A Growing Sense
Chapter Four: A Growing Sense
Within a month, things around the house began to turn evermore strange. Two incidents occurred within a week of Halloween 1986, days apart. A third happened two weeks later, leaving us wondering about our decision to live atop the hill on Lincoln Drive. Had it been a good idea after all?
The first two weren’t really “single” events in the true sense of the word. Rather, they were more like on-going acts. When I say they happened, I mean they began to happen around that time, but I also mean they never stopped until events came to a head more than a year later. But alas, I am jumping ahead… far, far ahead.
One night, a Friday, after being out with my girl and some friends, I walked through the front door, read the “good-night” note my mother had left for me on the dining table, turned off the light and made my way up to my room. I was worn out. The excitement and energy we’d exuded in Old Town Pasadena had been epic. Dinner and a movie with three other couples had been hellacious, a thousand laughs, lots of food and snacks, and one heck of a good time.
I walked into my room, shut the door quietly, not wanting to wake-up Elijah, who could sometimes hear the vibrations of such things through the walls. As light-footed as possible, I made for the shower.
When I came out with just a towel wrapped around me, I was scared shitless to see a figure standing in the doorway. I yelped, almost dropping the only item covering my privates.
Then, it spoke.
I was relieved.
“Jerry, why did you leave all the lights on downstairs?”
It was my mother.
“What?” I inquired, cinching the towel more securely about my waist. “I turned off the dining room light and made sure everything was locked up tight.”
“Then how come every single light is blazing like the Fourth of July right now?”
I shook my head. “I don’t know. I was taking a shower.”
She sighed. “In the future, can you make sure to turn them off for me, ok?”
I scowled, but she couldn’t see it in the semi-dark of the room. I felt much like my little brother had a while back when Valerie had falsely accused him of stealing her beloved boots.
“Jerry?” There was that tone again.
“Ok, mom, no problem.”
She left without another word. She must’ve been tired.
The following morning at breakfast Valerie asked, “Which one of you inconsiderate family members kept turning on the lights last night? I had to turn them off twice.”
“When?” asked my mother.
“I don’t know, once around three-thirty and the other around four-twenty.”
My mother and I shared a concerned look. Our mini-confrontation had occurred hours before the times Valerie had indicated.
“That’s so weird,” she commented.
“What’s ‘weird’?” asked my sister.
“Well, I had to turn off the lights about an hour and a half before that,” replied my Mom.
“And, that was after I had turned off the overhead in the dining room when I got home,” I interjected, not about to waste the opportunity to explain that I’d done my part when I returned the night before.
Eli was watching the older members of his family, his head jerking to and fro like a parakeet as he tried to keep up with the conversation.
My mother shrugged. “It’s sort of spooky, don’t you think?”
Valerie rudely blew air between her lips. “You’re the one that wanted to live here.” Her brusque tone wasn’t lost on my mom.
She stared at her daughter from the corner of her eye, obviously contemplating whether or not she should give her a good tongue-lashing.
The silence droned.
Elijah frowned, and then brightened like a Roman candle in the night sky. “I think the house is awesome!”
Valerie reached out to muss his hair, which he easily avoided by blocking her offensive hand with one of his own. “You would think that, you weirdo.”
“I’m not a weirdo. You are,” shot back Elijah, wrinkling his face at her.
Above them, I couldn’t help but notice the look of concern on my mother’s face. These odd happenings had got her thinking.
Three days later, the day before Halloween, was when the dishes began to rattle in the sink. Anything we didn’t get around to washing the night before, rattle periodically throughout the night.
I think it was a message. Hey, clean up over here, will ya? But I was never completely certain and this is no more than pure speculation on my part. And yet, it sure as hell felt that way when I’d being lying in bed, on the cusp of a dream, and I’d hear the damned cookware clinking and clanking against one another all the way down the hall, around the corner, down the stairs, through the back porch, from the kitchen. Someone had to be saying, “Yo, get your shit together and clean this shit up.”
Then, the lights would come on.
And I’m not talking they’d turn on abruptly like you’d see in the movies as if some magical electricity had “crossed-over” and was now capable of turning on the lights. No, this was different. One by one, every wall-switch was thrown, every nob upon each lamp was twisted. The lights came to life as if someone were walking about the front room brightening the way as they went.
Invariably, either my Mom or Valerie would have to climb from the warmth of their covers and undo what seemed to be occurring all on its’ own.
I would sometimes hear their disgruntled mutterings and heavy feet as they shuffled about, darkening the downstairs once again.
