Speaking of school being upon people, when I was seventeen I lost my virginity to one of the teachers at my high school.
Out of the blue one Thursday night Miss Usher (not her real name) phoned me at home.
“I’m out of cigarettes. Could you do me the biggest favor, and come bring me a pack? My roommate’s out of town, and my car isn’t working. And I’m just dying for a smoke.”
“Yes,” I said. “Yes. I can do that.” And I could. I had a car!
My step-mother was in the kitchen, cooking and listening in on my conversation. After I hung up the phone I told her where I was going.
“I hope you’re ready,” she said.
“For the fact that you’re about to have sex.”
“What? No I’m not. Why would you say that?”
“Because no woman calls a guy at night and tells him to bring over some cigarettes unless she wants to have sex with him. Pffft. Cigarettes. She’s not even trying to be original.”
“No way. She just wants to have a smoke, that’s all.”
“Trust me. That woman is already smokin’.”
I did not much care for my stepmother. But, as it turned out, she actually knew some stuff.
And by the time the sun rose the following morning, so did I.
When I arrived at Miss Usher’s home I found her porch in pitch darkness. Upon opening her door she was illuminated from behind: all I could see was the silhouette of her body in this … I don’t even know what they’re called. Like a bathrobe—but made of thin, slightly layered, see-through silky-type material. A gown, I guess? But not like a hospital gown. Like a sex gown. And she appeared to be naked beneath it.
My right leg started shaking like it was going to separate itself from me and start a whole new life for itself somewhere.
“Do you have my cigarettes?” Miss Usher practically purred. My brain turned into a shimmering movie screen with the words SHE DOESN’T REALLY CARE ABOUT THE CIGARETTES on it.
“I do!” I said, holding up a little brown paper bag. I wiggled it in the air. “Winstons! They taste good, like a cigarette should! Hahahahaha.”
I’d never taken a class from Miss Usher. Our relationship consisted entirely of me hanging around in her empty classroom after school, trying to be attractively hilarious while she finished up her day’s work. It was because she was so insanely gorgeous that I dared to (always indirectly, of course) flirt with her at all. When you can’t possibly win, what do you have to lose?
“My hero.” She stepped back and pulled her door further open, gently waving the glass of wine in her hand. “Come on in.”
I secretly begged my renegade leg to behave so that I could walk like a normal person. I made it inside without caroming off the doorjam or lurching straight into her.
Before long Miss Usher was sitting on the white sectional couch in her living room, her legs folded beside her. I was on the carpet in front of the couch, sitting hard on my leg in an effort to do anything to stop it from making my whole body shake like an unbalanced washing machine.
“I’m so glad you came over.”
“I’m glad you asked me to. I wasn’t doing anything.”
“No?” She stuck out her bottom lip in a playful little pout. “Is your girlfriend busy tonight?”
I pressed down on my leg so hard it’s a miracle I can walk today. ”At the library, I guess.” My voice sounded like I’d swallowed a kazoo. I took another glug from my glass of wine. I didn’t have a girlfriend. I had no idea what she was talking about. I could barely hear. Every nerve in my body was sparking like a lit firecracker fuse.
Around the little finger she’d slipped into the side of her mouth, Miss Usher said, “Do you know why I called you over here tonight, John?” When she very slightly shifted her position on the couch her gown slipped a bit, revealing, for all the me to see, her smooth upper thigh. And the top of her gown wasn’t exactly choking her to death.
Yada, yada, yada—and the next day I was late to my oceanography class. (Hey! This is a family blog. Sort of. It’s not a porno blog, anyway. Suffice it to say that I had an extraordinarily enriching night in which six hours shot by as if it were a minute.)
Though before that night I was technically a virgin, I had been sexually active since (if you must know) fourth grade. But until that night I had always stopped short of actually doing it, because I wanted to get anyone pregnant like I wanted to get my badoinker slammed in a car door. But Miss Usher was on the pill, and, I knew, wasn’t about to allow herself to get pregnant. And she wasn’t a girlfriend of mine, which, relative to this particular matter, I felt a plus. So, for me personally, it was a perfect way to lose what was left of my virginity. Miss Usher was great. Toward the end of the summer before the following school year she moved away to take a much better job. During the six or so months I knew her intimately (because … well, frankly, I became her ever-ready booty call), I thought of her as a friend, and have considered her as such ever since.
As we all know, there are lots and lots of terribly dismal stories about how people lost their virginity. Mine, however, is not one of those. Mine is one of the good stories. They happen, too. Not as often as they should, but they do.
(Follow-up post: Should I feel remorse over my pre-Christian “sinning”?)