It was the last day of college before the Thanksgiving Holiday and no one’s mind was really on their work but History class was as much fun as always, Algebra was the same level of confusion and Philosophy Class was always pleasantly confusing – or was it? Could my own imperfect perceptions be trusted to truly know something like that?
It was only in Drama Class that anything was really getting done. After all our production would be premiering before a live audience in three weeks. If we didn’t do well then our collective grade would suffer accordingly.
We were putting on a production of Love and How to Cure It by Thornton Wilder. I played the part of the obsessive and lovesick Arthur Warburton and I should stress that while I had nothing to do with the choosing of the play, it certainly was a part I had been researching most of my life up.
My character had a line “I think just loving isn’t wasted.” A sweet sentiment but of course he says that right after confessing he was going to kill himself in front of the object of his desire to prove to her how much he loved her.
Of all the roles in all the plays in all the drama classes in the world I had to end up as Arthur Warburton.
This is why I know there’s a God- because he keeps screwing with me!
And speaking of God, the role of Arthur’s love interest Linda was being played by Ramona a tiny little waif of girl with the uncanny ability to outdrink your average lumberjack. I had asked her out during the first week of the semester but she had politely declined due to ‘religious reasons’.
By November however I had come to understand that she had been obeying the obscure commandment “Thou shalt not get busy with any man thatest cannot crush beer cans between hisith biceps.”
Still though, I wasn’t upset, after all I had Tallulah; in fact Ramona and I had become good friends over the last few months. In fact I had a lot of friends really. Somehow community college had become the high school experience I had always wanted.
Once rehearsals were done I headed home and chilled out in preparation for Turkey day; I had the night off and of course Paper Shredder was closed for the holiday but I would be pulling a 12 hour shift for Black Friday. I didn’t mind much because I would be working alongside my lady love.
The family had Thanksgiving dinner typically late in the day, we had prime rib instead of turkey but the evening was relatively violence and scorn free. After dinner I called my father and had a heartfelt conversation with his answering machine.
That done I was about to retire to my room for a little writing and relaxation when I got a phone call from Tallulah. She had the house to herself and she wanted me to come over to spend some time with her.
How could I say no?
“I can't see ... why are the lights off?”
“Give me your hand Al.”
“You can have both.”
“What is that? What are you doing back there?”
“I'm not... Oh damn it the dog's in the room! Just a minute. Don’t go anywhere.”
“You're not going to get rid of me that easily.”
“There, he won't bother us again. Now let’s make you a little more comfortable.”
“Come here you.”
“Hair… you’re on my hair…”
“Are you ready?”
“Easy... easy... that's it...”
“So good... so good...”
“Wait. Wait... what are you doing?”
“...so good ...so good.”
“That isn't- you're not -”
“BELT LOOP! You're in your belt loop!”
“What? Son of a bitch!”
And about five minutes later I lost my virginity.
For those of you still reeling from this allow me to explain.
Tallulah’s family had planned to spend the holiday at her grandmother’s house. My lady love had faked a stomach bug to stay home. She had planned the whole thing.
So yes I lost my virginity on Thanksgiving night, it was clumsy and wonderful and nothing like what television and the movies had told me it would be. When it was over we cuddled for a moment and then Tallulah lowered the boom. And no- ‘Lowering The Boom’ isn’t some kind of weird sexual maneuver you’ve never heard of like ‘The Pair of Tongs or ‘Cake Farting’.
Tryptophan has nothing on post coital drowsiness but I made every effort to shall we say stay up. Then I realized that Tallulah was getting dressed.
“Hey,” my voice was a lazy yawn. “What’s wrong? Just give me a few more minutes and I should be ready to go again. Trust me I’ve been practicing.”
She buttoned her blouse, “I need you to go now.”
“Oh, your parents must be coming home. Ok.” I started to retrieve my clothes; it took me a few moments to realize the damn dog had stolen my underpants.
“It’s more than that,” She unrumpled her hair and then started making her bed. “This was goodbye.”
“What?” my heart sank. “What’s wrong? I couldn’t have been that bad at it. Could I?”
“The tour’s done,” she kissed me. “My boyfriend is coming back home. This was sweet, I don’t regret any of it- except for some of those horror movies you rented- but this has to end.”
“Oh,” I tried to think of something else to say, something noble or witty but my mind was a blank.
I never get the last word. I think that’s why I became a writer, unlimited do-overs.
Somewhere between gleeful foreplay and crushing disappointment it had begun to snow. I drove home with my loins tingling and my heart aching. Over the last few weeks I had convinced myself that her roadie boyfriend didn’t really exist; after all, my peer group fabricated significant others all the time. I wondered to myself what he looked like, I imagined him long haired and tough looking with a small mouth and murderous eyes. I wondered what guys like him had on me, it couldn’t all be about upper body strength and a good credit rating could it?
Black Friday at Paper Shedder was so busy that I barely had a chance say a word to Tallulah was so busy herself that she never seemed to notice.
Or at least that was what I told myself anyway.
Still I wasn’t a virgin anymore. That counted for something didn’t it? Didn’t it mean I was truly a man?
Thing was I didn’t feel different. Still though I made it a point to find some way to mention to this sudden change to all the people that doubted my masculinity and heterosexuality- even if it meant confusing the Hell out of my old High School guidance councilor.
The problem was it didn’t change they way they looked at me in any way There was still a noticeable lack of respect in their eyes. I could almost hear them draw breath in preparation for laughing at me behind my back.
It looked like nothing had changed for me.
We lingered backstage going over our scripts. Whenever I said the line “I think just loving isn’t wasted.” It was like a stab in the gut, but the show had to go on and damn if I wasn’t giving the performance of my life.
“How was your Thanksgiving break?” Ramona asked me once we wrapped up for the day.
I shrugged, “A little screwy.”
“Same here,” she said. “My mom came in to town and we made spaghetti. She couldn’t wait to tell me about her new boyfriend. I think he’s my age Al.”
I laughed, “I know that one. My Dad seems to prefer younger girls too.”
“It’s almost creepy in a way. Why don’t they find someone their own age to fool around with?”
“I bet it’s because people our age don’t know any better,” I held a door open for her.
There was still a light dusting of snow on the campus but the passage of hundreds of feet had left it stained and mushy. The air was brisk and I paused for a moment to luxuriate in it.
“Or maybe,” I thought aloud, “The Bruno charm can be a force to be reckoned with.”
“You know something Al?” She was jingling her car keys in her hand, “You seem different today.”
“Really?” I said, “I don’t feel different.”
“Do you… do you want to go grab a bite to eat? I’ve got lots of leftover spaghetti.”
I suddenly felt my heartbeat rising up into my face but I stayed calm, “I’d love it. You wanna drive?”
Ramona led me to her car. I stayed a step or two behind her so she couldn’t see me thanking the heavens.