Losing It

(Part 1 from 2)

Do you know what it’s like to have something take over your whole life? To be so obsessed that every waking thought leads only in a single direction? I do. My preoccupation was the usual one for a 18 year-old male – sex - but I was a particularly suitable case for treatment. What really gripped me was that I seemed to be the last of my entire class to have a proper girlfriend. To hear the others talk, you’d believe they spent every night in some incredible bonk-fest. Not me. I wasn’t getting any – had never got any! It wasn’t for want of trying. I’d come close on a couple of occasions, if you’ll forgive the pun. There was this one girl who was supposed to be really easy, mad for it. Naturally I was the one who bombed out. I got her to the bedroom and then received that “What kind of girl do you think I am?” line just as my hand was disappearing into her knickers. I didn’t answer that one; it must have been totally bloody obvious! Not even a moron in a hurry could have mistaken my intentions. Still, crashed and burned, again!

There I was, 18 years old and pure as the driven snow. Everyone else had steady girlfriends and seemed to be at it like demented rabbits. Not me. All alone with a dog-eared Penthouse and a box of Kleenex as my only consolation. Something needed to be done! I mean, it wasn’t as if I was that bad looking. Some of my pals were total mobile zit-farms. OK, I’ll confess to the odd infrequent blemish – the kind that usually erupts on a Friday night and you make it worse by messing with it – but other than that I was mostly presentable. I had the regulation number of eyes, ears and teeth. I just didn’t have, couldn’t get, a girl. The problem was the usual prime cause of teen-age angst. The girls I fancied didn’t fancy me, and the ones who did, well, I didn’t want to know. No wonder Auden called it the ‘age of mirrors and muddle.’

It was probably because I was so obviously desperate. I must have been transmitting signals like Sputnik. Orbiting the Earth every ninety minutes bleeping, “fuck me, fuck me!” That’s enough to put anyone off. I took advice from my all my worldly-wise pals. “Don’t try so hard,” they said, “you scare them away.” Fat lot of good that was! They all had it cracked, didn’t they? My desperation was making me a laughing stock. They’d greet me every Monday morning with “Hey, Mark, get laid yet?” and a lot of snide sniggering. It was driving me mad.

Things took a turn for the worse over the Christmas holidays that year. I met this girl, Nicola, at a party on New Year’s Eve. She was gorgeous! She had long red hair and lovely green eyes. We got on really well. To tell the truth, I was just a wee bit hammered at the time so I guess I was quite relaxed. We arranged a date for a couple of days later. One of the greatest trials for a teenager in England is the weather. It must be the only country on the globe that doesn’t have a climate, just weather, lots and lots of the stuff! It pissed down that evening so I arrived at her place looking like the sole survivor from the ‘Wreck of the Hesperus.’ Of course, I was too young to drive and the finances didn’t stretch to a taxi. I walked the mile and a half over to her place in the biggest bloody downpour since Noah turned to boat building. My coat kept me dry for at least the first hundred yards.

I reckon her parents were singularly unimpressed with my impersonation of a terminally drowned rat. I stood there dripping on the hall carpet while she rounded up her coat etc. I shuffled from foot to foot and squelched a bit. Her dad glared at me like I was a serial rapist and her mother had a slightly pained expression on her face like she had severe case of wind and was too classy to fart. Nicola, on the other hand, looked stunning. She wore this really short mini-dress that showed off her lovely long legs. Her hair was shining like watered silk. I can remember thinking that my luck had most definitely turned. I even sprang for a taxi to keep her dry.

It couldn’t last, of course. We had a pleasant enough time, at first. I took her to a Blues Club I used to frequent called The Vat. We danced a bit and chatted a bit and I dripped a lot. Things were going swimmingly until I attempted a seductive smooch to a slow number near the end of the evening. Her stomach must have been black and blue from the prodding of my rampant cock. I kept grabbing her buttocks to pull her against me and she responded nicely by digging her fingernails into my hands. Now I know this can be a sign of passion but it Nicola’s case it definitely was not. It was more of a ‘stop groping me, you insensitive ape’ kind of signal. Needless to say I didn’t get the message until she stomped hard on my foot and said, “Piss off! You smell like a wet dog.” Now it may surprise you to know that that isn’t the most romantic thing that’s ever been said to me. I took her home in stony silence. Ever the optimist, I asked if I could call her. She said something like yes, in about three million years when you’ve evolved some more. I took that as a ‘No’. I’m perceptive that way.

A few weeks later, I met another really nice girl called Lyn. Same lyrics, different tune, I’m afraid. We were necking on someone’s sofa. The lights were out and the scent of raging hormones filled the evening air. I had my hand up her sweater and was playing with her nipples and the tongue wrestling had entered the sixth and final round. I thought I was home free. Of course I blew it. I thought I’d try this really ‘sophisticated’ line I heard somewhere. It’s called the ‘hereafter technique.’ It goes “If you’re not here after what I’m here after, you’ll be here after I’ve gone.” All delivered with a rakish grin. Excruciating, isn’t it? The left side of my face was swollen for a week.

I felt I was the favourite for the Male Virginity World Championships: through to the last sixteen with only the Pope to beat for a place in the quarterfinals. Fortunately for me and for the sanity of my family – did I mention I was an impossible little prick at home? – I met Sarah. She wasn’t one of those instant knockout babes like Nicola or Lyn. She was, well, less obvious, somehow. The most startling about her was her smile. It sort of lit her up from within, if you know what I mean. It was the sort of smile that could change even the English weather. It could be pissing down one minute, Sarah would smile, and suddenly it was sunny. At least, it seemed that way to me.

