Adulthood isn't all it's cracked up to be. I'm considering going back to my parents for a refund; the quality is tacky. But wait, there's more; I was lied to! The dealer didn't inform me of all it entailed. Doesn't that breach trading standard laws? Then again, like everything, I expect the details were lost in the small print. Though the word sex seems too big to be contained in detail. Probably, if I had been sensible, turned the contract overleaf, I would have seen it. It would have filled the whole page. Because of course, sex leaves no room for anything else. Certainly not friendship. Certainly not love.
Warning; adulthood may contain some
S E X
Tch! Even the sound is foreign; one syllable though it feels like more (because the word bounces out at you, gobbling up its surroundings, even if they are 'Please indicate your sex here' -though at least it amuses adolescents.) The X has all the potential to be an astronaut, because what sci-fi doesn't love X's? (Again, on the plus side; good for Star Trek role playing.) The S would sound the same if it were a C; perhaps to make it confusing to children to spell (well, the teacher says, they shouldn't know about it anyway!)
Forget fairies, forget magic; this is life's greatest conspiracy. They'll tell you elves exist only to sweep the rug out from underneath, when you're twelve and your whole class is laughing at you. Oh but darling, we didn't want to spoil it. As if the world was run as one big gag, and honey, you're the joke. They'll cover your ears from every mention, scream at the babysitter for letting you watch that eighteen-rated film ("Mummy, what was that man doing to that lady?" "GO TO YOUR ROOM!") During your teenage years, it'll be their own ears and own eyes they'll close, crossing their fingers, hoping nothing will happen. (But if you get pregnant, "How could you be so irresponsible! We didn't raise you like this! Who did it?" and… "I'll get the shotgun, darling.") Finally, when you're sixteen, eighteen, they'll ship you out into the world, and hope someday you come back, holding absolutely adorable, and magically spawned grandchildren. This is the only magic parents believe in. But you see, I don't believe in fairies anymore.
When I was thirteen, Jeremy Baker from 10S shoved me up against the tool shed and fucked me. Yes, I know. It's not a nice word, but what we did certainly wasn't Making Love. For one thing, there wasn't any love involved. I was only going out with him because my friends told me I liked him. It hurt liked hell and I ended up with a splinter; no guesses where. I didn't realise I was bleeding till I hobbled along to P.E and the boys squawked and cackled with laughter that I was on my period. Though this is every young girl's mortification, I didn't challenge it.
Nobody talked to me for about a year afterward. Though I'd had an awful time, Jeremy seemed to have gone through a totally different experience. He ran immediately to brag to his friends. Big man. Gimme' a high five. Boy, what a player. The only people who approached me were the boys who asked for a go on The New School Bike. Soon there were all sorts of rumours about guys I'd done. I don't know why, since no one saw me much after that. I dressed in two pairs of socks and my extra blazer and spent my spare time crying behind the boiler. But I couldn't get warm.
When my birthday rolled around the only one who came was Jeremy. I couldn't say no because I was dreadfully lonely and he was the only one who talked to me anymore. It seemed as though the sex between us had given us a bond. But sex only makes room for more sex. After sitting awkwardly in foil hats at either end of the table, he tried to lead me up to the spare room. I threw up before we could begin. I wasn't ill however, as I made out to be; it was the idea of his hands on me again that made me retch. I spent the rest of my birthday in bed, but at least it got him out of my house.
I decided I would never have sex again. No one could make me. It hadn't even felt good, as I'd heard it was supposed to. I thought it would end my troubles. But purity is a strange thing; it's relative to age. A fourteen year old virgin is pure. A fifteen year old virgin is pure. A sixteen year old virgin is pure. But a seventeen year old virgin is frigid. Anything older than that… well, it's just a bit sad, isn't it? Sure, I wasn't a virgin anymore, but virginity is one of those words that means absolutely nothing and absolutely everything. You can't hold it in your hand but it has a price. In some cultures, even now, it's sold for a premium. I guess I should have held out for a big longer. Giving it to Jeremy had been a bad investment. Wall Street had crashed.
