compared to the hug we shared across the barrier. It was nothing compared to the way her eyes sparkled, the way her hair smelled, the way she moved or the way she glanced sideways at me and smiled at me with a smile so full of love that I fell in love with her all over again.
We took the train to Brighton and walked the labyrinth of streets in between sunshine and graffiti, seaside and city. We held hands and we kissed, we drank cider in a pub and made plans to steal the coasters. We stood together and watched the sun set on the pier, wind and hair in our faces, and watched a drag queen sing ‘The Lonely Goatherd’ in The Queen’s Arms, one of Brighton’s many gay nightclubs.
She fed me strawberries dipped in Nutella in bed, we dressed as hippies, and we laughed at how umbrellas on the beach look from the birds eye view of the British Airways tower.
We stayed a night in London and had a meal in a Greek restaurant that was so awful, from a waitress that deliberately ignored us, so we left without paying and were chased down the street by the aforementioned self-important waitress, who blamed us for her incompetence. We got to see each other “get sassy” (as Lori with her gorgeous accent would say) and we hid in a bookshop down the street to recover.
We had a terrible meal somewhere else to make up for it, and walked hand in hand to Tavistock square where we took selfies with the bust of Virginia Woolf and watched a little boy hand-feed squirrels.
Then to Paris, to sun dappled streets and bohemian apartments where the comforters were too small but we slept curled into one another and whenever I woke I whispered, “I love you” against her skin.
We drank champagne and kissed and held each other at the top of the Eiffel Tower. We watched a woman walk by the Arc de Triomphe who threw bread crumbs to streamers of pigeons.
We read snippets of Emily Dickinson and touched the spines of Virginia Woolf and Mrs. Dalloway in the Shakespeare book Shop, overlooking the skeleton of Notre Dame.
She took pictures, and I fell in love with the way she saw the world and the way she pronounced the place name “Pigalle”, whilst we took guesses on how to pronounce the name of our train station.
We bought a lock, wrote our names on it, and hung it on the bridge overlooking the Eiffel Tower, where we sat, that night, and watched it glitter and sparkle whilst falling in love even more.
Charming waiters in charming restaurants served us delicious food. We found our way home in the middle of the May Day riots.
We saw the Moulin Rouge, drank wine, and slipped in and out of shops, and smoked peach flavored hookah in a blue lit bar where I watched her blow smoke rings and kissed her while she blew smoke into my mouth.
Then she visited my town where we planned our future, and she met my family, my cats, my chickens and my friends, where we suffered strings of accidental, but very funny, injuries, found vicars playing bohemian rhapsody on the organ in a church, and where we dodged the rain and drank pretty cappuccinos and tea in arty coffee shops where David Bowie was on the radio and nothing seemed more alive, or more beautiful, than her.
Now, a love-blurred flurry of weeks later, and she is in the sky, flying back across those 3,815 miles home from coming to see me for the first time, and I am missing her so much I can barely breathe.
Some people speak of soulmates, some people seek “the one,” some people claim love at first sight but this was, as Annie Read says in Sleepless in Seattle, ”a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together.” And we knew it.
knew it the first time I touched her. It was like coming home, only
to no home I’d ever known. I just knew it. It was like magic,
and I knew that this someone I did not know, until only a month ago,
was the only someone for me.
Raised simultaneously by David Bowie and Virginia Woolf, Natascha Graham is a writer of stage, screen, fiction and poetry. She lives with her wife in a house full of sunshine on the east coast of England.
Her short films have been selected by Pinewood Studios & Lift-Off Sessions, Cannes Film Festival, Raindance Film Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Her plays and other stage work have been performed at The Mercury Theatre, Colchester, Thornhill Theatre, London and Fifth Avenue Theatre, New York where her monologue, Confessions: The Hours won the award for Best Monologue.
Her poetry, fiction and non-fiction essays have been previously published by Acumen, Rattle, Litro, Every Day Fiction, The Sheepshead Review, Yahoo News and The Mighty among others, as well as being aired on BBC Radio and various podcasts.
Natascha also writes the continuing BBC Radio Drama, Everland, and has an upcoming theatre show at The Lion & Unicorn Theatre, London.