This is a story I’ve only ever told in bits and pieces. I’ve never written it outright and I thought it might be a good day for it, since my mojo is taking a vacation and my brain is grinding with the effort of thinking up new material.
It was my 18th birthday.
When I entered the training room that first day and looked around, I was heavy with disappointment. I’d yet to learn the old adage, “You don’t shit where you eat”, and was of the mind that the working environment was the best place to pick up men.
Not only that, but I was severely undersexed: Eleven months of abstinence following an event that horrifies most, traumatizes some, and fazed me barely at all. I like to say that I abstained from sex because I had an abortion and it scared and horrified me and I don’t want people to think I’m a monster, but it’s just not true. The truth is, I wasn’t afraid of the abortion...I was afraid of getting pregnant again. Coupled with the fact that I just hadn’t met anyone that I wanted to have sex with.
That training room was full of women and scattered here and there was a geeky guy or a gangster wanna-be.
The tables were long with three computers side by side. I took a seat three rows back, on the end next to two black girls. We immediately started a conversation about the lack of prospects.
The door to the front of the room opened and we all glanced up expectantly. In walked the trainer...our boss for the next four weeks.
He was beautiful. Tall, shaved head, big dark brown eyes with thick, inky lashes, full lips, and a deep voice that gave me chills up and down my spine. I’d never felt such a powerful, instantaneous physical attraction.
His name was Chris.
Formalities commenced and we started going over and filling out new hire paperwork. He came to my table and I handed him my finished stack. He smiled at me and took it, glancing down and rifling through to make sure it was all there, I suppose.
“Look at that”, he said.
“What”, I replied, worried that I’d messed something up.
“It’s your birthday today.”
“Oh...yeah.” I was embarrassed.
Of course everyone had to wish me a happy birthday and make jokes about my age.
I don’t remember much else from that first day other than his warm brown eyes staring into mine.
The next day I was on a mission. I was determined that I would have him, by any means necessary.
I’m ashamed now to say that I employed less than admirable antics: using the dumb blonde act, flirting with other guys, and wearing tops that left little to the imagination. My only excuse is...I was 18. As for the cleavage....I still do that, but trust me...we’re talking from then (obscene) to now...definitely more tasteful.
The other girls nudged each other and shook their heads while he paid me more attention, laughed at my jokes, and flirted with me outrageously. Everyone in that room, all 20 something of them, knew we were going to hook up.
After four days, I had my man.
Number in hand, I went home that afternoon and tried to think of anything but him. I wanted to call so badly it hurt, but I knew I should wait and let him do the calling.
I had just moved in with The Grandmother and we weren’t adjusting to each other’s company very well. I’d been on my own for the past year and I resented being told what to do.
On that day my mother was visiting, and my mother is the ultimate shit stirrer. I’d been home from work approximately 30 minutes before they started irritating me and I stomped out to the porch to sit on the swing and smoke.
I picked up the phone and called him, no longer caring about appearances. He asked me to meet him out.
I got ready and met him at Applebee’s. I don’t remember the conversation.
I remember the way his face looked when he smiled. I remember the way he seemed to dominate the entire restaurant...as if he’d sucked all the air out of the place and the only way I’d go on breathing was to look at him.
I remember being nervous. Especially when he decided we should go play pool at a local bar. I’d never been to a bar in the city, just the hole in the wall places my dad used to drag me to. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be let in, but he handled everything.
Soon we were playing pool and bantering back and forth. I drank vodka and Jaeger (not together)...which back then I loved. He brought my drinks to the pool table and I wasn’t bothered once. It excited me, that first taste of what I thought being a cool adult was like, and doing something illegal, which I wasn’t a stranger to.
I was quite tipsy when we left and we decided to sit outside on his tailgate for awhile. Again, I don’t remember what the conversation was about specifically...this time it was probably due more to the alcohol. But soon we were hitting each other playfully and dodging the other’s advances like school children.
It went on forever. I was dying to be in his arms, but unwilling to make the first move. In the end, I didn’t have to.
I made a smart remark and he pinned me to the side of the truck and demanded I take it back. I, of course, refused. We struggled against each other and I thought I would literally explode by the time his lips met mine. Our first kiss was not gentle.
I felt wanton and exposed, wrapped around his body in a busy parking lot, but I didn’t care. A trucker drove by and cat called out his window and Chris broke the embrace long enough to laugh, then bent his head to mine again.
That was our first date. I arrived home at 4am with swollen lips and confronted an angry TG. I waved her off and went to my bed smiling.
I smile now, remembering that girl lying there with tingling skin and sore lips, and shake my head. If only she knew.
Sunny Side of the Street
3 days ago