Authors: Jim Cunneely
She asks, “When is your next match? Was that your first time having oral sex? How great did it feel? When can you come to my apartment again?” I give answers using words that have no root in the truth. I simply rise to play on the same level of excitement and love that she projects onto my half of our relationship.
We say, “Goodnight,” and, “I love you,” without her even asking me if I won my match.
Regardless of my reluctance, she continues to insist I join her on match days. Two, sometimes three times a week I’m locked in foreplay leading up to our date for intercourse and she is voracious in her desire. Her interest in the things that may be important to me wanes significantly as she force feeds what she thinks I should adopt as hobbies. I am overwhelmed by how much she tries to make me be like her. The sparse moments when we are not enthralled in some sexual act are filled with suggestions of what she can teach me to, “Love as much as I do.” Her offers to teach me guitar, ride horses, speak French, sing professionally lean much closer to directives. I’m not given a choice when she puts the guitar in my lap or places the open French workbook in front of me.
Even the things I never knew I knew come from her. Assuming when she pulls me into her bedroom will end with her ingesting my semen turns out to be incorrect a week before our planned love-making. After a longer than normal time with our mouths locked, she takes my hand and places it up her skirt. When I rest my hand on her pubic bone from subconscious refusal she makes her frustration known by arching her hips hard into the air. She kisses me harder and locks her small hand around my wrist. I do nothing except follow the lead her tongue is taking amongst our mouths. In order to make me to think that her arousal is at
a climax she puts both of her hands on my shoulders and pushes me down her body.
My resistance is born from emotions I never knew existed. I don’t know what I am supposed to do anywhere lower than her breasts. She continues to push but I lock my hips so that I cannot sink any further down this spiral. When she realizes that she has no further power to force me, she removes her hands from my shoulders and pulls her baby blue skirt up around her waist and her panty hose down in what seems like one motion despite their contradicting directions.
I’m left to wonder what she was hoping to accomplish if only to tempt instead of oblige. I neither want to know her this way nor see this part of her. I thought this would be an awesome experience when I joined conversations at the lunch table but it comes with much more pressure than I could imagine. I’ll trade places now if my friends want, gladly relinquishing my good fortune. She can have the earring back and they can have the blow-jobs and the late night conversations. I want out now.
In my frozen state of self-pity her one final push puts my face directly over top of her. When I freeze again her right hand palms the back of my head and pushes me lips to lips with exactly what she wanted. This is so wrong. I don’t want to know this intimate part of her life. She is a teacher, an adult in my life that I have been raised to obey and respect. If she told me to stop talking, take out my homework, or sent me to the office I would have to obey or face the consequences. How is this different? If she is instructing me to pleasure her in her bedroom after school what else am I to do? I hate the taste and I hate the smell which is not something that I would characterize as bad but unwholesome.
Once she settles into a rhythm I find it nearly impossible to keep up. Her hips move wildly in every orientation imaginable.
My jaw hurts so badly that I want to stop but I’m afraid what she might say if I disappoint her. Just as I am about to quit from cramping that has turned into pain, she collapses back into the bed and lets out a loud moan. I stay exactly where I am when she let her body fall from my mouth, my eyes closed so that I do not have to see anything else. She throws her right hand at my shoulder and grabs my shirt to pull me up. She alternates exhaling between her nose and mouth as she tries desperately to catch her breath and when she finally does she says through her panting, “Wow, Jimi. Where did you ever learn that?”
I feel her gaze overtake me more frequently. She used to take careful steps to not be caught staring. I would see her look, catch herself and look away. Now, when I go to her room during study hall, even when we’re not talking I feel her eyes on me. Neither watching nor supervising, simply observing from close proximity. She doesn’t unnerve yet validates me, separates me from everyone else. Carla not only authenticates me but certifies the compliments with which I’m showered. I’ve never seen her looking at anyone else the way she does me and I’ve never had attention like this.
She keeps her distance from some single teachers or the flirtatious custodian so I know she doesn’t look at them this way. Her watch makes me feel like she is enamored with the idea of me more than who I am which is fine because my essence is all that sustains my survival. I don’t know me yet because I’m too young but am trying to figure me out at an accelerated pace. Being me is becoming increasingly difficult because the need to be her boyfriend has supplanted all else.
I’m superseded by the need to engage in long conversations about where our life is going. I take a back seat to the dilemma of how to tell my parents when I turn eighteen. I’m crucial to her when she needs consolation, driven to tears by the difficulty of our relationship. There are so many demands that I could
not have imagined, trying to juggle them is stressful and understandably, I lose me from time to time.
There are three times throughout the day that we walk together from one class to the next. Sometimes I miss her because someone needs to speak with her or I leave class a moment late. In those instances I feel her gaze from behind. I hear her greeting people as they pass and if she’s near she must be looking at me. I sense the warmth of her eyes softly fixed on me and I wonder what she’s thinking. Is she staring at my ass? Is she thinking of my face buried in her crotch or her mouth wrapped around me? I try not to laugh too loud or talk about anything immature because I don’t want to seem like a high school kid.
