“Drink! for you know not when you came, nor why;
Drink! for you know not why you go, nor where.””
— The Rubiay’at of Omar Khayyan
I waited a few days before calling Laura’s friend from Wyomissing. Jenny seemed nice enough on the phone and I made a date to take her bowling the next weekend. I was a little relieved that she lived on a block of row homes, not too dissimilar to my own block. Wyomissing was essentially the most expensive and prestigious suburb around Reading and wasn’t too interested in dating a rich girl who might have expectations I couldn’t fulfill.
In the interim couple of days, my parents decided they wouldn’t be home over the weekend. My friends decided I was throwing a party, which seemed like it might throw a crimp in my date plans. It’s not like my friends weren’t going to come over whether I was at home or not, so in the end I decided I could do both.
On Saturday afternoon, Eddie’s friend Jim got us a couple of cases of Schaefer in cans. It wasn’t our first choice but weren’t really in a position to be too picky. Frank and I loaded them into the downstairs refrigerator and he helped me clean up the basement. A few more friends, Kirk, Jim (a different Jim) and Joe dropped by early. I left them in charge and went to pick up Jenny.
She was waiting for me at the window and when she saw me drive up, came out to meet me. I got out of the car and opened her car door for her. From an early age, my mother had drilled manners into me, and every once in a while I used them to try and make a good impression. I was surprised at how pretty Jenny was. Blind dates had a tendency to go the other way somehow. I couldn’t imagine why Jenny would need someone to set her up on a date. She was almost as tall as me, with long straight blonde hair that hung a few inches below her shoulders. Apparently not shy about her thin body, she was poured into a pair of jeans with a skintight gold Lycra blouse that accentuated her chest. I needed to remember to thank Laura. I shut the Camaro’s passenger door and got in behind the wheel. I headed for Heister Lanes, the closest bowling alley. On the way we chitchatted and got to know one another a little better. She seemed a little nervous, though to be fair so was I. I don’t think I’d ever dated someone before that I didn’t know beforehand.
So there were awkward silences here and there, but for the most part it seemed to be going well enough. She knew how to bowl, at least, which was a good sign in my book. We bowled a couple of games and fell into easy conversation. She started casually putting her hands on my shoulders while I sat at the chair to mark our scores. The date went well, I thought, and I wasn’t sure what to do after we finished bowling. I’d promised my friends I’d get back to my house — and my impromptu party — as soon as I could, but I also really want to stay with Jenny, too. I explained to Jenny that my friends were throwing a party at my house at this very moment because my parents were away. She immediately suggested that we go, telling me she didn’t have to be home until much later.
That was a better result than even I could have hoped for, and I turned my Camaro onto Museum Road toward home, turning away from the creek and onto State Street at the bottom of the sloping hill into Shillington. I parked in my usual spot in the alley behind our detached garage. I could hear Boston’s “More Than a Feeling” playing on the stereo in the basement as we approached the back porch of my house. I held the door for Jenny and after we entered the kitchen, pointed to the stairway leading down into the cellar.
There were only a dozen or two people there, playing pool, cards or just talking. I introduced Jenny to everyone and somebody handed us a couple of beers. The pool game continued and the four playing pinochle went back their hands. So Jenny and I sat on the sofa next to the bar and surveyed the scene. I explained who each person was and how I knew them, since it gave me something to talk about. She sipped her beer while I finished my first and got myself a second Schaefer.
I offered to give Jenny the ten-cent tour of the house so we could be alone, and we headed upstairs. She admired my mother’s china dolls and I kept my mouth shut about how much I hated them. Upstairs she used the bathroom while I waited in my room next door. She joined me in my room and put my arms around her and pulled her gently to me. She came willingly and I kissed her firmly on the mouth. She kissed me back and after a few minutes fell onto my bed. We made out there on top of my bed for at least an hour and she yielded herself a far as second base, but no farther. It was growing later in the evening and at some point she told me she needed to get home. Reluctantly we straightened our clothes and headed back down to the party in the basement. There were more people there now, and I told my friends I was going to take Jenny home but would be back in a few minutes. It took me only a few minutes to make the round trip to and from Jenny’s house. I’d had a really good time with her but for some inexplicable reason I didn’t feel satisfied. I think it was because I was so used to having sex with Kelly any time I wanted, at least when we were together. That had probably warped my sense of expectation. I kissed her goodnight, promising to call her soon, and headed back to the party.
