My 90’s

This is an assignment for class.

When I was fifteen, I trusted women. I had three best friends and have never learned or been capable to have more than that.

I attended a Catholic school down the street. My school-issued skirt swung heavily around my legs like movie theater curtains. At lunch, we discussed only two subjects: sex and hatred for the principal, Father Berkey. At night, we met in chatrooms and railed on teachers who assigned us to memorize Bible verses and read books from dead white men. We hypothesized about the clergy�s sex lives, how pathetic and clumsy they would be if given the chance.

My mother bagged up all the thong underwear I had purchased with two month�s of allowance. �You�re going to be cold,� she explained, tossing the bag in the trash before I could reply that I wore more than that.

Peter was my first friend I made on the internet. He was a Danish pianist and movie buff who talked about Kant as if he knew the man personally. I thought it remarkable to finally find someone who shared my passion for philosophy and political science. One day, Peter asked for pictures of me, something more risqu� than the school portraits I had emailed. He wanted to see me getting fisted. Our friendship ended after I did an internet search and found out what he meant.

My search for anonymity and my sister�s expired driver�s license took me to a bar in the Red Light District next to a massage parlor/karaoke club where Filipina women in neon pink spandex outfits stood en masse chanting �Massa-ji� to Japanese tourists.

Mr. Smith, the balding speech and debate teacher, believed that I was preparing for my debate on safe sex education when I was in the teacher�s lounge, inhaling cr�me cookies and watching Larry King Live. Two teens had shot up a high school in Colorado. I returned to class, the first one to report the news.

To keep us away from promiscuity, my school sent our class to AIDS-awareness conferences where we played stupid games like Trust. Simon, the debate champ who only attended these things for the fruit and cheese kebobs and used the condoms to make balloon animals, missed a week of school because a paralyzing case of herpes.

Mollie sent an email with quotes about friendship the morning she killed herself. After the email was sent out, she locked her autistic brother in the house, climbed up the tree in the yard and jumped with a tire swing rope around her neck. Mollie�s family divided her things and cast lots of her notebooks, boy-band CDs and French books among us. I got the box of sheets where she printed �MOLLIE IS A BITCH,� over and over until the litany filled the page. I have never solved that dark question: what kept her from pressing one finger down, hitting delete.

I lost my virginity to Kim, a boy with a girl�s name. Bob Marley�s �Redemption Song� played in the background and we fumbled and finished before the song did.

My mother drove me once to the local firefighter�s union hall the night before Thanksgiving to attend my only Weight Watchers meeting. The meeting coordinator spoke through clown red lipstick, passed out white paper plates and instructed us to list what we would be eating the next day on the plate. When we were done, she tallied the foods to determine how fat we would become. �Corn bread — four points. Mashed potatoes — eight points.� I raised my hand to ask about gravy. �Gravy?� she huffed, �Don�t even think about it.� Before I walked out to my mother waiting in the van, I crushed the plate with a frown I had drawn where food should have been.

We had dry sex in the cemetery under the platform where Father Berkey erected a ten-foot tall crucifix. It was Jonathan, my boyfriend who wore pants so low the crotch chafed against his knees, who discovered a bunker-sized hole large enough to fit two bodies. Once school let out, we created a new classroom there, bringing condoms and sex moves pilfered from late-night cable. In the dark hole, we navigated crisp shirts and blue ties, pleated skirts and blouses to discover the electricity of someone else�s naked skin. No matter how long I was in that black womb, I could count on there being just enough light when I emerged to lead me home.

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Comments

  1. Apollo says:

    Wow. Not sure what to say on this post besides wow.

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