22. Dropping the Bomb

March 22, 2003

When I got to Patti’s house I stopped on the sidewalk outside. The light was on in the living room and I knew she was on the computer – as she always was. Her mother’s car was gone from the driveway; she was working late again. I paced outside for a bit, screwing up my courage and rehearsing what I would say. When I was ready, I ran up to the front door and knocked. As soon as I did I forgot all my lines. She opened the door, surprised to see me there at such a late hour and with a trace of concern on her face.

“Hey – what’s up?”

“Uh…can we talk?” As soon as I said that a flicker passed over her face. She must have known what was coming. I had been hinting at it for a couple of months now, in a very stupid and very unsubtle manner.

She came out and we sat on the front steps, since I wasn’t allowed inside when her mother wasn’t home. In a few minutes it won’t be an issue anymore, I mused.  The night air was crisp and cold since it was only the middle of March. After a few awkwardly silent moments, I cleared my throat.

“I don’t think this is going to work out,” I said.  She looked down at the ground and nodded. I knew she was thinking along the same lines, and mostly for the same reasons, even though she didn’t say anything.  That’s what I was going to miss more than anything else – the fact that our minds were so much on the same plane that we usually knew what the other was thinking.

But while we were so alike, we were so different. And we were on different paths in life. I was going to school upstate, and she was going to go to school in Maine. And even if I had a strong enough desire to continue the relationship, I couldn’t have. Some people can have long-distance relationships. I can’t. I need that person here in my life, not hundreds of miles away, only to be seen for a few weeks during the year, without physical contact for long periods of time in between.

And while we were infatuated with each other in the beginning, the spark between us had faded.  Ultimately, I knew she’d be happier with someone else. I didn’t think it was fair to keep her onboard when she wanted to get off. That was one of the main reasons I wanted to end the relationship, though I never said so. I probably didn’t have to.

The other main reason I dumped her was because I was getting nowhere with her physically.  Any progress was incremental and at a glacial pace.  Took her two months to make out comfortably and not freak out if I put my hand on her neck.  Three months before she was okay with ass grabbing.  Four months in – two months after I turned 18 – she finally allowed me to touch her breasts.  Through her shirt.  Woooo, that was a big day for me.  I couldn’t wait to get home and brag to my 18yo buddies about that experience.  I’ll bet they would have been really impressed, maybe even jealous.

Not.

Eight months later she graduated to groping me in return – through my pants, of course.  She dabbled with slipping her fingertips under the waistband of my jeans but would never go further than that, no matter how much I wanted her to.  Her reason?  “Well, if you came while I was touching you and it got on my hands, and then I touched myself down there and there was liquid seeping out of me, there’s a very small chance I could get pregnant.”  So you can imagine her reaction when I dared suggest a blowjob one day.  “No way, you pee out of there!” She was so disgusted that I’d want her to do such a thing that she could barely speak to me afterwards.

We stayed together for almost a year-and-a-half.  I hung in there like a jaded cop trying to get his pension.  I did finally manage to see her in her bra, but I never got so much as a handjob from her.  She would just rub me through my pants, get me all hot and bothered, and then lose her nerve.  She’d pull away and we’d have to stop fooling around because she was always worried about going too far. I was perfectly willing to let her proceed at whatever pace was comfortable for her.  And thanks to her, for many years afterwards I persisted in the belief that all girls were skittish and prudish when it came to sex.  Even now I still have trouble letting go of those ideas.

Over time the spark between us faded and I felt like we were just going through the motions.  So three days after President Bush started dropping bombs on Iraq, I walked over to Patti’s house and dropped a bomb on her as well.   She took it well at first, and then broke down in tears.  And that was that.  As it turned out, dumping her was just the push she needed.  She slept with at least seven guys over the following year.  Then she dropped a bomb of her own:

She told everybody she was gay.

Except… she still liked guys.

So she was a gay man trapped in a girl’s body.  She moved to Canada, had all her equipment changed over, and began her new life as Patrick, aka The Boy Formerly Known as Patti.  And that’s the last I ever saw or heard of her.

After I dumped her, I started feeling ashamed of myself.  Did I really break up with her because I couldn’t get sex from her?  What a horrible thing to do.  I remembered how I always had to initiate fooling around or making out.  Every. Single. Time.  While she would reciprocate and get into it, she never made the first move.  Ever.  I started feeling like a monster as I reflected upon that fact.

Whenever Patti was at my house I’d have to coax her over the threshold like a nervous stray cat.  She was always scared that my neighbors would see her going inside and tell my dad who would in turn tell her mom.  Give me a break.  This isn’t 1955.  This is America, 2002 – we were lucky if we even know who our neighbors were, let alone talk to them.  Her fears weren’t entirely without merit, however.  One day Dad came home early and nearly caught us.  We had to take shelter in a closet until the coast was clear. Dad had ladled out enough Catholic guilt over the years and I didn’t need any more helpings.

I was racked with guilt in the end anyway.  For the next couple of years I felt like I didn’t deserve to be with another girl again, lest I treat her like a piece of meat too.

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