Mom, please stop reading.
No, I'm serious. You can stop reading right now.
In retrospect, even I find it hard to believe that I lost my virginity at age 16 considering I didn't get my first kiss until I was 15. 18 months after the tongue ring incident and I had fallen in love and started sleeping with my boyfriend. Okay, so maybe I hadn't really fallen in love, but I was having sex.
I met Michael through a mutual friend. Remember Greg, the guy who I went to homecoming with sophomore year? Well, it turns out he was good for something. He was Michael's best friend and he was the one who introduced us. We were all hanging out at the Rose Gardens on Saturday evening in January (no, there weren't any roses that time of year, just picnic benches which we used illegally after hours) and I remember thinking how cute Michael was. He had a big nose and wasn't too tall. His baggy clothes didn't hide the fact that he was unbelievably skinny and he wore his hat sideways. He was hot.
I found the courage to approach him while he was smoking a clove cigarette. I had never smoked one of those before and wasn't so much interested in the tobacco as I was in the guy taking puffs. I sat down next to him and asked for a drag.
"Have you ever smoked one of these before?" He asked, not looking me in the eye.
"No," I said with confidence. I wanted to give that innocent yet curious attitude.
Michael nodded his head and handed me the cigarette. I took one drag and thought my throat was going to disintegrate into my chest. Even though tears were coming to my eyes, I kept from coughing and exhaled.
"Wow. That's nice."
Michael smiled and I returned the cigarette.
"So, is this where most of you Lincoln kids hang out on the weekends?" he asked and I blushed. Michael was from the other side of town and all I knew about his school was that they had a shitty swim team and cute boys.
I feel as though I should explain something about my high school. Lincoln High is one of two public high schools on the West side of the river. We grew up in the West Hills which I guess you could say are like the Beverly Hills of Portland…kind of. We, myself not included, drove new Jeeps and Mercedes and never, EVER partied in our parent's houses. We were smart enough not to mess with the expensive shit. Plus, we traveled in large packs. What would start out as a small, controlled gathering, would quickly turn into a raging kegger if the wrong person, or the right person, was called. Seeing as we loved our parent's credit cards too much to be grounded, we stuck to public parks and middle school jungle gyms.
"This isn't so bad, is it?"
Michael smiled but didn't look at me. He took a drag from his cigarette. "It's actually pretty cool. You're here."
He still wouldn't look at me. It was the sexiest thing ever. He held the cigarette up to my lips and I inhaled another toxin-filled breath. The rest, as they say, was history.
Michael and I kissed that very night and he had made me his girlfriend by the following day. Since we didn't go to the same school, we would talk on the phone nearly every night. Well, he would talk, I would laugh at his jokes and answer his questions. And, as if one boyfriend without a driver's license wasn't enough, I had somehow managed to score myself a second. But that didn't matter as much now because I had turned 16 over the summer and had full access to my parent's minivan until 1:00 am every Friday and Saturday night.
We didn't have much of it, but I distinctly remember how Michael and I spent the majority of our time together. We would go to parties on the weekends where he would drink and I would stay sober (gotta respect the minivan, people) and if we were lucky enough to be able to crash at a friend's place, I would down two wine-coolers and we would make out for about an hour. But then the weekdays would come and we wouldn't see each other.
Somewhere during our phone conversations and drunken make-out sessions, I decided I was in love with him. That decision led to the next obvious one which was to have sex. Now, don't get me wrong, I didn't take this choice lightly. I knew it was going to be a big deal, I knew I couldn't change my mind once the deed had been done. But I also knew that I was in love with Michael, pretty much obsessed, and we had great physical and emotional chemistry together.
I didn't tell my friends what I was planning on doing. I didn't tell anyone - even Michael. I didn't want my friends to influence this decision and I already knew Michael's thoughts on the matter. He was, after all, a 16 year old boy. So I kept it to myself and as the weekend approached, I grew more and more confident with the choice I had made.
That Saturday was St. Patrick's day. I wore green cotton panties. Sexy, I know. I arrived at Michael's house that evening and his parents were already gone. This was just perfect. We went upstairs to his bedroom and he played me a new CD he had just purchased. I couldn't help but notice all of the candles that he had burning. Could he have been planning for the same thing I was??? This was so meant to be!
"What do you want to do tonight?" Michael asked me, suddenly very shy.
"I don't know. What do you want to do?"
"Greg knows of a party we could go to."
"Okay. We could do that." Not really what I had in mind and clearly not what he was thinking either.
"Or we could just hang out here. Go downstairs and watch a movie."
"That sounds good."
Then there was this really obvious silence where we both just kind of stared at each other, neither one of us moving.
"We could have sex," I suggested, not seeing the point in delaying the inevitable.
"I'd love that," Michael said quickly and very enthusiastically. "I mean, only if you would too."
"I think I would like it as well."