Did I mention she was a bit shy? When we first met I spent about an hour talking to the top of her head. It was a very nice head, as heads go. She had mousy brown hair. That was all I could really tell. Suddenly the situation tickled my sense of the ridiculous and I started to laugh.

“What’s funny?”

“You, me, everything.”

“ What are you on about?”

“Look. I’ve been talking to you for ages and I have no idea what you look like. I reckon you could give an incredibly accurate description of my feet when the Police ask you for a photofit of your assailant.”

She looked up at me then and smiled. The effect was magic. I felt something melt inside in me. My brains turned to mush. “I’m sorry,” she said, “I’m always doing that. Everyone tells me off about it but I can’t help it. Looking right at people makes me, sort of, I don’t know, cringe a bit, inside.” “Why?” I asked her. Which didn’t exactly score a ‘10’ on the scale of the week’s brightest questions. She shrugged and I noticed things moving deliciously under her sweater.

“Do that again.”


“That sort of shrug you just did.”


“ I love the way you jiggle.”

I had that familiar ‘Oh My Christ’ sensation as she stared at me. Then, to my immense relief, she burst out laughing. “It is true what they say about you, then,” she said. It was my turn to shrug. I knew what was coming, sure as fate, and muttered something defensive. She kept laughing. “You should see your face! You’re absolutely beetroot! “ That, of course, made me even redder. “I don’t mind, really, I don’t,” she said. “But you shouldn’t be in such a rush. You give all the girls the impression that you’re only interested in sex and nothing else. It’s like it could be anyone as along as they’re female.” I gulped. I stammered. She put her hand on her my arm. “We like it as well, you know. The difference is we want it to be a part of something, not the be-all and end-all.” I was cowed, felt humiliated. She saw the look on my face and smiled. “Now I feel really mean. I’ve hurt your feelings. I think you’re really a nice person, underneath.”

I reassured her that I wasn’t hurt a bit, well no more than being smashed in the nuts with a cricket bat. Anyway, to cap it all, she asked me out! I stood there open mouthed. The neighbourhood flies were in severe danger. I recovered enough composure to accept graciously. Which is to say I managed to keep my foot out of my open mouth, for a change.

We dated for a couple of months. The Monday morning jokes stopped. Everyone just kind of assumed that we were ‘at it’. The truth was stranger. I hadn’t touched her. We’d held hands and had the odd chaste goodnight kiss but that was that. She wasn’t as shy now. She looked at me when we talked and we talked a lot. Sarah was interested in everything. She had a real knack of pinpointing the weaknesses in any of my carefully constructed arguments, whatever the subject. Yet she never made me feel small or ridiculed my little dreams. She’d just smile and touch my hand and things happened to my cerebral cortex. I’d never had a friend like Sarah.

She was much more mature than I was and being with her made me grow up a bit. Not before time, I suspect I hear you say. One day, the realisation hit me that I was scared of losing her. Somehow, she had overcome my obsession with sex and replaced it with something else I didn’t really want to think about. I was in danger of falling in love!

Spring finally limped into what passes for summer and, at the weekends, Sarah and I would go to the beach or take my dinghy for a sail. I had a small motorbike by this time and we were able to come and go as we pleased. The beach was our favourite place. We went there as often as the weather allowed. The first day it was warm enough to strip off and sunbathe, I got my biggest surprise. Sarah peeled off her habitual jeans and sweater to reveal the tiniest bikini it was possible to wear without getting arrested for indecent exposure. She was amazing! The description ‘petite’ was invented for Sarah. She stood a couple of inches over five feet and you could almost have enclosed her waist with two hands. Her hips were rounded but slim and she had the most perfect breasts I have seen to this day. She caught my expression and grinned. “Like what you see?” Stupid question. I loved it. I put out my arms to her and she came to me.

We kissed properly for the first time. It was natural, easy; and it sent my pulse rate off the scale. When we eventually surfaced for air we were both a little flushed and breathing rapidly. She looked at me shyly but with a glint in her eye. “I guess you do like what you see!” Like I said, stupid question. I cut short any further conversation with another kiss. If the first was good then this was spectacular. It felt like my whole being was incorporated into that one embrace. How she did it, I don’t know, but she seemed to inspire every possible emotion in me with just a kiss. I was left breathless, confused, happy and gloriously in love.

There’s not a great deal you can do on a pubic beach in England without either frightening the horses or attracting the attention of the local constabulary, but we did our best. That blanket could have told a tale or two. All too soon the weather changed and we had to cover up as another icy blast from the steppes of Russia whipped the sand into spiteful, stinging volleys. So it was back on the bike and a long ride home through wind and driving rain that left us both soaked to the skin and shivering. When we got to her place, she turned shy again. She stared directly at my feet and said, “ My parents are away this weekend. Would you like to stay over? I don’t think I’d like to be in the house alone. My mother says you can have the spare room.” There probably is a word to describe my reaction but none I know comes close. Euphoria? ecstasy? Far too mild! I rode home at least four feet above the tarmac, which is quite a trick on a three-foot bike. I didn’t even notice the Godawful weather.

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