Wonderful picture, but I left for church pondering inspiration. That's when this started- I won't be sure of any labels until I'm done :D
“Revelation isn't sealed.”
Birth: “It's a girl!”
“Joseph Christopher won't work.”
1st grade: “Joelle is too pretty a name to shorten.”
Pregnancy: “I know I'm having a boy.”
July 4, age 15: “Mom, I'm questioning my gender.”
My age 40: “I'm non-binary, agender.”
What does it mean for me in partnered sexuality when most sexual orientations are focused on gender I don't feel?
I'm queer, that word that my tongue stumbled over when called on to identify myself.
Can I reclaim this wandering into hotness? Would it be as easy as jumping into talk about genitals? My mind cries for newness, something other than penis-in-vagina intercourse.
How was I, the Autistic introvert, talked into speed dating? At least, polyamorous people are welcome at this one.
“Hello, I'm Joey.”
The person stared at me open-mouthed, not introducing themselves.
“I'm not usually good at mixers, but I figured two minutes would help me control talking about my special interests. I'm Autistic.”
The bell rang; the person on the other side of the table changed.
“Hi. I'm Joey.”
“Joey?” the person echoed.
“Are you a lesbian?” Their nose wrinkled.
“Are you a bigot?” I replied.
“Of course not,” they protested.
“Your body language seems to disagree.”
Thankfully, the bell rang and people changed seats again.
“Hi, I'm Joey. My pronouns are he, she, or they.”
“Hi, Joey. I'm Pair. My pronouns are they, them. Might I ask, you appear flustered. Are you neurodivergent somehow?”
My shoulders relaxed. “Yes, I'm Autistic.”
Pair nodded. “Dyspraxia and Sensory Integration. Don't like that last word.”
“Would you like to skip out to a setting more comfortable for you?”
“Yes, please. I'd like that very much.”
Pair got up from the table and came around to me; the organizer rushed over, her cheeks flushed redder than her poorly-applied blush. “Joey and I are done here. No need to issue refunds.”
“But-but!” the organizer lady puffed.
“We're removing an equal number of folx from the gathering.” Pair walked to the place we piled our belongings; I followed just a step behind. They grabbed a denim bag covered in patches like They/Them and No TERFS/SWERFS and Queer. “Where would be somewhere you'd feel comfortable?”
“The library, but would you mind switching to writing so I can wear my headphones? They have those noisy lights that send me into sensory overload.”
“Me too.” They waited as I grabbed my bag. “You have your headphones with you?”
“Definitely. One partner said not to wear them and the other did.” I shrugged. “Not that I need to wear them with either of my partners.”
With borrowed netbooks in front of us, we sat side by side in one of the new booths at the library.
Pair typed, “This is much better. Mind I ask what's in your headphones? I'm listening to Holly Near.”
I typed, “I have the mixture of songs my daughter and I have placed on this MP3 player. Right now, it's Korn, Thoughtless.” I pursed my lips. “I just wrote about 'conversation as sex' for Masturbation Monday.”
“And that causes your current expression?”
Using my thumb and forefinger like a 'modified C hand' in ASL, I pulled the corners of my mouth up and down as my thoughts tried to catch up to their question. “I wanted something new, something different.”
“From what you've done? Or from what others are used to experiencing?”
I released my lips to just trace them with my index fingers, as if planning to sign “Talk-with.”
Without another comment from me, they typed, “This is our first time together; does that make it different from that other time?”
A small smile found its way onto my lips, changing their feel under my fingertips. I sipped from the new bottle that securely held my metal straw in place for me. Yum! Guava, mango, passion fruit juice! I placed my fingers back on the home row and typed. “I think my mind is clasping at minutiae. What I find sexy isn't necessarily what others do.”
“May I please touch your hand?”
I nodded before typing, “Yes.”
Their fingers moved under my palm as their thumb slid up and down the top of my hand.
As they continued to touch my right hand, I slowly typed with my left hand, “Good.” My toes curled in my shoes. When they released my hand, I typed, “Very good.” I sipped my juice and pondered our next date.