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A Consequential Coming of Age

After half a lifetime of dating, one woman realizes her most torrid affair had been with a girl—whose brash style had indelibly influenced the woman she'd become

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  • Courtesy of ELLE

    Because I was a shy child who was paradoxically frightened by all things new and ashamed of the things I did not know, I became infatuated, at the age of 11, with a girl whom I can only describe as the opposite of me. I first saw Larissa in the yard of our Brooklyn Catholic school: her school-issued plaid skirt rolled up at the waist, her blond hair pulled back and gelled firmly to her head (a look appropriated from the Latino girls), her backpack stamped with a million overlapping graffiti tags drawn in colorful Sharpies. Her facial features were blunt, her eyes greenish and a little wild, and her walk like that of a rare bird—loose-hipped and confident, her ample chest thrust out, leading the way. One day, after weeks of staring at Larissa, studying her, I saw her womanly hips swaying in my direction. Did I want to, like, hang out after school?

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A Consequential Coming of Age
After half a lifetime of dating, one woman realizes her most torrid affair had been with a girl—whose brash style had indelibly influenced the woman she'd become
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