Dark Ages 3: Tall and Drift

Tall was 6’2” (a full foot taller than me), athletic, good looking, with a shock of thick black hair — he looked like a model. And he was smart.

An early winter evening, we’re alone at my place. I very deliberately complain about my sore shoulders. Taking the bait, he tells me he had taken a course on massage — a lie. But he thought he needed some justification beyond my hinted invitation. Perhaps he honestly believed that the massage was his idea…

He had a curfew (the only person I knew who did) but snuck out of the house routinely to be with me. His place was about a 15-minute walk away (at my pace), but because of his long legs and the fact that he always jogged when he came over, it only took him about 5 minutes. He literally ran to me! He was a good guy, I thought I was in love, and maybe I was.

[Around this time, my mom informed me that she was pregnant, which didn’t seem to have been planned. She took this opportunity to tell me that she would “take me to the doctor” if I wanted. I got her drift, more or less. She didn’t seem to be overjoyed about the pregnancy, and she sure as hell didn’t want to be there talking to me about sex. Mortified, I declared that I was still a virgin; it was the best possible answer to an awful and unstated question. This conversation probably could have been somewhat more awkward, but I’m not sure how…]

In late spring, a group of us drove to a nearby city for the weekend to attend a high school drama festival. Who knows what the accommodation arrangements had been, but Tall and I conspired to be by ourselves in a room together one afternoon. A first for both of us: we tried to have sex. Although this was something we had both chosen, I was much too uncomfortable and tense and dry. ‘Sex’ came to the party with ‘should’ again, and they both ended up acting like assholes.

We successfully lost our virginity to each other on Mothers’ Day. (In subsequent years, I’ve repeatedly had the devilish thought of sending him a card.) Of the act itself, I don’t remember anything beyond thinking “this is not great at all”, and probably “why do people like this?” We were in the basement at his place, and his older brother came home around the time we finished. Tall shouted “Don’t come downstairs!” a couple of times, and he didn’t, but we couldn’t have been much more obvious. I’m fairly sure he smirked at us later.

Tall kept coming to my place after curfew and we’d just hang out. Things were cooling off — physically or emotionally or both, I’m not sure — but at the time I assumed that not wanting to be physical meant I had fallen out of love. (I now recognize it for a sexual shame pattern.) We were together for about 7 months, then agreed to split when he went to his dad’s for a month during the summer. I was choked when he met a girl on the plane and started seeing her immediately. I imagined, in vain, that we might get back together when he came back to town. I don’t know whether I was hurt because I was in love or because of the sting of rejection.

That summer, I got a bit part in a community theatre musical and met Drift. We flirted, drifted together, had some pleasant times, drifted apart again. This relationship was uniquely low-key. I have only one clear memory of him:

At my place, on my bed, in the dark. He’s sitting cross-legged and I’m sitting on him. We’re making out, I grind gently on his erection. No pressure, no ‘should’, just… nice.

I never knew him well, but I don’t think we had much in common. It probably happened because I wanted to be with someone and he was there.

Ah, high school. The events are generally bland, the emotions intense, and many of the memories cringe-worthy. For better or worse, things got more interesting in university.

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