Late at night, her grandmother’s house, by her grandmother I mean some lady not quite 60 at the time who was raising her, providing a room, a bed, a place to sleep since her mother dropped her off and ran away to Florida after her father’s arrest.
We are sitting on the couch, in the den, with the television on loud, ostensibly watching. In actuality, we were rubbing each other crazy, kissing and rubbing, I was so stiff, hard and hurting, I felt backed up and stuffy, feverish as if I had the flu in my pants, my stomach hurt and I was nauseous. She kept thrusting her hips into my hand, the button of her jeans wide open, and she would grab my hand and guide my fingers to her zipper, which was only halfway undone.
Finally, with a surprising shriek, she pushes me off her, jumps up from the couch, tucks her shirt back into her jeans, storms away, returns with a glass of water, sits opposite of me in a rocking chair, glares at me, drinking her water, silent.
I’m embarrassed, nervous, shaking a bit, I have a strong urge to smell my fingers and to wash my hands. I feel dirty, titillated, I’m acutely aware of the wet stain on my crotch.
She shakes her head slightly, rolls her eyes fuming, when I begin to say something, she grabs the remote and turns up the television louder.
I hate my parents for this, for instilling this fear into me. I resent all the Sabbaths in Temple, learning the guilt associated with sex, the sexual urge. I’m sickened remembering the only time I got caught masturbating to pornographic magazines and how the punishment was six months grounded to my room, no radio or the Atari, and in the evenings filling up the back ditch of our property with dirt and rocks, a job my father had been talking about paying some Mennonites to finish. Other kids, they get caught smoking weed or worse and only get grounded for a week, but not me, my father believed the punishment had to hurt. So when I bent the spokes on my bicycle when I was twelve, he didn’t fix the bike for a year, that sort of thing.
And I just got my keys to the old car. My father was very succinct, get a speeding ticket, anything, a beer can found squashed under the floor mats, a small dent, the car was gone, sold. Believe you me, he inspected the car thoroughly.
Plus he said that thing about girls, why do suppose they are throwing themselves at you? he asked. Is it because of your sterling personality? I know how shy you are. You don’t go to parties (because I’m not allowed to go to parties without chaperones, Dad.) You’re not a jock, you aren’t the captain of the football team (all the games are on Friday night, Dad, so I didn‘t try out for the team.) Why are girls calling here day and night? I’ll tell you why, they know you’re a good guy, they can tell that you will care about them, they know you were raised right, they know that you will not just love ’em and leave ’em, and they crave that son, all of them crave that, the good girls and the bad girls, and you have to get to know them to know the difference, what dating is all about, son, is learning the type of girl to trust.
So I have been burdened with the nothing that happens. My first girlfriend let me manhandle her all over the top of her clothes, let me stick my tongue in her ear, and she gave me scattered hickies on my chest where I could cover them up with my shirt. But she left me for the jerk that plowed her in the back of a pickup. With my second girl, we dry humped for months, to the point where I had a painful carpet burn on the very tip which hurt whenever a cool breeze skimmed through when I had to pee. That girl went and got laid and then dated some Carnie after the state fair came to town.
And with this girl, my father was very stern when I brought her home after getting my license, be careful son, he said, her mother is gone, her father is in jail, her grandmother is a widow with a full time job, this young girl is going to latch on to you because she craves your attention but you can’t give her what she really wants, what she really needs, because you are too young. And you can only disrespect her further if you get her pregnant. The worse thing you can do is mess up her life more by getting her pregnant. And if you get her pregnant, forget school, forget college, forget that fancy car we just gave you, get her pregnant and we can’t help you son.
My dad thought he gave me a fancy car, how funny.
The television turns off, I’m out of my reverie. She hugs herself and rocks herself in the chair, glaring. I’m apologetic, I open my mouth to apologize, to say I’m sorry, to ask if she’s mad, to ask her not to be mad at me, I can’t remember what I was going to say. Get the fuck out is all she says, quietly. I’m confused. She is snarling at me, she snarls. GET THE FUCK OUT. I try to say something else but she gets up and walks to her room, slams her door.
I was upset. I peeled out of her driveway through the side lawn, I didn’t mean to but I was still learning the car. Somehow I stripped one of the sprinkler heads buried in the grass and the next morning the whole front yard was flooded.
Her grandmother was mad, my father was called, when the water bill came I had to work at the golf range all summer so I could afford the money and I couldn’t drive my car until the bill was paid.
She told everyone at school I was stupid, a wimp, too scared of sex, and did not know what I was doing, every single word the truth. And during the summer, I made out in the walk-in freezer with the girl who worked concessions at the golf range. We went as hot and heavy as possible in the freezer, in the garage behind the golf carts, in the utility closet, until she met some guy who owned a Shelby Camaro GT and drove off with him.