Kissing Christine Castaldi was terrific. When not helping each other with our homework, we’d go to in our secret glade in Bluebell Wood, clasp each other and grab each other’s bits under our clothing. Well, I did have a hand inside her bra for three seconds the weekend before last. I thought I was finally getting somewhere but then she became aloof and removed my hand. “Not yet,” she said.
We were doing the usual last Tuesday when she breathlessly said, “Stop! This is no good. We have to go to the next stage.”
“What do you mean?” I asked, filled with awe, excitement and dread.
She may have frightened herself with her outburst. “You know,” she said, suddenly shy.
Of course I knew! What red-blooded thirteen-year-old wouldn’t know? “Do you mean now?”
“No, not now. You have to make preparations. Mum and Dad are going to Sydney to see a show in a couple of weeks and they’re leaving me alone for the night. We’ll do it then.”
“They’re leaving you by yourself?”
“Yes. We’ll have the whole house to ourselves. I feel a little guilty, like I’m taking advantage of them, but if they want to leave me behind, what do they expect?”
I thought about mentioning trust but I didn’t want to talk her out of her intention. “Yeah, you’re right,” I said.
Given I had accepted her plan, I wondered if Christine had had sex before and was giving me the two weeks to prep myself, find out what was expected of me. She had told me more than once that girls were two years ahead of boys when it came to maturity. Did that mean she was two years older than me sexually? Was she an expert?
Jack Nye had gone to prison following his umpteenth conviction for breaking and entering. My mother told my father, with that special tone she used when telling spiteful tales, that Sally Nye seemed to entertain a lot of male visitors. There was no mistaking what my mother hinted happened between Mrs Nye and her multitude of men and that’s how I got my idea. I could get all the sexual experience I needed from Mrs Nye. She was a good-looking woman, still slim and with the right shape. She wore clothes that suggested she might be available to the right man. Surely, she would enjoy teaching a rank amateur like me about sex. Yeah. All I needed was a way into her house. I could hardly knock on her front door and say I’d arrived for my lessons like my younger brother did with his violin teacher.
It took me a while to make a plan but I finally decided that if I suffered some sort of injury when alone in the house, I would have the excuse to go to her for help. I could cut myself. That would be easy and fairly painless. If I cut my leg whilst wearing long trousers, she would have to take them off so she could assess the extent of the wound. What a good plan! I couldn’t work out how to progress from that point but Dad was always saying one had to roll with the flow and that’s what I would do. I just had to be careful with the cut. I wanted a lot of blood for dramatic effect but the cut should not be deep enough to cause lasting damage or require a visit to the emergency room. A careful cut above my knee would do the job.
Dad was at work and Mum had gone to the hairdressers, lunch with Mrs Colby and to do some shopping. Little brother was at a friend’s house for the day. I kept watch from my parents’ bedroom window where I could see the Nye house. When Mrs Nye arrived home from the supermarket with several bags, I knew the scene was set.
Should I put on my yet-to-be-worn white, y-front underpants or my lucky ones from when the Hawks won The Premiership in oh-eight? Definitely the Hawks. They’ll provide a conversation piece while we get through the medical part of the visit. I’ll wear the old jeans mum says are past their use-by-date. Down to the kitchen and get the carving knife from the cutlery drawer. Now, gently, gently. No. Make it fast and get it over with. Shit, that hurt. Not much blood. Squeeze it. That’s good. Here comes the blood, nice and red and dramatic. Make a couple of circuits of the kitchen to perfect my limp. Clean up the three of drops of blood on the floor and then hold the teacloth over the wound while I limp over to Mrs Nye’s house.
“Hello, Mrs Nye. I wonder if you can help me.” I take the teacloth away from the wound.
“Oh my God!” she shrieks.
“It’s nothing really. I just don’t know how to stop the blood and I can’t find our first-aid box in the house.”
“Come in. Come in,” she says, standing aside to allow me to pass. She’s wearing a micro-skirt and halter. Her blonde hair looks brushed and her red lips glisten. The dark make-up around her eyes is very sexy.
“Straight through,” she says in a hurry. “Straight through to the kitchen where I can have a good look.”
