(*Sally: Do not read this one. Actually, if you know me personally you may not want to read this one)
As I was sitting in a Starbucks with a friend of mine who was detailing the horrors of sex education, and how the absolute fear of utilizing what she didn’t know was called a diaphragm made her completely uncomfortable (a conversation that made me completely uncomfortable) I started to remember the years before I became the person I am today, when I was still under the impression I would wait until marriage to lose my virginity, and envisioned that by this point in my life I would be a happy, successful, family man (run on sentence for the win). That was a long time ago, before my heart had grown calloused to the thought of being in a relationship and still believed in things like Cameron Crowe movies, and that John Cusack was the best actor in the world. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Cameron Crowe movies, I just don’t believe in love stories anymore (Sorry How I Met Your Mother).
Everyone remembers their firsts. They remember their first kiss. They remember their first love. They remember their first heartbreak. They remember their first “time”. This is a story about all of these firsts, and how 17 years later I would finally attempt to find some sort of internal redemption for the repercussions of my actions as a depressed, moody, self-involved teen.
Just like every teenager who is in a relationship, I thought mine was going to be the last one I was ever going to be in (I think all teens think that way, but I am only basing that on the thoughts of one person). I was completely in love with Elizabeth, and some could argue I have not loved another person unconditionally (which isn’t at all sad since that was half my life ago). It’s like the anecdote about putting fleas in a jar. If you’ve never heard this before, if you put fleas in a jar and close them up they will jump and try to get out of the jar. After hitting their little flea heads on the lid a few times they learn they cannot jump that high and they will stop attempting to jump out, peaking just shy of where the lid is. You can take the lid off and the fleas will continue to jump, but they will never jump out of the jar, afraid of hitting their heads, even with no lid present. I loved Elizabeth so much that when we broke up it hurt so much I was never willing to “jump that high” again. Others would argue that is complete crap, and I definitely have loved that much, if not more since then, but for the sake of the story we’re going with I never have loved like that again.
It was shortly after Elizabeth broke my poor little heart that I was fortunate enough to meet Turner (although I don’t know if Turner was fortunate enough to meet me). Turner was this little, adorable, strawberry blonde, with a great smile, a cute beauty mark on her chin, and a temptress look in her eyes. She also had a fiery temper that many times throughout our long and storied relationship would come into play. Another fun aspect of Turner was her understated manipulative ability. She was a cunning little minx who always got what she wanted, and early on she decided she wanted me, in every aspect of that sentence.
She and I met in the “Kids” section of the Blockbuster I worked at, and even though I was still reeling over the breakup with Elizabeth I flirted my way into getting her number. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to call her. I just wanted to make sure I still “had it” after my 6 months out of the game (which I never had game anyway), and after a couple days of obsessing over whether or not calling her would signal me being unfaithful to Elizabeth (who had broken up with me already) I decided I didn’t want to sabotage any chance of reconciliation.
Turner had other ideas though. Even though I didn’t call her she came back in to my store to see me. I talked to her a little bit, and her friend belted out she was single and I should call her. I told her I would, just like before, but this time it was different, because I decided I should call her, since I was slowly subconsciously realizing Elizabeth wasn’t going to be coming back.
Leading up to Turner’s and my first date, I was nervous. I was questioning whether or not I should be doing this. I thought about Elizabeth all the time, and I wanted nothing more than to be back with her. I was only hoping that by hanging out with Turner, I would get over Elizabeth, which was completely unfair to Turner, and a habit I would adopt for the rest of my natural adult life. I considered canceling the date a few times, but decided it would be best if I followed through on my word and go out with her. I also invited my older sister and a guy she was “seeing” at the time to come along to help ease the tension I had in my stomach.
