Christian holds the pizza box in one hand and helps me climb up. I decide to make my dad’s old boat hull in the back yard into a love nest. It is propped  up on heavy wooden saw horses, but it feels stable if we don’t move around too much. We need somewhere private and I am not allowed to have boys in the small bedroom room I share with my younger sister.

It’s really a shame, because I have the best album collection and I just bought David Bowie’s latest: “Let’s Dance”. It’s all I am listening to right now after carefully studying the lyrics on the sleeve so I can sing along and better understand what the songs are about–or at least try to.

It’s been almost two weeks since I started hanging out with Christian. He is  busy with school and work and so am I, but we manage to get together when we can.

I like him so much and besides wanting to myself, I feel like if we start having sex he will spend more time with me. It bothers me that he prefers to be with friends from work sometimes. I don’t understand why he would choose them over me, because I will always pick my boyfriend over any other companion.

“Are you sure it’s okay?”

“Yes, it’s fine. No one will even know we are here.” I whisper, taking the pizza box and setting it by my feet. I reach for his hand as he climbs aboard the vessel.

“It’s a starlit night, darlin’…this is kind of romantic.” He smiles, cocking his head as he bends to kiss me lightly on the cheek.

“I thought you would like it. We can play house!” I nod eagerly, raising an eyebrow.

“Yeah, our very own clubhouse.” He picks up a slice of pizza and takes a bite.

I don’t usually eat in front of boys but Christian is hungry and Camilli’s cuts the pie in little squares, so I can look demure, nibbling an edge now and then, careful not to eat enough to get full. I want to look skinny when he sees me naked.

After awhile we set the pizza aside and settle into a lying down position in the narrow boat. I wonder if he is thinking what I am thinking–that tonight’s the night.

I roll over to face him and grasp his lips between mine, kissing him assertively. I decide to take the lead, trailing my fingertips down his shirtfront to rest on the top of his belt buckle. He doesn’t object when my hand moves down to lightly caress the warm bulge straining against his jeans. Our tongues softly play together and he groans his approval when I gingerly tug at his zipper.

I move my head lower, kissing his bare chest, his navel.

“Mmm, that tickles…hey, um…”

I don’t answer, intent on releasing him from the containment of the thick blue denim and soft cotton underneath.

He groans when I squeeze gently with my fingertips, poised to impress him with my expertise. I want to show him I know how to do it and I like doing it. I learned early about this type of pleasure, both from a book “Having it All” by Helen Gurley Brown, and from countless hours of practical experience with Bryan most weekdays after school.

“Hey! Ugh…oh, shit!”

He erupts in my hand, spattering against my hair and onto my blouse.

“Wow!” I stammer, not sure what is supposed to happen next. Apologies, as it turns out.

He sits up quickly, grabbing for a Camilli’s napkin to clean up the mess.

“I’m sorry, really…I’ve never, I mean…” He zips up quickly, his face flushed–eyes nervously darting toward escape.

“It’s okay…”

I help him gather up the wet napkins as he moves to get up.

“I really need to get home before ten.”

“Okay, I’ll walk you halfway.”

We make our way together in awkward silence, down the dark sidewalk toward Christian’s house, the place where we first met. I feel like something between us has changed, shifted–and may never be put right.

The days go by and he manages to find things to do in his time off that don’t include me. I start to demand more attention. He breaks up with me one evening after an argument.

My dad comforts me later as I cry, sitting on the edge of my twin bed.

“I tried to warn you…”

He pats me on the back lightly.

“Not to hold on so tight. To give a man room to breathe.”

I’ve never learned how.