It All Felt Like Dusty Basement Photographs.

Marc and I broke up at the end of the summer because I went away to college. I think we were just beginning to fall in love. Throwing all that away and starting over again in a strange state, knowing but one person was one of the most difficult things I have gone through. At first I looked to replace Marc, and found stalkers, Nazis and frat boys, none of which I deemed appropriate. By November I took a temporary vow of celibacy until I found the right guy. I didn’t, but I got over Marc.

Now I’m home for the summer, and Marc called me up. Being so over him, it would be easy to just be friends. Marc was a little different now, he converted to Christianity, and stopped smoking pot.

His car pulled up to my house and I hopped in and gave him a hug. It’s great to see you.

As usual, we had a great time, reminiscing about the past, trying to get me a new job for the present, playing miniature golf, scoring 23 over par and not caring. It was fun, but awkward. The air stayed high in my lungs as if I was hesitating; Marc’s jokes were funny as always, but the laughing felt forced. I was clumsy, like I always am with new people. Every time he touched me I wasn’t sure if it was accidental or not, and I had many intentional accidents myself.

We got into his black Nissan Sentra. The air was hot, perhaps 20 degrees hotter than outside. “I really missed you,” he said. His voice sounded so sincere. My eyes stung because of it. “I missed you too,” I replied, but it did not give his response justice. Nothing could. Hug. I could see his eyes glistening just a bit. I was overwhelmed, and did not know what to do. I wanted to kiss him, but I wasn’t sure if that would be appropriate. His hand slid up and down my back. My head was nestled between his head and shoulder, one hand on his back, the other on his arm, which I stroked gently. My hand moved down his arm slowly. So slowly it was surreal, and the awkward, confused presence was getting the best of me.

My hand finally reached his hand and I drew figure eights with my fingers until he held them with his own. I didn’t want to start a relationship. I didn’t. I just wanted to kiss him so badly. He stroked my shoulder and neck, I ran my fingers through his hair. I knew so well that it turned him on. I was opening Pandora’s box, knowing full well of the consequences. I gave a feeble peck on the neck. I liked him too much. I couldn’t be the one to kiss him. I couldn’t. What if he didn’t want it?

Finally, after what seemed like hours, our lips met, and it seemed like a dam just broke. The air was still very stale as we made out. It hadn’t been like this in ages, and it all felt like dusty basement photographs. Mid kiss we decided to leave the Skokie Sport Complex. Our plan was to play cards at a coffee house, but we both forgot where we were going, and wound up at his apartment. Perhaps his intention was to get the cards, but as soon as we got in the bedroom, all thoughts of cards vanished, and we were buried in hormones and flesh. I hadn’t kissed with this passion in almost a year.

Damned you, Marc, you’re making me horny.

We both agreed it would be a bad idea to have sex. But it would be fun. So fun. We stuck to making out. Kissing and biting and licking and touching under, over, under the covers. For three hours we continued, getting hornier and hornier, desperately trying to think straight, but failing miserably. I was in his trap, whatever he said I would do. I felt like I was beginning to fall in love again. He wanted me too. Badly. There would be two very cold showers that night.

Well, there should have been.

But we both gave into biology and had sex. Great sex. Not as wild as the Fourth of July, on the roof, when we were showered with ash. Not as long as some of the other times. But it quenched our desires far more, and filled us with uncertainty.

“Do you regret it?”

“It was really really fun, but I don’t think we should have,” he said. And with that, he fell asleep. I sat up thinking. My friend Paul says sex makes women smarter. I’m not sure if that’s the case, but it sure does make us think. Does he still care about me the way he said he did in the car? Why couldn’t things be the same as they were last summer? I turned away from him and tried to sleep, but wound up looking straight out the window, watching the sky get darker. My vocal chords felt limp from not being used. I guess I really needed to discuss this.

We piled our clothes on and tried to look as presentable as possible, and staggered to the car. With all this doubt, I wasn’t sure if I liked him as much as I thought that I did just hours ago. I didn’t know what I thought, what I wanted. What I wanted was to know what he thought about this.

I like you a lot, Sara. I care about you more than any other woman I’ve ever met. And sometimes that scares me. But I feel like I could work through that, if I needed to. I just… You’re going away to college. If we would get back together it would just have to end again, and I don’t want that. I care about you, so much, but I don’t think it would be wise to start a relationship.”

“What would you say if I wasn’t going back to Purdue?”

“I’d say go for it. But you’re going, and you should go, you’re smart, and beautiful, and talented…” I wanted to cry. It was all my fault. “I love being with you, I love making out with you, but I don’t think we should. Let’s keep it cool.”

I knew he was right, but I didn’t want him to be. Why not take the chance. “I know, you’re right. It will be hard, but I think we both have the strength of character to get through it.” That was a lie. Perhaps he did, but I knew I didn’t. It would be agony just seeing him anymore. I gave him one last passionate hug, and entered my house smelling like latex and guilt.