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Many of the really important conversations we girls had back then – took place in the kitchen at the rear of the house, or in one of the beds, where we sometimes huddled in together on Sunday mornings to set the world to rights, or dissect men and the state of our love-lives.
Most of the talking was done in the morning, when we were standing around drinking tea, while still in our pyjamas. Anna, who normally slept in a very short negligee or the buff, liked to walk around naked, but sometimes wore a pair of men’s chequered slouching trousers and a baggy cotton shirt; Mary also preferred a lacy negligee in red or black, with a bow that hung from between her breasts. I usually wore cotton night clothes but I had and still have a liking for silk kimono dressing gowns – a fad I’d picked up in Thailand.

*

The three of us, Anna, Mary and I, had been to a rave, then on to a party, finally rolling in around six in the morning. I crawled out of bed around noon and found a bleary eyed Mary in the kitchen sipping a mug of tea.

“You’re alive then,” she began.
“Just.”
“You were certainly going for it last night.”
“Was I?”
“Talk about mixing your drinks. And who was that guy who was trying it on.”
“I don’t remember any guy. I didn’t do anything, did I?”
“No. Nothing you need be ashamed of, or have to tell you boyfriend about.”

“That’s a relief.”
“You two did end up in a clinch at one point, though. Then he tried to drag you away into the corner, but you weren’t having any of it.”
“Phew, that was lucky. Was he cute? I don’t remember.”
“Horny as a stag. I would probably have let him screw me, if he’d asked.”
“That’s not saying much. A few of you past lovers have been a bit suspect.”

“Maybe, but I’d do them all again. Well…. all but one.”
“Who was that?”
“My cousin, Harry.”
“You didn’t…!
“We were young and it was a hot day, we were in the pool together, we were all alone, he kissed me, so I let him have my virginity.”

“How old were you?”
“I was seventeen and a half and he was almost nineteen.”
“You were legal then.”
“Yes. But we were a bit stupid; I let him go inside me bareback. I was lucky not to get pregnant that first time.”
“Very lucky.”

“After that we got condoms.”
“You did it again?”
“Of course. We screwed at least five times a week until he went back to Oxford.”
“So why wouldn’t you make love to him again?”
“Because he was my first, and I thought that Iwas in love, and it’s just too dangerous.”

“But not illegal.”
“I know. But just imagine what our parents would say if they ever found out. Anyway, less about me, what about your pretty fucking amazing sex life.”
“Is it?”
“It sure am chile’.”
“Why dat.”

“Well, in the last few weeks you and lover-boy must’ve fucked each other brains out twenty or thirty times. That’s more sex than you’ve had in the past year and a half.”
“Thirty five,” I said. “You weren’t here the times he was passing and we ended up doing it on the floor.”
“You are kidding of course.”
“I kid you not. We did it right where you are standing as a matter of fact. Look, you can probably still see the stain on the floor.”

“You like this one, eh?”
“I’ve liked them all; otherwise I wouldn’t have allowed them to defile my lady-parts.”
“You know what I mean? This could be the one.”
“He could be. Then again, there was another one who could have been the one.”
“You mean-“

“Don’t say his name. It took me years to stop dreaming about him.”
She pulled out a stool and sat down. “You never did tell me why you walked out on him.”
“And I’m never going to.”
“But it’s such a sad story; like Romeo and Juliet or Othello and Desdemona or Dido and Aeneas.”
“Enough of your Shakespeare-ion-ising.”

“Is that even a word?”
“Of course it is; it means over allegorising Shakespeare.”
“That’s a word, but I’m not sure you’re using it in the right place.”
“Who gives a shit? I’m still a bit stoned from last night, to care about syntax and the lexicographic, semantic misuse or otherwise of the English language.”

“My God, lady, you are still stoned. You only ever get rambling word diarrhoea when the weed clouds that overly-analytical brain of yours.”
“And I intend to remain slightly stoned or drunk for the forceable future.”
“But why? It’s not like you. You’re normally level headed and grown up. We rely on you for sage advice and sound uncluttered reasoning. What’s up?”
I took a deep breath and let it out. “I’ve missed my period.”

“What?”
“I’m up the duff – bun in the oven – fat in the fire – with child.”
“My God! How…..how long?”
“Seven days, or so.”
“You could just be a little overdue.”
“I’ve never been even a day late before. I can usually set my watch on the regularity of my cycle. I have to face it, I’m screwed.”

“Have you done a test?”
“Not yet.”
“Well that’s the first thing. I can get a pregnancy test kit from the med department.”
“I’m not sure I really want to go through all that today.”
“What are you going to do if you are?”

“Do? What can I do, but drop out and go and have my bambino under a bush. I can’t go home and tell my parents, they’d….they’d-“
“What about the father? I take it, its Jim’s.”
“Of course it is! I’m not a slut. There hasn’t been anyone else since we started dating.”
“But I though you always used protection?”

“We did….we do. But a couple of times it didn’t stand up to the pressure.”
“Splits-ville. Been there a few times. Bummer!”
I laughed. “I never do it that way,”
“I meant bummer as in pain in the ass, and by that I don’t mean ass play. O’ God, it’s coming out all wrong.”
“He pulled out almost immediately when it happened, but obviously not fast enough to stop the damage.”

“You haven’t told him yet I take it.”
“No. He’s gone home for a few days; some family thing.”
“Are you going to have it? I mean you could just-“
“Don’t say it; abortions are immoral, and against my religion.”
“Poor you. What do you think he’ll do?”

“Head for the hills probably. He doesn’t need a kid right now, and frankly, neither do I.”
“You need to tell him and let him make that decision. You never know he might just jump up and down with joy.”
“If he does, I’ll kill him.”
“But why?”

“It’s the wrong time. Ten years the wrong time. I don’t want to start breast feeding before I’m at least thirty five. And what about my career?”
“There’s always adoption? There are a lot of couples out there who’ve been trying for years and haven’t managed to do in all that time, what you’ve managed by mistake in a few minutes.”
“I’m not sure I could give by baby away.”

I’ll have to stop here.  It was a difficult time and still brings up mixed feelings of sorrow and regret. Perhaps I’ll take it up later.

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