I once watched Jeramiah Green copulate with his girl of the moment because Leslie, a friend, gave me two dollars to do it, and back then that was almost the cost of a pack of smokes. A pack was never more than two-seventy-five unless you were buying those theme cigarettes that they only sold in Manhattan or specialty shops, like Death or Fantasia Lights. We were waiting outside. They were doing it on my bed, having closed the door and turned on the AC to muffle the sound, but my curtains were open just the tiniest bit and I climbed up onto a pipe while Leslie counted down. I had to look for at least fifteen seconds.

It was deliciously thrilling, even, I assume, for those people who were gathered below me inquiring as to just what I could see. The answer was the dullness in the bright spot of the transaction, especially unpleasant because it was taking place on my sheets. I could see Jeramiah's full length, back and behind and shoulders, undulating over the hidden shape of the girlfriend, who was totally concealed except for feet and a shoulder that peeked out from underneath. Five-four-three-two-one and I was free to step down from the pipe. My fingers were red and stiff from gripping the sill, but I nonetheless made a quick grab for the two dollars in Leslie’s outstretched hand.

Later that night, when the new pack had run dry, cigarettes mostly going to friends who were still too young looking to buy (I was the oldest), I came home to go to bed and found a surprise that, had I known better, I would have expected. Bright on my black sheets was the grey cloud, dry and crispy, that at one time must have dripped down Jeramiah' girl's thighs once they were finished, still wrapped tightly around each other in the chill of conditioned air.

In school the next day, I found him in the auditorium, with his feet spread up on the seat in front, reading.

“Hey,” I said, casually. “You fucked up my sheets.”

“We put everything back on the bed,” he said.

“What I mean is...you, uh, stained my sheets.”

He put the book down and very, very slowly let a grin take over his face. I wondered when the contortions would end and then I just wanted to go to class, to pretend I’d never brought it up. His lips stretched to what I knew must be the limit but he wouldn’t stop and the smile grew until I thought his face would crack open giving me a glimpse of shiny white bone.

“No. We certainly did not,” he said, and I wanted out more than ever. Out of the conversation. Out of the auditorium.

“There was a big, white,” I said, holding up my hand. “About this big and this wide, dried up, crusty stain, halfway down my bed.”

“Couldn’t have been us.”

***

Leslie and I split a pack of smokes at lunchtime, in lieu of food, washing them down with strong coffees, sitting on the curb in front of the 7-11.

“That’s nothing,” she said to me when I told her about the stain. “I was fooling around with Brian and, when he was about to cum, he asked me if he could blow it in my face.”

Startled, I pictured it, too real the moment between her mouth looking oh-so-sexy, bright red, with post blowjob swollen lips dripping with him and him handing her a box of tissues that did little more than spread it around, leaving a dusty fuzz until everything was tight and dry. It went very fast, the transition between sex and sin and guilt.

And?”

“That was it,” she answered like it was a simple thing. “I got up and went home.”

“You just left him there?”

She laughed and pantomimed the penis in her hand, a forlorn look on her face to match the one he must have been wearing when she denied him. We were all old hat at the game anyway, it seemed to us. There were our boyfriends and boytoys. We knew exactly how to move and how to sit still for maximum arousal. We were primed and ready, could be called at a moment’s notice to do what our parents might have called unthinkable. Not their daughters, no way.

***

Better than most, my boyfriend and I engaged in serial monogamy after my mother unwisely told me in a fit of anger that she didn’t care if I was up in some boy’s room giving him a handjob, so long as she knew I was dating someone. We took that like gospel, to be respected and obeyed, and then one step further, where handjobs turned to little kisses, in the shower, full blown licks, totally naked, sucking and later on, fucking. We graduated to talking dirty out of necessity, because I couldn’t bring myself to make any noise, even when we were sure there was no one home to listen. I was not alone.

A few of us girls got together one night when the guys were out having their boys' night out and someone whispered our fear of the groans and screams that our boyfriends would so desperately ask for. Practice makes perfect, one of the more worldly girls suggested. Still too embarrassed, we spent hours working on a bottles of stolen Rumpelminz and Stoli before one of us finally had the guts to offer a quiet oh baby to the group. From there, the volume increased one by one as we feigned pleasure and laughed until the puking started and we all fell down.