The four of us went to go see Liar, Liar, which I had already seen with a group of friends, but I figured it was a good movie to take a girl you were questioning whether you wanted to pursue a relationship with or not. Still relying heavily on how I would have acted on a movie date with Elizabeth, I realized half way through the movie she and I were holding hands, and her head was resting sweetly on my shoulder. I felt like I was cheating. I wished Elizabeth was there with me. I missed her smell. I missed her skin. I missed that special way she would (insert something I found cute at 18, I honestly don’t remember anymore). Turner was nice, and she seemed pretty cool, but I just wasn’t ready for anything. I decided I would tell her after the movie, when I drove her home.
Yeah…that didn’t happen.
Instead, after long heartfelt conversation outside of the theater after my sister and her date had abandoned me, Turner and I made out in my car, a lot, and then we went back to my parents house, where we were joined by my friends from the video store, Carter, Johnson, and Hector. The five of us sat in the living room and watched Private Parts, while Turner and I made out on the couch. We were the epitome of class that night.
What I was doing was setting up the way I would treat every break up for the rest of my life. I would become emotionally unavailable to anyone who wasn’t the girl who recently ended it with me. This would, in turn, make them want to be with me more, because emotionally distant men are apparently more attractive than ones who want to shower women with attention. I did not want a relationship with Turner but, slowly, my displaced and blasé attitude toward her was inexplicably having her fall in love with me, probably because, as a girl who was used to getting whatever she wanted, she was confused that I was not giving up what she wanted. I was a young, naive, heartbroken teen, who wanted nothing more than to be back with his ex, but still have the physical connection of making out with this new girl who wanted me to just commit myself to her, emotionally and physically. She didn’t understand why I wasn’t committing on either level.
She would get an explanation for both of these answers when she would find out that I was still a virgin. I remember that conversation vividly. Her brown eyes grew wide with surprise. She was astounded that an 18-year old virgin existed. I thought that was funny since I knew so many of them…or at least I assumed there were so many of them because I thought everyone was like me. Suddenly she was completely understanding of the reason why we would make out a lot, but our physical relationship was teetering on the brink of becoming PG-13, and not the R-rated one she had envisioned in her mind (we all worked at video stores, we talked in movie references and video jargon all the time. It must have annoyed anyone else we hung out with, which is why it was probably good we didn’t hang out with anyone other than video store people).
Quick side note here: The fact that video stores are gone is one of the greatest travesties of the modern era. Yes, it is truly amazing to be able to sit at your tablet and look through virtually every single movie ever made and then, with the swipe of a finger, send your movie selection to your television, without leaving your couch. But there was something mystical about going to visit the video store. It was a game, a competition, survival of the fittest. If you went in with the idea you wanted to rent a specific movie from a while back, there was always the question on whether or not it would be in stock. You would walk, briskly, nervously to the section you thought the movie should be in hoping you would see the case behind the cover box. You would feel the rush of excitement when it was there, and the agony of defeat when it was already checked out. Weighing your options at that point on whether you should travel to the store down the street, or just bite the bullet and pick another movie that you would not enjoy as much as your original selection. Anyone who had the privilege to venture into a video store with me had to be ready for a quest that quite possibly could have taken longer than the movie we would pick out. What mood was I in? What had I been watching recently? Was I stuck on a particular genre at that given time, or was I just leapfrogging around, waiting for something I could obsess over for a short period of time? These were questions I would weigh out before selecting a movie. Dreams were made and broken in video stores. Now, everything is in stock and instant gratification has allowed a generation of people one less thing to be disappointed about. Sorry, that was longer than I originally anticipated. Let’s get back to the story at hand.
I explained to Turner I was going to wait to have sex. She said she understood, and was completely ok with the idea of only making out and watching movies with me. Then came the magical day where Turner introduced me to the wonderful world of oral sex. She made a bet with me that she could get me to completion in less than two minutes and, god bless her, she cleared that bar with time to spare. Since Turner and I stopped seeing each other there have only been two girls who have left such a lasting memory of their ability concerning performing oral sex (I’m certain they know who they are, and no it is not the girl featured in this story here).
