The Priestess squealed with delight when I asked if I could kinda maybe sorta play D&D with them. She hugged me with a strength that lifted my feet off the floor. Then she told me that she’d ask her boyfriend, who acted as the dungeon master for their group.
I haven’t played D&D since this period of my life, so I hope enthusiasts will pardon me if I get the details wrong.
They played the games mostly on the weekend when several people who had gone to our school but who had graduated could drive up to play. That was part of an ongoing campaign and the Dungeon Master didn’t think that it would be possible for me to join in that. However, alongside that they occasionally played much shorter adventures the DM had written that didn’t fit into the ongoing game they played on the weekends. He told me that I could play for the first time with one of those. Those were typically done during the week and, as a matter of practicality, only people who were currently on campus played. I was actually counting on this because it wasn’t the game I was interested in.
They agreed to meet on one of the common rooms in one of the dormitories. I don’t think any of us lived in that dorm, but it was chosen because it was liable to be empty.
The other players all had characters they had played before. I showed up slightly early to create a character. While I rolled the die and wrote the numbers down on a piece of paper, some of the other players came in. With each entrance, I glanced up only to be mildly disappointed. I had an ulterior motive.
Finally, she came in. She didn’t walk so much as swagger. She wore her faded, loose fitting jeans low on her hips, which wasn’t the style for women in the early eighties. They were belted with a heavy black belt. T-shirt. Black leather jacket. Converse high-tops. Her dark hair was cut short in a mannish style by a barber in town. In retrospect, I guess she dressed like a cliché, but I had never known a woman like that before. Perhaps I’d seen someone like that on the street, in Provincetown or Greenwich Village, but never someone my own age who I actually knew. In any case, nothing she wore seemed like a costume or put on. It all looked very natural on her. These days, we’d call her butch, but back then it was a forbidden word.
She told stories about how, when she’d go into town, she might be mistaken for a man. Rather than being offended, she seemed to be delighted by this and the stories usually ended with her bursting into a high pitched giggle. Still, it always seemed odd to me because underneath it all she always seemed female to me. In fact, it was just that odd mix of masculine and feminine that made her so compelling.
Let’s call her Trouble. The girl your mother didn’t think she had to warn you about.
The game got underway and, if my memory serves, it didn’t take very long until someone noticed the lack of snacks. I confess, I was betting on this.
Well, Trouble, as I anticipated, was the only one with a car. She had barely gotten the words, “Who wants to come….” out of her mouth when I eagerly volunteered. The nearest grocery that was still open at that hour was two towns over, about a ten or fifteen minute drive away.
I slid into the passenger side of her old Dodge Dart. It looked like the sort of car one of my father’s friends might drive. Large American cars like that were rapidly disappearing. The front seat was continuous, more like a sofa – much better for what we used to call “making out.”
Trouble and I had been friendly, but not friends. We had friends in common, but had spent little time together that wasn’t in the company of other people. She made some attempts as small-talk.
I slid my hand across the seat and onto her thigh. This was even more awkward than it sounds because the seat was quite wide and reaching her thigh involved more leaning than I anticipated and any hope for grace or subtlety was lost. Still, I think if fell short of clumsy.
“You!” She said with genuine surprise. “My gaydar must be broken. I never suspected.”
By then I had taken my hand away because leaning over like that was getting a bit awkward.
“Come on,” she said. “Slide on over a little bit closer.”