*Submitted by anonymous 

I casually say, “Who in your friend group has had sex?”

“Lost their virginity? Oh. I’m not sure? I don’t think very many, if not any.”

I say, “You know the first time hurts.”

My niece, “Right, you said that your first time guy hurt.”

I said, “No, it physically hurt and yes, good memory. I was sad because he left after he got me to have sex for the first time.” 

Yes. It was Mark-O West (*this name has been changed ). I was a cook for a family one summer vacation; he was living in the town. I don’t remember how we met, but he seemed to be able to sniff out virgins. He was that guy. I know now that he was that guy because as it turns out, he did it to someone else that summer. He was charming and attentive to me, to someone who didn’t know anyone else. He would visit after work. I was flattered that he would arrive, unannounced at my bedroom door. This was way before texting, cell phones, all of it. 

I was somewhere where I knew no one but the people I was cooking diet cakes and fresh veggies, swordfish for…

The family loaned me a silver blue soft top Mustang 1962 coupe with the large steering wheel worthy of a necker’s knob. It – the car – was part of a collection from the seven-car garage that the boss’s husband proudly showed me on my first day. He was really into his cars. He was really into his cars and talking about people, conversations that always included something about their penis or masturbation or popping a cherry, or something I didn’t want to hear about, but that he would say to me. Yes, he was that guy, the creepy boss husband. 

Was that comment for me? Was he interested in me? I never got that feeling. It always sounded more like it was for a boy, not me. I didn’t have the hair on the back of my neck go up with him, but Mark-O, oh yes. He made me nervous. He would say, “No one who goes to college is a virgin,” or, “they shouldn’t be.” He knew because he was in college. I was the eldest of my siblings. My sisters were much younger. Who could I ask? I didn’t dare. I didn’t know. I had only heard about sex up close. I heard heavy breathing at a house where a pile of us spent the night after the prom. I was on the floor in a room feigning sleep, I was done with the stupid inane conversation downstairs, and all of a sudden two people burst in the room looking for a place, I hadn’t even taken the bed. I was on the floor, head away from the door. I was a good pretender. Yet the whole thing: movement, squeaking of the bed back and forth, laughing, talking, grunting, sleeping, snoring – I heard the whole thing. Ugh. And here I was now being pestered by this guy that seemed so excited by me. I was being courted. I liked the attention. I was sixteen. This might be the one, the new one, the BOYFRIEND. He was Mark-O West. Everyone knew him in town. I even think my boss introduced us when she took me into town the first day to look around, and “learn the ropes”. There he was at the supermarket somewhere in town. I think she even offered to have him go on a sail or motorboat ride. 

And so it began. He would come over as I was washing the last dish, the last pot, and then we would walk? Or something that led to kissing that led to doing everything you do but kiss. Which led Mark-O to ask every day about my virginity, to remind me about college, that no one there is a virgin, that now was the time. He had less than 2 months, maybe a month, to succeed, maybe. He didn’t even arrive when I was doing dishes, but when I was already in the servants’ cabin behind the house, in my own room and bathroom disconnected from the house – did he knock on the door? Was I in bed reading? Is that how it started? 

Was I in bed reading and he knocked, and came and sat in the room? Ugh. I think that’s where it started. 

It ended on a bedspread in the garden under a full moon, which was supposed to be romantic but there were so many bugs and the moonlight was so bright that it didn’t really feel romantic. It was more like a spotlight. We pressed on but the mosquitos were fierce. His penis was way too big, it hurt. It hurt so much and then there was 

Goo everywhere in the dark on the bedspread under the moonlight. It was supposed to be so romantic and yet when I finally went to bed, Mark-O long gone – the between my legs hurt.

I shoved the bedspread into the washing machine, only for it to be found by the boss’s kid, younger than me, who cried out, “Eewwwww, blood on a bedspread? What happened here?” And then I was really embarrassed. I didn’t realize the blood had seeped out and onto the bedspread or maybe I did and I stuffed it into the washing machine hoping to get it to disappear not realizing I needed to wash it. So much embarrassment. 

And he was gone. After that night in early August, he wouldn’t return my calls. I even went to where he lived and he wasn’t there or he was nonchalant, non-committal. It was over. The conquest done. 

When I got to college for the first time and bumped into a girl/woman – someone I sort of knew who also had been in that town, and I got to talking to her about my summer and I mentioned and this guy and what a dick he was for leaving and she looked at me incredulously, “What? Me too!” The whole story.  He did the same thing to her at the same time. What the hell. She and I plotted to go back to that town and spray paint his name and ‘Is A Rapist’ on the wall near the supermarket. We talked about it every time I saw her on campus but we never did it, dammit!