“Who was your first time with?”
His eyes shot open. The moment of ecstasy and comfort was suddenly smashed. Blood began to flow to his forehead and cheeks. He stared up at the ceiling, pretending not to have heard the question. However, he knew that she would not drop the inquiry so easily so he began running through all the things he could respond with. He was stuck somewhere between, he was still a virgin and it was with a hitchhiking fortune teller, when she asked again. This time pretending deaf wouldn’t work.
“It was just with some girl I met at a party in college.”
His voice betrayed him and his tone seemed to hit every peak and valley. He didn’t know how he came up with that response. It just fell out of his mouth. He was somewhat surprised at the mundane occurrence he had come up with. But this self-admiration was short-lived.
“I thought you said you barely ever went to parties in college?”
The blanket suddenly became heavy and suffocating on his naked body. His forehead grew moist with beads of sweat. Every breath he took seemed to increase the weight of the blanket pressing down on his chest and stomach.
“Yeah, it was at one of the couple I went to.”
“What was her name?”
He could feel her eyes on him but did not dare to meet her gaze. Instead, he stayed fixated on a tiny black dot in a sea of white on the ceiling.
He responded too quickly. Her interest shifted from playful to concerned. His bright red face did not do him any favors either.
“Why are you being so weird?”
“I don’t want to talk about this.”
The curt statement seemed to free his body and he threw off the covers aggressively. His naked white body glistened as he exposed it to the hallway light. He closed the door behind him and left her in the dark room, suddenly much cooler than before.
Loneliness stalks a person slowly. It hides in plain sight. Every once in a while the person catches its figure in the corner of their eye and it is closer than it once was. The person forgets about it, but the loneliness doesn’t leave, it shadows the person, gaining strength and volume the closer it gets. The person will notice it once again when it is only a few steps away. They will try to run, they will try to fight it off. They will surround themselves with others, using them as shields. They will partake in any potion or anecdote that may provide relief. They will distract with work, with exercise, with lust. They will do everything in their power to exorcize this unwanted stalker, but it is too late. Eventually, they will run out of people to call, of vices to consume, of things to distract with. They will be alone, laying in bed, begging to sleep, knowing that in the morning light, the shadowy stalker would be dispelled. But they can’t sleep, the harder they wrench their eyes close, the more the eyes want to open. The more they try to clear their head and think of nothing, the faster the mind clouds it with every ache and worry imaginable. It is at this point that Loneliness takes its final step and fully engulfs them. Loneliness had taken hold of him for mere moments before it seized his thoughts.
Opening the sliding door and stepping into the cool breeze of the dark backyard, he had an unusual craving for a cigarette, though he had never known of the pleasure before. He took a seat on the grass and began to collect his scattered thoughts. No matter how much he tried, the only phrases that formed in his mind were; “god damn it” and a continuous stream of the word “fuck”. Shame he had hidden for so long and so successfully that he thought it had gone, suddenly reappeared. He was no longer confused or depressed. The emotion that now dulled all of his senses was one of abhorrence. Abhorrence for himself. Abhorrence for what he had done. Abhorrence for the scarlet letter which had branded his soul. This self repulsion cultivated in the back of his throat, leading him to throw up mucus all over his stomach and legs. He wiped the snot from his nose and the tears from his eyes. His outside appearance now matched what he felt inside and this solace allowed a sad smirk to escape his shameful state.
Lust enraptured all of his being. He craved the warm touch that had for so long been lost to him. It was a touch that had been mimicked, dreamt, and fantasized, but not felt. A strange dichotomy formed in him. His mind lost to the darkness of depression, but his body brimmed with the lightness of desire. This was not the first time loneliness and lust had become intertwined in him, however, all the previous times he was able to fight it off with the distraction of self fulfillment. This time it was different. His own touch would not dispel this hunger. It was a hunger built over 22 years of deprivation and it now came to get its fill.
He was conscious enough to know that these feelings and thoughts were deplorable, but he was powerless to their advances. Tonight, something paramount was going to happen. This knowledge filled him equally with dread and excitement.
He grabbed his phone and quickly found the contact for Michael the Dishwasher. He hungrily sent him a message.
“Can you send me the number of that girl you were telling me about”
A hand cut through the night and gently landed on his shoulder.
“Why don’t you come in”
Her voice was warm and maternal. She took his hand and led him inside. Following her in a daze, he ended up in the bathroom and found a filled warm bath. She directed him to the tub and he got in silently. As if he were a toddler, she tenderly washed his filth away with a sponge. Water dripped down his head and cleaned the expression of anguish, replacing it with one of calmness.
“The Motel 6 on Orange. Room 216. $150.”
He drove with the radio turned off. No sounds were heard except for the steady mur of the engine. “Stop this. Turn around.” kept repeating in his head, however, he continued driving to his destination.
The car pulled into a spot facing door 216. He turned the car off and sat there for a moment. In his possession were his phone, keys, protection, and loose bills amounting to around $153. The intensity of his heartbeat increased to such a level that he was worried it might be a heart attack. He put his hand over his chest and the beat slowed, though only slightly. His nervousness overshadowed his excitement to such a degree that a moment he had looked forward to for so long, he now dreaded.
Walking towards the motel door, his head was swirling with self discussion. “I can’t believe what is happening. This is so crazy. Shouldn’t I be excited? What if someone finds out? What if I get an STD? No, I have to do this, I can’t be a virgin any longer. This will finally end a marathon I have been struggling through for years. But is this really how I want to end it? I need to, all my friends have done it, pretty much everyone my age has done it except me. Why did it have to come to this? Why couldn’t I have just done it the normal way? What is wrong with me? But I need to do this. What if my mom found out? God will forgive me, he knows how I have suffered.” His thoughts never once turned to the person waiting for him in the room.
With a deep breath, he opened the door.
He laid with his head on her lap while she brushed her fingers through his hair.
“You don’t have to tell me now. Whatever was in the past, is the past and you can tell me when you're ready. I will still love you.”
Even though such words of mercy were spoken, her thoughts were filled with a false past much worse than the truth, but one that would never get corrected, and would only get more deplorable with time. Both parties knew this was the beginning of the end. Both knew the past would tear apart their future. Both knew that the love they had felt just hours ago would soon be no more. Both regretted the sin known only to one.