Ten stories about 20 years

1. I’m twelve years old the first time I meet Alan. His best friend Cliff is my first boyfriend, my first kiss. We’re all in 7th grade. The three of us are inseparable. Cliff is tall and serious. Alan is his sidekick, too loud, too fat, too obnoxious, too-much-of-everything. Cliff and I will drift apart, but Alan will become the single thread that weaves in and out of my life for the next twenty years.

2. We’re sophomores in high school. I’m still in love with Cliff, even though we broke up in 8th grade. I lost my virginity at the beginning of the school year. I have a taste for sex now, and I want Cliff , he should have been the one I lost it with. Alan wants me. Alan is the only one of us with a car, and he refuses to pick me up unless I agree to fuck both of them. I fuck Alan first, just to shut him up, and the bed cracks. He pouts outside in the car while I give Cliff a blowjob, honking the horn and flashing the car lights on and off through the bedroom window. Next year Alan and Cliff will get in a terrible fight and never speak again, and neither one will ever tell me exactly what happened.

3. I’m downtown with my friends. We all look alike, big hair and tight jeans. We sneak sips of Southern Comfort from a can of Coke that we pass back and forth. There’s a party that’s supposed to be cool, so we go.  I immediately spot Alan. He’s lean. He looks shiny and muscular. He says he’s in the Air Force and he’s on leave. I can’t take my eyes off him. I follow him to the house where he’s staying, and we drink beer and play quarters with his buddies. I go outside for air and lay on the hammock, but I’m so drunk that I flip right off. Alan carries me upstairs and we fuck so loud that they crank up the stereo downstairs to drown us out. Continue reading

We’re always online, our respective divorces have left us sleepless and unanchored.

Blue tells me I should come over. He says we’ll just hold each other as long as we need to, nothing more. He says he once drove across two provinces just for a hug. We found each other on a dating site. I’m not as wary as I should be about people on the internet. I google the directions then tell the ex I’m leaving for awhile so he needs to walk the dog. He’s on the phone with his new girlfriend again, so he makes some generic gesture that could either mean “I heard you” or “go away and fuck off.” I’m stuck living with him until I can afford my own place.

I drive to an unfamiliar suburb where the houses all have wide perfect green lawns. I follow the map to a condo community that sports a fake nautical theme, even though it’s fifty miles to the nearest lake. I find the right condo and knock on the door. Blue is pale and gaunt, all angles and edges, different from his online photo. He says that divorce will do that to you. I know that because I’m all angles and edges now too. We sit on the front steps of the condo and nervously pass a cigarette back and forth, careful to avoid touching hands.

We know a lot about each other, but there is an awkwardness between us here in the physical world. We both try to go through the front door at the same time, bumping shoulders.  He makes me a cup of peppermint green tea and we sit at a little cluttered kitchen table. He talks very fast and flips over tarot cards, avoiding eye contact. I look around at the spare furnishings left in the condo. Boxes are stacked in the corner, most of the floor is covered in paint speckled plastic sheets. It’s his grandmother’s condo, he had already explained to me, she fell and had to go to a nursing home, so he’s renovating it to sell. Continue reading

The phone rings in the middle of the night.

“He’s asking for you,” a low disembodied voice says. I ask for directions, splash water on my face, and go. I’ve been hoping for this moment, it’s down to the wire, hours to spare. My hands shake against the steering wheel, I stop at a 24 hour gas station for a pack of Marlboros.  It isn’t a far distance, maybe only 20 minutes, but I drive slowly.

It isn’t difficult to find the house, it’s the only one on the block that has lights on in every window and a yard full of parked cars. I drive around the block twice before I get the nerve up to stop. As I start to press the accelerator to make a third pass, someone runs out of the house and waves me down, thinking perhaps that I’m lost.

I stub out the end of the cigarette, twisting it out with my foot against the gravel driveway. Everything feels hot and damp, the night, the trickle of sweat oozing from between my breasts. Someone that I don’t know opens the door for me, leering savagely.  When he asks to bum one of my cigarettes, I recognize his voice from the phone. I shake one out, hand it to him, unsure of what to do next. Appraising me with a drunken smirk, he lights it, then leans coolly against the wall. Continue reading

I navigate the dark kitchen, stretching the spiral phone cord as far as it will go.

It just barely reaches into the bathroom. Hunching down next to the laundry basket, I ask “Is your dick out?” There’s a shuffling noise, then Teddy says he’s rubbing his hard-on against the phone. He thinks he might be able to sneak out tonight. I say my mom is sleeping in the living room, plus it’s a school night. The blue flicker of the TV seeps underneath the bathroom door. A generic sound that could be applause or static hisses in the night. I pull the phone cord tighter to edge away from the sound.

Teddy tells me to rub my boobs on the phone, but instead I rub my hand back and forth across the mouthpiece. He asks if my nipples are hard. Suddenly, I notice the absence of the flickering light and the static. The couch springs creak as they sag heavy. “Hang on,” I whisper to Teddy. Opening the door slowly, I wait a moment, then pull it shut again.

“Say something to make me horny,” he says. I think for a moment, then tell him I’m touching my pussy, even though I’m not. Teddy’s breath crackles in my ear, he wishes I was there. I wonder aloud if a warm wet washcloth would feel like a pussy. He says he’ll try it. The phone crashes down, he fumbles for a minute before he picks back up. Continue reading