She’s always in my French class and always says, “Hello,” to my classmates stealing more glances than I can count. I’m shocked the day she walks into wrestling practice to talk to my coach, staying uncomfortably long. In the time I’ve wrestled no teacher has ever come in to talk to anyone so the moment she spends in the auxiliary gym amazes the entire team. I hope that nobody picks up on the real reason she’s here but I know her motive and it’s enough to make me squirm.
Not coincidentally, in the locker room after practice, the underbelly of my life is fully exposed. Another student named James, a senior, looks at me with a wide grin and says, “How about Miss Danza coming into practice today?” Maybe because he’s a senior, or because I’m embarrassed or it could even be because I’m trying to protect me and Carla, I nervously shift from looking at him to looking at the floor which only gives his suspicion credence.
“So tell me, Cunneely, does she sing to you with her guitar?”
I ignore his question because I’m not equipped to respond any other way. “I can see it now,” he strums his air guitar and
starts singing a song she used to teach my class last year. “But then it turns into a love song at some point because you two are love birds right?” he adds sarcastically.
The reaction of everyone in the locker room can only mean they echo his opinion. “No,” I say elongating the word just to prevent him from filling the silence with anything else offensive. I feel stares soliciting my response to either validate or disprove him. Intermingled are jealous scowls that scream it couldn’t be true, too unbelievable she would choose me. I even notice a few surprised glances of those who are not yet acquainted with what I just found out, is a widely accepted rumor.
All of this I see in my periphery as I’m left staring at James, strumming and singing nonsense which is exactly what smacks me in the face. I have no guess what to say or how to dismiss him. I dress as fast as I can and leave the locker room. I think the room is silent or I just can’t hear anything over the nervous ringing in my ears. The outer edges of my vision become slightly obscured. I think I might pass out which I try to force because it seems like a welcome escape, but that will be an undeniable admission of guilt.
This excruciating exchange verifies with concrete reality that her grip is tightening. It seems like there are multiples of her with how deftly she moves about the building, anticipating where I will be. She has now pervaded into the parts of my life that were once safe. The boy’s locker room is someplace I never thought I would be faced with answering for her actions. I don’t understand how one person could be so omnipresent, in my home life, my academic life, my extra-curricular life, my nascent sex life and always with a smile and, “I love you,” to make it appear pure. The expression, used so capriciously, seems to mask something she knows should not lie beneath.
I wake up an hour before my alarm to the phone ringing. “Happy Anniversary, are you ready for our big day?”
I’m not. “I sure am,” I say.
“I cannot wait. I don’t know how I’m going to make it through today knowing we’re going to make love for the first time.”
I’ve never heard her sound so young in her thoughts. I lay still, not knowing what to say, relieved that she does all the talking. “I picked up the box of condoms at the Pathmark. A twelve pack,” which means nothing to me.
She couldn’t decide between lambskins or latex and I can offer no retroactive guidance but the idea of lambskin sounds funny. She chose latex. She bought candles and made a cassette tape to play. She concludes, “This could possibly be the longest day of my life waiting to make love to you, Jimi Cunneely.”
I get out of bed after we hang up, unavoidably excited. Knowing what is coming does not enthuse me but the shared anticipation of her plans has an effect. I’m fine throughout the day except for the nagging fear that I will do something to disappoint her. Not living up to the preconceived notion that she has about losing our virginity frightens me.
Only a few days ago she asked me if I knew that there’s blood when a girl has sex for the first time. Having no firsthand knowledge I rely on lunchroom gossip. She explains, “Since I’ve been
riding horses from childhood you’re off the hook,” because, “Chances are, there won’t be blood. The hymen can sometimes be broken by the constant pressure to that area of a girl while riding.” What a relief because I’m certain it would be scary to see blood during sex.
The ride to her apartment is quieter than usual. A special mix tape plays to celebrate the occasion. Air Supply – Making Love Out of Nothing at All. Mr. Big – I’m the One. Rod Stewart – Broken Arrow. Peter Gabriel – In Your Eyes. Heart – We Did it All for Love. I know all of the songs because she has played them in her room during study hall but I’m not listening to lyrics. I’m futilely concentrating on meeting my expectations, as if focus will augment performance.
My anxiety has peaked. All day, trying to comprehend my life, the idea that incessantly takes shape is that I’m losing my virginity with a woman older than my mom. That thought lingers on the morning bus ride and all through first period. When I see Carla second period, it’s the prevailing phrase I hear. I don’t say a word at lunch, feeling above the teenage banter yet simultaneously excluded. I console myself by looking at each one of the six guys circled around the table and imagining what they’re doing after school today. When I arrive back to me in the silent game I ask the same question, “What is this kid doing today after school? Oh yeah, he’s having sex with a woman older than his mother.”
When I sit in her car and smell her perfume, these are the exact words that echo in my brain, “Older than my mother.”
Once lying in her bed, our routine remains the same. Even though there is familiarity in the agenda, I know that it’s going to end differently causing unlimited panic. It hangs like a pall over
the usual activities that have today become foreplay. She senses my hesitation, stopping to say, “Hey, you’re okay right?”