I had immediately become addicted to it. I’ve done heroin, and I never wanted a fix on the same level I wanted to have Turner do that for me again. I would want one at my house, inside, outside, in my car, at the battlefield, in the movie theaters, at her friends houses, basically wherever. She never seemed to mind. She never once complained. It didn’t seem to bother her when her stepdad caught us. All because she knew that one day she would be able to claim that she had conquered the unconquerable. When she and I had first met my V-card was protected by an impenetrable force, and with each blow job she doled out she knew my forces were getting weaker and weaker.
Then came that fateful early July night. I was spoken with Elizabeth, and in the conversation she said something about a guy named, “Jerome” (wow, I’m not even trying anymore). I knew at that moment what was happening. She was done with me. I was out. It would never happen between us again. I went to the video store feeling rejected, depressed, and confused. Where was my Lloyd Dobler moment? I like Peter Gabriel just as much as the next guy. Where was my Diane Court, and why weren’t we on a plane going to Europe together? Cameron Crowe had lied to me in Say Anything…, Singles, and Jerry Maguire.
I was, at the time, not a drinker, but that night I wanted to, nay, needed to, get drunk.
Luckily my friend Pete, was always having people over at his house. That night I would truly indulge myself in “massive” amounts of alcohol to bury the pain deep down so I wouldn’t have to think about Elizabeth and Jerome.
“Massive” at the time was defined as (don’t judge me, I was 18 and drank what was available) four Budweiser’s, and three Jack Daniel’s sippers over a six hour period of time. Today, that would be breakfast before a binge day. Then it was enough to alter me enough to make decisions I was told by so many people I would regret one day (I don’t, but, I will explain that later).
At some point that night I received a page (if you don’t know what that is go ask your parents, or legal guardians). I told people I didn’t know who it was when I returned it, but I knew who it was immediately, and I knew what this person wanted. I snuck away from the party and drove (yes, I should not have been, but this is sort of how my entire future was shaped) to the house where I knew Turner was hanging out. She met me outside and we made out in the grossly way that only a drunk teenager can with a girl he wanted to see naked.
Now, before I go any farther in the story I have to interject a portion about sex education in schools. I do not agree with the state teaching me about pretty much anything (this would require a very long explanation of what I expect from the public school system, but to give the really short answer, “say no to common core”). If they want to teach the biology of sex and how a baby is made that’s one thing, but the actual ins and outs of sex and the varying acts one can do should be eft out of the curriculum. A teacher should not be allowed to explain the cowgirl, the reverse cowgirl, the bareback, the 69, the doggy style, the tug of war, the linguini, the hang ten, the angry pirate, the dolphin, the rodeo, or the superman. I think these aspects of sex ed should be handled by parents, not the schools, and educating their children on proper safe sex techniques is fully their responsibility (you had the sex to have the kid, teach the kid about the sex). I also think parents should do a pretty thorough job when teaching these techniques. I was opted out of sex ed, my parents believed it should be taught at home. While I remember the day I received “the talk”, I don’t think it was as extensive as it probably should have been. I am not going to blame anyone here, we’re all on a learning curve when it comes to raising children, and growing up. I was just a little naive when it came to how everything worked down there. Anyway, don’t let the state teach our kids about sex, actually teach your kids about sex, every aspect of it. Don’t, I repeat, don’t go with, “stay celibate until marriage,” because at 13 they may say OK, but at 18, they may be a little drunk and heartbroken.
Turner and I went into the house and, well, details don’t really need to be spilled on how what happened and when, but know it was at least 9 of the coolest seconds of my life. I remember everything about that night. I remember every thought that had run through my head. I remember what Turner smelled like. I remember what her skin felt like. I remember what her breath felt like as she exhaled on my neck. And I really remember the look on her face when I told her I had to go, just moments after we had finished. She begged me to stay, but I told her I couldn’t. I grabbed all of my stuff, and walked away (a move I utilize to this day).