When I got back, a little after midnight, my absentee party was in full swing. There were enough people there now that it had spilled up onto the ground floor. Several people were sitting around the television watching Saturday Night Live. It was the only show that could stop a party. We were so addicted to it that we would turn off the music at a party until it was over, and then resume right we’d left off when it was over. Someone handed me a beer and I watched the rest of the show.
When it was over, I headed back downstairs to see who else had shown up while I’d been taking Jenny home. I was fairly shocked to see Kelly there, along with a few of her girlfriends, though not Laura. As Laura and I became closer, she and Kelly had drifted apart and Kelly tended to run with new friends who were sluttier, at least on my opinion. I tried to duck out before she saw me but it didn’t work. She saw me anyway and waved sheepishly to me. She brought me over a beer as a peace offering and I walked over behind Eddie’s bar and poured myself a shot of Jim Beam, pausing to nod to Kelly in case she wanted a shot, too. She did, and I poured a second bourbon whiskey. I handed Kelly her glass on the other side of the bar and tilted mine toward hers to say cheers, before gulping it down and washing back the harsh taste with a generous swallow of beer. She matched me and then we shared another.
The next thing I knew we were having some pretty terrific makeup sex in my bed. When I awoke the following morning, naked, scratched and a little sticky with dried sweat and who knows what else, Kelly was gone. But for the time being at least, I knew when I got to school on Monday that we were a couple again. I also knew I’d never call Jenny again, and I felt really bad about that. Jenny was sweet and pretty and what I guess would best be called a nice girl, definitely out of my league long-term. Kelly, for all her faults was what I deserved, or at least that’s what I told myself. She was slutty and unfaithful, but also dangerous and wild, qualities I could not seem to resist no matter how hard I tried. She was so adventurous in bed that I ached for her knowing touch whenever she wasn’t around. We once had sex ten times in a single day.
And perhaps most destructive of all, we both loved the thrill of almost getting caught. We constantly put ourselves in sexual situations where being discovered was a very real and potentially devastating possibility. We knew we shouldn’t, but the excitement of each successful incident made us crave the feeling it created more and more. It became like a drug, and we constantly craved its high. We had sex in Kelly’s basement with her sitting on top of the running washing machine, with her parents upstairs. We had sex in school in the band’s uniform room while we could hear kids talking and walking by us in the hall just beyond the door. I kept a bottle of Dutch courage — usually Southern Comfort — in a drum major’s hat on the top row of shelves near the ceiling for just such occasions. I drank when I was with Kelly because it enhanced our appetites, but I also drank during break up periods when I wasn’t with her, because I missed her. Or at least I missed the thrill of her.
Our most ambitious public sex was also our favorite. It became the way we most often had sex. There were lots or rural roads in and around Shillington, miles and miles of them. Since it was too dangerous to just park and risk a patrolman finding us, we simply figured out a way to keep moving. Kelly took to wearing skirts for easier access and would remove her panties. Then she’d straddle me in the driver’s seat facing the rear window and I’d enter her from below. She’s put her head on my inside shoulder so I could see the road and then we’d simply drive around, in motus coitus, as the Latin student in me liked to call it. While others might be playing imaginary baseball games in their heads or trying to solve math problems (my preferred stationary method) to prolong the inevitable, driving provided a natural solution to premature ejaculation. Having to concentrate on the road meant I could literally go for hours without finishing. We were practicing a kind of Tantric sex without even knowing it. One time Kelly boasted of six orgasms during one of our drives through the countryside. With sex that good, it was hard to let go, even though every other aspect of our relationship never worked for very long. We had very little in common apart from our fiery passions. That’s why we kept breaking up. It was our hormones and alcohol-induced lowered inhibitions that kept us getting back together. If I wasn’t careful, I was going to end up in the same sort of misery my mother endured.
On to Chapter 19