I limp down the short corridor to the bright room beyond. “I don’t think it’s too serious but I thought I’d better get an adult to look at it.” Shit! Why did I draw attention to the difference in our ages? “Sorry. I didn’t mean to say you were old. It’s just that you must have more experience in this kind of thing than me.” Good one. Play on her experience.
“How did it happen?” she asks.
How did it happen? Shit! I never thought about that. How could it have happened? She gazes at me, waiting for an answer.
“I was whittling a piece of wood and the knife slipped and cut me.”
“Oh,” she says. Her mouth makes an oval shape and the light reflects off her lips. “What was it you were whittling?”
Is she for real! “Erm, a baseball bat. The best baseball pros in the States whittle their own bats so I thought I’d give it a try.”
“That’s wonderful. Which team do you play for?”
A little more concern for the actual wound might be nice. “Well, I haven’t actually played a game yet. I figured I’d need my own bat if I was to be taken seriously.”
“Are you delirious?” she asks with concern.
“No, no. I’m fine.” Shit! She’ll be dragging me off to hospital if I’m not careful.
“Personal sensibilities have to take a back seat in situations like this so let’s get those jeans off and let me see the wound.”
Geronimo! I unfasten my belt, undo the top button, unzip my fly and let my jeans fall to the floor. I silently curse when I see the wound doesn’t look too bad. There was a good amount of blood on the denim but my skin is almost clean.
She grabs a chair and places it behind me. “Sit down, Eric. It is Eric, isn’t it?”
She’s been checking me out! “Yeah. How did you know that?”
She smiles. “I don’t know. It’s strange I should know the name of someone so young who I’ve never spoken to.” Not so young, Mrs Nye. Look at the muscles on my legs. Not so young. “Perhaps your mother told me. Yes, that must be it. We’ve bumped into each other in the high street on a couple of occasions.”
My mother talks to the wife of a man who is in prison? And all those nasty things she said about Mrs Nye!
“Enough of this.” You’ve got that right! Enough of this shit about me being young and you talking to my mother. “Let me get the first aid box from the linen closet.”
While she’s away, I try to squeeze blood from my sliced leg. The pressure makes the skin turn white and I know I’ve erred. Thankfully, the colour returns before Mrs Nye.
“All right she says. Let’s have a closer look.” She puts one knee on the tiled floor, causing her skirt to ride up her thighs and I see her pink panties. Did she flash me on purpose? Is she coming on to me? Wait. Let her make the next move. This is turning out to be easier than I thought. She places the green first-aid tin beside her. The top of her halter gapes and I see the roundness of her breasts; ogle the tanned flesh that disappears under her pink bra. Mum has a tan line at the top of her chest. Does this mean Mrs Nye sunbathes in the nude? When? Where? Saliva fills my mouth and I swallow noisily. Mrs Nye grasps my ankle with her right hand and places her left hand on my thigh, above the wound. Her soft hand is on my naked thigh; her fingernails shiny pink. I smell her perfume.
“I see you’re a Hawthorn fan,” she says. She must have looked at my crotch. Are her words some kind of foreplay? “This doesn’t look so bad. No need for a run to the hospital.”
Her hand slips down to my inside leg as her other hand reaches for the green tin. My penis stirs.
“I’ll just put a piece of gauze on the cut and wrap it with a bandage and you’ll be fine.”
My penis thickens and starts to move. No, no, don’t do this yet. Not now. This isn’t the time. In an equilateral triangle, no, that’s not it. In an isosceles triangle…isosceles? No. Concentrate. In a right-angled triangle? That’s it. In a right-angled triangle the square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides. It’s not working. Concentrate! I should have worn the new underpants; they could have stopped this from happening. It’s starting to unfurl. Holy crap. I pull in my waist and sit forward a little, hoping to minimise any protrusions. Mrs Nye takes her hand from my leg and rips a bandage out of its confining wrapper. She pulls a length of it free and picks up a pair of silver scissors. My penis leaps upright, standing like a bloody great pole, stretching the Hawks colours out of shape. Mrs Nye takes the scissor blades in her other hand and smacks the top of my penis with the handle. Ow! Shit! My penis collapses like a popped party balloon.
“There, that takes care of that. Don’t feel bad about it,” she says. “These things happen to boys your age.”
Peter Lingard asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work