It is funny how the mind works. I could be doing something as simple as cooking a meal or doing the dishes and all of the sudden memories of a lifetime ago come flooding in like it was only moments ago. My days are full of flashbacks, and no way to escape those tortures of wrong turns and eternal dead ends. I made some terrible mistakes and lived scripts from horror movies because of them. I have also loved so deeply that at this point in my life I know that there is no way I could best those memories. The next story will be one of those memories.
It came so innocent, getting my now 7 yr. old twins sons ready for bed; they always had a tendency to get a little rough at the end of the night. They try their hardest to fight sleep. “Mom, Anthony messed my bed up. Can you fix it?” I did my normal fussing but not as much as I could have. I have been though an emotional time, strengthening myself as a single woman now, being a mother, going to school. I was tired. I noticed that the bed wasn’t just messed up “What happened in here, Wrestle mania?” I started; strip the bed while the boys reluctantly picked up the toys and put away their things. Arron jumped in front of me and said,” that’s good, Mom. I don’t need a sheet. I’ll sleep like that.” No, I do not think so. I finished making the beds as I remembered another time in my life.
I can’t say that my sister and I didn’t get along. There was a time in my life that we were inseparable, in a lot of ways we were like twins, although she was older and more time than not she treated me like I was her personal assistant. When I was 15, Mary had already been out on dates, had true love affairs and found herself “experienced” when it came to men. I was not so much so interested in learning about sex I still was afraid of getting my feelings hurt again.
One of the things my sister liked to do was go to the victory, an under 21 dance club/entertainment in Evansville, a half an hour away from our small town. It was an all-nighter this night; Parents would drop off their teens and forget them until morning. My mother didn’t trust Mary, and told her if she wanted to stay out all night she would have to take me. I hated to dance, didn’t have friends that ever went. To tell the truth I was a little frightened, I had heard stories of what girls did in the giant buildings dark movie theaters, drugs and drinking even fights. I knew this was not going to be good.
I hadn’t known Mary was going to leave soon after we got there; her plan was to go with her boyfriend and be back before morning. I sat at a table off to the side, slightly in the dark. I was ticked that my sister left me, and that I had the whole night to feel alone. I noticed a table of laughing Middle Eastern men not too far from me. I didn’t understand what they were saying, and that alone made me feel very uncomfortable. I also noticed that they were older then what was allowed. I could tell that most the group was closer to 27 to 30. I knew this from being around so many Asians (short doesn’t mean young)
I tried to ignore them, but as the evening went on I couldn’t help but notice that they spent a great deal of time teasing the youngest and shortest of the group, he seemed to look over at me when the others were having the most fun at his expense. I started getting tired and tipped my chair back against the wall, watching the kids dancing and talking all around. This was going to be a long night.
Out of nowhere the younger man in the group was standing at my table” Would you like to dance?” I shook my head no. His head dropped as the others at the table started laughing. Angry that a so called group of friends could be so mean, I jumped up and caught him before he got back to his table, put my hand on his shoulder and whispered in his ear “I do not dance but you can keep me company”. The words seem to float off my tongue and you could tell from his excitement that he must have really been interested in me. Of course I also love the fact that his friends now sat so surprised with mouths hanging open in disbelief.
Ben was amazing, he hung on my every word, smiled like I was the reason he lived and he was by far the most gorgeous man I had ever seen, but he didn’t know he was handsome in fact he blushed every time I said I just liked looking at him. We sat there most the night, talking about everything, laughing and I dare say I knew more about that man and my own feelings in a few hours then I could have ever learned about Ta in all the months I knew him.
When his friends wanted to leave he said for them to go without him and that he will walk, but since he was new to the city, they simple said that they would return later after 2 hours. We continued our conversations, as he wrapped his arm around me. And as the time flew he kept looking at his watch. “If I am boring you, you can leave,” he laughed and held me tighter “No, you could never bore me, I look at my watch disappointed that I am losing time” I understood what he was saying; I didn’t want the night to end either. Ben and I talked about everything, walked around the building, and made our way to the movie theater where we (didn’t) watch a movie. Kissing and holding, touching; but not at all in a sexual way, it was more like lost loves reuniting. We were holding each other like we were to be torn apart soon when I had fallen asleep in his arms. As I woke, I looked up at him. I was shocked. Above me was a beautiful man, long hair, bronze shin and the loveliest eyes I had ever seen. He was like art. “She lives” I apologized but he would have none of that “I have never seen a more beautiful sleep”
I was sold. Better yet, I was in love. When his friends came back, so did my sister. She was so pleased that I had found someone that she suggested that I leave with him, and she said it right in front of them all. There was no way for either of us to tell the other no. He had his peer pressure and I had mine.
