|Berlin: My First Time
by Liv Blake ©
Thanks a lot for your letter. I really enjoyed reading it. It sounds as if we're on pretty much the same wavelength and I'm glad we're going to be writing to each other, so I guess it's up to me now to start things going. You mentioned you like going to bed with good-looking women. Me too, so I think I'm going to start off by telling you about the first time it ever happened to me.
It was just after I finished university. I was 22. I'd spent the summer travelling round Europe, sometimes on my own, sometimes with a friend, once, for a while, with a really sweet guy from Portugal, and it had been great. It was getting towards the end of August, almost time to go back to Britain and start being sensible, and on the way I decided to go to Berlin for a few days. I'd never been there before and lots of people had told me how good it was there, what a lot of life there was and all kinds of other good stuff, and there was a girl I'd been at school with who was living there and teaching English. She'd written a few times and it always sounded as if she was having a whale of a time.
So off I went. Katie was really happy to see me and we had a marvellous time together. She knew all sorts of interesting people and places and the first few days were just like one big long party. There were bars, restaurants, clubs, concerts, parties, all kinds of stuff. I'd been on a pretty quiet Greek island for most of the previous month and so I thought it was just wonderful. Going out till late, crashing out at her place, getting up around lunchtime, having a lovely long bath with all the smellies she had lying around in there, then a lazy lunch and then getting out and about again. It was just so exciting!
One day, after about a week, I got up when Katie was already out at school. I was just having some coffee and toast when the bell rang. I answered it and there was a woman there I hadn't seen before. She started out in German, which I didn't really speak much at all, just a few words, so I just sort of smiled and told her I was English and that I didn't understand. "Oh, sorry," she said.
"Is Katie in?"
"No, she's gone to work." She looked a bit confused by that, so I asked her if she wanted to come in for a minute and have a coffee.
"That would be nice," she said, and in she came. Well, to cut a long story short and spare you all the dialogue, she was a friend of Katie's called Monika, and she wanted to know if Katie felt like going out with her that evening to a dance performance. Well, I knew that Katie had something on that evening anyway, but I was at a bit of a loose end, and I think she must have seen it in my face, because she asked me if I felt like going with her.
"Why not?" I thought. She seemed really pleasant and friendly, and I thought it would be interesting to go out with her and watch the dancing rather than just sitting at home and waiting for Katie. So she told me how to get to the theatre and we agreed to meet outside at about seven.
When Katie got home I told her all about it. I thought she'd be really pleased, but she didn't seem that way at all. "What's the matter?" I asked.
"Oh, nothing," she said, in that kind of way that makes it as clear as day that there is something the matter.
"No, come on, tell me, Katie. I'm not stupid. Tell me. Please."
"Well," Katie said, "if you're going to go out with Monika there's something that you probably ought to know..."
"Yeah, what then?"
"Well, she's, she's..."
"Come on, TELL ME!"
"Well, she might be interested in a bit more than just going to the theatre, if you see what I mean."
"What? You mean she's a lesbian?"
"Well, not exactly, but I think she likes women as well as guys. No, I know she likes women as well as guys."
"How?" "She tried it on with me once, when we were drunk at a party."
"Nothing happened. I made sure of that."
"Wow. When was this?"
"Oh, ages ago, when we first met. I really like her, she's a nice woman and a good friend and everything, but I just don't have any interest in that sort of thing. If I'm going to have anybody in my bed, it's going to be a guy, not a woman, however attractive she might be. Right?"
"Yeah, sure. So are you saying that I shouldn't go out with Monika tonight?"
"No, stupid. You're a big girl. You can look after yourself, can't you? I just wanted you to know."