The Christian boy I had been raised to be felt ashamed. I couldn’t believe I had thrown my virginity away on someone I didn’t care about. I was supposed to lose it to my future wife. Not to Turner. I swore at that moment I would not have sex again, until I was married (have you read any of my other stories?). I would make that pledge that night, and keep it…for at least a week.
Even though I felt like I had done something I wasn’t supposed to I was still willing to do it again, and again, and again. I figured I had done it once, there was no harm in doing it more, I wasn’t murdering anyone. I wasn’t sure on how to deal with all of the new things going on in my life, and I didn’t really have anyone to talk to. I couldn’t talk to my parents because I feel I may have let them down. I couldn’t talk to my youth leader because I didn’t want to see the look of disappointment in his face. I couldn’t talk to my friends because they were apathetic to issues that didn’t directly affect them, and me losing my virginity to someone who wasn’t someone I had real feelings for fell into that category.
I had to learn how to deal with this on my own. This was a task that proved to be less than difficult to do. Perhaps it was the fact the only person I could talk to about my issues was the one person I was having sex with on a regular basis, and she and I actually had developed a bond over this time period. We would talk about my inner struggles with my thought that what I was doing was wrong, and then we would have sex. It was a vicious cycle (no, it wasn’t, but at 18 I thrived on internal drama). Slowly, I was coming to terms with the person I had lost my virginity to, and in all honesty I couldn’t have asked for a better person to have lost it to.
You see, at the end of it all I had completely shut myself off emotionally to Turner (a practice I have gotten exceptionally good at). I was doing what so many other guys have done to so many other women and was just, essentially, using her for sex while leaving her with the hope that one day she and I would wind up together. After a while I realized what I was doing, as did she, and we slowly started to part ways and see less and less of each other.
I left that Blockbuster and went to a different one where I would meet a girl I would date for a while and she would introduce me to the drug riddled roads I eventually chose to take. I didn’t really see Turner around anymore, but I would hear about her from time to time from friends who still hung out with her outside of the video stores. I always heard she was doing well, and I was happy for her. I hoped she would find someone to make her happy.
Months later I went into my old store and was talking to my friend Dwight. he was catching me up on a few things going on around the store. He told me I should always be grateful for what he did for me. Being mildly confused about the statement I enquired farther, and he told me Turner had come to him, unsure of what to do about a problem she was experiencing. Apparently, the last time Turner and I had slept together (it was in the front seat of my red 1985 Nissan Sentra in a church parking lot…everything about that is uncomfortable to think about now), I hit one in to the open net.
She had gone to Dwight to find out what she should do about the fact she was pregnant. She knew I didn’t want to be in a relationship with her, and she didn’t want to raise the child on her own. He recommended she terminate the pregnancy.
I was surprised I had become the type of guy Turner felt wouldn’t have been there to help out with the raising of a child. I can see why she would have thought that now, I was an obnoxious, self-absorbed prick at the time who was so self-involved with my own personal issues that I did not see I was using her as my own personal playground. She deserved better than me, and she deserved to be with someone who she thought would be a person who would have stepped up and been there to help her raise a child (who would now be 16-years old, it’s just weird to think about).
Turner and I are friends now. We reconnected a few years ago through social media and we have stayed in touch ever since. It took her a few years to get over me being a repugnant person, and someone who hadn’t been there for her in one of the most difficult time of her young life. For that I apologize, and tell her I am glad she and I have reconnected and have what semblance of a relationship we currently share.
Occasionally I wonder how different my life would have been if she had come to me with that issue instead of going to Dwight. Would I have done the right thing? Would I have stepped up and been there for her in her time of need? Or would the outcome have ended the same? Of course there being no answers to these questions the best I can do is speculate, and hope that if other universes exist, and in one of them Turner and I have a child together I am as good of a father as many people have told me they thought I would be, even though I have never felt that way about myself. One day, possibly, in this universe I will find out if I will make a good father, but until then I can only apologize to Turner yet again, hope she has found a lifetime of happiness and let her know I wouldn’t have wanted my first to be anyone else…except Winnie Cooper…or Anna Kournikova.