And so it was decided. I'm not going to go into details because I'm pretty sure my mom is still reading this, but I'll just give you an overview of the whole ordeal. It was awkward. Super awkward. I'm pretty sure we went through about 3 condoms before things actually started to work for us. Michael was a virgin as well and apparently neither one of us had listened in health class when they had explained how all of this was supposed to work. But he was sweet and told me that he loved me. He asked if I was hurting, asked if I needed anything. He told me I was beautiful and that he couldn't imagine his first time being with anyone else.
All in all, it was a pretty good experience, though not like the sex you read about in books - especially mine. It was way past my curfew when I realized what time it was. I really didn't want to leave Michael and he was begging me to stay, but I knew that if I ever wanted to see him again, I would have to get home and make up a lame excuse for my tardiness. So I jumped in the minivan and took off back to the west side.
"Mom?" Yes, I called my mom on my way home, three minutes after having sex with my boyfriend. Don't ask me why I thought this was a good idea.
"Lydia? Where are you?"
"Lost where?" I love how my mom is always so worried about me. Being an only child is awesome.
"On the east side," I said, making sure to sound terrified. "Don't worry. I've already locked my doors."
"Good. Now, tell me the cross streets."
I looked up and read her the streets and she gave me directions. Looking back, I know she could read straight through my bullshit. But at the time, I was pretty convinced I had gotten away with murder. The murder of my virginity.
I got home that night, well after 2:00 am, went into my parent's room and hugged my mom. She didn't ask any questions, just told me that she loved me and wished me a goodnight. I fell asleep, sore like I have never been before, and woke up thinking about Michael.
We had sex only twice more after that. The second time was better and the third time was traumatic for both of us. Michael was over at my house and we were hooking up in my room which shares a wall with the garage. He was about to finish when we heard the door go up and I literally pushed him onto the floor.
"You said your parents weren't going to be home!" He screamed at me.
"They're here early!" I cried back and threw my pants on.
Michael was pushed into my closet, his boxers and jeans thrown under my bed.
"Hi, Mom!" I was overly excited to see her.
"I thought you were going to be at the office all day."
She shook her head and gave her reasoning, all of which I was too terrified to listen to. My boyfriend was naked and in my closet. Things couldn't get much worse.
"Okay, well I'll be in my room if you need me." I smiled and quickly shut the door, diving to the floor to retrieve his pants and underwear.
"Put these on!" I whispered, opening the closet and dropping them at his feet. He was sitting in my laundry bin, his skinny legs dangling over the side.
"What the fuck are we going to do?"
"I'll distract her and you leave through the garage."
"And go where? You're supposed to drive me home."
"Take the bus!" Nick could do it. Why couldn't Michael?
"Fine!" He cursed and stood up, giving me the signal to go distract my mother.
I opened the door to find her right outside my room. "Were you talking to someone?"
I nearly confessed everything right then and there. "Um, myself."
She gave me a funny look and I panicked.
"Do you want to watch a movie?" I asked, taking her arm and pulling her downstairs. She didn't object so I figured she either didn't want to know or didn't realize what had been happening in my room.
I called Michael later that night. "That was a close one!" I said when he picked up.
"I know. Did you find it?"
"Find what?" Was I supposed to be looking for something?
"The condom." He annunciated every syllable.
"No. I thought you had it."
"I did. I mean, it was still on when I left."
"Huh?" Why the hell would he leave it on? Wasn't that uncomfortable?
"I didn't know what to do with it so I just left it on. But then when I got home, it was gone."
"Did you feel it fall off?"
I didn't know anything about the male penis and so that answer seemed pretty legit.
Unfortunately, things went downhill from that point on. Prom season was upon us and I of course asked Michael to accompany me. But he refused and I was baffled. I wish I knew what I had done to make him change him mind about us so suddenly. He claimed that he just wasn't in to school dances. I claimed to not care, saying that if he loved me, he would go. He was silent and I started to cry, knowing that it was over. I told him that if he didn't say something to me that very second, then we were over. He was silent and I left him.
I cried for days and days over Michael. I was inconsolable. And I didn't have a date to the prom. Luckily Betsy was able to find someone for me at the last minute and I ended up having a somewhat decent time - but you'll read more about that next chapter. By the time summer rolled around and I returned to my lifeguarding job (and my hot manager), I was almost completely over him.
Years later, Michael showed up at a party I was throwing at my parent's house. Yes, by college we had deemed ourselves responsible underage drinkers and ventured inside. He asked to speak with me and I took him out to the back deck where he apologized, actually apologized for how he had acted so many years before. He told me that he had loved me, he hadn't been lying about anything he had said, and that he had been too worried about what his friends thought of him to understand just how amazing our relationship was. He hoped I didn't hate him and that we could be friends. I bought most of it but took it all with a grain of salt.
It's quite easy to romanticize your first love. Some people say that you will never fully get over that person. I'll agree, Michael and I are connected in that small way, neither of us will ever be able to forget the other. But perhaps I never really loved him. Maybe I was mistaking my curiosity for the real thing. I don't know what Michael is doing now but I wish him well. I know that if we ever met on the street, no hard feelings would be held and no feelings of love, other than adoration for those distant memories, would surface into our conscience.