So now I knew. And what surprised me, to be perfectly honest, was that I wasn't bothered at all. In fact, truth be told, once I thought about it I found it hard to stop my imagination from working. Getting it on with another woman wasn't something I'd ever actually done, but on the other hand it wasn't something I'd really not done either, if you see what I mean. I wasn't a prude. I'd always said to myself that I should try things before knocking them, and now it looked as if I might get the chance to see if I was just bullshitting myself or whether I really meant it. And, if Monika tried something on with me, why not? She was a nice woman, I'd enjoyed talking to her in the morning, and she was certainly good-looking enough, slim, pretty face, nice auburn hair, smiley grey eyes, that sort of thing, and so the idea of getting something going with her was actually pretty exciting in a weird kind of way. I certainly wasn't going to start anything, but if she did, well, I decided I wouldn't say no straight away. We'd just have to wait and see, wouldn't we?
You might not believe me, but by the time we met outside the theatre in the evening I'd half forgotten about all this business. As soon as I saw Monika, though, it all came back to me. She was standing alone on the steps, looking around, for me, I suppose. It was one of those really warm summer evenings and she was wearing very simple clothes that suited her well, just a dress with a denim jacket over it. She had nice legs, I noticed, slim and lightly tanned. As soon as she saw me she broke out into a big smile and waved.
"Hello," she said, "you're looking great. Let me look." And she held me at arm's length and looked me up and down. I had on a sleeveless baggy cotton dress that I'd bought in Greece, one of those ones with buttons all the way up the front. It was comfy and easy to keep clean, and when you're living out of a rucksack that's ideal. Anyway, Monika seemed to like it. She nodded and smiled again and then put her hand on my arm to hand to take me through the door. There was quite a crowd of people in the foyer, and she took me by the hand to lead me through them and into the auditorium.
It felt nice. Her hand was nice and dry and smooth in mine and it felt good. When we got to the end of the row where our seats were she let it go, though. We sat down somewhere in the middle and she took off her jacket. Her dress was one of those really light cotton ones with shoulder straps and the sort of neckline they used to call daring. She looked great in it, lots of creamy back and shoulder on view with just a dusting of suntan, and try as I might I just couldn't stop myself from looking. And thinking, of course.
Have you ever read "Sons and Lovers" by D H Lawrence? Don't worry, I'm not about to go all literary on you, but there's a bit in that where this guy, Paul, goes to the theatre with this woman, Miriam, who he's really in love with right then and he just can't keep his eyes off her, especially, I think, a little vein in the hollow of her arm. Well, that's a bit like how it was. She had lovely tanned skin. It looked so soft and smooth and I just couldn't stop wondering what it would be like to touch her legs. The dress had ridden up a bit and they were showing way above her knees. Then she leant forward to wave to somebody she'd seen coming in and I got a glimpse right down the front of her dress, just for a second or maybe even less, but it gave me a lump in my throat, honestly. She wasn't wearing a bra and I just got this quick flash of her breasts and one of her nipples, not even enough time to focus or anything but it was just so exciting. Of course, right then she turned and looked at me, and it must've just been so obvious that I'd been peeking. I started blushing, I felt so stupid, and she just went on looking into my eyes, far too long for it to be a normal glance, and gave me this secret sort of a smile and then looked as if she was about to say something, but just then the lights went down and saved me.
I just sat there in the dark with my face glowing, feeling a real idiot, but nothing happened and after a bit I calmed down and started to concentrate on the show. I really enjoyed it. The dancers were great and there was something just so thrilling about being in the dark next to Monika and thinking about her and enjoying the feeling of her warm and close to me but not touching and the smell of the perfume she was wearing - she didn't have any make-up on but she did have this light gentle scent of violets about her - and the feeling that she'd caught me out and that I was on the verge of something that thinking about made me feel both guilty and all excited at the same time, something a bit like how I used to feel before I went on stage when I did acting at university.
There wasn't any interval or anything like that, so when the lights went up it was already time to leave. Monika didn't take my hand this time.
"A drink?" she said as we walked away from the theatre.
"Mmmm, sure. Where?"
"Well, there's a place not far from here that's okay, or, if you prefer, we could go back to my flat. It's not so far from here." I'd always thought that it was just a cliché when people said their hearts jumped inside them, but it's really the only way to describe what I felt right then.
