But then we started chatting through AOL Instant Messenger, and I managed to endear myself enough to her that we ended up hanging out one night a few weeks after she and her boyfriend had broken up, making out on my bed under the Christmas lights and posters for local punk shows that covered my walls. Over the next few days of nightly chatting, I mentioned to her that I'd wanted to lose my virginity for a long time, but that I didn't want to make a big to-do out of it — I wanted to get it over with as few feelings involved as possible. This was because I was seventeen, immature, and horny. She gamely volunteered, saying that it would be "fun," before warning me that it was just because she thought we had good physical chemistry; the second any feelings beyond lust were expressed, she would leave. She was just out of a relationship and wanted a rebound — nothing more, nothing less.
I duly practiced with the condom and awaited the day with equal parts fear and excitement. "The day" turned out to be December 26. My parents away for some reason, and I had the house to myself.
Alice and I holed up in my room, getting progressively naked-er and hornier. I got very cold and started shaking — that's one of my most vivid memories of that day. The moment arrived. I put the condom on and she nimbly guided me in. I got very warm.
"Ooh, that's it," she cooed in my ear, but before it built to anything more substantial, I came, within what felt like thirty seconds, though I'm not entirely sure it was even that long. I pulled out and awkwardly disposed of the condom.
"How was it?" she asked. I thought for a minute.
"I want to do it again." So, after a little while, we did. I proved more successful this time — Alice came, pulling hard at my hips as she did, and I felt acquitted.
You don't have to love someone to sleep with them, but maybe you shouldn't repeatedly sleep with someone you don't want to fall in love with. Alice and I continued casually sleeping together, in large part due to what still stands as some of the best sexual chemistry I've ever had with anyone, but I developed feelings for her, which she continually dismissed. Eventually, she told me I didn't know what I was talking about and stopped answering my calls. Embittered, I lashed out, emailing her a quote from Kerouac, one of her favorite authors: "Offer them what they secretly want and they of course immediately become panic-stricken." Her response was "How dare you?"
A year later, when I was eighteen and fresh out of a relationship of my own, we met up again, and then we were together constantly for the next eight months, before breaking up when we went off to different colleges. I had a larger part in ending it, mostly because I didn't want a long-distance relationship, but also because a very small, very mean part of me wanted to hurt her as she'd hurt me.
Our relationship got very thorny after that. We would still meet every now and again to have incredible sex, but she would tell me that she'd never love anyone like she loved me, and I would tell her that I didn't love her anymore, sometimes as we lay together, still naked and out of breath. I think back to acts of nineteen-year-old cruelty like that and cringe. She deserved better.
Our relationship is still confusing and a little sadder now, but whenever I think back to that December afternoon, I smile, and I hope she does too.