Jeramiah was a funny guy. Once he begged me to go down on his girlfriend and I briefly considered it, because that’s what kids do, they experiment, but the thoughts of folds of pink, wet flesh down there turned me off, so I said no thanks. I, and not just myself, I think, learned quickly that regret follows being in the middle of a man sandwich or fucking under a blanket in the backseat of a car that is full of your closest friends. It hangs on and doesn’t let go, especially when everyone knows what you've done.

That did not stop us, of course, from throwing our spending money away at lingerie shops that didn’t care how old we were, at bookstores that never thought to wonder whether or not a high school student should be buying the Kama Sutra. We dutifully pushed aside stuffed animals and wore heels and stockings that showed off our asses and bras that lifted and separated tits that we would look back on later and realize they were already as high and proud as they were ever going to get, and would that we had enjoyed them then.

When my hand or my mouth would get too tired, and the backs of my thighs tingled with pins and needles, the boy I loved, thankfully, would take over. Through my erotic posturing I’d usually wonder what was wrong with me, technique or looks, and how could I please him so that he would take down his posters of Pamela Anderson and Maria Carey and maybe, just maybe, put up a picture of me on his wall.

No different from any other time, he and I were kneeling on his comforter, naked bodies facing each other. On the television, one of his stepfather’s porn films was playing out its ridiculous plot while he had his penis in his hand, a parody of Leslie’s pantomime. Behind my eyes that saw him seeing me with my nipples between my fingertips, mouth in a perfect round O, something like astonishment was making its way into my chest and I gasped for real, loudly.

“You like watching me jerk off, don’t you,” he bent and breathed, taking a moment to lick my neck before resuming his posture.

I nodded, sucking in air again while my hands went through a series of motions from breasts to hips to clit and back again. None of it felt good, though my face was twisted into an expression of something like passion or lust, something easily confused with anger, and that was what was suddenly making the entire situation so funny. I could hardly help that my next intake of breath turned into a giggle. I covered it with a cough that made him open his eyes that I hadn’t realized were closed.

“Watching you gets me so hot,” I said, staring into his eyes.

Seconds later, he squeezed them shut, pushed over the edge by my comment, his face ugly in his pleasure. I moved my body, tired of kneeling, the well of laughter threatening to break out of my chest, and at that moment, he came, letting loose gobs of semen that traced an arc through the empty air and landed squarely on his pillowcase.

With that, I couldn’t contain it any more and for my own release, I let loose a torrent of loud, belly-shaking laughter that filled the room in a way that what we were doing had never been able to do. His eyes opened slowly. I put my hand over my mouth and tried to stifle the giggles but in trying, more and more forced their way into the world, especially when his penis, deflated, slid out of his hand and flopped down onto his scrotum, like a dead thing. He was glaring.

“What the fuck?” he yelled and grabbed his t-shirt from the bed, lunging over to wipe the little puddles off his pillowcase before they could sink into the pillow itself.

He pushed me off the bed in the process and I stood up straight on shaky legs. My back was stiff, but I was still smiling, still full of unspent mirth. I could do this all night long.

“What are you talking about?” I asked, turning the television off.

“You! I can’t believe you laughed while I orgasmed,” he said. “Like, we were just sharing this beautiful moment and you had to fucking laugh. Get the hell out of here.”

For a moment, while I gathered up my clothes from the floor, it stung, to be dismissed so quickly, but when I turned toward him, he was still wiping pointlessly at the pillow where wetness had already sunk in. So to rub salt into his wound, I laughed again while I put on my panties and pants and socks. I was sitting down, pulling on my shoes, when he threw the semen-wet t-shirt at me. It hit the floor and I knew that when it was dry, it would join the rest of the jizz rags under his bed, crusty and forgotten.

He swivelled, still sitting on the bed, and didn’t look back when I said goodbye, I love you, goodbye.

And I got up and went home.

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