Y'know how people always say you never forget your first? Well, I certainly never forgot Karen. Never will -- though God knows I tried. She wasn't exactly my first first. There had been what Lemony Snickets would call a series of unfortunate events before her. But Karen was the first girl I ever slept with as well as the first -- and so far only -- person I ever fell in love with so, in my mind, she still counts as a first.
Anyway, I was 18 years old and kind of an emotional train wreck, even by 18-year-old standards, and Karen was my friend. Pretty much the only one I had left by that point. We weren't like "have-sleepovers-and-share-every-silly-secret" friends. More like activities partners who hung out together because ... well, to be honest, I'm not quite sure why. From my side, I think it was because Karen was stable and nice in a way that so few of us are at that age. And also because she didn't probe the way most people did.
See, my mother got killed the previous year -- one of those stupid "one gangbanger shoots at another and misses" things -- and people, either out of concern or curiosity or whatever, would constantly ask how I was feeling. I couldn't handle that. I mean, how can you possibly express those kinds of feelings? Karen never asked. It's not like she didn't care or wouldn't have dropped everything to listen for hours if I had magically started to talk about it. It's just that somehow she knew that I wasn't ready for that.
When I try to describe Karen, the first word that always comes to mind is serene. She had these opal-like eyes that could seemingly bring peace to anyone who looked into them and one of those perfect-complexion, open, Slavic faces. Appropriate, I suppose, since she had one of those totally unpronounceable last names that ended in "ski." Maybe I felt some of that serenity would rub off. My last name ends in an "i" too, but it's pure Mediterranean and serenity is not a hallmark of my people.
We'd been spending more time than usual together because it was spring and we were both on the tennis team. One day after a match -- the latest in a long line of pathetic efforts that got me dropped from No. 1 singles to No. 3 -- we drove back to my house. Maybe watch a video, maybe listen to music, maybe grab a burger. Typical teenage stuff.
First thing though was to get cleaned up. I remember hearing much earlier that horses sweat, men perspire and women glow. Well, we were both glowing like pigs. Karen showered first and came back into my room wrapped in one of those big, fluffy bath towels that make you feel pampered as soon as it touches your skin. I was kinda surprised that she was still wrapped up in it when I finished showering and washing my hair. Not as surprised, though, as when those pale blue eyes landed on me and I could see the glisten of almost-formed tears.
I wanted to ask what was wrong, but before the words were halfway out, she pressed her fingertip to my lips to hush me. "Stevie, I know you have been sad for a long time and that it's a sadness that probably won't go away for an even longer time. But for one day, for one moment, I want you to be happy." And then she kissed me.
I suppose I should have been shocked. I mean, I had never "practice kissed" with other girls or even really ever thought about. I wasn't a particularly sexual person back then and girls just weren't on my radar at all. But I wasn't shocked. It just felt natural. Natural and safe and endearing and a thousand other words that were the absolute opposite of shock.
There was nothing demanding about Karen's mouth, rather it felt like a soft, perfect gift as it caressed my lips and nudged them slightly apart. So totally sweet and comforting. And in the midst of this comfort came the shock. The tip of her tongue touched mine and a part of me that I never knew existed came to life. I know it's self-centered to think that this was the best kiss in the entire history of the world but that is absolutely how I felt at that moment. OK, still do. And it went on ... and on ... and on. And each time her exploring tongue found a new spot in my mouth power chords would sound and electric tingles would race up and down my spine.
When the kiss finally ended, there was a moment that could have been awkward. One of us could have said something stupid like "We shouldn't be doing this." But we didn't. Karen simply untied her towel, then mine, led me to the bed and kissed me again.
A better writer would probably be able to describe what I felt then. I dunno -- certainly passion, probably a slight touch of curiosity, a pretty healthy does of gratitude, but mainly I think a kind of connectedness that was totally alien. Maybe because of the way she looked at me -- not at random body parts but at ME -- and the way her touch somehow made me feel ... well, worthy is the best way I can describe it.
In my Lemony Snickets encounters, I always felt kinda like a video game with different levels. You know -- "kiss kiss," move to the next level; grab my tit, "squeeze, squeeze," move to next level; hand between my legs, "rub, rub," move to the next level; fuck, game over. This was nothing like that. As I lay on my back, Karen stretched on her side next to me, kissing me, holding me with one arm and using her free hand to explore my body the same way her tongue had explored my mouth, constantly finding new places to make me realize there was a whole lot more to this sex thing than I had ever imagined. That little hollow where my jaw ends behind my ear lobe, the slight swell at the very top of my breast, the curve of my hip where it flairs out from my waist, and ohmigod! the patch right behind my knee (how the hell had THAT stayed hidden all my life???).
Everything felt so amazing I was constantly torn between wanting her to do that one thing forever and wanting her to find yet another place to surprise and delight me. But by the time she had drawn her fingers all the way up my rib cage to the very top, I wasn't torn anymore. "Higher" was all I could think; higher, until I can feel the warmth of your hand cupping my breast; higher, until you can feel the stiffness of my nipple against your palm. And when she finally did that, I realized how pale my imagination was compared with reality.
