I don’t know why but this story reminds me of one of my all time favourite films ‘Stand By Me’. It has almost nothing to do with the actual plot of the film - kids run away from home to find the body of a dead man - it’s more to do with the pleasure and the pain of being a young person. The trials and the tribulations of what we go through, mostly alone. Today’s story speaks volumes about the condition of being a teenager. When shit happens, it rarely occurs to us to tell anyone about it. We often keep it to ourselves and carry on.
The interesting part of this scenario is that in the end, when we have digested, processed and hopefully learnt the difference between what was our fault and what most definitely was not, we realise that this shit is – for better or worse – par for the course. ‘Into each life a little rain falls’ as my mother once told me. It is what makes us unique. And as today’s storyteller shows, it doesn’t need to define us either.
I often think that these stories would make a great film. If I could choose a director, it would be Robert Altman. He is no longer with us but if he were, I can’t help thinking that this story would be in the mix. Its a cracking good read.
‘Born in the United States, April 18, 1993
First, I want to say that I love and appreciate what you have here. Each of these stories are so rich and I truly enjoy reading them all.
When I was fifteen my best friend, who was actually younger than me, lost her virginity. She told me stories as I listened intently while having the vague sensation of being left behind. ‘It's great! She said, ‘…after you get past the first couple of times’.
I wanted to share this experience with her, to be able to swap stories like the girls in my novels. And I knew just who I wanted too. Sam was my best guy friend and I worshipped the ground he walked on. He was older, experienced, and rebellious and listened to everything I had to say. We were neighbours and spent most days together at the river or in my room talking, depending on the season.
As my fifteenth summer was coming to a close, a moment presented itself. It was a common occurrence for us to camp, and one night it was just the two of us because our other friends wouldn't be showing up till much later. We made a fire in our usual fire-pit and passed around a bottle of whiskey; his preferred drink that I tolerated simply because it was his favorite (although I did grow to prefer it to other forms of hard alcohol).
What started off as a back massage quickly escalated into kisses and clothes being carelessly tossed off. I gave him the most awkward blow-job, it tasted terrible and my drunk brain couldn't think of anything better than spitting on his stomach. It was terribly embarrassing, but luckily he laughed, which allowed me to move on.
‘Let's do it, I have a condom.’
I rolled off to the side of him, attempting to think over what my next decision should be, until I felt him jab his erection into my hip.
‘Come on, they're German. Plus what am I supposed to do with this if we don't?’ he asked while poking me again.
I'd made up my decision. ‘I guess you'll have to deal with it yourself.’
I sat up, searching for my clothes and stumbling outside to wait for our friends by the campfire. This wasn't going to be the night, after all.
A few weeks later, I spent a couple nights at my step mom's house, enjoying my rare time with her. It was late one night and she'd gone to sleep while I made a bed on the living room couch as my step-brother arrived home. We watched a movie and as he got up to retreat to his room he made a detour to my spot on the couch. He told me he wanted to try something before leaning over and pushing his slimy tongue between my lips. I freaked out and pulled back.
‘This is too weird,’ I said, ‘you're my brother’.
‘Yeah, STEP-brother’, he replied, before pushing himself back on me only to have me squirm away once again. After asking him repeatedly to stop he gave up and slithered into his room. I was horrified, and couldn't sleep. Not much had happened but the damage had been done. He was someone I had trusted, someone I had loved as my brother ever since I was a young child and he had gone against all of that. If I couldn't trust him, who could I trust?
I spent the next two years in what I called sexual hibernation. I lost the ability to handle anything more than a friendship with the opposite sex. I couldn't flirt anymore, I felt like I could hardly communicate like a normal human being. My social skills plummeted.
When I moved states with my family, I started at a new school. On my first day I noticed the boy in my art class with eyes so vibrant they could literally light the room. I developed a crush on him immediately, but I assumed he was with the fierce girl that he was always sitting with. Not to mention I was far too awkward to start a conversation and my self esteem told me I could never in my wildest dreams have someone like HIM.
One day his 'girlfriend' followed me to my bike, promptly introduced herself with an outstanding level of confidence and we planned to have lunch the following week, when she'd be back from a trip.
I spent most lunch hours reading in the halls, or outside if the weather would hold up. But one day I decided to try out the art room for a change, only to nearly run into the boy with the eyes (who's name, I had learned, was Bruce) as I rushed through the door. I sat across from him, and asked about his art and we awkwardly discussed books and interests. I was thrilled to discover we liked a lot of the same things. We planned to have lunch again, I was ecstatic.
By the time his fierce friend had returned (I found out they were only friends), we had hung out a couple times, and I knew I was starting to actually like him. After a lot of poking she finally got me to admit to my crush. ‘He likes you!!’ She screamed at me.
I made a lot of awkward attempts in class to talk to him, but when it was just the two of us, things flowed a lot easier. Eventually I made the first move, and kissed him on the cheek, only to have him kiss me full on the lips in front of my mother. I guess that’s how I knew we were together. No one is going to kiss you in front of your mother if they don't intend on doing so again.
I had never grown so comfortable with someone so fast, I could talk to him about real things and he would listen. I told him about my stepbrother and he understood, letting me know that we would move as slow as I would like. As slow as I liked turned out not to be very slow in teenage measurements at all. After a month my mom had taken me to Planned Parenthood for the pill and I told him I was almost ready. He assured me there was no rush, and I understood, but I wasn't rushing, I was just ready.
We had been dating for almost exactly two months when it actually happened. He had previously told me he wanted to make it special with candles and roses (he has a very cheesy streak), but I insisted that it wasn't needed. Along with being far more experienced that I, he was also far more nervous.
He was slow and cautious as he entered me the first time, staring into my face to make sure I wasn't in pain. He asked if I was okay and I told him I was but that it hurt a little. He did a small pump before pulling out. I wanted to try being on top so he rolled over and lay still, holding onto my hips as I tried to lower myself onto him. Whenever I asked for his help he gave it, but he wanted to make sure everything was on my terms. He was so helpful and gentle; it couldn't have been more perfect. We eventually dressed after mass amounts of cuddling and talking and went out for coffee and breakfast. As we walked down the street I tried to see if my view has somehow changed, but the world was still spinning on as it had before.
Losing my virginity was not a monumental event, like so many other people, I looked in the mirror expecting to glimpse some sign of change only to see none in my immediate appearance. Sometimes, before, I felt as if I was the only person in the world my age who hadn't had sex yet, and that I was destined to become the old cat lady. But I'm glad things happened as they did, because my experience was perfect, and I don't know how many people can say that of their own.
Bruce and I have now been together for nearly six months, and I love being with him in every way, I love him. And I am so immensely happy to know that he is the one to hold this place in my life.’