A Gift

It doesn’t seem fair to have had the most passionate love of my life when I was a teenager. I fell in love with a funny and mischievous high school football player. He was seventeen and I was only fourteen. I was a kid from New York City spending her summers and weekends in Connecticut with her Mom who was running away form a pain-filled marriage of anger and alcohol. 

Peter was the fifth child in a working class Catholic family. He was thoughtful and kind. His grades were fair at best, but he had a deep wisdom that drew people to him. He was also, in the term of the day, wicked funny. He had a quip for everything and kept everyone around him chuckling and smiling. We met at the high school field on a fall afternoon when a bunch of us were playing touch football. Peter set his eyes on me and flirted, teased and chased until I was breathless with excitement. I’d never had a boy this handsome seek me out before. He was tall and slender with hard muscles from all the sports he played. He had a full head of black ringlets that I wanted desperately to touch. His smile lit up his eyes. 

It’s hard to recall exactly who I was at the time. A chronological child, I felt very grown up and mature. I was smart, self-aware, and assertive. I didn’t want to be some random guy’s conquest. I wanted a boyfriend to love and cherish me. I was a freshman in high school who was surrounded by her brother’s senior friends. Looking back, I know I was average size with full breasts and hips and a small waist, but at the time I never felt that pretty. Peter thought I was beautiful. He cuddled me, he kissed me, he fawned over me. I felt beautiful with him. I felt like I could dive into him and never come up for air. 

Peter and I couldn’t keep our hands off one another. As the cold weather of a New England fall settled on us we would pile under down blankets on my Mom’s couch and watch football together. I would slowly unzip his jeans and massage his hard penis. He had me half undressed under the blanket with his hand down my pants and no one walking by seemed the wiser. 

Nothing will compare with the excitement of rubbing against one another fully clothed on the couch, against a wall, in the yard. Peter’s erection would stretch through his jeans. He was so hard he would often bruise my pelvis as we pushed and ground our bodies against each other. We came again and again before we ever had true sex. Not very creatively, his buddies from school had nicknamed him “Monster”. The rumor was that his penis was huge, but how was I supposed to know what big was? He was all I’d ever known. 

After dating for six months, we were alone late at night on the couch in my living room. It was the first day of spring, but we were still covered by the down blanket. It wasn’t pre-planned but that night I knew I was ready to make love for the first time. I was fortunate because I’d been on the pill for months due to irregular periods. There was no fear of pregnancy and just the thrill of being as close as I could be with the boy I loved desperately. I’d wanted to make love with him for so long it was hard to imagine we hadn’t yet. He loved me, he ate me up with his eyes, he possessed me in the most delicious way when we were at parties. 

It began with a slow hard pressure, a deep ache and then a slippery pushing past. There was a release of movement and motion. It seems impossible that I came that night, but I came so many other nights that I feel like I did. I was ecstatic and fulfilled. He went home in the middle of the night and I woke the next morning feeling joyful. 

My mother’s open minded attitude toward teen sex gave Peter and me the space to be together constantly. She was pleasant and welcoming to Peter, but seemed to absent herself at all the perfect moments. It was as though we had the entire house to ourselves. We slept together constantly. We graduated from the couch to my bedroom. Peter started sleeping over. We had sex in the shower, on the washing machine, in our pool late at night when it grew warmer. We were apart during the week when my Mom and I returned to New York so I could go to school, but we buzzed with anticipation for our weekends together. 

Peter was silly and loving but he liked to go out with his guy friends. They all drank too much and days started to go by without him calling me. Suddenly I felt insecure and uncertain. He started showing up late. He wanted sex but little else. After a while I heard rumors that he’d started going out with someone at the restaurant where he worked. He wanted me, he loved dating the girl from the city, but he wanted to play around. He was adorably irresistible and I was devastated that that I was no longer the center of his world.

As I cried out my heart ache, my mother was sympathetic but not terribly surprised. Men cheated in her world. It was a given and the implication was that wives and girlfriends simply accepted it. I slowly distanced myself from Peter. I couldn’t tolerate being cheated on. I cried and shouted and he was full of remorse, but we broke up. His best friend Danny, who had always been present and a vague attraction, stepped forward. I tentatively moved toward him but we knew we could only circle one another at a distance. 

Danny was an intense, moody and brilliant boy. He excelled at football and had a dense and strong body. He had the palest blue Irish eyes and lovely soft brown hair. I shifted my hunger to him. He showed me sympathy for my heartbreak that Peter couldn’t. Danny and I knew that a best friend could comfort his friend’s ex but he couldn’t have her. He shouldn’t have her, but that’s harder when she wants him just as much as he wants her. 

In the height of summer, Danny and I found ourselves up the street from my house in the grassy Town Commons. The moon was glaringly bright as we came together. Danny lifted and moved me like I was weightless. I fell into him with every inch of my skin ringing with sensation. In moments we were totally naked and Danny’s pale skin glowed almost blue in the moonlight. It felt like we were in a druid circle celebrating youth, nudity and piercing sex. He held me, he absorbed me. My desire and awe at his beauty were startling. 

The next time all the friends were together, Danny and I pretended like nothing had happened. That moment outside in the grass and moonlight floated away and would never be looked at squarely again. Peter slowly moved back into my life, contrite and newly committed. I gradually opened up to him and we dated for almost three more years. He was my first true love and as we grew older he became more vulnerable and needed me more than I needed him. I didn’t want to hurt him so I stayed in the relationship. I stayed but a deep part of me always longed for Danny. When Danny came into a room I had to be careful not to stand too close or stare too intently. We both suspected that Peter knew we’d been together but we couldn’t even say the words out loud to each other. It never happened if we never acknowledged it. 

As we moved on to college, young adults now, Peter and I split up but remained friends. Thirty years later, there is an invisible thread that still binds us. Peter occasionally reads me a poem he’s written and I’m reassured to know that his true loving spirit is still in my world. And Danny. Danny is still Peter’s best friend even though they live 3000 miles apart. Danny remains the secret segment of the triangle that exists between us, but we feel him. I feel him. 

To this day the desire to have them both simultaneously hides within me. My most guarded fantasy is loving two best friends and wanting the two together. Maybe it wasn’t fair to have had that kind of passion as a teenager and then have it dissipate in later years. But then again, maybe it was a gift. A gift that I can still unwrap and gently touch and admire from time to time.



Richmond, VA, USA