The first time I had sex, my mouth was numb. I was just back from the dentist where Dr. Stanley Summer had peered at me through his double set of lenses. Six Eyes, we called him, though never to his face. Lord knows what his receptionist called him—something scandalous, perhaps with a blast of air from the compressor, floop, up her stiff white skirt.
It was a Saturday morning. My boyfriend, Ralph, had spent the night. His family lived a half hour away so every once in awhile, he was given permission to stay overnight. His parents assumed my parents would keep an eye on us.
He slept on the third floor in my sister’s room—she away at college. I don’t know what my dad thought immobile in front of the TV. He may not have even known Ralph was there. My mom practically tucked us in the night before. She knew I was a virgin. We had been discussing that and birth control for months.
Ralph and I had done every last thing under the sun except it. We’d kissed until our faces were beets, my hair a nest of frizzy knots. We’d dry humped every dry-humpable mound, explored every pore with fingers and lips and tongues. One night Ralph peered between my legs with my father’s flashlight. What’s it like in there? I had asked, as if he was peering into a cave. It’s very pink, he had said, ribbed, like the roof of your mouth.
I bounded up the stairs that morning, my purse stuffed with Planned Parenthood party favors: diaphragm, spermicidal jelly and applicator, and climbed in next to him and in an instant we were pulled toward each other, magnetized. I remember that feeling now: warm eggs cracking open, leaking everywhere. Am I drooling? I asked about ten times. I don’t think so, he answered.
We knew each other’s bodies so well. I want to say we were hungry but it sounds like something from a movie and yet, it was true. We were hungry and without shame, though the mechanics of the diaphragm was a puzzle.
I filled the cup with goo and folded it in half like a turnover. It was sort of spring-loaded and very wet, so when I squatted down, it shot out of my hands. I scampered to the bathroom, holding the diaphragm like a caught mouse. As I rinsed it, my mother yelled up, Breakfast!
We’ll eat later, I called back, snorting at my reflection.
We’re not hungry, Mom, I yelled, noticing some paste on my lower lip.
Okay! she sing-songed.
I wiped my chin. It felt rubbery and dead, slightly tingly. I squatted and quickly pushed it in. I remember the nurse stressed that the front end—or was it the back end?—ought to hook over the lip of my cervix. I reached in to check but my arm didn’t seem long enough.
Can you feel if it’s in right? If it’s hooked over the edge of my cervix?
Yeah, like around something slightly hard?
I’ll try, said Ralph, ever game. And so he went back in the cave, his face turned up and away as if he was listening for a distant sound to signal success.
I think I feel it.
Okay, I said.
I was on my back, Ralph looking down at me, his blond hair falling in a stringy curtain. His legs were between mine, his arms held his torso up. I slipped my hands palm up, against the bones of his hips.The bed frame didn’t squeak but still, we froze as if the timing had been choreographed, listening for footsteps on the stairs, but all we heard was our own breath, staccato on the inhale.
Okay, I said, nodding, and he began. Wait, my fingertips pressed against him. Then, Okay, and he started again and that’s how we did it, inch by inch, my fingertips tap-tap-tapping him in.
We had to go downstairs at some point, afterward. There was no other way out of the house. When we did, my mother caught me with her eyes. And it was then that I first felt her stare pierce through me, and I realized that it hadn’t mattered how quiet we had been, how many floors had separated us. My mother had snaked her way to our sweet and salty skin, devouring something that ought to have been mine, all mine.
Kyra Anderson is a homeschooling mom and writer who systematically neglects her blog. She co-edited Gravity Pulls You In (Woodbine House, 2010), has contributed to Tiny Lights, Flash Fiction, The Relationship Development Intervention Program and Education (Connections Center Publishing, 2007), The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism (Deadwood City Publishing, 2011), and is currently at work on a memoir, How My Son’s Asperger’s Saved My Ass.
Photography by Eleanor Leonne Bennett