The drunk teenager sat on my desk, asked if this was where I masturbated, if my wife and I still had sex.
“Yes, we do.”
“A few times a week.”
“How long have you been married?”
“Is this your supressed seven year itch?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
I walked over to her, embraced her, felt her resist ever so momentarily.
“Do you have condoms?
“You heard me. I’m not going to raw dog it.”
“Married men don’t use condoms.”
“Then what do you do? You don’t have any kids.”
“My wife can’t have kids.”
“Oh. Fuck you, you just ruined it.”
“You should probably go.”
Wordlessly, she descended the stairs, fingers tracing shapes on the wall. She hesitated in the kitchen, sat back in her old spot on the floor, looked up at me, wide-eyed.
“So you don’t want to fuck me anymore? Why not?”
For the English class that I took last semester, our final assignment was to write the first chapter of our novel. This was taken from the final page of the assignment. In the space next to the dialogue, one of my classmates had written that this conversation didn’t sound believable.
When I was reviewing the comments that my peers had made, that one leapt out at me, not because it was a criticism but because this section was crafted from a very distinct memory, or as distinct a memory as one could have about an event that occurred years ago in the haze of three strong Americanos.
It’s been about three years since I created that memory and even more years since it all began.
When I was 14, I walked around my history classroom, reading Lolita and practicing flirtation, which for me at the time (and possibly still to this present-day) meant being mean. The obvious object of my desire was not a still too short freshmen or even a sophisticated senior. I was enamored with my history teacher.
He was married, in his forties and from what I could tell, extremely bitter. I spent the next four years flitting about his classroom, sometimes perched on his desk during lunch like an adolescent, chubby version of Fran Fine. To everyone else, students and teachers alike, it just seemed like I had a schoolgirl crush on him and up until I found myself drunk in his house, wondering what would happen if his wife came home early, it felt just like the crushes I had on some of the boys and girls in my classes: meaningless, without consequence.
Occasionally, he would make inappropriate comments to me, like the time that I was chewing on the mouth of a water bottle and he muttered some remark that vaguely alluded to oral sex. Other times, I would catch him staring at my legs as I paced around his classroom or looking at my chest as I spoke to him.
The first time I was catcalled, I was nine and with my mother; the unwanted attention hasn’t abated since then so the leers of this 40-something man weren’t unexpected to me. If anything, they backed up my strange hope that he would want me once I was out of school and of age.
Eventually, all the pieces fell together in a way that I’ve rehashed in my mind time and time again. After I graduated high school, he took me to a restaurant and followed that up with a walk on the piers, where he offered to kiss me and then stuffed a roll of twenties into my hands so I could take a cab home. I spent it on a pair of Levi’s and walked.
Shortly thereafter, a difficult first semester at college, my need to feel like a sex object and my flight from the arms of an abusive boy my own age led me to my former teacher’s house. My personal turmoil, which was partially self-created and partially situational, mixed with the drinks he poured for me, led us to the upstairs of his home.
After he chased me around for a bit and I kept squirming away, unsure if I wanted to desecrate his marriage, I felt him losing interest, which was something unfathomable, so of course, I offered myself up to him which brings me back to how this story began.
After I had sat in his kitchen for some time and the room had sufficiently stopped spiraling around me, I asked him how many partners he had had. He paused, counted briefly and said 32. He asked me. I said one.
“So I’d be the second one.”
“Who was the first one?”
“You have to go.”
Later on, he would try to contact me through Facebook and I’d go along with the conversation until I found the opportunity to interject something that referred back to that day in his house. I knew it upset him and for some reason, I relished that, especially since, despite how uncomfortable those moments were for him, he continued to try to speak to me.
I was angry at him and I started to wonder how I’d feel 20 years in the future if I ever suspected my partner was with someone else, especially someone who was as young as I had been. I wonder if he would have gone through with it, had I not asked for a condom and if so, would he not have worried about possibly passing an STD along to his wife? Could he not see beyond his desires to the wellbeing of the woman he married?
I came back from winter break that year with a wild new story to tell my friends but as the years have passed, I’ve told this story less and less. I still see him every so often.
For a long time, I felt guilty. Nothing had happened beyond some inappropriate touching, but he hasn’t told his wife about any of it.
I dropped by my old high school recently and saw a maybe 16-year-old girl lingering in his classroom for a little too long. Despite the fact that I was talking to him, she hung around his desk, trying to get his attention. I stared at her coolly, as though the five years I have on her made any difference.
Once she left, I questioned him about her and he said she just had a crush on him and had left a Christmas present on his doorstep. He denied that anything else had happened and admitting to being flattered by her attention coupled with what he perceived as my jealousy.
I wonder if, in a few years, she’ll find her way to his door and walk through, just like I once did. I wonder if he’s learned anything.