After a while, it was apparent to us that washing everything before we went to bed was easier than getting up, time after time, to turn off the lights. It was simple, if the kitchen was clean – nothing happened.
“…clean this shit up!”
In the middle of November, Myra and I finally went there.
We had, over the course of our relationship, reached the point where making out wasn’t enough. We’d petted heavily, satisfied one another every which way possible without intercourse and had hit a sexual wall we wanted to batter down like there was no tomorrow.
Not really sure who’s idea it was first, we’d come to the conclusion it was finally time we had sex.
So, we picked a day where neither of us had much to do at school, waited until after Homeroom and ditched during nutrition. We walked the mile and a half to my house, excited, antsy, the world sparkling like living crystal everywhere we looked. We were in love. We were ecstatic. And, we were going to lose our virginity, together!
As it turned out, though we had plenty of time, were never rushed or interrupted, we didn’t quite finish the act. Simply, Myra had been too small. Not that I’m some Mandingo straight from the wilds or anything remotely like that. I’m saying she was small for a woman. I really didn’t understand what had happened at the time. I only had a notion it would take a few more times before we’d get things working well in that department.
We weren’t put off or embarrassed. Myra and I were never that way with one another. For the most part, all of these years later, we’re still fairly honest with our feelings. Yes, if you haven’t guessed by now, though we began our sexual exploits when we were teenagers, we did in fact marry. After meeting, there was really never anyone else for us. I counted myself lucky, and I hope she feels the same.
She must’ve, right? She’s still here trying to read over my shoulder as I write this.
Now, she’s pulling my ear, telling me not to put this in the book.
Too bad, babe! You shouldn’t be peaking in the first place.
So, we finished one another orally, sated, but still curious if we could figure the whole sex-thing out with a second try. We laughed about it, holding each other tight, loving the feeling of our naked bodies against each other. We talked as we fondled, expressed our dreams, touching, luxuriating in the sensations of the others’ body. We kissed and caressed until late in the afternoon, content to stay nude and enjoy the moment to the fullest.
Finally, Myra got up and said she had to go.
I asked her if she needed for me to walk her home, but she said no. Her friend Feline was going to pick her up, so it would look like she’d spent time at her house, instead of mine.
“I don’t want my mom to get the impression I was out all day getting boned,” she had said playfully, even though that wasn’t quite true.
When she stooped to pick up her clothes, we were surprised when we couldn’t find her panties. We searched everywhere in my room. When Feline had honked for the fourth time, we were still looking.
Exasperated, Myra left holding down her min-skirt, hoping she wasn’t going to flash the neighbors, as she made her way down to her friends’ car.
I watched her leave from the kitchen windows, sad over her having to leave and also a little sad we were no longer kids anymore. Something had changed within us both. Though not fully consummated, the intent had been there. I’d been poised before the gates so to speak, but her physiological “smallness” had made that impossibility.
I’m not a boy anymore, I remember thinking just as my mother came up behind me and hugged me tight.
It never even entered my mind that she wasn’t due home for a few more hours. She still had to stop and pick up Eli from his afterschool program before she would drive home. In fact, Valerie wasn’t even due home for another half hour.
The embrace had been so warm and loving. It was precisely the way my mother hugged me from behind, which she did from time to time. She would do it when I wasn’t expecting it, but when she was feeling her love for me in her heart. I know this, because I was always able to feel her emotions from her body traveling into the back of mine.
It felt exactly the same. She was telling me it was ok. I had to grow up sometime.
And yet, it should’ve dawned on me my mother would never have given me a hug of this sort if she knew the topic wherein my feelings were based. She would’ve never approved of me and Myra having sex. Therefore, she would’ve never hugged me over losing my innocence.
All of this was going through my head when I turned to tell ask her why she would hug me like this, knowing the root of the change within me.
There was no one there.
I was alone, and not just in the kitchen. I was the only person in the house. I was the only person standing on the property.
And yet, someone had hugged me. I could smell the residual perfume on my clothes…
I realized then, eyes widening. It wasn’t a scent my mother wore. Though this person had embraced me in precisely the same manner, had conveyed love and care in exactly as my mother would’ve, this was a different person altogether.
Someone else had touched me. Someone else was in the house with us. That, I could no longer deny.
The following morning, I found Myra’s teeny, tiny bikini panties stuffed within the cap of my deodorant can. How they got there, I couldn’t tell you. It was another one of those things I was never able to figure out.
When I gave them back to my girlfriend sometime later, she asked where I found them. I lied about it, saying I found them under my bed, stuffed near the headboard.
Lying about it was easy. The truth was becoming a little too scary to explain.
There was something lurking about our new house.