It was Sunday. I was sore. Uncomfortable yet riding a little cloud of elation I waddled penguin style into town to meet Elena. She was already waiting for me as I stepped off the bus. She ran over and hugged me with a big grin on her face.
“Better late than never Suki, jeez.”
“Sorry, I missed the first bus,” I apologised grinning back.
“Oh yeah whatever,” she teased. “I like your top, it really brings out your eyes.”
I felt very proud of myself inwardly, knowing I had chosen the pale green jersey for that exact reason.
“Thanks, you look great too.” She did, in white three quarter skinnies and a sky blue t-shirt with the sunlight in her hair; she seemed to radiate the last waves of summer.
“Let’s get lunch,” she said, and off we went, gossiping, giggling, and being girly, something I didn’t get to do too often. I was happy, content. She told me stories of people in her other classes, I chipped in with the occasional “no way” and “you’re kidding me” and smiled and laughed with her at the funny bits and scowled and complained with her at the atrocities she had to endure. I teased her about the way her indignant scowl really wasn’t that scary and she did an impression of my average response to a school day (“meeh I’m gonna go kill myself”) and so on and so forth. I prided myself on how I noticed that her eyes creased finely when she laughed and she flicked her hair with her hand when she was getting worked up about something and all these little things. I knew that I knew her and she knew me just the same way. I couldn’t imagine life without her.
“We’ll always be best friends right?"
“Where did that come from?” Elena was surprised. “Are we getting sentimental Suki? Awwwww.” I couldn’t help but laugh at her as she hugged me again. “Of course I’ll always be your best friend. You can count on being stuck with me for the rest of your life.” She stuck her tongue out at me and I just laughed some more feeling thoroughly silly.
We got ourselves sandwiches from the bakery and drinks from the coffee shop then found an empty sofa by the window to sit. Elena took sip of her frothy coffee and wiped away the foam around her mouth.
“Ahh that’s good. So, what is it you want to tell me? I can tell from how you’ve been quieter than usual that you’re just dying to get something big off your chest. So, what is it? Let me guess, boy talk riiight? About David?”
I was hardly surprised she’d guessed that much but even so a little peeved that she was stealing the thunder of my incredible story by just being good at guessing.
“God, Lena, should I even bother telling you this one or do you already know it all?” I huffed.
“Sorry, I’ll behave.” She drew a zip across her mouth and sat on her hands expectantly.
“Right so um… yeah, David and I met up yesterday. We haven’t been out for ages so it was a bit of an overdue date really and I’d had a bit of a rough start to the day so I was really pleased to see him and everything…” Elena still looked at me expectantly. She knew I was taking the longest possible route to the point of my story.
“So we walked around and caught up on loads of stuff and talked about school and the holidays and what we did and where we went and all that stuff…” Elena started to fidget noticeably. She was getting impatient.
“So we went back to his place and hung out there for a while. His parents were out so we had the place to ourselves…” She sat up a little. I’d got her curious.
“We watched a movie and relaxed, it was just nice to spend time together y’know? And we talked about more stuff like when we first met and our first date and-”
“Yeah it’s almost a year for you two now isn’t it?”
I glared at her. She knew that I had been just about to say that. She flashed a playful grin. “Seriously Suki, if you don’t want me interrupting anymore you’d better get to the point quick.”
“Ok, ok, ok!” I raised my hands in defeat. “So we’re on the sofa and he’s like ‘so it’s been nearly a year’ and-”
“For God’s sake just spit it out! You know I don’t like you withholding information.”
“Sorry! Right basically um…” I hushed my voice and she leaned a little closer. “Well… I mean, well we kinda…”
Elena clapped her hands to her mouth, “You didn’t go all the way did you? You did it didn’t you? Oh my God Suki, no way!”
I sat there with my mouth hanging a little open, just forming the words she had stolen from the tip of my tongue. All flushed and nervous and she’d just gone and said it on her own anyway. Honestly.
“…What was it like?”
I blinked at her. “What?”
“What was it like?” She glanced around and spoke quietly “…Sex?”
“Well I mean, uh, well it was sex I guess? Are you asking me to describe it?”
“No, you nitwit. I mean I know what it’s supposed to be like but what was it like?”
“Well, it was nice I guess?” I made a face at my monumentally poor choice of adjective. “I mean it all happened in such a rush,” I elaborated. “One second we were kissing then it just sorta happened from there.”
“Oh really? Hmmm.”
“What is it?”
“Nothing. It’s just that I thought the first time was supposed to be really hesitant and uncertain. Y’know, sorta tender and sweet and loving and nobody knows what to do properly so it goes real slow and stuff. I just thought the first time was supposed to be like that.”
“Hey we were-”
“I know, I know. Just thinking aloud that’s all”
“-loving and all that stuff…”
“I don’t know Suki. Hey what I’ve heard and read is one thing. I’m not saying you have to be anything like that. Just say I’ve got a sisterly concern.” She smiled at me and finished her coffee. “Just so long as you’re safe it doesn’t really matter does it?”
‘Safe.’ That word triggered a little twitch in my thoughts. ‘Safe.’ My mouth dropped open, aghast.
I just stared at Elena. Suddenly everything seemed so surreal. I shook my head almost imperceptibly in disbelief at my situation.
“You were safe Suki? Suki…?”
Her words were echoing around me far too loudly and far too indistinct. No, Suki, no! You didn’t, did you? There was a numbness all around me. The world was slowing and contorting. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. What was happening?
Elena and I left the coffee shop in a stunned and uncomfortable silence, both thinking deeply. Had I been stupid? Rash? Too caught up in the moment? What happens next? I needed to talk to David about this. I hugged Elena and waved to her from the bus as we parted. She looked at me with the most worried face I’d ever seen from her as I headed home, my head still ringing with questions that needed definite answers.