short stories ~ literary fiction ~ social commentary
copyright © 1999 - 2013
Christian was ironically named. My parents called themselves freethinkers, more like no-thinkers.
Fourteen year olds wonder about many things. If you watch the talking heads on TV, fourteen year olds think about being thin, having sex, doing drugs and drinking, smoking and being popular. At five-five one-ten, skin like the inside of a calf’s ear, Precious Moment eyes and light milk chocolate hair dancing to my waist, I had a good body image. I had a normal curiosity about sex, shivering at the idea of anyone sticking anything in me.
I’ve seen some stupid stuff done, always when doing drugs or drinking. For example, the counselor at camp smoked pot then cut his finger off with the circular saw. I don’t need to mention auto accidents, right? As for smoking, if I want to smell bad and be winded, I’ll run around the block ten times. Finally, I didn’t see any value in kids I didn’t know liking me. I’ve always had plenty of friends.
When I was fourteen, what I wanted to know about was God. My parents didn’t attend church. Freethinkers, which was their answer about God. With a permission slip in hand, I joined a youth group at the local church. No better way to see what the water’s like than jumping in. We were half and half boys and girls meeting one evening a week.
I didn’t see much difference between the pottery club at school and the youth group at the church. Well, we did make ceramics in school.
Christian was older and attended me to the point of embarrassment. His jaw was strong, set sure, framed below his close-cropped yellow hair. I’d say his eyes were like azure pools, but I’m never that corny. Ice, blue like ice. I asked when we’d learn about God.
“We have a special meeting Saturday night at eight o’clock, but never for the new people.” He winked. “I’ll get you in. Coming?”
Who can say no to azure pools?
The church was dark when Mom dropped me off, which wasn’t odd, a light showing in the basement. I went to the side door, let myself in and had a cloth bag dropped over my head. I tried to shout. I tired to struggle. I was carried into another room and my shoes, socks, pants and underwear carefully removed.
I tried to identify the giggles, male and female, but couldn’t.
I lost count how many times I was raped over the next hour and a half. I became aware I was alone in the darkness. I removed the mask, found the light switch and the bathroom, wiped off the billowing ooze the best I could, found my clothes neatly folded, got dressed just in time to meet my mother.
“Learn all about God?” She couldn’t help biting sarcastic.
There’s a pantheon, no. A litany of reasons why I didn’t say anything and I know that’s stupid but it was my choice. Really, I should have seen that coming. I wasn’t physically hurt and as it turns out I didn’t get plagued – get the pun? – with any diseases.
Fate left me no choice but to tell Mom. She was disappointed I had unprotected sex and scolded me while punching buttons on the telephone to schedule my D&C. If you don’t know what that is, a D&C is what people with good medical insurance get instead of an abortion.
Mom didn’t like my next four boyfriends. She thought they were grabby, only after one thing. “Like the boy who got you in trouble.”
I didn’t tell Mom the story, only the what not the how.
Once in the supermarket, she dragged me by the hand to introduce me to a nice young man. Moms, you know.
Late one spring I got home from school to find Mom’d trapped a young man in the living room. He had a couple of years and about four inches on me. His eyes wept metaphorically, sadness singing a Siren’s song from the dark glistening green like fresh cow dung. His golden retriever hair was pulled back, giving him a raccoon tail.
I don’t know how Mom missed the raccoon tail.
His head snapped a tilt. I thought he should’ve clicked his heels. “Would you care to join me for a cherry Coke?” I swear I remember him kissing my hand. He was not that corny.
I liked Carl right away. He had a cavalier maturity that got my attention. He knew how to play the people game, schmoozing my mother, for example. He made me feel important.
Carl was a bad boy and if I squinted toward the dimness of the future from the back of his motorcycle, I could see the brick wall racing at us. I liked his energy. I loved his fire, his willingness to chase down death and grab it by the tail, master of his fate.
Fearless and bulletproof, he made James Dean look like a pussy.
We made gentle love often and everywhere, hungry but satiable, my cup overflowing, metaphorically that is.
He scared me to the darkest recesses of my soul.
Taken with an attack of sanity one Saturday night, I met him on the curb. He handed his buddy helmet forward. I waved it off. I watched his eyes, the dark sadness. “I can’t see you anymore.” Somehow, I choked the words out, holding his eyes. I prepared my argument.
He stared at me, then nodded once, sharply.
I watched him round the corner. I was glad I didn’t have to explain. I wish I had.
“We just broke up.” For the first time in my life, I cried over a breakup. I clutched onto Mom and cried until I could cry no more.
Mom woke me early, her face set. “We’ll straighten this out.”
I’d only met Carl’s mother once in passing.
Obviously, by the exchange, our mom’s had much telephone contact. We sat at the living room table in the cramped apartment, Carl’s mother fuming about her ex-husband, waving an angry hand toward her son’s bedroom door.
Mom decided to share what a man had done to me, Carl being no different. I thought they should be frothing at the mouth. “Go tell him!” Carl’s mother encouraged me. “Give it to him good!”
I cried buckets, wondering how this man could love women so much. I went to his door and pushed it open.
Two faces watched me from the bed. I was really sorry.
I told Carl what I meant for Christian and his gaggle. “One of these days you’re going to wake up and discover these animated hunks of flesh around you are actually human beings with feelings, dreams and desires.”
I slammed the door. A picture fell from the wall. I put my forehead to the door.
“Sorry,” I whispered.