Karen kept circling her palm slowly, grazing the tip of my nipple while her fingertips surrounded my breast -- squeezing a little here, stroking a little there, caressing in so many ways everywhere. Then as she lifted her palm slightly, her fingertips drew up along all sides of my breast, easing over the tightened bumps of my areola to make me whimper, then converging on my nipple to squeeze and make me scream wordlessly into her mouth. Maybe you're different, but for me, when it comes to having my nipples squeezed, there is like this infinitesimal line between "that feels so fucking amazing I think I love you" and "ouch! dammit, stop that!" Karen seemed to have some internal Mapquest to get right to the far border of "fucking amazing." Squeezing, then spreading her fingers to fondle the rest of my breast, then back again -- all the while turning her torso ever so slightly to rub her chest against the other one. Twelve years of Catholic school hadn't convinced me there was a heaven. This did.
She still had one arm wrapped tightly around me when she draped her leg across my thighs, swallowing me up into this total pleasure cocoon. So many little individual moments that I will never forget -- the feeling of her knee nudging my legs apart in a silent promise, the softness of her thigh the first time it touched the inside of mine, the slight tickle of her pussy hair followed by this intense heat and moisture as she pressed against me. Now, it's virtually impossible to shut me up during sex, but I was a baby then and my verbal skills in bed lagged even my limited physical ones. I did manage to get out one "Yes," though, and when Karen's hand left my breast there was no slow, teasing journey south, just a swift, sure slide across my tummy and through the damp curls until her fingers were nestled between my lips.
Remember the early days of sex -- when so often there was this little voice inside asking why it didn't feel as good as when you did it yourself? OK, never mind, maybe that's just me. Anyway this felt as good as when I did it myself. In fact, it felt better. Way better. Way, way, way fucking better.
Karen would dip her finger into me, then pull it out enough to trace my wetness over my inner lips. I could feel that familiar tightness in my clit and then that tiny "pop" when the hood retracted all the way in anticipation. But when her touch landed there it wasn't the "middle finger on the button moving in circles" motion that I was used to -- my sex life with others may not have been that active, but my sex life alone was. Instead, she caught my clit between her thumb and forefinger, rolling it, tugging at it, pulling the hood back and forth over it. Damn! Actually, more like "Damn!!!!!!!!" I remember beating my heels into the mattress, my legs churning like I was trying to run -- though God knows I was not gonna run from this. Until that day I had never come with another person and sorta wondered if I was the kind that never would. But this time, long before it actually happened, I just KNEW that I would. There was that feeling when the muscles in your thighs and belly start contracting, pulling inwards, concentrating all your body's attention at the absolute core of your pleasure.
Her fingers were well on their way to giving me my first non-solo orgasm, but Karen had a different -- and much, much better -- idea. Rolling over on top of me, she slid down my body, caressing me with her breasts and lips as she went. There'd be time for more of that later, but right then she knew exactly what she wanted to do -- and somehow knew too that I wanted that same mysterious thing I had heard about but had never had done to me.
Is there some place where we can donate money to build a memorial to the person who invented oral sex? At its worst, it's good; at its best, it makes you wonder why you can't just spend your whole life that way. And when the first time -- when you really don't quite know what to expect -- is really, really good, it's totally indescribable. But I'll try.
People usually describe oral sex as "pussy licking" and yeah, there is certainly some licking involved. But there is so much more! And Karen taught me that right away. It was like we were making out again, except this time it wasn't my mouth. She kissed, she nibbled, she slipped her tongue inside me and fluttered it. When she drew slightly back and touched the tip of her tongue to my clit -- whew! The electric jolt I got when our tongues had touched was like from a AAA battery; this was more like sticking your finger in a wall socket. I screamed, I thrashed, I cried, I did all the cliche things you've ever read. Her tongue swirled around my clit, dipped under the hood, flickered over the tip .. and I have no idea what else. I just know I felt this pressure building like there was a balloon inflating inside my pussy and I knew it gonna pop and spill everything that is good and wonderful in the universe inside of me. I was right there, so close, so tantalizingly close, but the balloon just kept inflating. Until I felt Karen's lips close around my clit and suck at it. Pop!
We never got around to watching a video or listening to music or going for a burger that day, although, like Karen, I can't say I had nothing to eat. I probably fell a little bit in love right then, but within a couple weeks I was sure. The girl who had wanted to make me happy "for one day, for one moment," made the next four months the best of my life.
It absolutely broke my heart when Karen left for college on the East Coast and that's why part of me tries to forget her. But the other part -- the smarter part -- will always remember this incredibly special person who changed my life and made me understand that love happens and that there is nothing else that compares with it. I hope she has found it again. There is nobody who deserves it more.