"It's happening!" I thought, and it was such a strong, strange thought, at the same time incredibly exciting and deeply worrying. "Should I do this?" (Jane, I hope you don't mind these italics, I know they're a bit literary , but it's the best I can think of to try to show how I felt.) The answer to the question took only a second or so to come, but that second seemed like the longest one of my life. It lasted for ever. "You've got to. If you don't you'll wonder for the rest of your life what you missed this evening. Do it!" "What about you? What would you prefer?"
"My place?" she said with a little smile. "Okay. Your place it is."
The flat was in an old house that we reached through a courtyard. "Who lives here with you?" I asked as we toiled up the narrow stairs to the fourth floor.
"Just me," said Monika. "And here we are." We walked in through a double door that led into a small hall. Monika didn't turn the light on but kicked off her shoes and walked straight through another door into the room beyond. A light clicked on.
"Come on in," she said. Monika's living-room was, as I'd half-expected, simply but tastefully decorated. White walls, a polished natural wood floor with a couple of small rugs here and there, a sofa and matching armchair in black, a coffee table, a stereo, a TV, a couple of plants, a few pictures on the walls, a lot of books. Light came not from the big fitting hanging from the ceiling but two lamps on the bookshelf. I liked it a lot.
"Do you want to listen to music?"
"I don't know. You?"
"Not desperately. What about a drink?"
"That would be nice," I said.
"Lovely." It might help me to relax a bit.
"Take a seat. I'll just go and find it." I sat in the armchair. Monika went into the kitchen. I heard cupboards opening and closing, then the clink of glasses and the popping of the cork. She came in with a bottle and two glasses on a tray and set them down on the coffee table. "Is Burgundy all right?" she asked.
"That's fine. I like it." Monika poured the wine into the glasses and handed me one. "Cheers," I said. "Prosit." And we drank. The wine was good. And for a minute or two neither of us said anything. I looked at Monika, sitting across from me on the sofa, her legs crossed and catching the light, and she looked back at me, and then we both drank again. Say something.
"This place is nice. Have you been living here long?"
"Three years." I drained my glass and shivered.
"Are you cold?" she asked. "No, just a bit..."
"A bit what? Nervous?"
"Yes. How did you know?"
"I have eyes. I'm not so stupid. But don't worry. I'm not dangerous," she said, and laughed. She had lovely teeth, very white, very even. She had a lovely laugh, too, throaty and musical. Oh no? Monika poured me more wine. For a while we drank and talked about trivial things, things which weren't anything to do with the atmosphere that was developing in the room, an atmosphere of expectation, of tension, of waiting for something that both of us knew was going to happen but neither of us was sure how to start. During a lull in the conversation I got up and walked over to where the albums were stored on a shelf. They were a mixture of vinyl and CDs, mostly jazz and blues, but I didn't recognise a lot of them. Then I found one that remembered from when I was at secondary school, one we listened to a lot during lunchbreaks. It seemed funny to find it here, in such a different situation from the one I knew it in.
"Would you like to hear it?" Monika's voice, soft, came from by my side.
"Not right now, thanks. It's just something I remember from somewhere else." Once more her perfume was all around me. I caught my breath.
"You like my smell, don't you?" she said quietly. "I noticed in the theatre."
"Mmmm," I nodded. "It's lovely."
"You like me, too, don't you?" she continued. "Yes, I do, but ..." I can't say it! Please, please, can't you understand how I feel? Just do something, do something now, or even say something, and break the spell, and I'll go along with everything you want to do! Just something! Please!
"But what? Nervous?"
"Yes, a little bit."
"A new situation for you?"
"Yes," I said, and laughed. Even to me it sounded hollow. "I've never done anything like this before."
"What, had a glass of wine with somebody?"
"No, you know..."
"Been with another woman who you think's going to make a pass at you?"
"Because I won't if you don't want me to."
"No, it's not that, it's just that I..."
"Yes, you feel nervous, but you also feel excited, and you have butterflies in your stomach, and you wonder what's going to happen. Is that right?"
"Yes," I nodded.
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