Dale apologized as he opened the car door and headed back to the locker room. He forgot his jersey, or his other jersey, or his pants, or any of the other sixty things we needed to play football. I took the opportunity to explore his car. For someone I had been hanging out with almost six years I knew shockingly little about his life. Specifically I wondered if he and Janelle were having sex because at sixteen that’s all anyone thought about couples.
I not only told him how my – whatever – and I haven’t had sex, but that we technically weren’t even back together. High school romance is always full of technicalities.
Scouring his car I found a semi-secret compartment that I had never noticed, even though he’d driven me to and from school the entire fall semester. I opened it up and my curiosity paid off. I found two condoms. Two of something that I feared – because I had no idea when and where I would need one – now stared me right in the face.
More importantly, my head filled immediately with all the questions that fill the ever-mature sixteen year old mind. How long have you been doing it? What is it like? Are you really doing it? You’re not doing it. What’s it like buying them? Does anyone else know? And then I followed the most rational logic I’ve ever had in my sixteen years.
I should take one. I told her, my whatever, about it later when we were on the phone and she laughed.
When I drove home the road appeared unclear through my teary eyes. I dialed a lot of different numbers and I had a lot of thoughts. I couldn’t deal with anyone who had to tell me that they told me so. I didn’t want anyone to invalidate the decisions that I made. I couldn’t face all the people who reminded me time after time that the second time around is always a mistake. I dialed a lot of different numbers before I dialed Dale, but Dale picked up.
“What are we doing?”
“We’re” – I thought for a moment – “Sitting by a fire in your backyard.”
“Yeah, but us. What are we doing?”
“What do you mean?”
“Are you going to be done with me in like five days? We just started dating, I mean we just met, I hardly know a damn thing about you. Just-“ She always had a problem finishing sentences, I would learn.
“I’m not going to be done with you in five days.”
“But how do you know?”
“I don’t. In all likelihood we’re going to break up. You’re right. I don’t think that we’ll end up getting married. I don’t think that will be our ending. But between right now and that breakup we have so much to experience together and so many opportunities, it’s pointless to think about the end right now.”
I paced my room – I always pace when I’m on the phone, but this time I paced a little faster than normal – while we conferenced in our friend Mikayla who had done it before. She asked us when we got back together and we knew that our week-long secret had been broken. She told us that there is a really light piece of skin that breaks when you’ve really done it for the first time. She also told us that sometimes that breaks earlier for reasons other than doing it. We thanked her and she hung up.
Then my girlfriend told me about how she thought that it had been gone before and what we did really didn’t count because neither of us finished.
I lay on the couch with my head resting in her lap as she ran her fingers through my hair. The TV entranced her and I let so many things run through my head. I thought about the last two years. I loved her and I hadn’t told her. Or, more accurately, I hadn’t retold her.
I started to say it but the words fumbled in my lips. I told her I was glad we finally figured everything out. She told me that she was happy too. She kissed me on the lips and I closed my eyes and thought about how bad I had been under pressure.
My parents had left us alone under the pretenses that I was driving her home in a few minutes after they left. We jumped into bed and we started kissing – slowly at first and then more aggressively. She slipped her hands under my shirt and up my back. Shivers went up my spine from her cold hands and she asked me if everything was okay. I started kissing her neck and she asked me if I still had the condom that I stole.
I told her that I loved her and she said that she loved me back.
After, I wrapped my arms around her and we didn’t say anything for a long time, but merely appreciated the way the light hit our fingertips.
The music blared throughout the apartment and listening to Kid Cudi’s Day N Night for the fourth time in the night now seemed a necessary price to pay for the revelry. We sat around a table with our red solo cups in front of us holding up fingers and exchanging excited but nervous glances. I had one finger left and surely faced elimination. After calling out Mary – or was it Jenn – for something she had told me earlier in the night, she seemed determined to put me out.
She looked me in the eye from across the table. She had these bright blue eyes, I think.
“Never have I ever been caught having sex.” Bam. Finger down. I lose, and the table erupts with yells. I can’t even hear Cudi anymore. They poked and prodded until I had to share the story of how the first time I ever had sex my parents caught me. No, they didn’t walk in but they found the condom and a few days later they confronted me about it. I explained the awkwardness and peppered in the jokes I always pepper in when I share the story.
Later Jenn – or was it Mary – and I headed back to my place and she assured me that no one would catch us this time. My roommate walked in a few minutes after I finished and she left in rush.
I thanked him.