We went back to his friend’s apartment and they pushed us both in a bedroom and shut the door, laughing. We stared at each other for a minute, not quite knowing what to say, or what to do. Our conversation never really got to whether or not either one of us was expecting to have sex. “We do not have to do anything” he said with his eyes looking at the floor. I looked over at an unmade bed with no sheets “we could sit down” We talked until the laughing from the other room stopped. He started to kiss my hand like every foreign movie I had ever seen. He kissed up my arm to my neck, obviously he had done this before but I was too embarrassed to tell him I hadn’t, in fact I was too scared to say a lot of things or to even breathe.
The scratch of the mattress without a sheet was one of the many things I felt that night. I felt his hands on every inch of me, and a very knowledgeable tongue that was very skilled. But when he slid on top of me and we were face to face, he noticed I was crying. “Is this tears of joy, do I make you happy?” I looked away, half afraid if I spoke I would start balling or that the words I would say would make him stop. Deep inside I didn’t want him to stop. I wanted to get it over with; I wanted to stop being afraid of losing my virginity. I wanted to be a woman. For some people it might seem a little early, but I had always been in touch with my emotions, I didn’t really think like a child at 15, I never was treated like a child in public because of my adult looks. The subject of my age never came up our conversations either.
Reluctantly I said, “I am a virgin” He held me closer “Why didn’t you say so my love, I think it is great that you save yourself” I looked at him puzzled; he really didn’t know I was young. “Ben I am only 15” I wouldn’t have thought a person could move so fast. Apparently when the students come from other countries they are taught what was permitted and what will get them deported. Getting dressed in record speed, pacing the room like a mad man and rambling in more than a few languages, he plopped back down on the bed, looked into my eyes and said “I am so sorry. I thought you were older” I held his hand “Ben, you didn’t look that old. I knew you friends looked older but you?” he told me he just turned 21 last month. And he was going to college IU in Bloomington.
What to do? I mean it was awkward for us but all I could say was “I am still the girl you have spent all night with and you are still the man that I have falling in love with, what difference does it make that I am a little young. Did you think I was a child when you kissed me?” I could see in his eyes that he saw me in a different light. “No sex, though” he said with a smile, and I accepted.
My family loved Ben and his friends, They never worried about his religion or his age, My mother’s only request was that “Keep her a virgin and We will sign for you to marry when she turns 16” so he would spend his week at Bloomington going to school and then spend the weekends with me. A few times even spend the night in the guest room. All was so wonderful. I felt like nothing could go wrong. We picked out wedding rings and put them on lay-away because even though his family was rich they had not sent his allowance yet. He was going to school to learn business management so he could help with his families many holdings.
I felt like we spent a life time together, My only thought was of making him happy, I wrote poems and learned to cook for him. When he came to visit we did everything together, he even took me to some of my school functions, even farm chores were shared with playful adoration and laughter of course. Walks in the woods were romantic and bonding. My whole life was happier. It had purpose
Ben’s friends had started to get a little jealous that he no longer spent time with them and when it was mentioned to a family friend that Ben had found an American girl to marry. He received a message from his Parents that he needed to return home immediately. He told me it was going to only be for the summer. I felt uneasy but I had faith that all was going to be fine “It is only one summer” I remembered Ta’s summer away and knew that I would make sure never to let my thoughts wonder from Ben.
I never saw Ben again; I got a letter or two, telling me that everything was fine. He said he would be back to school the next semester and that I would be the first person he would come and see. He never was allowed back. After a year of wondering, being crazed, and depressed, almost begging for death, I saw one of his friends. “Are you ok? You hear about Ben?” I told him that I had not heard anything from Ben in almost a year. “You still love him, Deborah?” I thought for a second… Did I still love him? Don’t get me wrong I did love him, if he stood before me that very moment I would have not been contained but it had just been long enough, just painful enough that what I felt for him before had been replaced with Abandonment, self-doubt and hatred. If he was still alive I wanted to know “WHY?” so I lied and said “No… what happened?”
The man told me a story about how his family held money over his head, they forced him to marry a woman of their choosing and that he had no choice. Without his families money he could have never returned to America and marry a “Christian whore”. He was too ashamed and couldn’t explain to me in a letter that he was never coming back so he just disappeared. His friend was even told to not tell me anything until I was over him.
I grew up in a town and around friends that were all white, predigest, there were no exceptions and yet it was my family that openly defied the norm and teaches me to be open minded and that all people are the same. I never saw that he was Muslim, foreign, different color or even his size. I loved Ben for his words and his heart so why would I be judged for what I was? Even now as I write this I cannot help but cry uncontrollably.
I have had a lot of years to think about Ben, weather I would have done the same thing in his place. Back then I would have, but today I realize how hard it is to find a love like that. How when you close your eyes all you see is them, or the chills that run down your soul when you hear their voice. I do not think I will ever feel that for someone again and It is a shame that I would have been introduced to such a deep love at too early of an age to chase after it. Now I live my whole life trying to feel that way again.
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