Tutoring Me on His Dreams

by Regis Boff

Small towns always have secreted places where teenagers go to touch each other; ours was the “China Wall.”

We had our own parking spots at the wall, which our boyfriends defended with fists if some clown did not know about us.

With the racket of cicada singing trees confusing the lyrics from our FM radios, we drank warm vodka and inhaled common household aerosols, we wrestled with our blouses open, our skirts shoved up and our legs locked shut, because until eleven o’clock when we had to be home, we were very bad. The boys would lie on top of us, in the small pitch bedroom of their dad’s front seat. We shadowed their hands with our own. If they stopped trying it would mean a fight. We could smell our wet white panties, the scent wafting out in puffs as unzipped jeans bounced on our stomachs. We were ashamed of the smell. It was the smell of honesty.

We were always half-listening for the crunch of police boots on the turnoff’s gravel, for the cops that would sneak up and shine their heavy flashlights at our exposed bodies then meanly threaten us by tapping loudly on the window.

All girls sit to the right of their boys in cars. Cars are made the way they are for this reason. Guys needed to have their hunting hands free to find places on us that they never stopped thinking about. We needed both hands sometimes to stop them.

Our cars formed a driving line when we triple dated, me first, next Jenny, then Joyce. I was the prettiest. Joyce was my best friend and was not really attractive at all, so she was last. Jenny and Joyce were leaving for college next year. I wasn’t allowed to go, my dad would not let me, I wanted to. We were resented in our reckless car suburbia because of how great we looked. My boy wore a boldly torn jacket, and mouthed dangerous toothpicks. I posed with him at traffic lights, with my neck hooked firmly inside the buckle of his muscled right arm, that rested on the seat back of his parent’s “better not get it scratched” Dodge.

He would tutor me on his dreams, assuming that my mind arrived for each date as a freshly cleaned, first period blackboard at high school.  I would listen; meekly in quiet, carefully concealing that I was ahead of him in dreaming.

He tries blowing pot smoke and André Gide into me tonight with his kisses. I feel his hand touching my dampness for the first time, and I know he thinks Gide is paying off, and I let him keep this small victory because I am tired of this fight that seems less and less important to me. I am reading Betty Friedan in library corners. I am anxious to share her with him, but when I try to blow her back into him, he seems a little scared and gets irritated, and oddly, he grows smaller to me.

I will decide later if I will let him keep my virginity to remember me, as a gift he will think he can never repay me. Virginity is a silly thing to hang onto. Every teenage boy believes they are the first anyway.

I loved this boy from so very long ago, but I had no intention of living underneath him. I think now of his arm, muscular and around my neck in his front seat, and it still becomes a little hard for me to breath. I return often when safely in my bed, to his rebelliously violent, but oh, so simple and handsomely tender heart, as I slide my hands quietly under the covers to knead him and that time back to me, for a little while.