I suppose I should have been relieved, really. It probably reduced some of the crushing expectation mounted upon my shoulders. Virginity expires with age, you see. It looks cute when it's young but soon goes off. Teenagers talk of 'losing the V' like it's an illness to be shaken off. When I was at university a friend confided in me that he got so desperate that at twenty, he headed to the brothel to lose his condemning 'V.' Well, he lost it, but he also got herpes.
At this time, I'd been convinced to visit the campus councillor. I'd become the Halls' own Ice Princess, whose boyfriends lasted only a matter of weeks, sometimes longer, up until the point they started hinting they wanted more than a kiss. Well, she says she isn't a virgin, but it's obvious she's too embarrassed to tell us… it's alright girls- we'll set her up with someone who can sort her out. We owe it to her, as her mates…
The councillor told me I'd been traumatised by what had happened to me. I wasn't too sure; I suggested it was just the way I was, but he shook his head firmly. I just need to take it in small steps. Baby steps. I could see on his face he thought me immature. But didn't he see I was trying! That it was worse than being a virgin, because I had done it before; I had no excuse! Excuses, excuses, excuses. It was how I lived. You can hold my hand. You can kiss me. I like it when you put your arms around me… it feels safe, secure. But when your fingers start to creep towards my bra strap, it feels like a spider moving in for a bite. You become repellent. I get scared; I feel sick. Oh please don't take me to the bedroom. Oh please don't make me lose you. The moment I feel your quickened breath on my neck, like fire, I can no longer love you. Something blunt stabbing at the soft flesh of my thigh, a knife. Are you my killer? No longer a boyfriend, no longer warm and comforting. A carnivorous plant. Luring me in with its colours, it displays it has different intentions. I cannot escape. It swallows me whole…
I've tried it all. All the lies. I told one man I was part of the Purity Crusade. I even bought one of those rings, all the way from America. No, naughty boy. No sex before marriage. I'm religious, you see? Then, to my shock, he proposes... I was loathe to lose him. His name was Will. I really thought that this time, we would make it. But all my love turns to poison in the end. Why he did he have to go and do that? Why did he ask for more? Wasn't our love enough? Was sex really more important? Why did you have go and throw it all away? Why did I?
When I was a child, I thought love would be so much simpler than this. All those Disney movies never prepared me. Harry Potter didn't help. I was blindfolded and gagged, and then the veil vanishes. The illusionist turns on the light, and there is laughter; how silly I was, how very naïve, to really think love came without a price? And I'm alone… and all there are are hands.
Last summer, visiting home, I saw him again. I tried to go on walking, but Jeremy called me over, reeled me in, the web he never stopped spinning. He introduces me with a flourish; This is her! The very same girl! I made her vanish, but here she is again; the very same article! Touch her, she is real. Touch her, with these hands she's never stopped feeling, since she was thirteen and I was fifteen, behind the magic booth at the carnival. She was my first love.
Love! What happened between us was not love! And what has he told them? This faceless crowd with names he announces but I will not remember. Why is this still going on? Why does it not end? The sex between is still rebounding. Even after the act is long over, the sex lingers…
There is a girl beside him, I notice, with fluttering eyelashes she flickers as she bends towards him. "You lucky swine," she says, her hands brushing his jacket.
Take him. Take all of him!. If I see him on another girl's arm, maybe I can forget what happened between us. If I could, I'd put a gun between our legs and obliterate it. I can still feel his skin…
He is so very, very cruel. Do you want to go out sometime? he asks.
It's been so very long. Just to catch up?
Ah, don't be like that. Don't tell me you're still mad at what happened? Babe, that was years ago…
No. No. No!
I cannot say anything; I can only walk away. Perhaps I'll move to the other end of the world. I'd like to hit him; hope that one violence will culminate the other. That it will end. But I can feel it still. His hands moving under my shirt like vipers, moving inside of me. This is a movement that resonates. The ripples breed. Sex leaves no room for anything else; no talk; only itself.